An Introduction to Dev Bhoomi – UTTRAKHAND

Instead of writing directly about my recent trip to Yamnotri & Gangotri I realized that I should give some brief description about the holy state Dev Bhoomi – Uttrakhand so that all the readers can be benefited by enhancing their knowledge to know about this place & I expect the same from the others who already have the information about this Holy state.

Uttrakhand – The abode of God (Dev Bhoomi) became the 27th state of India on Nov. 9th, 2000. Uttrakhand name is derived from Sanskrit word uttara (North) & Khand (part of country). It borders TIBET on North, NEPAL on East , UTTAR PRADESH on south , HARYANA on west & HIMACHAL PRADESH on North-West.

Uttrakhand Map

In January 2007, the name of the state was officially changed from Uttaranchal, its interim name, to Uttarakhand. The provisional capital of Uttarakhand is Dehradun which is also a rail-head and the largest city in the region. The small hamlet of Gairsen has been mooted as the future capital owing to its geographic centrality but controversies and lack of resources have led Dehradun to remain provisional capital. The High Court of the state is in Nainital.

Sangam ( Alaknanda & Bhagirathi)

The state also has big-dam projects, controversial and often criticized in India, such as the very large Tehri dam on the Bhagirathi river.. Uttarakhand is also well known as the birthplace of the Chipko environmental movement

Chipko Andolan

Tehri Dam

Uttrakhand is divided into two regions , Garhwal in west & Kumaon in east. Both the region endowed with awesome natural beauty & calm serenity of the majestic Himalayas. They have studded snow covered mountain peaks, glaciers, lakes, holy rivers and flora & fauna.


Water Fall

Water Fall

Holy River

Uttrakhand is also known as Dev Bhoomi because of the presence of multitude of Hindu pilgrims spots. It is believed that Sage Vyasa scripted the Mahabharata here as the Pandavas are believed to have traveled and camped in the region.

There are 13 districts in Uttrakhand , 6 in Kumaon & 7 in Garhwal. Details are given below:-

Districts of Uttrakhand

Sub Holy Places of uttranchal

Panch Badri – Lord Vishnu is worshipped at Panch Badri in different forms.

(1) Vishal Badri (Badrinath) – 300 Kms from Rishikesh
(2) Yogdhyan Badri – At Pandukeshwar , 24Kms from Joshimath
(3) Bhavishya Badri – At Subham beyond Tapovan about 15 Kms from Joshimath
(4) Vridha Badri – At Animath of Pipalkoti – Joshimath Road
(5) Adi Badri – On Rishikesh – Ramnagar Road, 18 Kms. From Karanprayag.

Panch Kedar – Lord Shiva is worshipped at the five kedars in different forms

(1) Kedarnath – 19 Kms from Sonprayag

(2) Tungnath – 5 Kms from Chopta

(3) Rudranath – 28 Kms from Mandalchatti

(4) Madhyamaheshwar – 30 Kms from Guptkashi

(5) Kalpeshwar – 9 Kms from Helang

Panch Prayag

(1) Vishnu Prayag – 10 Kms from Joshimath (Sangam of Alknanda & Dhauli Ganga)

(2) Nand Prayag – 21 Kms from Karanprayag (Sangam of Alknanda & Nandakini)

(3) Karn Prayag – 34 Kms from Rudrapryag ( Sangam of Alaknanda & Pindar)

(4) Rudra Prayag – 71 Kms from Devprayag (Sangam of Alaknanda & Mandakini)

(5) Dev Prayag – 93 Kms from Haridwar (Sangam of Alaknanda & Bhagirathi )

Chardham Yatra

Pilgrimages to the sacred Char Dham yatra (Yamnotri , Gangotri , Kedarnath & Badrinath) is a dream for every Hindu devotee.

It is said that yatra should be started from left to right i.e. Yamnotri – Gangotri – Kedarnath – Badrinath.



Dehradun to Yamnotri 180 Kms.
Yamnotri to Gangotri 230 Kms
Gangotri to Kedarnath 345 Kms
Kedarnath to Badrinath 230 Kms
Badrinath to Rishikesh 300 Kms

This is all about Uttrakhand as per my knowledge. Rest of my trip to Yamnotri & Gangotri experience will be soon in next couple of posts.


  • Ram Dhall says:

    Mahesh ji,

    An amazingly great post – a collectors’ item.

    I have been to Uttarakhand at least 20 times (if not more), but after reading your post, it looks like that I have hardly been to this Devbhoomi.

    Thank you for sharing the extremely useful knowledge about the Devbhoomi. The supporting pictures are simply brilliant, especially the one portraying the sangam.

    Incidentally, where is Gairsen located !!! With billions of rupees already sunk in for the development of Dehradun as capital (which have sky rocketed the reality prices), I wonder if the idea of moving the capital to Gairsen would easily materialise.

    Shall await your posts on Yamnotri and Gangotri.

    • Mahesh Semwal says:

      Dear Ram Sir,

      Thanks for your motivational words. My purpose of writing this post was to share my knowledge on Uttrakhand but still I want to know more about it.

      Gairsen is at the centre of Uttranchal, almost at the border of Garhwal & kumaon. Due to lack of resources in Gairsen, Dehradun still remains the provisional capital.

