Uttarakhand, formerly Uttaranchal, is a state in the northern part of India. It is often referred to as the "Land of the Gods" due to the many temples and pilgrimage centres found throughout the state. Uttarakhand is mainly known for its natural beauty of the Himalayas.
Archaeological evidence support the existence of humans in the region since prehistoric times. Among the first major dynasties of Garhwal and Kumaon were the Kunindas in the 2nd century BCE who practised an early form of Shaivism.
Two of the most important rivers in Hinduism originate in the region, the Ganga at Gangotri and the Yamuna at Yamunotri. These two along with Badrinath and Kedarnath form the Char Dham, a holy pilgrimage.