Uttarakhand is a state in the northern part of India. It is often referred to as the Devbhumi (literally “Land of the Gods”) due to a large number of Hindu temples and pilgrimage centers found throughout the state. It borders Tibet to the north; the Sudurpashchim Pradesh of Nepal to the east; the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh to the south and Himachal Pradesh to the west and north-west as well as Haryana on its south-western corner. The state is divided into two divisions, Garhwal and Kumaon, with a total of 13 districts. The interim capital of Uttarakhand is Dehradun, the largest city of the state, which is a railhead. The High Court of the state is located in Nainital.
Gangotri and Yamunotri, the sources of the Ganges and Yamuna, devoted to Ganga and Yamuna respectively, fall in the upper reaches of the state and together with Badrinath(dedicated to Vishnu) and Kedarnath (dedicated to Shiva) form the Chota Char Dham, one of Hinduism’s most divine and auspicious pilgrimage circuits. Haridwar, meaning “Gateway to the God”, is a prime Hindu destination. Haridwar hosts the Haridwar Kumbh Mela every twelve years, in which millions of pilgrims take part from all parts of India and the world. Rishikesh near Haridwar is known as the distinguished yoga centre of India. The state has an plenty of temples and shrines, many dedicated to local deities or displays of Shiva and Durga, references to many of which can be found in Hindu scriptures and legends.Uttarakhand is, however, a place of pilgrimage not only for Hindus. Piran Kaliyar Sharif near Roorkee is a pilgrimage site to Muslims, Gurdwara Hemkund Sahib, Gurdwara Nanakmatta Sahib and Gurdwara Reetha Sahib are pilgrimage centers for Sikhs. Tibetan Buddhism has also made its presence with the reconstruction of Mindrolling Monastery and its Buddha Stupa, described as the world’s highest at Clement Town, Dehradun.