Tag Archives: Uttrakhand

Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand – a lot more than the entrance to Char Dhams of Uttarakhand

Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand is a holy town located at an altitude of 3800 feet on the banks of sacred River Gangotri. It is the entrance for spiritual Char Dham Yatra (Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri)  and is also known as the Kashi of North India (just like Varanasi). Apart from this, it is a home to multiple Ghats, shrines, ashrams and Nehru Mountaineering Institute. Many people/ tourists/travelers come and stay here in Ashrams and Dharamshalas for several days to learn mountaineering and climbing. Others make it home for exploration, meditation and some in search of Nirvana.

Uttarkashi in Uttrakhand
Source: www.wikimapia.com

The small town Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand is not only picturesque but serene too. It has mountains, lakes, rivers, dense forests, glaciers, green meadows. Did I miss something? So the single sentence for this place will be; it has everything that a traveler or tourist wish to see while traveling. It is painted by Pine and Deodar trees on one side whereas the gushing, clear, greenish blue Ganges flows on the other side.

Ghats of Uttarkashi in Uttrakhand
Source: eUttaranchal

Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand was a well-flourished town till 20122013. But a havoc of one cloudburst after another and floods in the region changed the whole picture. The wreck and destruction were so massive that people of Uttarkashi migrated to the nearby safer locations. But now once again with the prevailing years; conditions in the town have improved and it is flourishing.


Route to Uttarkashi from Delhi: Delhi – Ghaziabad – Meerut – Muzaffarnagar- Roorkee- Haridwar- Rishikesh – Chamba – New Tehri – Dharasu – Uttrakashi

Distance from Delhi to Uttarkashi – 411 km

Time from Delhi: 10-11 hrs

Stops in between – I stopped at Tehri in between, the other options can be Haridwar, Rishikesh, and Chamba

Season– April to October

Offseason (Best time to visit) – November – March

Temperature during wintersMin: 1-5 degree Celsius; Max: 21 degree Celsius and Summers- Min: 15 degree Celsius; Max: 30 degree Celsius

Things to do in & around Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand

Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand is the entrance to famous four Hindu Dhams (Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath) but beyond these, there are certain more attractions in and around Uttarkashi which are worth exploring and can rush your adrenaline.

1. Uttarkashi town:

The first and foremost attraction is Uttarkashi town itself. There are more than 30 temples in the town and the must visit one is:

Kashi Vishwanath temple: This is an ancient temple built by Sage Parshuram in 1857. Here, in this temple, there is Syambhu Linga i.e. a self-manifested image and not set up by human hands.  This Shiv Linga is 56 cm in height and 90 cm in circumference and is tilted towards the south.

Kashi Vishawnath Temple at Uttarkashi in Uttrakhand

Shakti Temple: Just opposite to Kashi Vishwanath temple is Shakti temple, dedicated to Goddess Parvati. The main attraction of this temple is a huge metal Trishul which is 1500 years old, 6 meters high, 90 cm in circumference and is made up of metal Iron from top and Copper from the bottom.

Trishul at Shakti temple of Uttarkashi in Uttrakhand
Source: Tripadvisor

The Amazing fact about Trishul- Believe it or not: It doesn’t move when you apply the entire body force but it will vibrate as soon you apply the finger pressure. (Honestly, I failed to understand the logic behind it. It was some Magic for me).

Some other Temples which we didn’t visit but one can visit are: Kandar Devta Temple, Parshuram Temple, Kuteti Devi Temple, Ekadash Rudra Temple etc.

2. Dodital Trek

The Legends believe that Lord Ganesha choose Dodital situated at a height of 3024 meters, as his abode. So, there is a fresh water lake and temple here. To see this Lake one needs to ride by Car/ jeep till Sangamchatti and then trek between pine trees, snow covered slopes and Himalayas for 21 Kms. According to the locals and trekkers, this trek is really a gentle one. This trek is done with one night halt at Agora and Bebra village. At Dodital too, the option for stay is forest rest houses or one can do camping.

Dodital lake from Uttarkashi in Uttrakhand
Source: www.tourmyindia.com

From Dodital, One can continue trek till Dayara Bugyal.

Dodital to Dayara Bugyal Trek from Uttarkashi in Uttrakhand
Source: Moderate Trek


3. Nachiketa Tal

Nachiketa Tal situated at an altitude of 2453 meters is just like a lake in fairy land after passing through Rhododendron and dense forests. The lake is elliptical shaped and there is no know-how of its inlet and outlet. This Nachiketa Tal is believed to be named after 10 years old Nachiketa who found the gateway to hell and the truth behind life and death. Nachiketa Tal is around 33 Kms from Uttarkashi, out of which 30 Kms are motorable and 3 km trek from Chaurangi Khal.

