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Uttaranchal: Switzerland of India - Part 1

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Excerpts from Capt. M.S. Kohli’s book
The enchanting land of Uttaranchal, with legends of lord Shiva,Guru Gobind Singh and goddess Nanda Devi, has all the Himalayan assets—nurnerous snow—clad peaks, enchanting rivers and glacial lakes, ancient shrines, ski slopes, beautiful hill stations, national mountaineering institute, camping meadows, and hundreds of trekking trails.

Uttaranchal, comprising of the Garhwal and Kumaon Himalaya, interlocked in an eternal embrace that in the adventurer’s eye all demarcatjng lines disappear making it djfficult to discover where one ends and the other begins. The single uniting factor is the snowline that rums along the horizon in the north like a golden wave, west to east. No surprise our ancestors divined in this scrawl the signature of God and named it as Dev Bhumi, Land of Gods.

The Himalayas and the Ganges

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In 1929, Mahatma Gandhi took time out from the freedom struggle to visit the Himalayas and wrote in his inimitable biblical simplicity of language:
"In these hills, Nature's hospitality eclipses all man can ever do. The enchanting beauties of the Himalayas, their bracing climate and the soothing green that envelope you leaves nothing more to be desired. I wonder whether the scenery of these hills and the climate are to be surpassed, if qualified, by any of the beauty spots of the world."Home of the Ganga'Sindhu' is the word used for a big river - 'Sapta Sindhu' - the land watered by the seven big rivers, the main streams of the Ganga flowing in the Garhwal. The seven are: The Vishnu Ganga (Alakananda), The Dhauli Ganga, The Nandakini, The Pinder, The Mandakini, The Bhagirathi and The Nayar.  The confluence of the seventh river, Nayar with the mainstream of the Ganga has been called 'Sapta Samudrik Teerth' in the Skanda Purana. 

Jawaharlal Nehru (The…