The newly formed state of Uttarakhand is immediately recognisable because it is home to 4 of the most revered pilgrimage spots ofGangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. Uttarakhand became the 27th state of the Republic of India on the 9th of November 2000. The State is carved out of Uttar Pradesh. It occupies 17.3% of India’s total land area with 51,125 sq. km. It has a population of about 6.0 million at 94.4 per sq. km. It shares borders with Tibet and Nepal and with the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, and has 13 Districts, split administratively into Garhwal and Kumaon divisions.
With great views of the Himalaya, apart from the well known pilgrimages and hill stations, it offers wonderful travel destinations to lesser known places and offers much in adventure activities, like skiing, yachting, trekking and mountaineering. There are excellent ski slopes at Auli, Dayara Bugyal, Mundali and Munsiari. Auli, 16 kms from Joshimath has a winter resort run by the State government outfit, Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN). The ski slope here is the most popular in the state and one of the few with ski lifts. The season starts from end December or January and extends up to March. This is a good place for beginners as GMVN conducts 7 and 14 days skiing courses at subsidised rates.
Water sports such as rafting can be tried out on the Yamuna, Alaknanda, Bhagirathi, Bhilangana, Mandakini and the Mahakali. There is a sailing club at Nainital. The state offers excellent trekking terrain and some of the famous treks take you to the Valley of Flowers and Pindari, Sunderdhunga and Kafni glaciers.
The Government of India has awarded the National Tourism Award in the Category of Special Award for Efforts in the Development and Promotion of Tourism to the State Government of Uttarakhand, in 2002.
Focused, planned and time bound development of trek routes, yatra routes and adventure sports such as river rafting, paragliding, skiing, mountaineering are planned by the state. The State Government is adopting the master plan approach for development of wayside amenities, new tourist destinations, development of Tehri Dam area as a tourist spot etc. Special emphasis is being accorded to promote cultural tourism and wildlife in the State.