Uttaranchal State Guide
Uttaranchal houses the origin of two major rivers of India, the Ganga and Yamuna. These two rivers are the lifeline of north India, especially the plains. Numerous tribuataries of these two rivers offers rafting oppurtunities as well.
Uttaranchal- A Land of Rivers
Uttaranchal is known for its geographical features, the rocky terrains, lofty mountains, vast green meadows, snow capped hilltops, forests and free flowing rivers. Two of the major rivers of India, Ganga and Yamuna originate in Uttaranchal. These rivers are highly revered by Hindus and finds special place in their hearts. Apart from these two, there are many other small rivers, which flow from Tibet and Nepal. There are many tributaries of Ganga and Yamuna. The rivers flow across the mountains of Uttaranchal, and later enters the plains of Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. The water in the Uttaranchal rivers is very pure, due to its free flow and pollution free locality. Some of the rivers are said to be containing healing properties, due to high Sulphur content in water. On the whole, rivers in Uttaranchal are a way of life, a symbol of high ascetic value, and of great cultural significance.
Ganga, the holiest of all rivers for Hindus, has its origin in Uttaranchal. Gangotri, the origin place of Ganges, is a highly revered place and forms a part of Char Dham in the state. Ganga starts here as Bhagirathi. The popular myth says that king Bhagirath performed very hard meditation to ask god for water of Ganga, to wash away the sins of his ancestors. Ganga came to earth and was trapped by Shiva in his locks. Shiva opened a lock of his hairs and Ganga came out to stay permanently on earth. Ganga is supposed to be very sacred, and is worshipped in all the cities, where it flows. A bath in Ganga is supposed to wash away all the sins of life. It has been studied by scientists that the water of Ganga at its origin is in a pure state and even after being kept for several years, does not get contaminated. These medical properties of Ganga water are attributed to the medicinal secretions of herbs and mineral content which get mixed with the water.
Yamuna is another highly worshipped rivers in India. The river has its origin in Yamunotri, a glacier in North Uttaranchal. Yamuna, as per mythology, is considered to be daughter of lord Sun, and sister of Yamaraj, the god of death. Yamuna flows from Uttaranchal and reaches Allahabad, via Delhi, where it confluences with Ganga. Yamuna is also considered very holy and is the main source of water in Delhi, capital of India. Yamunotri is also a part of Char Dham Yatra in Uttaranchal.
Other Rivers :
The Mahakali originates north of the main Himalayan range, carves its way through the greater Himalayas and merges with the Ganges in the plains. The Kali river and its valley are prominent in Kumaon. At one time, the Kali Valley was the standard trade route from India to Tibet, crossing over the Lipu Lekh pass.
Other rivers and there tributaries in Uttaranchal are Bhagirathi, Dhauli Ganga, Girthi Ganga, Rishi Ganga, Bal Ganga, Bhilangna River, Tons River, Alaknanda, Mandakini, Pindar and Mandakini.
The rivers in Uttaranchal are said to offer the best rafting oppurtunities in world. Equipments and other related items are arranged by rafting agencies. The Ganga with its frothing and foaming waters throw up a challenge that no rafter on this earth can look away from. The speed, when the rivers flow downstream, is perfect for rafting,. The rafting standards in Garhwal meet upto grade IV and V in some stretches. In Kumaon, the Kali Ganga (Sharda) flows down from the Nepal border, through the Kumaon hills. The difficulty level here touches grade IV and V.