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Himachal Pradesh
About Himachal
Himachal Map, Map of Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh is situated in the northern region in the heart of the western Himalayas. The word Himachal means the land of the snows. This state is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir in the north, Uttar Pradesh in the south-east, Haryana in the south and Punjab in the west. Shimla, a beautiful hill station is the state capital of the Himachal Pradesh and was the summer capital of the British Empire in India.  It is veiled from the plains by the Shivalik range of mountains. The physiographic divisions from south to north are the outer Himalayas or the Shivaliks, the lesser Himalayas or the central zone and the great Himalayan and Zanskar or the northern zone. The state of Himachal Pradesh is divided into twelve districts, which are Bilaspur, Chamba, Hamirpur, Kangra, Kinnaur, Kullu, Lahual Spiti, Mandi, Shimla, Sirmaur, Solan and Una. It abounds in exotic valleys, green hill slopes, snow-capped peaks and gushing rivers and streams.

History of Himachal

About 2 million years ago some of the people lived in the foothills of Himachal Pradesh, mainly in the Bangana valley of Kangra, Sirsa valley of Nalagarh and Markanda valley of Sirmour. These people belonged to the Indus valley civilization and pushed the Kolorians towards north. They moved to the hills of Himachal Pradesh where they could live peacefully and preserve their way of life. In the Vedas they have been referred to as Dasas. Later on the Aryans laid the base of history and culture of Himachal Pradesh. In the later period, the hill chieftains accepted the rule under the Mauryan empire, the Kaushans, the Guptas and Kanauj rulers and made some mutually agreed arrangements. In the 19th century, Ranjit Singh dominated some of the states. When the British came, they defeated Gorkhas and entered into treaties with some Rajas and captured the kingdoms of others. This situation remained unchanged till 1947. After Independence, 30 princely states of the area were united and Himachal Pradesh was formed on 15th April, 1948. With the recognition of Punjab on 1st November, 1966, certain areas belonging to it were also included in Himachal Pradesh. On 25th January, 1971, Himachal Pradesh was made a full-fledged state.

Geography of Himachal

The state of Himachal Pradesh is situated in the western Himalayas and well surrounded by the several high mountains, many of which have still not been scaled, streams and glaciers. The various streams race through deep boulder-strewn gorges and valleys of considerable beauty. The state can be broadly divided by its valleys that hold most of the existing tourist destinations. Some of these valleys are the Kangra valley, Chamba valley, Pangi valley, the Lahaul and Spiti valleys in the Trans Himalaya, Kinnaur valley, Parvati valley, Giri valley and the Kullu valley.

People of Himachal

Most of the people of Himachal Pradesh are Hindus and the presence of Hinduism is very strong towards the south of the Greater Himalayas. The rural people of Himachal worship various local gods and goddesses. Besides Hindus, there is a strong influence of Buddhism in the trans Himalayas. The arrival of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama in Dharamshala has made Himachal Pradesh a second home for the Tibetan Buddhists. Christianity came with the arrival of the British and today, there are various churches across the state. The people of Himachal Pradesh live through a cycle of rituals and ceremonies all their life. They are very happy and have colourful folk dances. The traditional house of the people of Himachal in the rural areas consists of three storeys – the lowest storey for the household cattle, the middle for storage of grains and the top floor for living.

Festivals of Himachal

The rich culture, tradition, warm and hospitable people, diverse climate and topography offers a variety of fairs, festivals and celebrations in Himachal. About 2000 deities are worshipped in Himachal and different fairs and festivals are held in their honour. Some of the fairs and festivals which are celebrated in Himachal are Baisakhi, Lohri, Himachal's Winter Carnival, Holi, Gugga fair, Fullaich Festival and Dussehra.

More Information on Festivals of Himachal

Himachal Festivals, Festivals of Himachal
Adventure in Himachal

The rivers, forests, snow covered mountains and alpine meadows in Himachal provides a wide range of interesting and leisure activities to the tourists. Some of these adventurous sports are Skiing, Mountain cycling, camping, mountaineering, trekking, river rafting, para gliding, heli skiing, golf and jeep safaris. Narkanda and Solang are the best areas where skiing is done in the winters. The Trans Himalayan tracts of Lahaul, Spiti and Kinnaur are best for mountain cycling. The best way to explore the beauty of Himalaya is by having a jeep, car or motorcycle safari. For the enthusiasts, no special training is required, but you should be perfectly fit. Equipment, training and instructors are available.

Camping in Himachal

Camping is perhaps the best way of enjoying the wonders of nature in Himachal Pradesh and sharing the warmth of its people. You can carry your own sleeping bags and other camping equipments along while you are traveling and set up your own camps. Besides this you can also select any one of the camps that are pitched in various parts of the State. These camps offers various facilities like accommodation, catering and various other leisure activities like hiking, fishing, rafting and nature tour

Camping in Himachal

Hill Stations in Himachal

Hill Stations, Hill Stations in Himachal

There are five well-developed core-focus zones that draw the maximum visitors and also acts as the base camps for most of towns of Himachal. These are the towns of Shimla, Kullu and Manali, Dalhousie and Chamba, Dharamsala and Palampur and the ‘tribal areas’ of Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti. Shimla is the capital city of Himachal Pradesh. It is also known as the "Queen of the Hill stations". Dharamshala is a beautiful and peaceful hill station, surrounded by the pine forests. It provides a range of interesting activities for the visitors.

Wildlife Sanctuaries in Himachal

Himachal Pradesh has a different type of topography, climate and forest cover due to which it has been gifted with a vast variety of flora and fauna. Out of the total geographical area of 55,670 sq. km, the forest area as per legal classification is 37691 sq km. There are about 32 wildlife sanctuaries, 2 national parks and 3 game reserves in Himachal Pradesh. Some of these wildlife sanctuaries are Simbalbara Sanctuary, Renuka Sanctuary, Maharana Pratap Sagar Sanctuary, Great Himalayan National Park.

More Information on Wildlife Sanctuaries in Himachal

Himachal Wildlife, Himachal Wildlife Sanctuaries

How to reach Himachal

By Air:
The three domestic airports in Himachal Pradesh are Bhuntar, Gaggal and Jubbarhatti. The regular flights operates between Shimla, Kulu, Delhi and Chandigarh.

By Rail:
The Pathankot - Jogindernagar line is the longest railway line which connect Punjab with Himachal Pradesh. The other railway tracks pass through Shimla. Shimla is connected with Kalka by a narrow gauge railway line, which in turn is connected with the major cities in India.

By Road:
The state of Himachal Pradesh is well accessible by road from Pathankot, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Shimla, Kullu, Manali, Delhi, Mandi and Chail.

About Himachal  Himachal Festivals Himachal Wildlife
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