Knowledge Corner

Uttarakhand formerly known as Uttaranchal, is a state in thenorthern part of India. It is often referred to as the Devbhumi (literally: “Land of the Gods”) due to many Hindutemples and pilgrimage centres found throughout the state. Uttarakhand is known for its natural beauty of theHimalayas, the Bhabhar and the Terai. On 9 November 2000, this 27th state of the Republic of India was created from the Himalayan and adjoining northwestern districts of Uttar Pradesh. It borders the Tibet on the north; theMahakali Zone of the Far-Western Region, Nepal on the east; and the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh to the south and Himachal Pradesh to the west and north-west as well as Haryana to its south-western corner. The state is divided into two divisions, Garhwal and Kumaon, with a total of 13 districts. The interim capital of Uttarakhand isDehradun, the largest city in the region, which is a railhead. The High Court of the state is in Nainital.

Archaeological evidence support the existence of humans in the region since prehistoric times. The region formed a part of the Kuru and the Panchal kingdoms (mahajanpads) during the Vedic age of Ancient India. Among the first major dynasties of Kumaon were the Kunindas in the 2nd century BCE who practised an early form of Shaivism.Ashokan edicts at Kalsi show the early presence of Buddhism in this region. During the medieval period, the region was consolidated under the Kumaon Kingdom and Garhwal Kingdom. In 1816, most of modern Uttarakhand was ceded to the British as part of the Treaty of Sugauli. Although the erstwhile hill kingdoms of Garhwal and Kumaon were traditional rivals, the proximity of different neighboring ethnic groups and the inseparable and complementary nature of their geography, economy, culture, language, and traditions created strong bonds between the two regions which further strengthened during the Uttarakhand movement for statehood in the 1990s.

The natives of the state are generally called Uttarakhandi or more specifically either Garhwali or Kumaonidepending on their place of origin. According to the 2011 Census of India, Uttarakhand has a population of 10,116,752, making it the 19th most populous state in India. A large portion of the population consists of Rajputsand Brahmins. About 83% of the population follow Hinduism. Islam is the second largest majority religion in the state, followed by a minority of the population practicing Sikhism and a micro-minority praciticing Jainism, Buddhismand Christianity. Garhwali and Kumaoni along with other hilly dialects and sub-dialects are the main regional languages, whereas Hindi is the most widely spoken language. Uttarakhand is the only state in India with Sanskritas one of its official languages.

History

Uttarakhand’s name is derived from the Sanskrit words uttara (उत्तर) meaning ‘north’, and khaṇḍa (खण्ड) meaning ‘land’, altogether simply meaning ‘Northern Land’. The name finds mention in early Hindu scriptures as the combined region of “Kedarkhand” (present day Garhwal) and “Manaskhand” (present day Kumaon). Uttarakhand was also the ancient Puranic (पौराणिक) term for the central stretch of the Indian Himalayas.

Ancient rock paintings, rock shelters, paleolithic stone tools (hundreds of thousands of years old), and megalithsprovide evidence that the mountains of the region have been inhabited since prehistoric times. There are also archaeological remains which show the existence of early Vedic (c. 1500 BCE) practices in the area. ThePauravas, Kushanas, Kunindas, Guptas, Gurjara-Pratihara, Katyuris, Raikas, Palas, Chands, Parmars or Panwars,Sikhs, and the British have ruled Uttarakhand in turns. The region was originally settled by Kol people, an aboriginal people of the Austro-Asiatic physical type who were later joined by the Indo-Aryan Khasas tribe that arrived from the northwest by the Vedic period (1700–1100 BCE). At that time, present-day Uttarakhand also served as a habitat for Rishis and Sadhus. It is believed that the sage Vyasa scripted the Hindu epic Mahabharata in the state. Among the first major dynasties of Garhwal and Kumaon were the Kunindas in the 2nd century BCE who practised an early form of Shaivism and traded salt with Western Tibet. It is evident from the Ashokan edict at Kalsiin Western Garhwal that Buddhism made inroads in this region. Folk shamanic practices deviating from Hindu orthodoxy also persisted here. However, Garhwal and Kumaon were restored to nominal Hindu rule due to the travails of Shankaracharya and the arrival of migrants from the plains. Between the 4th and 14th centuries, the Katyuri dynasty dominated lands of varying extent from the Katyur (modern day Baijnath) valley in Kumaon. The historically significant temples at Jageshwar are believed to have been built by the Katyuris and later remodelled by the Chands. Other peoples of the Tibeto-Burman group known as Kirata are thought to have settled in the northern highlands as well as in pockets throughout the region, and are believed to be ancestors of the modern day Bhotiya,Raji, Buksa, and Tharu people.

