12 fantastic places to visit in Uttarakhand, northern India
A beautiful state is in northern India that has been attracting travellers from the world over for years, there are so many places to visit in Uttarakhand that you can decide to spend here your whole next trip to India.
A perfect spot for a vacation in winter and spring, with suggestive mountain peaks covered with snow and soft-rolling hills, you can visit both the tourist places in Uttarakhand and the lesser-known sites. Get enchanted by the fantastic views of the Himalayas, the forests, the lakes and the age-old traditions locals still preserve and respect.
Best places to visit in Uttarakhand
1. Rishikesh, cherished Yoga birthplace
Rishikesh is one most popular tourist places in Uttarakhand for mainly two reasons: it’s the birthplace of the ancient Yoga practice and offers spectacular natural scenery.
Thousands of travellers and yoga fans flock to Rishikesh every year to learn or improve their practice, to meditate and to fully unplug from their hectic daily routine.
Rishikesh has been a spiritual centre for centuries and naturally has numerous ashrams, some recognized and certified as centres of yoga and meditation. Unfortunately, it’s also known for some scams, so before booking make sure you check and double-check they are reliable.
Don’t leave Rishikesh or this northern Indian region without sampling the delicious local food. Obviously keeping in mind all the measures to avoid getting sick.
The best time to visit Rishikesh is winter between November to the end of February. The weather is nice the temperature range is between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius. Read our post for the best things to do in Rishikesh.
2. Corbett, one of the favourite tourist places in Uttarakhand
A tourist hotspot in Uttarakhand, Corbett is famous for its namesake national park. There are many things to do in Corbett and different ways to enjoy its park. The first and most obvious is a safari. I suggest a jeep safari so you can visit more places and have more chance to view the local wildlife. If you are lucky, you will see the tiger. I haven’t!
Sadly, they organise also elephant safari. I saw chained elephants in Corbett and it wasn’t a pretty sight. Elephants used and abused for the sake of the tourism industry suffer from many injuries, first and foremost on their back, are mistreated and die in great pain. I hope you will avoid this disturbing practice that exploits these beautiful creatures. You can read more about it here.
Withing Jim Corbett park there are many things you can do. For example, you can do some temple-hopping and visit the Garjiya Devi, Sitabani and the scenic Durga Mandir sacred places for a sample of the Hindu religion. If you are a fan of outdoor activities, Corbett won’t be disappointing: you can arrange a fantastic day out trekking along its river and through the beautiful forest as well as viewing Corbett Falls.
3. Nainital, beautiful nature in Uttarakhand
Located at some 2000 mt above sea level, Nainital is mostly famous for its beautiful lake and for being one of the favourite hill stations in northern India.
One of the first things to do in Nainital is obviously a boat tour in the lake surrounded by green and lush mountains. Some of the Nainital lakes you can see are Naukuchiyatal, Sattal, Bhimtal and Khurpatal. You will like find plenty of boats on their shores waiting for tourists.
Before leaving Nainital, don’t miss the gorgeous view of the Himalayas from their Snow View panoramic viewpoint or a regenerating trek in one of Nainital’s hiking trails. If you are travelling solo, inquire with your hotel’s reception on how to reach the different places.
Among the must-see places in Nainital are also Goddess Naina Devi temple beautifully set near Mallital on the banks of Naini Lake and a favourite among Hindu travellers.
4. Dehradun, Uttarakhand’s capital
Dehradun is the capital of Uttarakhand and one of the beautiful resorts in the sub-mountain tracks of India. Known for its scenic surroundings, it’s one of the most popular tourist places in Uttarakhand.
Some of the places to visit in Dehradun are Rajaji national park where you can also view the local wildlife and vegetation and the Hindu architecture at the Tapkeshwar Temple.
If you are a sports lover, go for a trek in nature to the beautiful Robber’s Cave and visit one of India’s largest Buddhist centres at Mindrolling Monastery.
If you are a fan of motorcycle trips, this region of India can make it for a truly adventurous journey.
