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Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand is a state/Union Territory of India.

Uttarakhand, formerly known as Uttaranchal, became the 27th state of India on November 9, 2000. Uttarakhand borders Tibet in the north-east and Nepal to the south-east, while its neighbour states are Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The capital city is Dehradun which is also the rail-head in the region. The High Court of the state is situated in the district of Nainital. The region is also known as Uttaranchal.

Uttarakhand has traditionally been divided into two parts, the eastern region going by the name of Kumaon and the western half known as Garhwal. The native people of Uttarakhand call themselves Paharis (hill people), the majority of whom are Hindus. Other ethnic communities in the region include Nepalis, Jadhs, Marchas and Shaukas and nomadic cattle herders known as Gujjars.

Most of the northern parts of the state are covered by the high Himalayan ranges and glaciers, while the lower reaches are densely forested. The unique Himalayan ecosystem plays host to a large number of animals (including bharal, snow leopards, leopards and tigers), plants and rare herbs. Two of India's mightiest rivers, the Ganga and the Yamuna take birth in the glaciers of Uttaranchal, and are fed by innumerable lakes, glacial melts and streams in the region.

The tourism industry is a major contributor to the economy of the state with the British Raj era hill-stations at Mussorie, Almora, Ranikhet and Nainital being some of the most frequented destinations. To this region also belong some of the holiest Hindu shrines, and for almost 2000 years now pilgrims have been visiting the temples at Haridwar, Rishikesh, Badrinath and Kedarnath in the hope of salvation and purification from sin.

Indian National Parks in the state include the Valley of Flowers National Park and Nanda Devi National Park in Chamoli District, Jim Corbett National Park in Nainital District, Rajaji National Park in Haridwar District, and Govind Pashu Vihar National Park and Gangotri National Park in Uttarkashi District.

Major railway stations are at Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Lalkuan, Kathgodam, and Tanakpur. Airports in the state are Pant Nagar, Nainisaine, and Jolly Grant.