Nachiketa Tal from Uttarkashi in Uttrakhand
Source: www.highwaycabs.com

4. Maneri Dam

The Maneri Dam is located at a distance of 8-9 Kms from Uttarkashi on the river Bhagirathi. This is the stage 1 of Maneri Bhali Hydroelectric Project and the unique part is water is fed through 8 kilometers long tunnel to the turbines. The Maneri River around this dam has emerged as a tourists attraction and they host several water sports like boating, kayaking, etc.

Maneri lake near Uttarkashi in Uttrakhand
Source: Tripadvisor

5. Dayara Bugyal Trek

The Dayara Bugyal trek is again considered as easy and one of the breathtaking treks of this regions. It is nestled amidst snow peaked towering mountains. It brings you to widespread lush green meadows spread over 28 km at an altitude of 10,000 -12,000 feet. In winters this diverse grassland turns to wonderful skiing slopes. The Dayara Bugyal trek is 29 Kms and it starts from small village Barsu, which is located 32 km from Uttarkashi.

Dayara Bugyal Trek from Uttarkashi in Uttrakhand

6. Gangnani Hot Water Springs

The Gangnani hot water spring is also known as Rishikund tirth. It lies at a distance of 46 Kms from Uttarkashi and is an ideal retreat for the people who want to meditate or get mesmerized in nature. There are wildflowers, giant rhododendron trees and clinging peaks on the sides and at some point glistening in the Ganges.

The hot water kund at Gangnani near Uttarkashi in Uttrakhand
Source: My Yatra Diary

In the ancient era, when it was tough for devotees to reach Gomukh (the source of origin of River Gangotri), they used to bath here in hot water spring and say Ganga Yahi Nahani hai – So, now its short form is Gangnani.  There are separate Kunds (Bathing areas) for men and women. 12 Kms ahead, to Gangnani, lies another place called Bhatwari, dedicated to sage Parasara, the father of Veda vyas.

Some tips for traveling to Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand 

  • Check weather conditions before leaving for this route.
  • Always carry some woolens with you, as sudden rain can lower down the temperature.
  • Don’t expect to get phone or internet signals everywhere. The only network which works in some areas is BSNL.
  • There will be many people on the way asking for lifts. It is good to help, but be careful.
  • The rooms/ hotels/tents to stay have all basic amenities and don’t expect much.
  • Don’t fall into the traps of fake Sadhus and Saints.
  • Always carry some snacks with you, as on some routes you won’t even find small tea and Maggi stalls.
  • Book your hotels/ homestays/ guest houses beforehand; as in season majority of them are fully occupied and in off season majority of them are closed.
  • In offseason, don’t expect to get a wide variety of food options.


Uttarkashi in Uttrakhand - A lot more than entrance to Char Dhams of India

Backpackers must carry essentials for a Hostel Stay

Hostel Stay! They are definitely cheaper than hotel or Homestay. But what else should you expect from them? I say don’t expect anything and just come with an open head. In the hostel, you will definitely get a roommate or travel friends but on the other hand, you will have to share your space too. And if you have a nick for Luxury and comfort- then forget Hostel stay. The term Luxury and Comfort are only dedicated to Hotels and Homestay.

Last week, I traveled to Tehri Dam in Uttrakhand, India and planned to stay in the hostel. It was my first hostel stay experience as a traveler and I will say, not a pleasant one. I found that even the small things were compromised.  The only good part was that I had to share my room only with dear husband.

Koteshwar Dam on the way to THDC hostel - Backpackers must carry essentials for a Hostel Stay

The hostel was situated on the hill top and seemed good from outside. After seeing the room I was like why I didn’t go through some of the posts on must carry essentials for Hostel stay. Anyways as we all know, one learns from his/her personal experience and this was a learning phase for me. I learned after staying; that you have to be mentally as well as physically prepared for sharing room, washroom, dining area and sometimes toiletries too. And there are certain essentials which one must carry to avoid discomfort.


So, here I am compiling the list of must carry essentials for Hostel Stay. I prefer traveling light so all the recommendations are written; keeping that in mind.

  1. Toilet kit & Toiletries

This one goes to the most important category for hostel stay. Make for yourself or buy readily available travel kit with a hanging hook; as many times hostel washrooms or rooms lack shelves.