The best time to visit Dehradun is winter, from November to late February.
5. Haridwar, one of the favourite Uttarakhand destinations
Rich in spirituality, Haridwar is another one of the most popular tourist places in Uttarakhand among Indian and international travellers. Once here, you can watch the Hindu pilgrims dip in the holy Ganga waters in Bramhakund at Har-ki-Pauri ghat, a place linked to god Vishnu and Shiva, of which there is also a giant statue marking one of the cities landmarks.
Haridwar is also a fantastic place to learn some yoga asana, to do meditation, visit its many temples, such as Chandi Devi, Mansa Devi, Daksheshwara Mahadev, Maya Devi and Vaishno Devi temples, and linger in some wonderful Ayurveda treatments, the ancient Indian medicine.
From Haridwar, you can also access Rajaji National Park where you can have a nice trek in nature and view the local wildlife such as elephants, leopards, jungle cats, deer, cobras, wild boar, monkeys, porcupine and others. The park is a tiger reserve, so if you are lucky, you can see the gorgeous big cat. If you are still wondering what to do in Uttarakhand, this natural oasis is a fantastic way to spend a day in the Indian Himalayas.
Don’t leave Haridwar without seeing its Ganga Aarti at least once. It happens every day twice a day, once early morning and once in the evening. Organised in Har Ki Pauri Ghat, this is a prayer to Hindu gods and goddesses for the holy river Ganga. This is a very mystical experience and very much revealing of the Hindu spirituality and traditions.
6. Almora, one of the best places to visit in Uttarakhand
Thanks to its breathtaking views, Almora is a popular hill station in Uttarakhand’s Kumaon region. The town has kept its old customs and traditions. The old forts, the historical monuments, and the royal courts still exist and are among the favourite places to see in Uttarakhand.
Place of age-old traditions and a rich spirituality, when in Almora you can visit the local Hindu worship places like Nanda Devi, Kasar Devi and Katarmal Sun temples, and absolutely don’t miss a trek around their gorgeous forests and enjoy great views of the local Himalayan peaks.
Not far from Almora is Kalimath temple, one of the most popular worship places in Uttarakhand devoted to the goddess Kali. According to the Hindu tradition, it’s here that Kali killed the demon Raktavija, who is buried right where the temple was erected. This is a very peaceful area, perfect for relaxing immersed in nature maybe enjoying a picnic with friends.
In the Almora district is the little village of Manila, known among locals for its temples and nature and one of the offbeat places to visit in Uttarakhand. With the stunning scenery of the Garhwal Himalayas and Nanda Devi peak, this area is a photographer’s paradise and definitely a perfect break from the loud and polluted Delhi.
7. Mussoorie Hill Station
If you are still wondering what to do in Uttarakhand, make sure you include Mussoorie Hill Station in your bucket list.
The history of Mussoorie town dates back to 1825 when Captain Young, an adventurous British military officer who, together with Mr Shore explored the present site and built a shooting lodge. This laid the foundation of one of the best holiday resorts in Uttarakhand. Mussoorie has a nice nature walk known as Camel’s Back Road that takes its name from a camel’s hump-shaped hill.
There is also Gun Hill where cannons were kept for the defence of the town. The oldest Christian church in the Himalayas, St. Mary’s, is located at Mall Road. Happy Valley is the first Tibetan temple built in India in the 1960s and a must-see in Mussoorie.
Among the other places to visit in Mussoorie, one of the favourite Uttarakhand destinations, are Lal Tibba, Mussoorie highest point, Benog Wildlife Sanctuary in Rajaji National Park, Tapkeshwar Mahadev, Nag Devta, Jwala Devi and Shedup Choepelling temples, and Kempty Falls.
The best time to visit Mussoorie Hill Station is from January to May as this area has all four seasons and it snows and gets cold in winter.
Auli is one of the least-explored and best tourist places in Uttarakhand for winter sports and activities. Located in northern Uttarakhand within the Garhwal range, Auli stands at an altitude of around 2700 metres above sea level.
