Uttarkashi in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, is considered as sacred as Kashi. It is located between the Syalam Gad and Kaligad Rivers, on the banks of the Bhagirathi River at a height of about 1160 meters. A place so venerated by Hindus, Uttarkashi abounds in ashrams and temples and is a must visit place for devout pilgrims. The most visited place is Lord Shiva’s Vishwanath temple located at a site where it is believed the Lord killed Vakasur with his trident. There are temples to Lord Ekadash Rudra, Kali Mata and Parshuram in the vicinity. Firmly on the pilgrim map, this place is a must stop over for anyone going on to Gangotri for chardham yatra. In recent times Uttarkashi has acquired fame as the place to go to for adventure sports and is now known for holy pilgrimages as well as adventure sports.
Places to Visit
Uttarkashi has quite a few places you would love to visit. Some of the major ones are:
- Dayara Bugyal
Dayara Bugyal is a high altitude meadow about 28 kilometers away, at a height of 3000 meters where you will find a lovely little lake. Relax by its banks and admire the Himalayas stretching as far as you can see.
Harsil, the quiet jewel, is about 73 kilometers away, a retreat for those who wish to spend time meditating in total peace and quiet.
Sat Tal or the area of seven lakes is just that. Walk 2 kilometers from Harsil and you come to this enchanting place, located near Dharali.
One is Gangnani, about 39 kilometers away where you will find a temple dedicated to Parashar, a sage of ancient times. Bathe in the Rishikund, visit the temple and then move on.
Maneri is another place to have a beautiful lake and you may be tempted to linger at this place, only 13 kilometers away.
- Nachiketa Lake
Nachiketa Tal is another lake about 29 kilometers, with a tiny temple on its banks and the Himalayan scenery to keep you lost in admiration of the creative powers of God.
Gaumakh is about 18 kilometers away and this glacier is an important landmark for pilgrims as they traverse the rugged terrain on their way to Gangotri.
Gangotri is one of the Char Dhams, about 99 kilometers from Uttarkashi, where pilgrims pay their respects at the Ganga mayya temple.
If pilgrimage is not your object you may choose to visit Kedartal, about 18 kilometers from Uttarkashi, a place of ineffable beauty with the lake and the peaks around it creating a different world altogether.
Apart from visiting places or temples, you can choose to indulge in adventure sports, if these appeal to you. There are ample opportunities to join camping treks, go rock climbing or explore forests or simply stroll through the picturesque valleys with mountains towering on each side.
Things to Do:
- Visit Dodital lake:
During your visit to Uttarkashi a visit to this serene lake is a must since this is the place which will wipe out all your tiredness. This place is only a day long of trekking away and the entire route is flanked on either side by lush green alpine coverings. This lake is extremely crystal clear and filled with a lot of trouts. You will definitely be able to experience sheer bliss on your visit here since this lake is offers incredible peace and serenity.
- Visit Nachiketa Lake:
If you are looking for a day of an ideal retreat away from the teeming holy town of Uttarkashi then a short 3 km of trek will lead you up to this wonderful lake. The name of the lake is dedicated to the son of saint Uddatal who is said to have created this lake and given its current shape. This lake offers you the opportunity to have a tranquil experience which is set against the backdrop of the massive Himalayan ranges.
- Trek to Dayara Bugyal:
Dayara Bugyal in Uttarkashi is one of the most popular treks in Uttarakhand due to its wonderful surroundings, alpine meadows and panoramic views of the towering snow peaks. If you are outdoor adventure enthusiasts looking to stretch your legs and explore one of the most scenic landscapes then a trek to Dayara will definitely be up your alley.
- Visit the unique Shakti Temple:
The unique feature about this temple lies in the Trishul or trident present here which is 6 metres in height and 90 cm in breadth which had fallen from the hands of Goddess Durga. It is said that this trident will not move if you try to move it from all your force, might and body weight but it will only move if you shake it from your one finger.
The significance of Uttarkashi is very mush similar to that of Kashi of the plains. Located by the holy river Bhagirathi at an altitude of 1,165 metres above sea level, Uttarkashi is an incredibly scenic spot for nature lovers, adventure seekers as well as religious people. The entire town is covered in a thick green covering of various trees of fir, pine and others. Not only is Uttarkashi replete in surreally beautiful places of tourist destinations but there is also no dearth of temples in Uttarkashi, since the entire region is dotted with a number of ancient temples. Uttarkashi falls on the way of Gangotri and Yamunotri Dham making it an important stop over point for devotees and pilgrims. Trekkers and hikers use Uttarkashi as their base camp for their further journeys.
The nearest railway station is Rishikesh, about 145 kilometers away, from where you can get taxis or buses for Uttarkashi. Dehradun, about 162 kilometers away, is the nearest airport. You can also reach Uttarkashi by road from Delhi, Hardwar, Rishikesh or Dehradun. The period from April to October is best for visiting Uttarkashi though you should avoid it during rains.
Best Time to Visit:
The best months to visit Uttarkashi are during the months of March to November. During these months the temperature here rises and makes it extremely comfortable and pleasant for travelling and exploring the places. Vitally the most preferable time to visit falls during the seasons of summer to autumn. The winter months here are extremely chilly and freezing when the temperature can also drop to subzero levels. If you want to experience a vibe of Himalayan winters then you should visit Uttarkashi during these months when it sometimes also experiences snowfall. During summer months, when the doors of the Char Dham temples are opened for Darshan then Uttarkashi gets flooded with pilgrims and adventure enthusiasts alike.
The holy town of Uttarkashi has a wholesome collection of food items. The restaurant offers food items like Chinese, Indian among other cuisine types. The Dhabas and eating joints offer mostly Indian food items while you can also opt for some more authentic Pahadi cuisines for a more real living experience there. Some locally made cuisines include: Gahat ke Parathe, Bhang ki Chutney, Kafuli, Aloo Ka Jhol, Phannu and so much more.
A well developed town, Uttarkashi offers hotels and guest houses to suit every pocket and taste. There are restaurants offering variety of fare but you may want to sample local street food offering regional cuisines.