Uttarakhand Stories

Helpful Travel Tips that will make your journey nostalgic at Uttarakhand

by Bhupendra Singh Kunwar
Sep 16, 2013

To visit a new place is highly interesting as it is a thrilling experience but at the same time, the traveller has to be very careful about the do’s and don’t s. It is an overwhelming experience for a traveller to come across a new place with a fresh culture, people and their traditions. But before all this, you need to do a lot of homework on the destination you are visiting and collect information from various trusted sources. To make your work easy we have compiled the authentic information required to understand the culture, people and their traditions in Uttarakhand. These tips would certainly help you to overcome the trouble that you may face while travelling.

Language is not a barrier in Uttarakhand

Hindi, English, Garhwali and Kumaoni are majorly spoken all over Uttarakhand. A stammering use of these languages or the use of some popular phrases will help you in your travelling, and these will also fetch you local appreciation. One has to keep safe his/her travel and identity documents like the passport, Visa as these are the vital documents to travel in any country. In this section we have also tried to provide you with vital advice regarding the Airports, Cuisines, Electricity Voltage, Location, STD Codes, Holidays, How to Reach Uttarakhand, Shopping and Weather. So before starting your journey to ‘ The Abode Of Gods’ just go through this article to make your trip a memorable one.

Airports

The major airport in Uttarakhand is The Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun. It can also be considered as the only airway connected to the different parts of India. Also, the Chakrata Air Force Base used by the Indian Air Force and the Panth Nagar Airport in Udhamsingh Nagar is majorly used for the industrial purpose are two other airstrips which provide support to this Airport in case of emergency.

Jolly Grant Airport is a modern Airport capable of handling the Airbus A320s, Boeing 737s or any other aircraft of the same category. It has a runway, approximately 7000 ft long and is adequately equipped for landing and take –off of ATR – 72 planes.

Food

While travelling to an unknown and distant land the major concern of a traveller should be food. The cuisines of Uttarakhand is simple with a twist of the mouth-watering Pahadi flavours. With varied colours, flavours and ingredients, the food is also rich in nutritional content that meets the high energy required in cool mountainous regions. Rice is the staple food of the people. Most people like vegetarian food but non-veg food are also served. Desserts like Kesar Halwa, Sei, Gulgula, Jhangora Ki Kheer and Arsa which are the local delicacies are very popular among the people.

General Tips

The beautiful state of Uttarakhand is picturesque having a spellbinding backdrop of snow-clad peaks. But to travel extensively and enjoy the journey, one should keep few essential things in mind. We have jotted out some travel tips to make things easier.

  • You should be confident before visiting a particular place, and to do that one has to know about the place beforehand. Confidence helps to bargain (which is a must) and nobody would easily dare to cheat you.
  • Uttarakhand is famous for the good natured, honest and friendly people, always eager to help you in trouble. So ask anyone for help if you want to require a particular direction or landmark.
  • It is advised to avoid provocative or revealing dresses, as it is may offend the cultural sensibilities of the people and can fetch wrong minded people around you.
  • Always carry a map, a compass, travel papers like a photocopy of passport, visa, health checks etc. Carry less cash in the lower denominations of Rs. 10, 20, 50 & 100.
  • While making the payment don’t take out all the cash amount, it may increase the chances of robbery.
  • Do not accept any food products from a stranger even if it is ready made or packed as it may contain drugs to make you unconscious and rob you.
  • Eating of raw cut foods like salads in hotels is highly dangerous as it could be contaminated, which can lead to dysentery or food poisoning.
  • In case if your passport or visa gets stolen or it gets lost, immediately report it to the local consulate because it can be misused.
  • Most towns in Uttarakhand have competent local means of transportation such as Autos, Taxis and Rickshaws. Private cabs are also there and can be hired. But for fair price bargaining is a must.
  • Uttarakhand is also famous for shopping. Before shopping go through the market asking for the prices and accordingly estimate the average price of an article. Once assuming the average cost, visit the shop with the lowest price and bargain for a good deal, as bargaining is a standard norm in India. But be polite and patient while bargaining.
  • While photographing localities, take permission from them especially women.
  • Don’t display your affection to your partner publicly as it is not appreciated anywhere in India. So in public maintain a distance with the opposite sex especially at places like Temples or Gurudwara.
  • Tips can be given to the hotel or restaurant staffs according to your likings. The standard norm of tipping is usually 10% of the total bill. Tipping is not required in Roadside Motels (Dhabas).
  • Hindi is the main language of Uttarakhand. City people can speak English, but Garhwali and Kumaoni are widely spoken in remote areas.
    Holidays

