Uttarakhand will never fail to amaze you with its natural splendour, tranquility and culture. Administratively, the state is divided into two divisions, Garhwal and Kumaon. The capital of Uttarakhand changes according to the season. During winters, the capital is Dehradun, while Gairsain (Chamoli district) is the summer capital.
You might be familiar with the name Dehradun, but have you heard about Chamoli? It’s a quaint, little town featuring some sublime locales that would keep you awe-struck. Interested already? Here’s what you need to know about this place, should you consider it for your next vacation. As a side-note, the Chamoli district was the home to the Chipko Movement, a landmark initiative for environment preservation.
Chamoli – History, Places to See & How to Reach Chamoli
History of Chamoli
Chamoli city is located in the namesake district of Garhwal, formerly Kedar-Khand. It was stated as God’s home. The place has a rich history dating back to ancient times. It is believed that Vedas, Ramayan, Mahabharata, and Puranas were scripted in this holy place. For some historians, it’s the “Land of Arya Vansh”.
Around 300 BC, Khasa attacked Garhwal with the help of Kuman, Kashmir, and Nepal kings. Small forts, called Garhi, were built to safeguard the natives from the invaders. But Khasa defeated Garhwal and captured Garhis.
As history tells us, Raja Bhanu Pratap established the Panwar dynasty and made Chandpur-Garhi his capital. It was the strongest fort (Garh) in Garhwal. In 1803, a massive earthquake shattered Garhwal and depleted its economic condition. Gorkhas took advantage of the situation and attacked the state. Later, they occupied half of the region and ruled for more than a decade. In desperation, Raja Sudarshan Shah of the Panwar dynasty asked Britishers for help who defeated the Gorakhs.
Chamoli became a new district on 24th February 1960.
Best places to visit in Chamoli
Though a small town, the variety of places to visit in Chamoli is staggering. Whether you are a religious tourist, history buff or a plain nature lover, it has something for everyone.
1. Valley of Flowers
Located in North Chamoli, it is a godsend for nature lovers and adventure seekers. True to its name, The Valley of Flowers is blanketed with flowers of all shapes and sizes. Here, you get up close and personal with over 600 flower species. Out of this, 45 species have medicinal value. Feel free to take a trek to this place. Easy, it can be attempted by anyone, even if you have never hiked or trekked before.
- Entry Fees – Rs 150 (Indians), Rs 600 (Foreigners)
- Timings – 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM
- Nearby places– Hemkund Sahib (3.3 km)
- The best time to visit– Between June and August
2. Badrinath Dham
Shree Badrinath temple is the most auspicious shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is one among the “CHAR DHAMS” or the four godly abodes for Hindus. According to Vedas, the temple was built between 1750 and 500 B.C. It is the place where Sage Vyas narrated the epic, Mahabharata, to Lord Ganesha. Whether you are a religious person or not, you must visit this place to experience the divine vibes and some plenary indulgence.
- Entry Fees– Not required
- Timings– 4:00 AM to 10:00 PM
- Nearby places– Vasudhara Falls, Bheem Pul, Tapt Kund, Saraswati river, Mana Gaon
- The best time to visit– Late April/ Early May to Late October/ Early November
3. Mana Gaon
Mana Village is the last village of India. Doesn’t it sound interesting? According to Hindu mythology, Pandavs traveled through this village to reach the “Swarg” (heaven). It is also believed that Bheem (the strongest among the Pandavas) placed rock and created a bridge known as “Bheem Pul”. Nestled in the lap of the mighty Himalayas, the village is a vantage point for some stunning views of the peaks nearby. Mana is also popular for its potatoes and kidney beans.
- Entry Fees– Free entry
- Timings– Early morning
- Nearby places– Vasudhara waterfalls, Saraswati River
- The best time to visit– May to July starting
Skiing in the snow is a freakish adventure! And Auli in Chamoli Uttrakhand will help you to experience this to the fullest. Auli is a beautiful hill station with spell-bounded views of the snow-capped peaks of Garhwal and Kumaon. Apart from this, Auli is home to a human-made lake, Auli ropeway, Nanda Devi Peak, Chenab Lake, and many more mesmerizing places for you and your family to cherish.
- Entry Fees– Varies from place to place
- Timings– Varies from place to place
- The best time to visit– December to February to experience snow-fall
5. Rudranath Temple
Another Hindu temple devoted to Lord Shiva, Rudranath Temple is a sight to behold. It is located in Uttarakhand Chamoli at an elevation of 3,600 meters above sea level. The Sangam of the Alaknanda River and Mandakini River happens at Rudraprayag. The trek is one of the tough treks, but you will enjoy the flora and view during the entire trek.
- Entry Fees– N/A
- Timings– 8:00 am till 6:30 PM
- Nearby places– Chamunda Devi Temple, Kedarnath Temple
- The best time to visit– Mid May till Mid October
6. Trishul Parvat
If you are a trek-lover then Trishul Parvat is for you. As the name says it all, it features three Himalayan peaks, Trishul I, Trishul II, Trishul III. They resemble Trident or Trishul and hence the name. It offers some marvelous views and soul-enriching tranquility. Feel free to click some pictures to make others envy.
- Entry Fees– No fees
- Timings– Sunrise
- The best time to visit– October to March
7. Hemkund Sahib
Hemkund Sahib is a Sikh shrine in Chamoli hill station. It’s the only Gurudwara in the world situated at a height of 1,100-metre. Hemkund Sahib and Valley of Flowers are twin treks. You can hear the prayers from 03 km away that are truly divine. Say the Sikh slogan “Jo Bole So Nihal…Sat Sri Akal” and enjoy the journey to reach the Gurudwara.
- Entry fees– N/A
- Timings– 4:30 AM to 3:00 PM
- Nearby places– Valley of flowers, Laxman Mandir
- The best time to visit– October to April
How to reach Chamoli?
Chamoli is well-connected to the rest of the world via road, rail and air.
1. By Road route
You can opt for a direct road trip as various buses and taxis are regularly available from Rishikesh, Pauri, etc to reach Chamoli.
2. By Rail route
Rishikesh railway station is the nearest rail route from Chamoli, approximately 200 km away.
3. By Air route
Dehradun Airport is the nearest airport from Chamoli, located 125 km away. Prefer booking a taxi to reach your destination.
Chamoli at a Glance-
- Chamoli is the synonym of Lord Shiva.
- It is spread across 8,030 sq km.
- There are 12 tehsils and 9 blocks.
- It is ranked the no.1 district of Uttarakhand in terms of the area.
- The regional language is Garhwali.
- It’s mostly a vegetarian place.
- Hotels in Chamoli are plenty to suit all tastes and budgets
Come, Fall in love with nature in Chamoli
From religious travelers to nature lovers, Chamoli in Uttrakhand is the destination for everyone. So, the above was a sneak peek at the city. To explore more, you have to pack your bags and be ready to experience the eternal glory of Chamoli. With a wide variety of tourist attractions, Chamoli should be on your bucket list. Remember- Help keep the place clean and pollution-free.
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