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 "Himachal" means the abode of snow. Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh and the total area of the state is 55,673 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 with lofty ranges, deep valleys, swaying waterfalls and lush greenery.
A land of splendid mountains, a pristine place which feeds and provides solace to the mind and soul, a pious land which is associated with the supernatural, an enigma of a place which attracts people from every nook and corner of the world- It's incredible, it's beautiful, its enchanting.
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 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 corrupt state in the country. Owing to the huge production of apples, Himachal Pradesh is also known as the 'State of Apples'.
Ancient trade routes dominate the history of Himachal Pradesh. Large parts of northern Himachal were conquered by Tibet in the 10th century and Buddhist culture still dominates the mountain deserts of Lahaul and Spiti. The more accessible areas in the south of the state were divvied up between a host of rajas, ranas and thakurs (kings), creating a patchwork of tiny states, with Kangra, Kullu and Chamba at the top of the pile.
Sikh rajas came to dominate the region by the early 19th century, signing treaties with the British to consolidate their power. The first Westerners to visit were Jesuit missionaries in search of the legendary kingdom of Prester John ? a mythical Christian kingdom lost in the middle of Asia. Interestingly, there are several Aryan tribes in North India to this day, including the Kinnauris of eastern Himachal, most following a mixture of Hinduism and Buddhism.
During the 19th century the British started creating little bits of England in the hills at Shimla, Dalhousie and Dharamsala. Shimla later became the British Raj?s summer capital and narrow-gauge railways were pushed through to Shimla and the KangraValley. The British slowly extended their influence until most of the region was under the thrall of Shimla.
The state of Himachal Pradesh was formed after Independence in 1948, liberating many villages from the feudal system. In 1966 the districts administered from the Punjabi ? including Kangra, Kullu, Lahaul and Spiti ? were added and full statehood was achieved in 1971. Initially neglected by central government, Himachal has reinvented itself as the powerhouse of India, with huge hydroelectric plants providing power for half the country.
Language And Culture
The people of the state of Himachal Pradesh are multilingual and converse in several languages. The official state language of Himachal Pradesh is Hindi. The other most popular language of Himachal Pradesh is Pahari. Other than these Punjabi, Dogri, Kangri and Kinnauri language is also used in Himachal Pradesh.
The people of Himachal Pradesh have a rich culture which is very much apparent in their day to day lives. The colourful dresses of Himachalis will strike you instantly as you make your way through the state. However, more than the dresses or even the notable physical features of the people, it is their warm and friendly nature that will draw you towards them. Interacting with them can be extremely fruitful as you will get to know more about their religious and cultural life as it is.
Snow leopard (Uncia uncia)
Western tragopan (Tragopan melanocephalus)
Deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara)
2.Hidimba Devi Temple
6.Great Himalayan National Park
How to Reach
Although being a major tourist destination in India, air connectivity to this state is not as robust and reliable as other stations in the country. Jubbarhatti Airport in Kullu, Bhuntar Airport in Shimla and Gaggal Airport in Kangra, connect by flights to major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Chandigarh. Taxis and cabs provide easy connectivity from these airports to within the state.
Being a mountainous area, surrounded by lofty hills, there are no major railway tracks anywhere within the state. For tourists opting for railway travel, the best option to reach Himachal is the Kalka Railway Station, located approximately 90 kilometers away from Shimla. From here, you either have the choice of travelling by road or ride the famous toy train (A UNESCO World Heritage) into the picturesque hilly regions of this amazing destination.
Any lack in Train or air connectivity is more than compensated by roads which link to all major cities across India. The roads are tough and reliable. Besides there are affordable bus services organized by the State Government that also connect well to other important cities like Kashmir, Delhi, Haryana and Chandigarh.