History and Geography
Uttarakhand finds mention in the ancient Hindu scriptures as Kedarkhand, Manaskhand and Himavant. The Kushanas, Kunindas, Kanishka,
Samudra Gupta, the Pauravas, Katuris, Palas, the Chandras and Pawaras and the British have ruled it in turns. It is often called the
Land of the Gods (Dev Bhoomi), because of its various holy places and abundant shrines. The hilly regions of Uttarakhand offer unspoilt
landscapes to the tourist-pilgrim.
The present State of Uttarakhand was earlier a part of the United Province of Agra and Awadh, which came into existence in 1902. In
1935, the name of the State was shortened to the United Province. In January 1950, the United Province was renamed as Uttar Pradesh,
and Uttarakhand remained a part of Uttar Pradesh before it came into being on 9 November, 2000, the 27th State of India.
Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, the State has international boundaries with China (Tibet) in the north and Nepal in the east.
On its north-west lies Himachal Pradesh, while on the south is Uttar Pradesh.
About 90 per cent of the population of Uttarakhand depends on agriculture. The total cultivated area in the State is 7,84,117 hectares.
Industry and Minerals
The State is rich in mineral deposits like limestone, marble, rock phosphate, dolomite, magnesite, copper greyphyte, gypsum, etc. The
number of smallscale industries is 25,294 providing employment to 63,599 persons. As many as 1802 heavy and medium industries with an
investment of Rs 20,000 crore employ 5 lakh persons. Most of the industries are forest-based. There is a total of 54,047 handicraft
units in the state.
Irrigation and Energy
Agricultural land under irrigation is 5,91,418 hectares. The State has excellent potential for hydropower generation. There are a
number of hydro-electric projects on the rivers Yamuna, Bhagirathi, Bhilangana, Alaknanda, Mandakini, Saryu Gauri, Kosi and Kali
generating electricity. Out of 15,667 villages, 14,447 villages have been electrified.
Roads: The total length of metalled roads in Uttarakhand is 19,543 km. The length of PWD roads is 17,545 km, while the length of
roads built by local bodies is 1,998 km.
Railways: The main railway stations are Dehradun, Hardwar, Roorkee, Kotdwar, Kashipur, Udhamsingh Nagar, Haldwani, Ramnagar and
Aviation: There are air strips at Jolly Grant (Dehradun), and Pantnagar (Udham Singh Nagar). Air strips at Naini-Seni
(Pithoragarh), Gauchar (Chamoli) and Chinyalisaur (Uttarkashi) are under construction. From this year Pawan Hans Ltd., has started
helicopter service from Rudraprayag to Kedarnath for pilgrims.
The world-famous Kumbh Mela/Ardh Kumbh Mela is held in Hardwar at an interval of every twelfth/sixth year. Other prominent
fairs/festivals are: Devidhura Mela (Champawat), Purnagiri Mela (Champawat), Nanda Devi Mela (Almora), Gauchar Mela (Chamoli),
Baisakhi (Uttarkashi), Magha Mela (Uttarkashi), Uttaraini Mela (Bageshwar), Vishu Mela (Jaunsar Vavar), Peerane-Kaliyar (Roorkee), and
Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra, held every twelfth year.
Prominent places of pilgrimage/tourist interests are Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Hardwar, Rishikesh, Hemkund Sahib,
Nanakmatta, etc. Kailash Mansarovar Yatra can be performed through Kumaon region. The world-famous Valley of Flowers, Pindari Glacier,
Roop Kund, Dayara Bugyal, Auli, and hill stations like Mussoorie, Dehradun, Chakrata, Nainital, Ranikhet, Bageshwar, Bhimtal, Kausani
are the important places of tourist interest.