The essential for the kit should beToiletry Kit - Backpackers must carry essentials for a Hostel Stay

  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Bathing soap
  • Hand wash / Hand Sanitizer
  • Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Small hand towel
  • Comb/ Hairbrush
  • Earbuds
  • Shaving cream & razor
  • Sanitary Napkins

Rest one can add to this list according to his usage.

2. Bed Sheet/ Bed Liner

Carry a light single or double bed liner to avoid sleeping on semi cleaned or unclean bed sheets. Cotton ones look and are good but they occupy a lot of space too. So, if you are backpacking choose microfiber travel sheets. They roll well and fit easily in small space.Microfiber Travel Bed Sheet - Backpackers must carry essentials for a Hostel Stay

3. Towel

Hostels usually don’t provide bathing or hand towels and if they do, they are semi clean. Some even charge separately for them.  So always, remember to carry a decent size towel for yourself. Microfiber travel towels are good for backpackers as well as regular travelers. These are made up of highly absorbent material so dries you well as well as dry up quickly. Further, these towels come in various sizes like medium, large and extra large.

Microfiber Travel Towel - Backpackers must carry essentials for a Hostel Stay

4. Flip Flops

Washrooms and shower of Hostels are never clean. To avoid getting your feet dirty with those bacteria’s; always bath or use washroom wearing flip flops.Flip Flops - Backpackers must carry essentials for a Hostel Stay


5. Padlocks / Locks

Always carry one or two robust metal locks to keep your valuables safe in the hostel wardrobes or lockers. I personally feel the combination locks are much better than the key locks as chances of losing key is zero and your valuables are safe till the time you remember the combination.Travel Blue Padlock- Backpackers must carry essentials for a Hostel Stay

6. Travel Adapter

Buy yourself a Universal adapter which can work with all your gadgets. This will help you to avoid carrying and misplacing multiple chargers. Also while purchasing check that your adapter acts as a converter and surge protector to avoid blowing a fuse in your valuable gadgets.

Travel Adapter - Backpackers must carry essentials for a Hostel Stay

7. Torch or Head Lamp

A Torch or Head Lamp is required on your list to avoid turning the light on when your sharing buddies are in deep sleep in your room. It too helps you out for reading a book if you a night book lover.

Head Lamp - Backpackers must carry essentials for a Hostel Stay

8. Snacks and Eateries

Don’t expect that you can order anything at any time and it will be served to you. There is a fixed menu and timings for each meal. So, it is better to carry few snacks and eateries for munching in between. Also keep a pack of ready to cook noodles, tea bags and coffee sachets for the in between hunger cramps and skipped meals.

9. First Aid Kit

This is what I recommend and should be must for each traveler; whether you are staying in hostel, hotel or Homestay. The basic first aid kit (in small size) should containFirst Aid kit - Backpackers must carry essentials for a Hostel Stay

  • saline
  • 2-3 band aids
  • Bandage
  • sprain ointment
  • bandage
  • Dettol
  • Alcohol swab
  • Cotton
  • Gloves
  • Scissor

Additionally, you can also add to it basic medicine for pain, vomit, and diarrhea.

10. Ear Plugs and Eye Mask

These ear plugs will help and save you from listening to snoring melodious singers to cacophonous when you share your room with multiple roomies.

Ear Plugs & Eye Mask - Backpackers must carry essentials for a Hostel Stay

Eye Mask will help in blocking the day as well as night light into your eyes if you like sleeping in a pitch dark.

11. Your Hobby

There is nothing much to do except long chats and walks. So always carry your book, laptop, cards, camera or anything you like spending time with.

This is what I could gather and learn from my experience. If anything else you feel is missing, please comment below.

Share and Pin it, if you like it.


Backpackers Must carry Essentials for a Hostel Stay

 And the most important is functional travel backpack, required for packing all these items. So choose the one which fits for you.

Visit to the Highest Dam of India – Tehri Dam Uttarakhand

Last week, we had to visit Tehri dam Uttarakhand officially and the first thing which struck my mind was – is this the same place where there is the highest dam of India with a unique architecture, which took more than 35years for completion and was in the limelight for protests by the locals and environmental activists. Yes! it was same and also a good chance for me to explore the unknown facts about dam from local along with work.


Route to Tehri Dam from Delhi: Delhi – Ghaziabad – Roorkee – Haridwar – Rishikesh – Chamba – Tehri

Distance from Delhi: 324 Km

Time to reach Tehri from Delhi: 10 -11 hrs

Places to Halt in between : Haridwar, Rishikesh, Chamba

Little Introduction to Tehri Dam Uttarakhand

Tehri Dam Uttarakhand is the highest dam of India, second highest in Asia and 8th in the world. It is 855 feet high and is located on the river bed of sacred River Bhagirathi. The Dam generates 1000 MW hydroelectricity and further has an additional 1000 MW capacity of storing pumped hydroelectricity.


