27. UTTARAKHAND is 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.It has a total area of 53,484 sq km with a population : 8,489,349. Dehradun is the capital city and the principal languages spoken in the region include Hindi, Garhwali, Kumaoni.
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 present State of Uttarakhand was earlier a part of the United Province of Agra and Awadh, which came into existence in 1902. 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.
About 90 per cent of the population of Uttarakhand are engaged in 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 along with 1802 heavy and medium industries. Most of the industries are forest-based. There is a total of 54,047 handicraft units in the state .
Irrigation and Power
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.
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 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.