Referred to as dev bhoomi or "place of God", Himachal Pradesh is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir on the North, Punjab on the West, Uttar Pradesh on the South and Uttaranchal on the East. The word "Hima" means snow when translated to Sanskrit, and the meaning of the term stands out to be an area that sits on the laps of the mountains. Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh and the total area of the state is roughly 55000 square km. The state is covered with immense natural beauty and is, undoubtedly, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. A majority of the area is mountainous, and lofty ranges, deep valleys, swaying waterfalls and lush greenery symbolise the state. The climate varies extremely from one place to the other, providing heavy rainfalls to some area and no rainfall to others. Being high in altitude, snowfall is a common sight in most of the parts of the state. There are 12 districts in the state which are further subdivided into blocks and towns and villages for administrative convenience. Himachal Pradesh is known to be the second least corrupted state in the country. Owing to the huge production of apples, the Himachal Pradesh is known as the State of apples.
Himachal Pradesh - Facts
Below is a table representing important facts about Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh has a rich history because it has been inhabited by several clans of people at different ages from the beginning of civilization. The earliest of all were the people from the Indus valley civilization, during the second and third millennium BC, and they came here from gangetic plains only to live life more peacefully. Soon, the Mongolians occupied the region and they were followed by the Aryans. According to the Indian epics, Himachal Pradesh was a conglomeration of several small republics or Janpadas, each constituting a state as well as a cultural unit. Then came the Mughals and kings like Mahmud Ghaznavi, Sikandar lodi, Timur, etc had conquered many places of the state to establish their supremacy.
After their kingdom started declining, the Gorkhas captured the land but ended up losing the territory to the British in the Anglo-Gorkha war. The British were completely smitten by the sheer beauty of the area and continued with their supremacy over the place from 1858 to 1914. After India got independence, 30 states of the area were brought together to form Himachal Pradesh in 1948. When Punjab got geographically reorganized, some parts were included in the latter. In 1971, Himachal Pradesh became a part of the India and emerged as the 18th state of the Indian Union.
Being situated at the foothills of the Western Himalayas, Himachal Pradesh is located at the higher altitudes around 6500 meters above the sea level. The elevation is from west to the east and from the north to the South. Geographically, the area may be divided into three broad categories: the outer Himalayas (Shivaliks), the inner Himalayas (central zone), and the Greater Himalayas (alpine zone). Wide Valleys, snow clad mountains, exotic lakes and rivers and gushing out streams are the few features that Himachal Pradesh is known for. Around 64% of the area is covered by forests that consist of Moist Deodar Forest, Ban Oak Forest, Moist Temperate Deciduous Forest, Coniferous Forest, Alpine Pastures and the Rhododendron Scrub Forests. The climate varies from semi arctic to semi tropical.
Summers stay from April-June with a comfortable climate whereas winters are chilly and sometimes unpleasant due to heavy snowfalls. Rainy season enhances the beauty of the place and continues from July to September. Rivers and streams get refilled and a lustrous beauty of the green vegetation is visible all throughout. Major rivers of the area are the Chandra Bhaga, the Beas, the Chenab, the Sutlej and the Ravi. These rivers flow all throughout the year and are mainly fed by the glaciers of the mountains. Bara Shigri, Bhaga, Chandra are the few glaciers of Himachal Pradesh. More Detail...
Government and Politics
Proudly, Himachal Pradesh is the second state in India with least corruption and all credit goes to the state government that operates in such an efficient manner. The state is divided into 12 districts, 75 tehsils, 52 subdivisions, 75 blocks and almost more than 20000 villages and 57 towns. Being a post-Independence creation, the legislative assembly of Himachal Pradesh doesn't have any pre-constitution. However, the unicameral legislature of the state has 68 seats with almost 14 house committee at the assembly. For Lok Sabha or the lower house, there are in total 4 constituencies and for Rajya Sabha, or the upper house there are around 3 constituencies. National parties like the Indian National Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party have alternately been able to establish their supremacy over Himachal Pradesh, whereas no third party has ever been able to rise amidst the two. Like all other Indian States, the Chief Minister has the ultimate powers in the state, and controls all the major operations of the government. Currently, Mr. Vibhadra Singh is the CM of the state whereas Smt. Urmila Singh is the current governor of the state. Mr. Tulsi Ram, is currently holding the position of the speaker, which is again a very important position in the government.
Himachal Pradesh was the Summer Capital of British India and hence the standard of elementary as well as higher education here is up to the mark with the rest of the country. Literacy rates of the state are one of the highest among all the Indian states especially Hamirpur, which is one of the districts with a top ranking literacy rate. There are thousands of schools which offer primary as well as secondary education to kids, being affiliated to the CBSE and the ICSE. The government is working hard to make the state the new "educational hub" of the country. In fact, Himachal Pradesh is the first state in the country that has made elementary education possible as well as accessible for every child.
There are roughly 8 universities, 4 engineering colleges, and 2 medical colleges that offer several professional courses for aspiring candidates. Apart from that, here are roughly 7 general degree colleges that help the students to pursue their basic higher education from the state itself. Other than that, there are few NGO operated educational institutions running successfully in the state. They conduct seminars and various welfare programs for the society for the betterment of the students and their families.
