Uttarakhand – Facts you should know.
Have you been visiting Uttarakhand or Uttranchal as it was formerly known and still have the urge to know more about it.
Something about the history, the culture and some other interesting facts that could help you understand the place better.
Here are some interesting facts about Uttarakhand that you should know.
Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences(ARIES), Nainital
Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences(ARIES)is one of the leading research Institutes which specializes in Astronomy, Astrophysics and Atmospheric Sciences. An autonomous body under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the institute is situated at Manora Peak (6,401 ft), about 9 km from Nainital. With the creation of the State of Uttarakhand on 9 Nov 2000, this institute was re-christened as the State Observatory (SO).
While the usual visitor to Nainital gives this a miss and stays in the confines of the hotels in Nainital, this is a must visit for anyone who loves the astronomy and loves stargazing.
The Chipko Movement , 1970’s.
Chipko Movement, started in 1970’s, was a non violent movement aimed at protection and conservation of trees and forests from being destroyed. The villagers used to hug the trees and protect them from wood cutters from cutting them. Chipko movement was based on the Gandhian philosophy of peaceful resistance to achieve the goals.
The landmark event in this struggle took place on March 26, 1974, when a group of female peasants in Reni village, Hemwalghati, in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand, India, acted to prevent the cutting of trees and reclaim their traditional forest rights that were threatened by the contractor system of the state Forest Department, and transpired hundreds of such grassroots level actions, throughout the region.
The First Agricultural University of India, Pantnagar University
Yes, that is correct. Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar is the first agricultural university of India. Pantnagar University played a significant role in the Green Revolution of India . The Mexican wheat varieties, developed by Norman Borlaug , were tested in Pantnagar – The contribution of the university was recognized by Norman, who described Pantnagar as “Harbinger of Green Revolution“.
It is the land of – The Yoga Capital of the World.
Yoga’s origins are debated, but many historians say it may have begun nestled amid the Himalayas, along the historic Ganges in Rishikesh. For centuries, it has been considered a holy place, drawing wayward spiritualists hoping to connect with the land, philosophies and the spirit. This town of about 1,50,000 has gained fame as the place where the Beatles came in early 1968 and wrote much of “The Beatles” commonly known as “The White Album.” . Everyone from Uma Thurman to Jeremy Pivent to Bollywood stars to Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall has swung through town.
Rishikesh now offers all kind of yoga courses from Hatha Yoga to Kudalini Yoga to Bikram Yoga. Ashrams in Rishikesh that are run by the sages provide holistic yoga courses that spans from days to months.
When are you going next ?
The Second highest Indian Mountain – Nanda Devi @ Nanda Devi National Park
Nanda Devi is the highest mountain in Uttarakhand (Elevation -7,816 m ), the second highest mountain in India and the highest entirely within the country (Kangchenjunga being on the border of India and Nepal); owing to this geography it was considered the highest known mountain in the world until computations on Dhaulagiri by western surveyors in 1808. It was also the highest mountain in India before Sikkim joined the Republic of India.
In acknowledgment of its religious significance and for the protection of the its fragile ecosystem, the peak as well as the circle of high mountains surrounding it—the Nanda Devi sanctuary—were closed to both locals and climbers in 1983. The surrounding Nanda Devi National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.
Monal Himlayan Pheasant [The State Bird is also Nepal’s National Bird.]
Based on the Himalayan Monal pheasant’s strong association with local folklore, this pheasant has been declared as the national bird of Nepal and the state bird of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh in India. This pheasant was named after Lady Impey who first kept these pheasants in captivity.
Brahma Kamal [The State Flower of Uttarakhand]
Brahma kamal is the mythical white lotus that has dominated the imagination of mythological experts from generations.
Brahma Kamal, the state flower of Uttarakhand in India is one of the most famous flowers seen in the Himalayas. This flower is the best example of the flowers and plant life in the alpine habitats at the upper reaches of the mountain ranges.
The thick curved roots of these plants are used as local medicine for paralysis of the limbs and cerebral ischemia. It is widely seen in the places like Himalayan mountain ranges of Uttarakhand and also The Valley of Flowers National Park.
The Biggest Dam of India – Tehri Dam.
Tehri Dam is located on the Bhagirathi River, Tehri Dam is the highest dam in India,With a height of 261 meters and the eighth tallest dam in the world. The high rock and earth-fill embankment dam first phase was completed in 2006 and other two phases are under construction. The Dam water reservoir use for irrigation, municipal water supply and the generation of 1,000 MW of hydroelectricity.
Tehri Lake on which the dam is built is picking up as a destination for a lots of water sports in uttrakhand.
The Oldest National Park of India – Jim Corbett National Park
Jim Corbett National Park is the oldest national park in India and was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park to protect the endangered Bengal tiger. It is located in Nainital district of Uttarakhand State, India and was named after Jim Corbett who played a key role in its establishment.
Corbett National Park comprises 520.8 km2 (201.1 sq mi) area of hills, riverine belts, marshy depressions, grasslands and a large lake.
Jim corbett national park offers safaris including elephant and jeep safaris.
First PVC (Param Veer Chakra) came from this land.
Yes, you heard that right. Major Som Nath Sharma, PVC (1923–1947) was the first recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, the highest Indian gallantry award. He was awarded the medal posthumously for his bravery in the Kashmir operations in November 1947. He died while evicting Pakistani infiltrators and raiders from Srinagar Airport during the Indo-Pak war of 1947-48 in Kashmir. He belonged to the 4th Kumaon Regiment.
Uttarkhand has two major Regimental Centers on the Indian Army –
The Kumaon Regiment is the most decorated infantry regiment of the Indian Army. The regiment traces its origins to the 18th century and has fought in every major campaign of the British Indian Army and the Indian Army, including the two world wars.
One of the most renowned battle fought by this regiment was the Battle of Rezang La – the Bollywood national award wining movie “Haqeeqat” was said to be based on this. Remember the song “Kar Chale, Hum Fidaa, jaan-o-tan”, yep, that movie.
There is a small memorial at Rezangla,Ladakh which reads:
How can a Man die Better than facing Fearful Odds,
For the Ashes of His Fathers and the Temples of His Gods,
To the sacred memory of the Heroes of Rezang La,
114 Martyrs of 13 Kumaon who fought to the Last Man,
Last Round, Against Hordes of Chinese on 18 November 1962.
Built by All Ranks 13th Battalion, The Kumaon Regiment.
It was originally raised in 1887 as the 39th (Garhwal) Regiment of the Bengal Army, it became part of the British Indian Army, and after the Independence of India, the Indian Army.
It served during the Frontier campaigns of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, as well in both the World Wars and the wars fought after Independence. Mainly made up of Garhwali soldiers, this regiment has a distinguished record and a unique identity.
The Regiment has to its credit 03 Victoria Cross