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History of Uttarakhand

Although the reaches of Himalaya stretch west to Afghanistan, well into Central Asia, and east through China, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and into  Burma, we have chosen a very specific region to start our conservation work of one of the world's most precious system of bio-diversity ecosystems.  Uttarakhand is a state in India nestled between the high mountains of Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir to the west, the towering peaks of Western Nepal to the east, and Tibet with which it shares its Northern border. 

Uttarakand Political MapThe historical significance of this area to the Hindus goes back thousands of years, as it was through here that pilgrims trekked on the Maha-pilgrimage to Mt Kailash.  From Haridwar, the 'Gateway to the Gods,' the Char Dham pilgrimage starts.  The Char Dham Yatra is still one of the most revered pilgrimages among Hindus, as one first passes through Yamunotri, source of the Yamuna River, then continues on to Gangotri, the source of the Ganga River.  Kedarnath, the oldest and perhaps most significant Shiva temple in all Himalaya is the next sacred site in the Yatra, which then concludes at Badrinath, a temple dedicated to Vishnu, where a scolding hot spring, the Tapta Kund awaits the weary pilgrim at the end of his/her journey.

In between these four ancient temples lie hundreds of smaller shrines, each one telling the story of a certain age, a certain event that had taken place to make it worthy of a Temple being built.  Nowadays, this pilgrimage is rushed through by most traveling the long and windy roads by car, while the rare pilgrim who manages to take the time to do it by foot, will receive the gift of exploring these vast and ecologically diverse mountains, and the many gems there within.  

Besides the Char Dham, in the far Northwestern part of the state, nestled between Yamuna Valley, Himachal Prasdesh, and Tibet, is the realtively hidden and unknown valley of Harki Dun, "The Valley of Shiva."  For many reasons such as being protected by the Govend Wildlife Sanctuary, being isolated, and its unique spiritual potency, Dunagiri will work in coordination with an organization called SHER to grow many of these high altitude species in Harki Dun Valley.

Char Dam

It seemed an obvious place to start The Dunagiri Foundation, as the access to these areas by road have made it an easier target for illegal plant harvesting, and a general exploitation of the nature and its resources.  The area is plagued by environmentally catastrophic hydroelectric dams, dangerously corrupt officials, and unscrupulous opportunists. We found that here in this region is the front line to hold back the destruction of all Himalaya regions, and so it is here that our work must start.

For those of you who want to dive deeper into the general History and specifics of the region, there are numerous sites which all tell their own version of the significance of the region and how it came to be.  On the map posted here, you can track where Dunagiri is supporting projects in the region.

Dunagiri Team

Vision and Mission

Legend of Dunagiri