Situated on the banks of holy river Bhagirathi, the town of Uttarkashi falls in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand. Owing to its numerous similarities with the Kashi (Varanasi) city of Uttar Pradesh, and its location which is to the north of original Kashi city, this place came to be known as ‘Kashi of North’ which in Hindi is called as Uttarkashi. One of the most renowned districts of Uttarakhand, it is a home to several temples and ashrams and is hence also known as ‘Town of Temples’. Its religious legacy attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists towards itself. A place with incredibly beautiful topography and ambience is also known as Devbhumi (Land of Gods).
Major tourist attractions
- Kuteti Devi Temple – Situated on the top of Hari Parvat, on the banks of Bhagirathi River, at a distance of just 2kms from Uttarkashi is the Kuteti Devi Temple. As per beliefs, the daughter and son-in-law of King Kota had dreams of Goddess Kuteti who also blessed them with three divine stones. These stones were manifestation of the Goddess, an incarnation of Devi Durga. The couple got the temple enshrined exactly on the spot where these stones were found. Locals of this place revere the temple immensely. Besides the sanctity, pilgrims and tourists can also relish the picturesque surroundings and trekking adventures around the shrine.
- Dodi Tal – Set amidst loft mountains and encircled by thick rhododendron, deodar and oak forests, Dodi Tal is undoubtedly one of the most pristine and fascinating lakes of Northern India. A home to many fishes including the endangered Himalayan Golden Trouts, it is also a spot quite popular among the lovers of trekking.
- Vishwanath Temple – The oldest and the holiest of all the temples situated in Uttarkashi, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is of great importance among pilgrims as well as locals. Most people on their Char Dham yatra also pay a visit to this shrine. Having Lord Shiva as the presiding deity, this temple was built by King Gyaneshwar. The 26 feet tall trident of Lord Shiva was built by Guh.
- Nehru Institute of Mountaineering – One of the scanty mountaineering institutes of our country, the organization was founded in 1965 and was commemorated to Jawahar Lal Nehru who was a great fan of mountaineering. It has given several successful mountaineers to our country, one of them being Bachendri Pal, the first woman to climb Mount Everest.
- Bhairav Temple – Situated in the Chowk area of Uttarkashi on the banks of river Ganga, this temple attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. According to legends, 365 temples were once found in this area. It was also visited by Hiuen Tsang, a Chinese Traveller in 629 AD who named this place as Brahma Pura.
- Dayara Bugyal – In the language of this region, Bugyal means ‘high altitude meadow’. Situated on a high altitude of 3048 mts, the spot offers some of the most mesmerizing views of the colossal Himalayas. Also there is a small but very beautiful lake at Dayara Bugyal. Along the lake, tourists can enjoy camping. Trekking excursions to Dodital also commence from this very spot. In winters, the slopes of this region also offer adventure activities of skiing.
Besides those that are mentioned above, tourists on a trip to Uttarkashi can visit several other places such as:
- Har ki Doon
- Shakti Temple
- Nachiketa Tal
- Nandanvan and Tapovan
- Kedar Tal
- Surya Kund
- Karna Devta Temple
Festivals and fairs
People of Uttarkashi are quite religious by heart and have inherited a rich cultural heritage. All the Hindu festivals are celebrated here with complete dedication and enthusiasm. These include Makar Sakranti, Holi, Shivratri, Navratri, Raksha Bandhan, Janmashtmi, Ram Navmi, Dussehra, Deepawali etc. However, the most prominent festival of this place is Makar Sakranti which falls in the month of January every year. A fair known as Magh Mela is organized in the city on this special occasion. Locals as well as tourists participate in this fair with a lot of fervor.
Best time to visit
Uttarkashi is a destination that can be visited at any time of the year. The city and its weather both are typically hilly. Summers begin in the month of April and last upto June. This is the time of pleasant days and nights with temperatures mostly ranging between 15 and 30 degrees. From July begins the season of rains which continue till September. The city experiences a healthy amount of rainfall. The showers pouring from the sky make Uttarkashi an even more beautiful place to be at. These two seasons witness maximum tourism in Uttarkashi. Winters which begin in October and remain till March are quite chilling here. If you are planning to spend a vacation here anytime during these months then make sure to carry lots of warm clothing.
How to reach
- By air– The nearest airport is the Jolly Grant airport at Dehradun. Dehradun is at a distance of 187km from Uttarkashi and one can easily find buses and taxis to reach there.
- By Rail– Haridwar and Rishikesh are the nearby railway stations at 171km and 151km respectively.
- By Road– This is the most convenient way of travelling to Uttarkashi. There are many options available to travel by road such as taxis and state and private transport buses
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