Often referred to as the Land of Gods or Devbhumi, Uttarakhand has a plethora of pilgrimage centers and temples. The natural beauty of the snow capped majestic Himalayas, the lush greenery of the surroundings, and the unspoiled scenic views truly make it a jewel and a tourist’s paradise. The state is bordered by Tibet, Nepal and UP. The state is divided into two divisions: Garhwal and kumaon region.
Uttarakhand has a very rich and diverse cultural heritage. The state has a multi-ethnic population but the people are commonly referred to as ‘Pahari’. Despite belonging to different ethnicities: Garhwali, Bhotia, Kumaoni, they all observe the same unique culture and traditions of Uttarakhand. Uttarakhand, being kept away from any hardcore commercial developments, is mostly rural where people live in small slate tiled roof houses with open terraces.
There is a multiplicity of languages spoken in Uttarakhand like Hindi, Garhwali, Kumaoni and Bhotiya. The languages spoken by the native people are categorized under the broad category of ‘Pahari’. Pahari language has various dialects which are different from region to region. The Kumaoni dialect is spoken in the Kumaon region, Garhwali in Garhwal, Bhotiya is spoken by some tribal communities of the north while Jaunsari is spoken in Jaunsari-Bhabar area. But this is not a cause of worry if you’re planning to visit Uttarakhand as Hindi is used extensively in the state although, you will easily find somebody who can understand English as well.
Religion is a very important aspect of the culture of this state. Being the heartland of Hindu culture, it attracts tourists who want to visit the Hindu temples, especially the ChaarDham of Gangorti, Yamnotri, Badrinath and kedarnath. The gushing waters of the sacred Ganga attract tourists all year round. The evening Aarti at the banks of the river Ganga in Haridwar and Rishikesh is a must see. The holy chanting of mantra is said to bring you one step closer to God. Apart from that, the Hemkund Sahib shrines and Nanakmatta Sahib form very important sacred sites of the Sikhs. The Piran Sharif Dargain Roorkee holds a lot of significance for the Muslim population and is visited by many for its serene beauty. There are numerous festivals that are celebrated in Uttarakhand. People come from far distances to witness the Ganga Dussehra and kumaoni holi. The state is also well known for its many Melas specially the KumbhMela, which is the largest gathering of devotees, attracts tourists from all over the world
Talking of food, Uttarakhand offers a simple yet appetizing cuisine. Some of the famous cuisines of Uttarakhand include kafuli, baadi, gulgula etc. Music and dance and art also form an important aspect of the cultural heritage of people and bind them together. The locals can be seen reciting various folk songs and verses in their dialects along the beats of dholkis, thalis and dhols which have the capability to completely enchant you and make you fall in love with the place!