The word, Hima, in Sanskrit language, means snow and this name suits the state perfectly as Himachal Pradesh is situated at the backdrop of many snow-covered peaks. It is also known as “Dev Bhoomi” or God’s Place because of the beauty that is found here in abundance. It is surrounded by Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal on the North, West, South and East respectively. Situated on around 55000sq.km, Himachal Pradesh rules on the top tourist locations of the world. The state has many features that make the tourists go mad about the place, be it the waterfalls with the milky white water, the snow-clad peaks on all the sides, the deep and serene valleys or the lush green lawns that are found in most of the places. This place witnesses frequent instances of snowfall during winter because of the height at which it is situated. Himachal Pradesh is the country’s largest producer of apples, earning it the name “State of Apples”. The state ranks No.2 on the list of states that have minimum corruption. The 12 districts of the state are categorized into towns, villages and blocks for ease of administration and operation. The capital of the state, Shimla is one of the largest tourism revenue-generating places in the country.
Himachal Pradesh has a very diverse population that speaks various languages, follows different religions and adopts different cultures and lifestyles. Punjabi, Pahari, Hindi, Gojri, Kinnauri, Dogri and Mandeali Kangri are some of the vernacular languages of the state. People here belong to various communities like Brahmin, Kannet, Girth, Rathi, Gujjar, Gaddis, Rajput and Kohli. The state’s tribal population belongs toLahaulis, Sulehria, Pangawal and Kinnar communities.
Artwork is not only a major attraction in Himachal Pradesh, but it is also a predominant profession here. Leather goods, carpets, metal, wood carvings, shawls and other paints are very famous. The Pashmina shawls manufactured by the weavers here have found many international takers. Kangra and Dharamshala are two places where the miniature art work is very famous. The pit loom found in most of the houses and the quality of shawls woven here attracts a lot of visitors.
Himachal Pradesh wears a festive look most of the times as there are some festivals or the other celebrated all through the year here. These festivals are marked by folk dance and music performed in large numbers in the state. There is a natural skating rink in Shimla, which tourists cannot find anywhere else in Asia.
Due to its height, the state is famous for adventure tourism activities. Some typical foods of the state are Pahri Aloo, Ambua, Khatti Dal, Pateer, Bhagjery, Mahni, Jhoul, Sidku, Chuck, Patrode and Madra.
Himachal Pradesh has a chill climate most of the times, therefore, packing thermal wear is a wise decision. Tourists love to shop for leather goods and shawls in the state as the quality is very good here. While in the state, one should remember that narcotic substances are banned in the state and therefore should act responsibly.
• Altitude above Sea Level : 350 m to 6975 m
• Average Rainfall : 1469 mm
• Geographical Area : 55,673 sq. km
• Temperature : Maximum Temperature - 35o Celsius
• Temperature : Minimum Temperature 2o Celsius
• Location : It extends from 30o22' N to 33 o12' N and 75 o45' E to 79 o04' E
• Major Rivers : River Sutlej, River Beas, River Ravi and River Parbati
• State Animal : Snow Leopard
• State Bird : Western Tragopan (Jujurana)
• State Flower : Pink Rhododendron (gulabi Buransh)
• State Tree : Deodar
• State Capital : Shimla (Queen of Hills)
• WillLife Sanctuaries : 32 Sanctuaries
• Cities : Chamba, Dalhousie, Kangra, Dharamsala, Palampur, Hamirpur, Una, Solan, Nahan, Shimla, Mandi, Kullu & Manali
• Best Time to Visit : April - July and September - November
• Major Languages Spoken : Hindi, Local Dialects
• Pahari Food/ Dishes from Himachal Pradesh Famous Cuisines : Khatta,Kali Daal, Channa Madra, Aloo Palda,Masala Fried Okra, AURIYA KADOO (PUMPKIN WITH MUSTARD SEEDS),TUDKIYA BHATH, SPICY LOTUS STEMS (BHEY)
The Indian state of Himachal Pradesh has an area of 55,673 km². It shares its border with other Indian states like Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab towards southwest, Haryana on southern side, Uttarakhand on southeast and Tibet on east directions. Himachal Pradesh is situated in lower Himalayan region with numerous mountain ranges and rich natural resources. The elevation in the state varies between 450 mts to 6,500 mts above sea level. The region forms an extension from Shivalik range of mountains. There is an obvious increase in elevation as we go from north to south and east to west.