By the medieval period, the region was consolidated under the Garhwal Kingdom in the west and the Kumaon Kingdom in the east. During this period, learning and new forms of painting (the Pahari school of art) developed. Modern-day Garhwal was likewise unified under the rule of Parmars who, along with many Brahmins and Rajputs, also arrived from the plains., the seat of the Kumaon Kingdom. The Garhwal Kingdom was re-established from a smaller region in Tehri, as the larger portion of Tehri, along with eastern Garhwal and Kumaon ceded to the British as part of the Treaty of Sugauli.

Geography

Uttarakhand has a total area of 53,483 km2, of which 86% is mountainous and 65% is covered by forest. Most of the northern part of the state is covered by high Himalayan peaks and glaciers. In the first half of the nineteenth century, the expanding development of Indian roads, railways and other physical infrastructure was giving rise to concerns over indiscriminate logging, particularly in the Himalaya. Two of the most important rivers in Hinduism originate in the region, the Ganges at Gangotri and the Yamuna atYamunotri. These two along with Badrinath and Kedarnath form the Chota Char Dham, a holy pilgrimage for the Hindus. The state hosts the Bengal tiger in Jim Corbett National Park, the oldest national park of the Indian subcontinent. The Valley of Flowers, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the upper expanses of Bhyundar Ganga near Joshimath in Gharwal region, is known for the variety and rarity of its flowers and plants.

Demographics

The native people of Uttarakhand are generally called Uttarakhandi and sometimes specifically either Garhwali or Kumaonidepending on their place of origin in either the Garhwal or Kumaon region. According to the 2011 census of India, Uttarakhand has a population of 10,116,752 comprising 5,154,178 males and 4,962,574 females, with 69.45% of the population living in rural areas. The state is the 20th most populous state of the country having 0.84% of the population on 1.69% of the land. The population density of the state is 189 people per square kilometre having a 2001–2011 decadal growth rate of 19.17%. The gender ratio is 963 females per 1000 males. The crude birth rate in the state is 18.6 with the total fertility rate being 2.3. The state has an infant mortality rate of 43, a maternal mortality rate of 188 and a crude death rate of 6.6.

Skill Test

1. Which place is known as the Small Kashmir of Uttarakhand?
2. Which is the state bird of Uttarakhand?
3. At the bank which river is the pilgrim centre at Rishikesh situated?
4. Who was the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand in the year 2014?
5. What is the main source of income for the state of Uttarakhand
6. State the year in which the Uttar Pradesh Reorganisation bill was passed.
7. How many types of forests are found in Uttarakhand
8. Name the district of Uttarakhand where the Corbett National Park is situated.
9. Where is the China Peak situated in Uttarakhand?
10. State the place where the Tiffin top is stuated in Uttarakhand
11. According to Mahatma Gandhi which place in Uttarakhand is a mini Switzerland?
12. Who was the last king of Uttarakhand?
13. Which pass is located in the state of Uttarakhand?
14. State the date on which the Uttar Pradesh Reorganisation bill was passed
15. Where in Uttarakhand the lake Sat-tal situated in?
16. Who was the first chief minister of Uttarakhand?
17. Which place in Uttarakhand is known for River Rafting?
18. What is the other name for the famous place Haridwar?
19. Which place is known as the Queen of hills in Uttarakhand?
20. Where is Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy situated?
21. State the number of universities in Uttarakhand.