History of Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand got its name from the Sanskrit words Uttara and Khanda which means north and land respectively. History believes that this area is inhabited since prehistoric times and existence of early Vedic. The Pauravas, Gurjara-Pratihara, Katyuris, Kushanas, Kunindas, Guptas, Raikas, Palas, Chands, Parmars, Sikhs, and the British were the famous rulers of this region. Rishis and Sadhus once inhabited in this region. There is a strong belief that the sage Vyasa scripted the Mahabharata in this region. On 9th November 2000, Uttaranchal was formed from Uttar Pradesh, which was later renamed on 1st January 2007, to present name Uttarakhand.
Geography of Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand is located on the north part of India. It shares national borders with Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh and international borders with Nepal and Tibet. State is spread in an area of 53483 sq km making it the 19th largest state in the country. Mountains and forest occupy 86% and 65% of the state area respectively. The Ganges and the Yamuna are the two largest rivers in the country, they originated in the state.
Government and Administration of Uttarakhand
For administration purpose Uttarakhand is divided into two divisions and 13 districts. Uttarakhand Kranti Dal, Bahujan Samaj Party, Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress are some of the major political parties in the state. Uttarakhand legislative assembly consists of 70 seats. Uttarakhand contributes five members to the Indian Assembly.
Language and Culture of Uttarakhand
Jhora-Chanchri, Jhumaila, Hurka Baul, Chauphula, and Chholiya are some of the dance forms in the state. Langvir Nritya is a dance that resembles gymnastic movements is only for males. Barada Nati is a folk dance which is famous in Dehradun. Basanti, Khuded, Mangal and Chhopati are the famous folk songs in the state which are played with the help of musical instruments like damau, turri, dhol, ransingha, dholki, etc. "Bedu Pako" is one of the popular folk song of Uttarakhand with international fame. Jagar is a form of ghost worship which is famous in the state. Handcrafted gold jewellery, basketry, Pahari painting, woolen shawls, wood carving, scarves, and rugs are some of the famous crafts of the state. Uttarakhand cuisine mainly contains tomatoes, milk, and milk based products. Hindi and Sanskrit are the official languages of the state. Kumaoni, Urdu, Punjabi, Jaunsari, Nepali, Bhoti, Buksa, Tharu, Raji, Rawat, Garhwali are the widely spoken languages in the state.
Educational Status of Uttarakhand
Literacy rate of the state is approximately 80%. Males have literacy rate of around 88% and females around 71%. They are more than 15000 primary schools in the state as on 30th September 2010. Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, National Institute of Technology Uttarakhand, G. B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Bipin Chandra Tripathi Kumaon Engineering College are some of the prominent colleges in the state.
Economy of Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand is the second fastest growing state in India. GSDP of the state is 60,898 crore rupees in the financial year 2012. GSDP grew at 13.7% from the financial year 2005 to 2012. Service sector has contributed more than 50% of the state’s GSDP. Agriculture is one of the important sectors in the state. Agricultural export zones have been set up for horticulture, herbs, medicinal plants, leechi, and basmati rice in the state. Tourism, hydropower, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and automobile industries are the major industries in the state.
Tourism in Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand is the land of gods and home of Himalayas. Mussoorie is located at an altitude of 2003 meters from the sea level, is a fascinating hill station in India. Ranikhet won the heart of the queen of Raja Sudhardev, Rani Padmini hence it got its name. Kumaon is at an height of 1938 meters from the sea level is a major tourist destination with snow-capped mountains, Alpine meadows, valleys, glaciers, lakes, and forests. Nanda Devi is the second highest mountain in India. Trijuginarayan is a famous for the adventurers and the pilgrims who love to visit the far and wide places in the Himalayas. The panch dharas represent a group of five spectacular streams dowered with emerald blue waters. Dehradun is at a height of 2200 feet from sea level is one of the major tourist attraction with cool climate. Haridwar termed as Gateway to Gods is at 295 meters approximately above the sea level. It is one of the important pilgrim centres for Hindus. Uttarkashi houses two famous Hindu pilgrimages 'Gangotri' and 'Yamunotri'. Chorabari (Gandhi Sarovar), is a lake having floating - ice on the crystal clear waters. Rishikesh is at a height of 365 meter above the sea level and it is the starting point of Char Dham Pilgrimage (Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath). Apart from these, they are many tourist places in the state.
Festivals Celebrated in Uttarakhand
Kumbh Mela is takes place at four locations of India, one is in Haridwar. Kumbh Mela takes place four times every twelve years at Haridwar. Baishaki is New Year, which is celebrated in April. Devidhura Mela is celebrated on Raksha Bandhan day. Apart from these, they are many local and national festivals which are widely celebrated.