Interesting is that the preliminary investigation of Tehri dam started in 1961 and the construction completed in 2006. That means just or long 45 years for completion. I was too anxious too find out; was there something unique or different about it and what exactly took so long for its completion?

So, here is the answer. The main reason for so long construction span and the delay was protests by locals and environmental activist – Sundarlal Bhauguna (You might have heard about Tehri Dam Andolan).  

Bridge on the way to Tehri Dam Uttarakhand

The detailed issues raised before and during construction of Tehri Dam Uttarakhand were:

  • Building a dam on the Himalayan foothills which is extremely a weak ecosystem can lead to an imbalance in the whole environment of that belt.
  • Old Tehri village was on the banks of river Bhagirathi. So, constructing a dam on the bank means relocating more than 1, 00,000 people to some newly constructed area with proper resettlement facilities.
  • The Tehri belt of Garhwal district falls in seismic zone 5, so very much prone to earthquakes of high magnitudes which can be 8 or more. And earthquake of such high magnitude means loss of not only Tehri village but other nearby villages too.
  • The sacred belief of Hindus – that Bhagirathi is a sacred river and nothing should be constructed on it.

Tehri Dam Uttarakhand

So, there were on and off going protests and strikes at the Tehri Village. The Tehri Dam, Uttarakhand first construction started in 1978.  And it was halted again due to political instabilities. In 1986 USSR provided technical and financial assistance. In 1988 THDC (Tehri Hydro Development Corporation) was formed to take this project ahead. And finally, the construction was completed in 2006 considering all the issues raised by locals and environmental activist.


Here are the interesting facts about the Tehri dam Uttarakhand.

  • The dam is unique in its architecture as it is a rock and earth – fill embankment dam.
  • The whole of the old Tehri village was relocated to hill top which is now known as New Tehri.
  • The dam can sustain an earthquake of magnitude more than 8.4, without causing any destruction. (Cool for the region which comes in seismic zone 5).
  • Hindus believe is retained and Bhagirathi River flows as such, just that the water levels have dipped because of the water storage in the reservoirs.

Few Attractions near Tehri Dam Uttarakhand

  1. Tehri Lake

Tehri Lake came into existence only with the construction of Tehri Dam. The Lake offers a lot of adventurous water sports like boating, rafting, Kayaking. There are too plans to increase the list by adding more water and aerial sports like water zorbing, canoeing, scuba diving,  paragliding and hot air balloon.  The Uttarakhand Tourism Board holds an Asia’s largest lake Adventure festival at Tehri Lake.

Tehri Lake near Tehri Dam in uttarakhand

  1. Koteshwar Dam

The Koteshwar Dam is a gravity dam located 22 km ahead of Tehri Dam. It is a part of Tehri Hydropower complex and generates 400 MW Hydroelectricity. Different is there is a beautiful replica of Kedarnath temple on one of the tunnels face, known as Shakti Dawar. Look out the detailing in the picture and this detailing was carved by a single mason in 2 months, just after a single visit to Kedarnath. One needs a special permission to experience all this. (Luckily, I had one this time)

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  1. Koteshwar Mahadev Temple

The Koteshwar Mahadev Temple is in the form of the cave and is located on the bank of river Alaknanda. Legends believe that Lord Shiva stayed and meditated here for certain time when devil Bhasmasur tried to kill him. The interesting here is Gange’s garland the temple and flow around it.

Koteshwar Mahadev Temple, Tehri Dam, Uttarakhand
Source: www.uttarakhandnews1.com

This is what I experienced and loved at Tehri Dam Uttrakhand. If you want to experience the same or planning a tour to Tehri Dam Uttarakhand; click here for information.


If you like it Pin it Visit to the highest dam of India- Tehri Dam Utatrakhand

5 places in Uttarakhand to experience snowfall near Delhi

Winters are around. Imagine yourself walking on the white carpet of snowfall, in the fog with dew drops on your clothes; chilly fresh wind passing through you and touching your nose and soul. This sounds heavenly. Isn’t it? It is definitely giving me chills and pushing me to plan my next winter trip soon. How about you? I am sure even you want to experience it this winters at the destinations having snowfall near Delhi- what else you need. So here for everyone’s answer, we have shortlisted 5 hill stations in Uttrakhand to experience  snowfall near Delhi.


