Uttarakhand (Uttarĝkhanḝ ?), formerly Uttaranchal, is a state located in the northern part of India. It is often referred to as the Land of Gods due to the many holy Hindu temples and cities found throughout the state, some of which are among Hinduism's most spiritual and auspicious places of pilgrimage and worship.
Known for its natural beauty and wealth of the Himalayas, the Bhabhar and the Terai, the state was carved out of the Himalayan and adjoining north-western districts of Uttar Pradesh on 9 November 2000, becoming the 27th state of the Republic of India. It borders the Tibet Autonomous Region on the north, Nepal on the east and the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh to the south, Haryana to the west and Himachal Pradesh to the north west.The region is traditionally referred to as Uttarakhand in Hindu scriptures and old literature, a term which derives from Sanskrit uttara (उतढ़तर) meaning north, and khaṇḝ (खणढ़डढ़) meaning country or part of a country. It has an area of 20,682 sq mi (53,566 km²).
In January 2007, the name of the state was officially changed from Uttaranchal, its interim name, to Uttarakhand. The provisional capital of Uttarakhand is Dehradun, which is also a rail-head and the largest city in the region. The small hamlet of Gairsain has been mooted as the future capital owing to its geographic centrality but controversies and lack of resources have led Dehradun to remain provisional capital.
The High Court of the state is in Nainital. Recent developments in the region include initiatives by the state government to capitalise on handloom and handicrafts, the burgeoning tourist trade as well as tax incentives to lure high-tech industry to the state. The state also has big-dam projects, controversial and often criticised in India, such as the very large Tehri dam on the Bhagirathi-Bhilangana rivers, conceived in 1953 and about to reach completion. Uttarakhand is also well known as the birthplace of the Chipko environmental movement, and other social movements including the mass agitation in the 1990s that led to its formation.
- See Wikipedia article on Uttarakhand for more information