The Geographical Location of Himachal Pradesh with respect to latitude is between 30' 22' 40" North to 33' 12' 40" North and it falls between 75' 45' 55" East to 79' 04' 20" East in longitudinal axis. Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh. For administrative purpose, the state is divided into twelve districts and it has approximately 49 cities and towns. The state has a total population of 6.7 million out of which 3.8 million are males and the remaining 2.9 million are females as per 2001 census. The state of Himachal Pradesh is located in northern part of the country in lower Himalayas. It experiences pleasant climate throughout the year. The winter month brings enormous snow falls in the region due to its close proximity to Himalayas. The normal weather of various regions in the state varies as per altitude levels. The ideal time to explore the state is from September to March. The people of Himachal Pradesh follow diverse cultures depending upon their place of residence. However as a commonality, they are culturally rich and cordial in their behavior. They have strong bonds in society and roots of their relation run deep into their families.
The state is divided into three physiographic Divisions from South to North
• The Great Himalayas - located in northern zone
• The lesser Himalayas - located in central zone
• The outer Himalayas - also called Shivaliks
The Great Himalayan range is the regions which fall between an altitude ranges of above 5,000 to 6,000 meters. They form the eastern boundary of the state and river Satluj passes along this region. Some of the popular passes in great Himalayan range are:
• Kangla (Altitude - 5,248 m)
• Bara Lacha (Altitude -4,512 m)
• Parang (Altitude -5,548 m)
• Pin Parbati (Altitude -4,802 m)
The Zanskar Range which is the easternmost range separates Kinnaur region from Spiti, then from Tibet. It has numerous peaks which have an elevation of above 6,500 m. Some of the popular peaks in Zanskar range are Shilla (7,026 m) and Riwo Phargyul (6,791 m). They are the highest peaks in Zanskar range. Apart from the numerous mountain ranges there are also several glaciers over Zanskar and Great Himalayan ranges. The lesser Himalayas are identified by the steady increase in height beginning from Dhauladhar towards Pir Panjal ranges. The rise in elevation is observed to be very rapid in Shimla hills, towards south of which the highest peak is Chandni (Altitude- 3647 m).
The Kangra valley is one of the popular valleys in the country. It is located on the longitudinal trough along the foot of Dhauladhar range. Dhauladhar stands for “The White Peak” in Hindi language. It has an elevation of approximately 4,550 meters. It stands at a steep height of 3,600 m above Kangra valley. The largest mountain range in Himalayan ranges is Pir Panjal which gets divided from the Greater Himalayan range on the banks of Sutlej. Numerous glaciers and passes exist across Pir Panjal. The Rohtang Pass which stands at a height of 3,978 m is one of the popular among passes.
The Shivalik range is situated on lower elevation regions in the state. It is located at an elevation of 600 m above sea level. The hills of these regions contain rocks and soil which are prone to erosion and deforestation. Himachal is a rich source of flora. The state has 38% of total area under the forest. The presence of 1200 bird and 350 animal species makes the wildlife of the state one of the most diversified. The state of Himachal Pradesh has 49 cities and towns. The smallest town of the state is Naina Devi and largest city is the capital Shimla with a total state population of 6,856,509. The urban population of the area is very less and it accounts for only 7.5% of total state population. Majority of the population still resides in rural areas.
The most prominent rivers of the state are Chenab, Beas, Ravi, Yamuna, Sutlej, and Spiti. These rivers are responsible for extensive agriculture which takes place in the state without much problem of irrigation. They are also major contributor towards Natural beauty and prosperity of state. The state is located on the western corner of the Himalayas and it functions as perfect convergence of immaculate streams that are flowing downstreams to the state. The Himalayas which are covered by thick snow, melts down to form major rivers of the state. These rivers fulfill the requirement of water in summer season. The presence of diversified landscape adds delight to tourism in the state. The main land forms are mountainous terrains which are surrounded by valleys in all directions. The most prominent aspect of Himalayan ranges is the different landforms like slope, elevation, microclimatic situations and vegetation.