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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Uttaranchal


Capital : Dehradun
Principal Languages : Hindi, Garhwali, Kumaoni, English

Geography :

A young state, Uttaranchal perches in northern India high upon the Shivalik foothills and Greater Himalayan Mountains. Having northern borders with Himachal Pradesh and Tibet, the state is also bounded by Nepal on the east, Uttar Pradesh on the south and west, and a sliver of Haryana on the west. Almost all of the state is part of the Himalayan mountain range; the highest point is 25,646 feet (7,817 m) above sea level. Additionally, two of India's prized rivers, the Ganga and the Yamuna, originate from this mountain state.

Important Cities - Towns and Religious - Tourist Place :

Almora, Mussoorie, Nainital, Ranikhet (Magnificent scenic beauty spots), Hardwar (Holy place year), Rishikesh, Pauri, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamnotri (ancient places of pilgrimage), Hemkund Sahib, Nanakmatta (Sikh pilgrimage places), Dehradun (Capital city and known for Forest Research Institute and Indian Military Academy), Gairsen (the proposed new capital), Gopeshwar, Pithoragarh and Rudrapur (Populous towns), Pindari Glacier and Corbett National Park.

Climate :

Altitude variation creates two drastically different climate zones within this tiny state. Hilly regions and plains experience a tropical climate. Summers bring blistering heat and an unpleasant humidity. Temperatures regularly climb over 104 F (40 C). On the contrary, mountainous terrain sees an alpine climate. Winters are incredibly cold, and summers bring only moderate heat. The alpine zone undergoes a long period of snowfall in the colder months and large amount of rainfall during the monsoon season.

Location :

Uttaranchal is bounded by Tibet (China) in the North and Uttar Pradesh in the South, Nepal in the east and Himachal Pradesh in the west.

Culture :

Uttaranchal actually contains a significant cultural divide based off the land. Lifestyles and prevailing tastes vary between the Himalayan region of the state (Garhwal) and the hilly region (Kumaon). Garwhalis tend to lead a largely agrarian lifestyle. Certain groups within the region also live as nomadic traders, but this tradition was stifled by the 1950 closing of ancient trade routes to Tibet. Most native peoples, like the Jaunsari, Bhotia, Buksha, Tharu, and Raji, of the region follow their own variations of Hinduism and Buddhism. Sikh and Muslim populations have also migrated to the land from neighboring states. Despite influences of prevailing Hindi films, music of the region has remained true to its ancestry. Inspiration from the Himalayas, their beauty, and the emotions they evoke are at the heart of Garwhali music. Kumaonese culture is strongly patriarchal and based on the foundation that men are superior to women. Women are highly respected and work right beside men in fields and forests, but men enjoy a higher regard. Society is based on the large extended family with the eldest male as its head. Polygamy is an openly accepted practice, but polyandry is strictly forbidden. Another practice viewed as antiquated in most of India still finds general approval in Kumaon. In direct violation of the law, less educated families tend to partake in child marriage rituals

History :

Uttaranchal is the sacred land (Puniya Bhumi) where so many ancient shrines and places of pilgrimage are scattered. The damand for a separate hill state of Uttarakhand arose in 1930 for rapid development of Kumaon and Garhwal regions. Many committees of the government of Uttar Pradesh considered it from time to time but did not find it economically feasible until the agitation by the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal became violent. That brought out ultimately the new State on November 9, 2000.

Economy :

Unable to tap what natural resources it does have, Uttaranchal's economic condition is on shaky ground. It is believed that the Tarai region alone could possibly produce enough food for the entire state, but large-scale farming has not become large enough. With few resources and a rough terrain, hydroelectric energy, and tourism are the only profitable industries in the state. Tourism is the backbone of the state economy, and the government is working continuously to improve infrastructure and make tourism even more viable.


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