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Feb 14, 2017










    Since time immemorial man had a quest for wandering. Travel for fun emerged centuries after and became a luxury affair of some affluent people. In the western world the lords and in India the royal class enjoyed what in recent years is termed as tourism. Earlier this privilege of affluent groups latter on became a mass affair which came to be known as Mass tourism. Slowly then this mass movement of people to some popular places created over usage of natural resources of the destinations. Since then the phenomena of tourism underwent a sea change. Traditional behavior of tourists to look for modernized cities, star hotels, amusement parks, night clubs has been shifting due to a variety of factors. Travel to relatively less polluted undisturbed natural areas for the purpose of studying, admiring and enjoying the nature, its wild plants, animals and local culture are getting popular these days. This form of tourism is beneficial as on one hand it satisfies the changing fashion of tourists on the other it sustains the industry environmentally and economically. (Singh, 1983).

    The inclination of general people to natural beauty are evident from the fact that the imaginations of ancient poets, saints and intellectual masses have been solely concentrated on natural settings (Sankrityayan, 1953). Be it Kalidasas Meghadutam, or Valmikis Ramayana the descriptions are concentrated on scenic beauties. Because of this, mountains have been a centre for attraction since time immemorial as evident from the following hymn of Mahakavi Kalidas.

    Asti uttarasyam disi devatatma Himalayo nama nagadhiraja Purva parau toya nidhi avagahya sthitah prutyhivya iva manadanda

    The above verse in the Kumara Sambhavam describes the Himalaya as the mightiest of mountains and backbone of the earth (Bhatt, 2003). The Himalaya, known for its beauty and majesty is shared by countries like China, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Russia. The area is inhabited by over 300 million people and many more living in adjacent large river basins.

    Believed to be the abode of God, the Himalaya became popular amongst tourists only after Sir Edmund Hillary climbed the Mount Everest in 1954. Inspite of all natural resources the Himalayas is known for its fragile ecosystem. Thus all sorts

  • of planning for developmental works need to furnish environmental clearances before their implementation (Panwar, 1985).

    Uttaranchal: A State of Mountain Tourism Uttaranchal came into existence on 9th November 2000 as the 27th state of the

    Republic of India. It is one of the most beautiful, well preserved and enchanting regions located in the northern part of India. The state comprises 13 districts of the erstwhile Uttar pradesh, namely Almora, Bageshwar, Chamoli, Champawat, Dehradun, Haridwar, Nainital, Pauri Garhwal, Pithoragarh, Rudraprayag, Tehri Garhwal, Udham Singh Nagar and Uttarkashi. According to Uttaranchal 2001 census the population is 84,79,562 and the area of the State is 55,845 sq. km. Table 1.1 furnish the details of population density and decadal growth rate of Uttranchal State and its various districts.


    Population, decadal growth rate, sex ratio and density States/Districts:


    Population 2001 Decadal growth rate

    Sex ratio Density

    India and State/ Union


    Code No.

    Persons Males Females 1981-1991


    1991 2001 1991 2001

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Uttaranchal 05 8,479,5624,316,4014,163,16124.23 19.20 936 964 133 159 Uttarkashi 01 294,179 151,599 142,580 25.54 22.72 918 941 30 37 Chamoli 02 369,198 183,033 186,165 21.97 13.51 982 1,017 43 48 Rudraprayag 03 227,461 107,425 120,036 17.51 13.44 1,0941,117 106 120 Tehri Garhwal 04 604,608 294,842 309,766 16.59 16.15 1,0481,051 128 148 Dehradun 05 1,279,083 675,549 603,534 34.66 24.71 843 893 332 414 Garhwal 06 696,851 331,138 365,713 9.05 3.87 1,0581,104 124 129 Pithoragarh 07 462,149 227,592 234,557 14.11 10.92 992 1,031 59 65 Champawat 08 224,461 110,916 113,545 34.22 17.56 945 1,024 107 126 Almora 09 630,446 293,576 336,870 9.43 3.14 1,0991,147 198 205 Bageshwar 10 249,453 118,202 131,251 14.92 9.21 1,0551,110 99 108 Nainital 11 762,912 400,336 362,576 30.01 32.88 881 906 149 198 Udhamsingh Nagar 12 1,234,548 649,020 585,528 44.46 27.79 863 902 332 424 Haridwar 13 1,444,213 773,173 671,040 28.44 26.30 846 868 485 612