Relatively new among Uttarakhand points of interest, Auli is a perfect place for relaxing in nature trekking across its beautiful oak and deodar forests while staring at the perpetually snow-capped Himalayan peaks of Nanda Devi, Kamet, Mana Parvat and Dunagiri.
Among the best places to visit in Auli and surroundings are its manmade lake, Joshimath town particularly popular among Hindu and Sikh pilgrims, and Nanda Devi National Park.
There are also many activities sports lovers can do. Among the best things to do in Auli for the adventurous in you are a scenic ropeway ride, trekking to Trishul Peak (for experienced trekkers as it’s very challenging), trekking to the wonderful Gorson Bugyal, a truly pristine and unspoilt corner of the Himalayas.
If you are interested in the skiing season, the best time to visit Auli is between late November and late March. Unlike most parts of India, Auli has a nice climate through the spring as well, with an average of 25 degrees Celsius, which makes for a perfect period for trekking as it’s sunny but not too hot.
9. Kedarnath, natural reserve and sanctuary in Uttarakhand
Beautifully surrounded by the Himalayan peaks, Kedarnath is an offbeat Uttarakhand destination and a perfect place for nature lovers and trekking fans. The most adventurous can also embark on a challenging mountain climbing.
Some of the main tourist attractions in Kedarnath are its main worship place, Kedarnath Temple, and Chandrashila Peak, both favourite trekking destinations. An offbeat and exciting tourism spot in Uttarakhand, in Kedarnath you can spend your time visiting the local glaciers, lakes, temples as well as enjoying the town’s shops and restaurants.
The best time to visit Kedarnath is Spring between May and June and Fall between September and October.
10. Gangotri, the spring of the Ganga river
The spring of the holy Ganga river, Gangotri is naturally one of India’s most important pilgrimage sites as well as one of the best places to visit in Uttarakhand to delve deeper into the region’s and the country’s traditions.
Some of the things to do in Gangotri include the Gangotri Temple, the local glacier, Pandava caves, Gauri Kund and Surya Kund waterfalls, or the challenging trek to Kedar Taal for adventure seekers.
One of the most cherished Uttarakhand destinations, Gangotri is a perfect mix of culture and nature.
The best time to visit Gangotri for optimal weather conditions is spring between April and June.
11. Ranikhet, a peaceful vacation in Uttarakhand
Located in Almora district, Ranikhet is one of the favourites among Uttarakhand places to visit for a relaxing vacation.
Just like the other Uttarakhand destinations, also Ranikhet has many Hindu worship places such as Jhula Devi, Haidakhan Babaji and Katarmal Sun temples and theme Ashiyana Park inside the town perfect for family picnics and leisure time.
Obviously, also in Ranikhet there are plenty of places to soak in nature and spend some peaceful days. Visit Bhalu Dam, an artificial lake built during the British era that you can reach with an easy hike. Surrounded by the snow-capped Himalayan peaks, this is a perfect place for a day out, picnicking and camping.
12. Kausani, the Switzerland of India
Dubbed the Switzerland of India by Gandhi himself, Kausani is a favourite tourist place in Uttarakhand by adventure seekers and honeymooners due to its breathtaking scenery and high peaks.
Located an altitude of more than 6000 metres, there are many things to do and places to visit in Kausani. Start from exploring Hindu spirituality by visiting its scenic Rudrahari Mahadev Temple inside a cave by the shores of Kosi river. Other worship places worth a visit in Kausani are Someshwar and Baijnath temples devoted to Shiva and Kot Bhramari Temple devoted to Goddess Bhramari. A place where Gandhi spent a couple of weeks, Anasakti Ashram is now a museum and one of the things to do in Kausani.
Being so high and gorgeous, it’s only normal that Kausani is a favourite destination for trekking fans. Enjoy a trek to Rudradhari falls and caves and to Pindari glacier for pretty stunning views.
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