Uttarkashi - At a Glance
Uttarkashi the land of Vishwanath , is a district of Garhwal division of the Uttarakhand state in northern India and its headquarters is Uttarkashi city.
The district lies high in the Himalaya, and the district contains the source of both the Ganga and Yamuna rivers attracting thousands of Hindu pilgrims. The town is situated on the main route to Gangotri and has many Hindu temples, and is also considered an important Hindu pilgrimage centre. The land of Uttarkashi district has been held sacred by Indians since ages where the seers and sages had found solace and spiritual aspirations and performed penances and where devas performed their sacrifices and Vedic language was better known and spoken than elsewhere. People came here for learning Vedic language and speech. According to an account given in the Mahabharata, The district is bounded on the north by Himachal Pradesh state, on the northeast by Tibet, on the east by Chamoli District on the southeast by Rudraprayag District, by Tehri Garhwal District on the South and by Dehradun District on the west.
The Uttarkashi district is further divided in to Tehsils / Blocks / Community Development Blocks (C.D.Blocks) for administrative purposes. In India, the Block or C.D. Block is often the next level of administrative division after the tehsil. It is important to note that, in some states of India C.D.Blocks are equal to tehsils.
It has six Tehsils named as 1-Bhatwari, 2-Chinyali Saur, 3-Dunda, 4-Purola, 5-Mori, 6-Rajgarhi.
After independence of the country, when the kingdom of Tehri Garhwal merged with India, Uttarkashi was made as a border district in the February 24 1960. The new district acquired importance because of the two very significant pilgrimage centres within it -Gangotri and Yamunotri, the sources of the two holy rivers, Ganga (Bhagirathi) River and Yamuna River. Geography of Uttarkashi District consists of valleys and outer hills to the high peaks with perpetual snow and glaciers. Lying in the upper Himalayas, Uttarkashi District contains within itself varying geographic environments.
The District is named after its headquarters town Uttarkashi, An anicient place with rich Culture heritage and as the name suggests is the Kashi of north (Uttara) held almost as high a worship as Kashi of the plain (Varanasi). Both the Kashi of the plain (Varanasi) as well as the Kashi of north are situated on the banks of the river Ganga (Bhagirathi). The area which is held sacred and known as Uttarkashi, lies between the rivers Syalam Gad also known as the Varuna and Kaligad also known as the Asi. The Varuna and the Asi are also the names of the rivers between which the Kashi of the plain lies. One of the holiest Ghats in Uttarkashi is Manikarnika so is the one by the same name in Varanasi. Both have temples dedicated to Vishwanath
Total area of Uttarkashi is 8,016 km² including 7,988.98 km² rural area and 27.02 km² urban area. Uttarkashi has a population of 3,30,086 peoples. There are 67,602 houses in the district.
Male Population 1,55,375
Female Population 1,50,406
Total Population 3,05,781
Households & Culture
Rural Households 61,914
Urban Households 5,688
Total Households …..67,602
Culture of uttarkashi District:
Culture of Uttarkashi District is rich and colourful. The folk dances and folk songs sung on auspicious occasions show the socio-cultural values found in Uttarkashi District.
The culture of Uttarkashi District Magh Mela is the most popular fair of Uttarkashi. The fair starts on the occasion of Makar Sankranti of magh month. Dolis of local gods and goddesses are brought to Uttarkashi from their native places. The fair continues for a week. People from all around the district and other parts as well come to participate in the fair. The land of Uttarkashi has been held sacred by Indians since ages: this is where the seers and sages found solace and performed penance. Spirituality and religion is deeply rooted in Uttarkashi.
Folk songs and folk dances contribute heavily to the culture of Uttarkashi District. The society has preserved its culture, folklore, folk songs and folk dances since ages. The dances are seasonal, traditional and religious. Thadiya dance is performed on Vasant Panchami to sign the beginning of spring. Mela dance is performed on Diwali and the Pandav dance during the winters after the crops are harvested and it depicts the events of the Mahabharata. Other dances are also performed to enact mythological stories, where men and women, dressed colourfully, dance to the tunes of the drums and other musical instruments. Pona dance is performed during marriages and parties.
Folk songs are usually traditional and are generally sung by the womenfolk. Fairs, festivals, religious and social gatherings are occasions for socializing, recreation and amusement.
The folk dance called 'Pandav Nritya' which is based on the episodes of Mahabharata is popular in the rural areas. 'Raso Nritya' is also widely popular in the district. Tandi Nritya, Jhumalo Nritya, Paisara Nritya, Doli Nritya etc. are some other popular folk dances in the Rawai region of the district. Among the folk songs Mangalgeet, Vivahgeet, Poojangeet, Thadyageet, Jhumaila, Basant, Baju Band, Khudergeet, Chafula, Chaitigeet, Baramasigeet etc. are quite popular.
The most common language spoken in the district is Garhwali Language.
Geography of Uttarkashi District:
Geography of Uttarkashi District includes several rivers and waterways. It is the land of Uttarkashi district that gives rise to two great and reverent rivers of the country Bhagirathi River and Yamuna River. The third important river of this district is Tons River besides host of tributaries that drain these areas. Some of the better known lakes -Dodital, Nachiketatal, Kedartal, Ruinsara tal, Bharnala and Barsu - have already been mentioned in the section on 'Trekking'. Others include four small lakes Dharali, Kheera tal, Sankat tal, and Vasuki tal. Besides, there are a number of glacial lakes, such as between Tapovan and Nandanvan, at the confluence of Meru glacier and Brahmapuri, etc.
Geography of Uttarkashi District comprises variations from beautiful landscape luxuriously decked with vegetation punctuated by streams, brooks and rivers to high rise awesome rocky ridges and mountains gently tapering off into lefty snow-capped peaks. The widely varying climate and topography of Uttarkashi District produce a wide range of vegetation and serve as habitats to diverse species of wild life. Forests occupy a large area and they are rich in variety of vegetation. As much as 88 percent of the total area of the district is administered by the Forest Department. Pine forests occur between the altitude of 900 metres to 2000 metres, Deodar forests between 2000 metres to 3000 metres, Fix and Spruce forests over 3000 metres and Kharshu, Birch and Junipers forests up to the height of 4000 metres. Above the Fir and Spruce forest zone, alpine pastures are found throughout the district between the heights of 3500 metres to 4877 metres above sea level.
Rich varieties of grass, shrubs and herbs come up during June-September while during the remaining part of the year these areas remain covered with snow. A large number of medicinal plants of great commercial value grow spontaneously in the forests. Some of these grow in the valleys; some in sub-montane tracts while some other on higher altitudes. Herbs are the most important minor forest produce.