  • Source: Uttaranchal Statistics Report

    The Himalayas are an integral part of the mother earth in the mountain

    ecosystem formed by almost parallel tertiary ranges, which constitutes a gigantic

    arch, separating the Indian planes from North Tibet and Central Asia. The Western

    Himalayas having length approximately 320 km., is the smallest among the four

    Himalayan regions and lies between river Kali and the great defile of river Sutlej and

    comprises the Garhwal and Kumaun hills. In the heart of this majestic mountains lies

    the state of Uttaranchal. The mountainous region offers a wonderful panorama of

    high snow clad peaks. The unparallel beauty, mystic surroundings and breath taking

    views make one fall in love with the Himalayas and feel closer to God. (Ahluwalia,


    Nature has endowed this region with so much beauty and spiritual bliss that

    the land is also known as Dev Bhumi (Land of Gods). It includes a large number of

    pilgrimage places but the significance of the four most sacred and significant Hindu

    shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri is of immense importance.

    This is the land where Vedas and Shastras were composed and the great Indian epic-

    the Mahabharata was written (Babulkar, 1982). The region has always been the

    source of inspiration for nature lovers and seekers of peace and spirituality. The

    Ganga, the Yamuna and scores of other rivers originated from Uttaranchal. Among

    them, the Ganga is the most holy and prominent among them. It represents the soul

    of India and played a significant role in the reshaping India's culture, history and

    civilization (Bagri, 2000). The credit of weaving the country into one religious entity

    goes to the unique thread of the holy Ganga. The source of the Ganga is at Gaumukh.

    It is named Gaumukh as the shape of the ice formation is like a cows mouth, where

    the mighty river emerges from the depth of Gangotri glaciers. Here the river is

    known as Bhagirathi after the name of king Bhagirath. Rising in the icy caves of

    Gangotri glaciers, the gushing, tossing and gurgling Bhagirathi starts its long journey

  • downwards where it joins rivers Alaknanda at Devprayag and thereafter known as

    Ganga. (Batten, 1851)

    Map 1.1: Uttaranchal Map showing all districts

    The Garhwal region is known for five Kedars and Badris. The Kedarnath

    shrine, one of the 12 jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva, is a most sacred holy place situated

    against the backdrop of the majestic Kedarnath range. There are about 200 shrines

    dedicated to Lord Shiva in Chamoli and Rudraprayag districts itself and the most

    important sacred haunts are Badrinath and Kedarnath (Negi, 1995). Kedarnath

    because of having close association with lord Shiva, is associated with myths and

    legends. According to a legend, the Pandavas after having won over Kauravas in

    Kurukshetra war, felt guilty of having killed their own brothers and sought the

  • blessing of Lord Shiva for redemption. He eluded them repeatedly and while feeling

    took refuge at Kedarnath in the form of a bull. The arms of Lord Shiva appeared at

    Tungnath, the face at Rudranath, the belly at Madmaheshwar and his locks (hair)

    with head at Kalpeshwar. Kedarnath with these four shrines came to be known as

    Panch Kedar (Dabral, 1960). As regards to Panch Badri, Badrinath is situated in the

    lap of Narayan Parvat with the towering Neelkanth peak in the background.

    Badrinath is one of the most reversed Hindu shrines of India.

    Badrinath is devoted in the worship of Lord Vishnu who, according to an

    amusing tale, usurped this place from Lord Shiva. It is said that Lord Vishnu had

    come here to offer penance. According to legendary accounts he loved the place so

    much that he plotted to unseat Lord Shiva from his meditation here. He took on the

    form of a beautiful child and began to wail. Shivas wife, Parvati picked him up but

    could not calm the child. Since his wailing continued to disturb Shiva, he shifted to

    Kedarnath in exasperation, leaving the spot free for Lord Vishnu to occupy.

    Badrinaths four subsidiary Badris include Bhavishya Badri at Tapovan near

    Joshimath, Yogdhayan Badri at Pandukeshwar, Dhayan Badri at Urgam near helang

    chatti and Adi Badri near Karanprayag. These are came to be known as the Panch

    Badris. Panch Prayag, the confluence of the most sacred river, is considered the epitome of immortal piety. River confluences in India are considered very sacred since rivers themselves are extolled as goddesses. Devprayag is situated at the confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers. It is commonly believed to be the birth place of river Ganga. The famous Raghunath and Shiva temple are situated here (Barthwal, 1950).

    Kumaun, was the northern most division of the former United provinces,

    situated almost entirely in the Himalayas, and extending from the border of Tibet to

    the damp sub-montane tract known