As the name suggests Garhwal–“garh” means the land of many forts and “wal” means unity. This is the western region and administrative division of the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Lying in the Himalayas, it is bounded on the north by Tibet, on the east by Kumaon region, on the south by Uttar Pradesh state, and on the northwest by Himachal Pradesh state. It includes the districts of Chamoli, Dehradun, Haridwar, Pauri Garhwal, Rudraprayag, Tehri Garhwal, and Uttarkashi. The people of Garhwal are known as Garhwali and speak Garhwali language. The administrative centre for Garhwal division is the town of Pauri.
The Garhwal region was made up of many small forts which were ruled by chieftains after Katyuri kingdom disintegrated. One of the important chieftainships in that period was that of Parmars, who was ruled by Raja Kanak Pal (823 AD),who held their sway over Chandpur Garhi (Chamoli). The history of Garhwal as a unified whole began in the 15th century, when king Ajay Pal merged the 52-separate chieftainship, each with its own garh or fortress. For 300 years, Garhwal remained one kingdom, with its capital at Srinagar (Pauri Garhwal). It is that after annexing all chieftains, King Ajay Pal become famous as Garhwala, (the owner of forts). With the passage of time his kingdom came to be known as Garhwal. Then after the invasion of Gurkha rulers in 1803, driving the Garhwal chief into the plains. For 12 years the Gurkhas ruled the country with an iron rod, until a series of encroachments by them on British territory led to the Gurkha War in 1814. After the end of the campaign, some parts of Garhwal (i.e., Dehradun and Pauri Garhwal) was converted into British districts, while the Tehri principality was restored to the son of the former chief.
Garhwal is a culturally colourful land and the hospitality here is truly touching. TheGarhwal region boasts with magnificent snowy peaks, heart melting valleys and soothing meadows, exemplary lakes and glaciers, sparkling rivers that make Garhwal look no less than a fairytale land. Above all, the region is also known as the progenitor of the sacred rivers Yamuna, Bhagirathi and Alaknanda. The latter two, merged into each other at Devprayag and form the pious Ganga. It is home to a number of Hindu pilgrimages including the holy four shrines namely Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath & Kedarnath Temple.The region celebrates a number of festivals and fairs that reflect the gratitude, which the locals have for small things in their lives.
Garhwal's picturesque landscape can best be enjoyed at national parks like Valley of Flowers, Gangotri National park, Rajaji national park, Govind national park and Nanda Devi. There is also one of the India’s tallest dam projects called Tehri Dam where the adventure water sports activities can be best enjoyed. The region is replete with opportunities for adventure activities. In destinations like Rishikesh where one can find spiritual bliss, there is great chance to relish adrenaline rushing sports like bungee jumping and white-water rafting. The entire Garhwal region is sprinkled with trekking trails that often lead to incredible places. Garhwal is ideal for trekking and is also a heaven for mountaineering, mountain biking, and several other adventure sports.