Uttarakhand becoming a ‘stresscation’ spot due to overtourism: What should tourists do?

The crowded Gucchu Pani cave of Uttarakhand. Photo: Screengrab/Instagam

A viral video showing tourists packed inside Uttarakhand’s famous ‘Robbers Cave’ aka Gucchu Pani recently has raised concerns among many on how the lack of tourism restrictions is ruining the spot. A few days ago, similar scenes unfolded in the state’s Char Dham Yatra route (a tour of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath) as well. According to many on social media, viral Instagram reels have also been resulting in unprecedented footfalls in spots like Sahastradhara, Dehradun Zoo, Shikhar Falls, Forest Research Institute (FRI), and Lachhiwala, in recent times. Not only is it making life difficult for local people, but it's also affecting local resources and facilities adversely. In such a scenario, what should tourists do if they want to travel in the state without getting caught up in the crowd, for a peaceful vacation? Check out these pointers: 

1.  Visit beautiful, lesser-known spots
According to the Uttarakhand tourism department, the state has many off-beat spots that are not crowded, but as beautiful as its popular tourist destinations. A few of them are the Naukuchia Lake, Kakrighat Ashram where Swami Vivekananda meditated, Shitlakhet, which houses a beautiful sun temple, Kausani to check out the Himalayan peaks, the beautiful village of Chaukori and the haunted ‘Lohaghat’ filled with stories. If you like to enjoy your vacation in a snowy or rainy atmosphere, you can even visit the state during its off-seasons - between November and January, and July to September. Just make sure that you double-check updates on rain and snow falls to ensure safety. 

2. Opt for homestays and lodges for accommodation 
If your priority is relaxation, homestays, eco-lodges or small inns can offer you personalised services much better than big hotels, crowded with lodgers. They are also quieter, more budget-friendly and scenic, offering you breathtaking views to capture as memories. This can also be your way of doing an environment-friendly trip as staying away from crowded places reduces the impact on the environment. 
3. Say no to weekend trips
Even during weekdays, the spots here can have a decent number of footfall and therefore, it's better to say no to weekend trips. Also, avoid crowd-puller festivals and events like the Kedarnath Yatra, if what you want is a quieter vacation.

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