In March 2020, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat announced that Gairsain(गैरसैंण) of Chamoli district would be made the summer capital of Uttarakhand during the presentation of the budget.
After coming into existence as a separate state(9th, November 2000), Uttarakhand has been talking about permanent capital for the last 20 years, but till date could not get a permanent capital. Dehradun is the state capital, but it is considered as the temporary capital of Uttarakhand. The demand to make Gairsain a capital is not new. Even during the state movement, there was a demand to make Gairsain the capital.
It is in common knowledge that there are two administrative divisions in Uttarakhand, Kumaon and Garhwal. After the formation of the state, Dehradun, located in the Garhwal region, was made the capital, while the High Court remained in Nainital of Kumaon. Apart from this, Uttarakhand is one of the few states in the country, where there are two Raj Bhawan for the Governor – Dehradun and Nainital (In summer, the Governor stays here)
Now Uttarakhand has become the fifth state in the country which has 2 capitals. There are 3 capitals proposed in Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra have 2 capitals each. Jammu and Kashmir also have 2 capital cities, but in the year 2019, it was removed from the state list and made a union territory.
People associated with the Uttarakhand Andolan and the people of the beautiful place called Gairsain especially are ecstatic about the decision.
Following are some of the interesting facts about Gairsain
- Gairsain falls in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand and has the status of a Nagar Panchayat.
- The word Gairsain is made up of two local dialect words. ‘Gair ‘and ‘Sain’. ‘Gair’ means the deep place in both Kumaoni and Garhwali languages and the word ‘Sain’ means the plain terrain. In this way, it means a plain area in the deep. An adjoining village is also named Gair and some attribute the name Gairsain as the deep plain area at the foot of Gair Village.
- Gairsain is about 260 kilometres from Dehradun, the temporary capital of the state. While its distance from the national capital Delhi is 450 kilometres. At the same time, the distance from Haridwar is 240 kilometres.
- Gairsain is situated at the eastern edge of the vast Dudhatoli mountain range, located almost at the centre of the state.
- Gairsain is just about 16 km from the Almora district border along National Highway 87. The nearest railway station to Gairsain is Ramnagar which is 150 km away. The nearest airport is Gauchar Airport, at Gauchar which is approximately 54 km.
- In ancient Indian literature, this area has been celebrated as Kedar Kshetra.
- According to the 2011 census, the population of Gairsain tehsil is 62,412, which includes 28,755 males and 33,657 females. While the literacy rate is 78.66%. The sex ratio here is 1,170, which is much higher than the national average.
- Baba Mohan Uttarakhandi sat on a hunger strike 13 times to make Gairsain the capital and formation of the state of Uttarakhand from 1997 onwards. He united the people of the hills and his last fast (in Adibadari) lasted for 38 days. He died in August 2004 during this fast.
The picturesque town of Gairsain is emerging as a tourist destination since it is a part of the major route connecting Garhwal and Kumaon region. It is also the site of the source of the Ramganga River flowing near the Dudhatoli mountain. The famous tourist attractions located in and around Gairsain are the Nanda Devi National Park, Vasundhara Falls, Adi Badri, Vriddha Badri, and Yog Dhyan Badri.
As the summer capital of Uttarakhand, it will attract even more tourists. One planning a trip to Uttarakhand should visit this place and immerse in the beauty of Gairsain.