Holidays

The most heartbreaking thing is when a you travel miles to visit your favourite place or monument and find it to be closed because of a holiday. So here are the list of holidays in Uttarakhand which will enable you to plan your trip accordingly. The National Holidays are common all over India, whereas the list of public holidays depends on the festivals mostly religious in nature and may have different names. These holidays are not fixed and the dates may change according to the current lunar calendar.

National Holidays

  • Republic Day (26th January)
  • Independence Day (15th August)
  • Gandhi Jayanti (2nd October)

Public Holidays

  • Muharram
  • Maha Shivratri
  • Milad-Un-Nabi (Id-ul-Milad)
  • Good Friday
  • Holi
  • Ram Navami
  • Mahavira Jayanti
  • Buddha Purnima
  • Raksha Bandhan
  • Id-Ul-Fitr
  • Dusshera
  • Diwali
  • Guru Nanak’s Birthday
  • Id-Ul-Zuha (Bakr-id)
  • Christmas

Shopping is a serious affair at Uttarakhand

While holidaying in a far away destination we always prefer to take back home some remembrance of the trip in the form of a souvenir or presents. Shopping at Uttarakhand is a wonderful experience though it is not a so-called commercial destination, but still it is a paradise for souvenir collectors and enthusiastic curious shoppers. Buying handicrafts from a local shop will in one hand help the local artisans financially and, on the other hand, it will display your sophisticated liking for art.

Handicraft items of Uttarakhand are handy as well as in budget

Varied items can be bought here like the exquisite wood carvings, hand-made candles, organic items, jewellery, religious statuettes, hand-made sweaters & cardigans, scenic paintings and last but not the least the famous Dehraduni Basmati Rice. Dehradun, Haridwar and Nainital are the main shopping destinations of Uttarakhand, having multiple markets and lots of places to explore.

Explore the bustling markets of Dehradun

Dehradun has markets like Sahakari Bazaar, Ashley Hall, Rajpur Road, Paltan Bazaar and Connaught Place for items like woollen clothing, leather shoes, paintings etc. Also, visit the Tibetan monastery to get some delicate trinkets and delicious food there. Nainital, on the other hand, is famous for hand made candles and colourful Lac bangles. Like Dehradun and Mussoorie, Nainital also has fern showpieces, wood carvings and woolen clothing. One can also buy farm fresh apples, cherries, mulberries, peaches and strawberries directly from the farmers. Haridwar has a religious fervor in everything. One can find ‘Om’ T-Shirts, tiny to large idols of gods and goddesses, beaded jewellery, Rudraksha pendants and Jholas (cloth bags) here.

Power

Like other parts of the country, Uttarakhand also uses 240 volts of supplying electricity, which alternates at 50 cycles per second. Electricity supply in Uttarakhand is relatively better than other parts of India. It is advisable to buy a voltage converter if the device one is carrying do not work on 240 volts sockets.

The adaptability of the equipment and the socket structure can be a problem. In Europe generally 110-volt power is supplied, so the equipment will not work on 240 volts power supply adaptors. So buy a suitable adaptor from the local market or store. The second problem of socket structure can be solved by hiring cheap and readily available socket adaptors. These sockets work fine on flat pin sockets and give electricity from cylindrical sockets. Please carry these stuff along while travelling to Uttarakhand.

Transportation in Uttarakhand

Local transport in Uttarakhand is dependable on state-owned buses and shared taxis. In plains, one can find Rickshaws but in the hills, one can opt for ‘Tonga or Pony Ride’. Transportation is comparatively easier in the plains than the hilly terrains. Speed Limit of 25 Kms/hr is essential in the steep hilly roads with sharp turns. In comparison to the jam packed and overcrowded public means of transport, travelling by private car with a bit more cost is much more comfortable and safe.

Bhupendra Singh Kunwar

Bhupendra Singh Kunwar

Founder, eUttaranchal.com

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