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Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM): This Institute was set up in Nov. 14, 1965, in memory of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. 5 km. from Uttarkashi town, it is located on a hillock on the south bank spur of the Bhagirathi river, at an altitude of 1,300 m, amongst sylvan surroundings. It is equipped with a well stocked library of 2,000 books, principally on mountaineering and allied subjects. A small museum, cafeteria, and facilities for indoor and outdoor sports make it a superb centre for producing skilled mountaineers. The Institute also provides climbing gear to IMF approved expeditions at nominal charges.
The Institute conducts a wide variety of courses, such as those for Basic and Advanced Mountaineering, Adventure, Search and Rescue, and Method of Instruction. Separate courses are organised for ladies, young boys and girls, and the deaf and the dumb. The core of the training imparted is in the areas of mountain trekking, rock-climbing, map-reading and survival techniques. But the trainees are also exposed to nature study, ecological impacts, bushcraft and watermanship. The objective is, in addition to building climbing skills, to foster discipline, comradeship, selflessness and a spirit of service to the community.
Wilson Cottage, Harsil: This impressive structure stands close to the present day military encampment, and was built in 1864 by the British adventurer, Wilson. The building was partially destroyed by fire, but still remains an embodiment of fine Garhwali architecture. It is so situated as to take in the maximum amount of sunshine, a necessity at this high altitude. The wooden pillars are finely carved, while the meadow expanse in front once boasted a fine orchard. Plans are afoot to convert the structure into a Himalayan Museum, with separate sections on Arts and Crafts, the Ecology, Wilson's life etc.
Inside the precincts of the cottage, one can still find photographs of Wilson and his Garhwali wife, Gulabi. Wilson's saga began in 1859, with the leasing of valuable forests from the Raja of Tehri. Apart from amassing a fortune from the lease, Wilson introduced the villagers to apple-growing. An extensive builder, he is credited with the construction of the old Forest rest-houses at Dharasu, Bhatwari and Harsil. He also built a 350 ft. long suspension bridge over the Jad Ganga. No wonder, he is believed to have served as a model for the Kipling short story'The Man who would be King'!
Gobind National Park: It was first set up in 1955 as a Wildlife Sanctuary, named after the first Chief Minister of U.P., Pandit Gobind Vallabh Pant. Occupying an area of 953 sq. km., it is a superb microcosm of the Himalayan environment. The entire sanctuary nestles in rugged mountainous terrain, ranging in height from Netwar (1439 m.) to Bandarpunch peak (6,325 m.) It is especially famed for its colourful high-altitude meadows (bugyals), dense forests, and rich faunal wealth. It has been declared a National Park in 1990 to combat the menace of over- grazing, poaching and indiscriminate felling of trees.
The varied range of temperature alpine and arctic vegetation may be seen in the abundance of the pine, oak, deodar, blue pine, silver birch and rhododendron species. Among the animals inhabiting the region are the rare snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, brown bear, civet cat, bharal, wild boar, musk deer and barking deer. Game birds with brightly coloured plumage abound, especially of the pheasant (Monal, koklas, kalij and cheer) and partridge family (chukor, chow and grey). Not less arresting are the rich cultural endowments of the people- their life-style, dress, folk traditions, religious practices and settlement patterns are typical of Rawain culture.
Purola Excavations: Researchers from Garhwal University, Srinagar, have unearthed a major archeological treasure in Purola. It is in the shape of a massive brick structure of a flying Garuda bird, measuring 28 x 18 m. Such a finely preserved specimen is the first of its kind in the country. Dating to a period between the 2nd century B.C. to the 2nd century A.D., it is laid out in an east-west direction. it is surmised that the bird - alter was used for religious and sacrificial rites. Some of these find an elaborate description in Brahman and Sutra literature, such as Agni Chayana, Asyamedha and Purusamedha.
Researchers also uncovered a square central chamber measuring 60 x 60 cm. in the middle of the altar. Excavation of this pit yielded five red-ware miniature bowls containing ash, charcoal, sandy clay and copper coins of the Kuninda period. But the most important discovery was an impressed gold-leaf showing a human figure in flowing apparel. Along with this was found a circular gold pendant and a small piece of a -chain. A lot of charcoal and charred bones were also recovered from the chamber. These bones appear to be human, and may have been a associated with human sacrifice required in some ancient religious rites.
Tilari Shahid Smarak: This memorial is situated in Tilari, 21/2 km. from Barkot, while a smaller one is sited at Barkot itself. The memorial commemorates an important event in Uttarkashi's history, locally known as 'Tilari Kand'. It is observed as 'Tilari Divas' on May 30 every year. Tributes are paid to the martyrs who laid down their lives rather than succumb to the illegal ways of the feudal order. The event, which took place on May 30, 1930, was instrumental in igniting the fires of revolt against the Raja's misrule. It eventually led to the merger of the state with the Indian Union in 1949.
The outbreak had its roots in the Forest Settlement of 1927- 28. The re-drawn forest boundaries encroached on the old and established cattle pastures and caused great resentment. Agitated locals set fire to a part of the forest on May, 20, 1930. Thereupon, the District Forest Officer arrested the ringleaders, but while proceeding towards Tehri, these were freed by an enraged mob. The Army was then sent against the protesting villagers. They surrounded the Tilari Maidan where a peacful assembly was in progress, and fired upon the mob, killing and injuring many. 68 people were brought to trial and given harsh sentences. The parallels to Jallianwala Bagh are striking indeed.