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Uttaranchal Travel Guide:

Introduction
Uttarakhand is a state located in the northern part of India. It is often referred to as the Land of Gods due to the many holy Hindu temples and cities found throughout the state which are some of Hinduism's most spiritual and auspicious places of pilgrimage and worship. Known for its natural beauty, it was carved out of Himalayan and adjoining districts of Uttar Pradesh on 9 November 2000, becoming the 27th state of the Republic of India. It borders the Tibet Autonomous Region on the north, Nepal on the east and the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh to the south, Haryana to the west and Himachal Pradesh to the north west.

The region is traditionally referred to as Uttarakhand in Hindu scriptures and old literature, a term which derives from Sanskrit uttara meaning north, and kha?? meaning country or part of a country. It has an area of 20,682 sq mi (53,566 kmĀ²).

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 Gairsain 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.

Recent developments in the region include initiatives by the state government to capitalise on handloom and handicrafts, the burgeoning tourist trade as well as tax incentives to lure high-tech industry to the state. The state also has big-dam projects, controversial and often criticised in India, such as the very large Tehri dam on the Bhagirathi-Bhilangana rivers, conceived in 1953 and about to reach completion. Uttarakhand is also well known as the birthplace of the Chipko environmental movement, and a myriad other social movements including the mass agitation in the 1990s that led to its formation.

History
Literally North Country or Section in Sanskrit, the name of Uttarakhand finds mention in the early Hindu scriptures as the combined region of Kedarkhand (present day Garhwal) and Manaskhand (present day Kumaon). Uttarakhand was also the ancient Puranic term for the central stretch of the Indian Himalayas. It is well-known for the presence of a multitude of Hindu pilgrimage spots. The Pauravas, Kushanas, Kunindas, Guptas, Katyuris, Raikas, Palas, the Chands, and Parmaras or Panwars and the British have ruled Uttarakhand in turns.
The historical temples at Jageshwar, preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India.

The region was originally settled by Kols, an aboriginal people of the austro-asiatic physical type who were later joined by Indo-Aryan Khas tribes that arrived from the northwest by the Vedic period. At that time, present-day Uttarakhand also served as a haunt for Rishis and Sadhus. It is believed that Sage Vyasa scripted the Mahabharata here as the Pandavas are believed to have traveled and camped in the region. Among the first major dynasties of Garhwal and Kumaon were the Kunindas in the 2nd century B.C. who practiced an early form of Shaivism. They traded salt with Western Tibet. It is evident from the Ashokan edict at Kalsi in Western Garhwal that Buddhism made inroads in this region. Folk shamanic practices deviating from Hindu orthodoxy also persisted here. However, Garhwal and Kumaon were restored to nominal Brahmanical rule due to the travails of Shankaracharya and the arrival of migrants from the plains. Between the 4th and 14th centuries, the Katyuri dynasty of Khas origin dominated lands of varying extent from the Katyur (modern day Baijnath) valley in Kumaon. The historically significant temples at Jageshwar are believed to have been built by the Katyuris and later remodeled by the Chands. Other peoples of the Tibeto-Burman group known as Kiratas are thought to have settled in the northern highlands as well as in pockets throughout the region, and believed to be the ancestors to the modern day Bhotiya, Raji, Buksha, and Tharu peoples

Districts
There are 13 districts in Uttarakhand which are grouped into two divisions. Kumaon division and Garhwal division

The Kumaon division includes six districts.

* Almora
* Bageshwar
* Champawat
* Nainital
* Pithoragarh
* Udham Singh Nagar

The Garhwal division includes seven districts.

* Dehradun
* Haridwar
* Tehri Garhwal
* Uttarkashi
* Chamoli
* Pauri Garhwal (commonly known as Garhwal)
* Rudraprayag

Transport
Uttarakhand is well connected with Rail, Road and Air modes of transport

See also
* Garhwal Division
* Garhwali
* Garhwal
* Kumauni People
* Kumaon Division
* Garhwal Rifles
* Kumaon Regiment
* Baitada
* Doti
* Bengal Engineers
* Special Frontier Force