Himachal Pradesh is one state that has transformed itself from being the most backward state to one of the majorly advanced states in the in the country.
The total population of Himachal Pradesh is around 6,856,509, which is only 0.57% of the total population of the country.Himachal Pradesh is one of those states with the highest Hindu population, almost 95%. Among them, the main communities are the Rajputs who had come to this place long back and settled here since. The Brahmins and the Rathis also form a major part of the population of the state. The Ghirth community or the Choudhury community is mainly found in the Kangra district, they are usually the landowners who rent their lands to poor farmers for cultivation and earn revenue from them in return. The other communities that stay here are the Kannets, Kolis, Gaddis, Gujjars, Lahaulis and Pangawals.
There is a strong caste system that prevails in the rural part of the state but as people are moving out of the traditional drawbacks, the system has lost its supremacy over commoners. Himachal Pradesh has a good number of Tibetans staying there and hence Buddhism is the next religion that is followed strongly after Hinduism. They, being refugees from Tibet, stay at the Lahaul and Kinnaur districts mainly en masse. Since the state shares a common boundary with Punjab, several people from the Sikh community are found to stay in the towns and the cities. Muslims are the minority community in the state and constitute 2% of the entire population.
Tourist Places in Himachal Pradesh
- Christ Church
- The Ridge
- Jakhu Temple
- Lakkar Bazar
- Adventure Sports at Solang Nal
- Rohtang Pass
- Old Manali
- Hidimba Devi Temple
Undoubtedly Himachal Pradesh is the best place to visit for the tourists due to its vast geo-topographical diversities. The snow-topped mountains, the hailing hills, the green forests or the red apple orchards, and the freshness of pure air-the state has everything that attracts people from all over the world. Shimla, Manali, Chamba, etc are those places which draw most of the honeymoon couples all through the year. Otherwise, tourists loving mountain adventures, may also enjoy river rafting, trekking, ice skating, para gliding and skiing, apart from spending a peaceful vacation here. There are temples, churches, monasteries, rivers, hill stations, architectural masterpieces and markets which will surely be a traveler's delight.
Dharamshala is one of the coldest hill stations where one can witness snow covered valleys at a stretch, lush flora and fauna and freshness that Mother Nature offers to humans. When in Shimla, tourists can enjoy the Jankhoo Hills, the ridge, the lakkar bazaar, St. Michael's cathedral, state museum, or simply roam around the mall road. Mashorba, Kufri, Fagu, are few suburbs which gives enchanting scenery of the beautiful state to a nature lover. Kullu, Chail, Kasauli, Manikaran, Dalhousie, etc are also places worth visiting in Himachal Pradesh. Nagar, Paharpur and Rukkhala offer rural heritage and charm to the urban visitors.
Cities to Visit Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh is a multilingual and a multicultural state of India. Since many races have come and settled here from earlier times, the culture of the state is diverse, colorful and rich in heritage. It is exhibited by the Himachalis through their colorful clothes, musical melodies, festive celebrations, rhythmic dances and a simple yet rich lifestyle. Arts and handicrafts, made by the localities, form an integral part of their culture. They specialize in preparing pashmina shawl which is exported to foreign countries at a regular basis. Other than that wooden potteries, metal jewelleries, utensils, vessels and many more are prepared by the locals. Music and dance are an integral and essential part of life for the Himachalis. Folk songs are preferred during rituals and they are mainly sung to invoke the deities. No traces of classical music are found till date to be patronized by the Himachalis, but a special type of songs known as samskara songs, which are based on Indian Ragas, are popular among the people. Some exclusive dance forms of the state are Shona, Gee, Burah, Losar, Naati etc. Festivals are celebrated with great zeal and grandeur. The international Himalayan Festival gets celebrated annually at Dharamshala. Local festivals like Cheeshu and Lahaul for the Lahaulis, and Haryali at the Kangra district are celebrated with pomp and vividness. Sikh festival like Lohri and Baisakhi are celebrated widely whereas Diwali and Christmas too mean a lot for the people of Himachal Pradesh.
Being a state located in the northern part of the country, Hindi is widely spoken and understood among all the inhabitants of Himachal Pradesh. In fact, Hindi is the only official language of the state.
Most of the part of Himachal Pradesh being mountainous, development of proper transport facilities was difficult. However, the government has made notable progress in connecting the roads to the state and today Himachal Pradesh is known to have the highest density of roads among all major hill stations of the country. The best ways to reach to the state from anywhere in India are the roadways. There are 8 national highways that connect the state with the rest of the country. Inside the state, all the tourist spots are connected through roads for the benefits of the travelers. Within the city, people prefer private vehicles and buses to communicate from one part to the other. Two railway stations connect the state with the other part of the country, the Kalka Shimla railways and the Pathankot-Jogindernagar railways. Few more tracks have been proposed by the government for better connectivity. With three airports in the state, Himachal Pradesh can be reached through airways as well. They are the Shimla airport near the capital, the Gaggal airport near the Kangra District, and the Bhuntar airport just near to the Kullu District. However, due to improper weather conditions, most of these flights either get delayed or cancelled in most of the days, causing much inconvenience to the passengers.
Last Updated on : 27/06/2013