Uttarkashi is a district in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. It is located on the banks of the river Bhagirithi, on the Rishikesh-Gangotri highway. As it is the district headquarter all the administrative offices can be found here. It is the most developed town on the Gangotri route and it has gained importance because it is located on the Gangotri highway. There are small villages located on the Gangotri road after Uttarkashi. All the pilgrims who visit Chardham stay here for two nights. The famous Vishwanath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is located here. All the pilgrims visit this temple.
Apart from religious importance this place is significant because of adventure lovers who go for trekking. There are numerous trekking routes around Uttarkashi. Dodital is 21 kms, Nachiketa Tal is 30 kms and Barsu the base camp for Dayara Bugyal is 43 kms from here. Lots of other small treks also begin from Uttarkashi. People who visit Gaumukh need to obtain the necessary permission from the forest department office in Uttarkashi. The famous Nehru Institute of Mountaineering ( NIM) is located here. It conducts various professional mountaineering courses and people come here to attend the courses from all over the country. As the place is close to the China border, a battalion of ITBP is also located here.
The market of Uttarkashi is not very developed. This market mainly caters to the daily needs of the villagers of the hilly town. Tourists can get hold of essential items that they need while travelling like medicines, food items, mobile recharge, etc… from these shops. There are also some local doctors for consultation.
All the major mobile networks like BSNL, AIRTEL and IDEA have their networks here.
Uttarkashi has many Ashram’s, Dharamshalas and small hotels. The hotels offer basic accommodation like a room with attached toilet & bath, hot water facility and a TV. One cannot expect luxury hotels at these places because out here the main tourist season lasts only for two to three months when the Chardham Yatra is on.
Uttarkashi suffered great loss of lives and property during the June’13 disaster. Many hotels and homes were completely washed away in the floods that came in from the Bhagirithi river. After looking at the consequences of the disaster, the government has made strict laws and has completely banned construction by the banks of the river. The Supreme Court of India has also put a halt to the construction of hydro projects on the Bhagirithi and Alakhnanda rivers.
The roads and the damaged areas have not been completely repaired after the devastation. The road to Gangotri is still under reconstruction but traffic is moving safely on this road. All types of vehicles from cars to buses can go upto Gangotri.