  1. Auli Laga Joshimath, Uttarakhand

Distance from Delhi – 492 km

Route – Delhi – Meerut – Muzaffarnagar – Roorkee – Haridwar – Srinagar – Gopeshwar – Chamoli – Auli laga Joshimath

Best Months to experience snowfall – January – February

Expected TemperatureMin: -5degree Celsius; Max: 10 degree Celsius

Auli, Uttrakhand - Snowfall near Delhi
Source – www.uttarakhandtourpackages.com

In and Around – Gurso Bugyal, Chatrakund, Chenab Lake, Kwani Bugyal, Joshimath Temples

Not to miss– Skiing slopes (where winter games and national championships are organized); Auli Ropeway (Asia’s Highest Cable car of 4 km connecting Joshimath and Auli), Chair Lift and Ski- lift; Auli Lake (Highest man-made lake), Highest peaks of Nanda Devi, Mana, and Kamet.

  1. Munsyari/ Munsiari (Place of snow), Uttarakhand (Known as Mini Kashmir)

Distance from Delhi – 548 km

Route – Delhi – Moradabad – Rampur – Haldwani – Nainital – Almora – Kausani – Munsyari

Best Months to experience snowfall- Late December to March

Expected TemperatureMin: -12 degree Celsius; Max: 20 degree Celsius

Munsiyari, Uttarakhand - 5 Hill Stations to experience snowfall near Delhi
Source – www.gangavalleyadventure.com

In and Around – Thamari Kund, Darkot, Madkot (Hot water springs); Birthi falls; Thamari Kund; Maheshwari Kund; Potato farms

Not to miss – Skiing slopes; Picturesque beauty of Village; Munsyari Bhugyal; snow capped Panchauli peaks (5 in number); base for trekking to Milam, Ralam and Namik glaciers; and birds in dense forests of pine, deodar, and rhododendron.


  1. Chopta, Uttarakhand (Known as mini Switzerland)

Distance from Delhi – 393 km

RouteDelhi – Meerut – Roorkee – Haridwar – Rishikesh – Srinagar – Chopta

Best Months to experience snowfall- November to Late March

Expected TemperatureMin: -15degree Celsius; Max: 20 degree Celsius

Chopta, Uttrakhand - 5 hill stations to experience snowfall near delhi
Source -www.traveltriangle.com

In and Around – Dense forests of Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary; grassland meadows; Tungnath temple; Deoria Tal; Chandrashilla Peak; Atrimuni falls, Dayara Bugyal

Not to miss – Camping; Snow trekking; Snow Skiing; Watching the Panoramic view of Himalayan range; Birds like Snow Partridge and photography of rare Himalayan species like musk deer.

  1. Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand

Distance from Delhi – 505 km

RouteDelhi – Ghaziabad – Hapur – Garhmukteshwar – Rampur – Bareilly – Pilibhit – Khatima – Champawat – Pithoragarh

Best Months to experience snowfall- December to February

Expected TemperatureMin: 0 degree Celsius; Max: 20 degree Celsius

Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand- 5 hill stations to experience snow near delhi
Source – www.holidfy.com

In and Around – Pithoragarh Fort; Dhwaj Temple; Kapileshwar Mahadev; Nakuleshwar Temple; Chandak; and Thal Keda

Not to miss –Camping; Trekking; getting mesmerized by the beauty of village; Views of Soar Valley, glaciers like Ralam, Milam; famous snow-covered peaks like Nanda Devi, Trishul, Nandakhat etc.

  1. Khirsu, Uttarakhand

Distance from Delhi – 321 km

RouteDelhi – Ghaziabad – Muradnagar – Daurala – Khatauli – Jansath – Miranpur – Bijnor – Nazibabad – Kotdwara- Lansdowne -Khirsu

Best Months to experience snowfall- December to January

Expected TemperatureMin: 0 degree Celsius; Max: 20 degree Celsius

Khirsu, Uttarakhand - 5 hill stations to experience snowfall near delhi
Source -www.uttarakhandvisit.com

In and Around – Ancient Temple of Ghandiyal Devi; Chaukhamba viewpoint, religious shrines, Tarakund, Pine forests

Not to miss – Apple Orchards, Snow covered mountain peaks, Thick oak and deodar forests, and birds

This is not the complete list. In my next post, I will be sharing with you the places in Himachal Pradesh to experience snowfall near Delhi.

So, check the post here 5 winter destinations to experience snowfall in Himachal