      Next post might be by next week.

  • vibha says:

    Very detailed and nicely structured post. Thanks for sharing this information Mahesh.

    Also looking forward to the details of your journey :)

    • Mahesh Semwal says:

      Dear Vibha,

      Thanks for going through the post & liking it.

      Working on next post. Try to post by next week.

  • Beautiful introduction and a near perfect mix of old and new :-)

    As ever looking forward to read more after this short, yet a beautiful description.

  • rohitvadera says:

    Dear Mahesh,

    Good foundation post before we read your next post on your trip to Yamnotri & Gangotri.

    I believe it would be quiet informative to plan our trips accordingly.

    Nice Post.


    • Mahesh Semwal says:

      Dear Rohit,

      I am glad to know that you found this post helpful for planning the trips to Uttrakhand.

  • nandanjha says:

    Mahesh, as you know I have been waiting for your Yamunotri and Gangotri trip reports since there was a plan to do Char-Dham (and later Do-Dham) but we sort of let it go. somehow we were not feeling too great of doing that all by ourselves. We felt that if we do Do/Char-Dham without family or close-friends, it may not be right :-) (We finally went to Kasol/Manikaran)

    Great beginning and especially for someone who is planning such a trip. As Ram said, that its a collector’s item. I have said this in the past and I would say it again that you have a knack of nicely structuring the useful information without making it look long or very fact-oriented.

    Now on to reading your next one.

    • Mahesh Semwal says:

      Dear Nandan,

      You are right Nandan,If you are going to Hill’s (specially Interiors/Unexplored areas), Its better to make a plan with 2-3 families because after sunset you can not go anywhere.

      You may plan next year, if required any help then feel free to contact me.

      Last but not least thanks for your motivational words.

  • anup khetan says:

    Dear Mahesh,

    I am travelling to chardham from mumbai and reaching haridwar on 16 aug 2010 around 6 pm by train. I will be travelling alone and I am 34. Need your guidance as to how to proceed, how to go from haridwar to yamnotri then from there to gangotri, then from there to kedarnath and then to badrinath. What are the modes of conveyance avaliable. How would be the weather. Do i need to carry cold clothers/ raincoats. Moreover, what are the facilies avalable for lodging fooding. Are there dharamshalas. etc, etc

    I know its lots of questions I have asked…If you dont mind; could you also share your contact number, I can call you understand it in a better way.

    • Mahesh Semwal says:

      Dear Anup,

      Thanks for going through the post.

      For Chardham Yatra , You can book your package plan form Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam. Here is the link If you are alone then sharing taxi could be an option.

      It is suggested to carry woolens, rain coat , torch, personal medicines & dry ration.

      For lodging there are various options like GMVN hotels , Private hotels & Dharamshalas. You can avail off-season discount also. GMVN hotels cost is around Rs. 1200/-, private hotels around Rs. 500/- .There are many Dharamshalas around Chardhams but regarding prices I dont have much idea. If you are taraveling alone GMVN – dormitory could be the best option. As per my experience GMVN Hotels are the best option for Fooding.

      I tried my best to reply your queries. Still you required any information, please feel free to contact me.

      Once you are back from your trip , please do write in Ghumakkar.

      • anup khetan says:

        Dear Maheshji,

        Thanks for the help.
        Apart form these please do also let me know how is the frequecy of share taxi and as per my itenary what is the toal estimated duration by which I can come back to haridwar. this will help be give an idea as to when I should book my return tkt .

        • Mahesh Semwal says:

          The total estimated time to cover the Chardham is 12 days.

          The frequency of the sharing taxi is very good , to save time try to take a half full taxi or the taxi which is about to full.

          As you are alone , Its my suggestion that you book your Chardham package through GMVN which includes every things like food , stay & conveyance. Last but not least you will get company also for 12 days.

  • Madhu Semwal says:

    This is really very informative. Great work Mahesh.

  • Shreeniwas Sharma says:

    Thanks for your comments. I did not take any photographs. Because the yatra was totally for self-pleasure ???????????? I was not aware that taking some snaps would be beneficial to me and others. Next time I shall not mis to take the photos.Thanks

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    • maheh semwal says:

      ?? ?? ??????? , ???? ?????? ?? ? ????? ??? ?? ?? ????? ????? ??? ?? ???? ???? ???? ??? ?? (????? ??????) ????? ?? ??? ?????? ?? ???? ??? ??? ????? ??? ??.

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  • Bobby C. George says:

    Dear Mr. Mahesh,
    Thank you for such an impressively written post, everything is well detailed and lucidly written and quite informative also.
    My best wishes for your future posts.
    Bobby C. George

  • akanksha says:


  • neeraj says:

    this was really helpful thanks mate.
    make more and make the state proud.

  • smarty says:

    i want your contact number aditya. may i please

  • Naveen goswami says:

    Sir its amazing but at the top of the title the speeling of uttarakhand is written wrong

  • Thenraj says:

    Hi… very well written and informative. Can you suggest me how to cover Panch Kedar (except Kedarnath) in a single visit… how many days will it take ?? Do we need to take Sherpas for help ?? Can we trek on our own ?? What would be the easy/safe routing to these places and likely period of travel to this destinations ??

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