Himachal Pradesh is traditionally termed as ‘DevBhumi’ - meaning the Land of the Gods. The state is situated in the Western Himalayas, sharing its boundary with neighboring country Tibet and the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana and Uttaranchal. Capital of Himachal Pradesh is Shimla, also regarded as the Queen of hills. The state has magnificent hill stations, stunning valleys, verdant hill-slopes, gushing streams and snowcapped mountains. Himachal Pradesh is like a flower bouquet and the tourists from all across the world get attracted by its spectacular scenic beauty. The state is full of pilgrimages, adventure destinations, hill resorts, and wildlife that allure a huge flock of tourists. Himachal Pradesh is a popular tourist destination and it is known as the fruit bowl of India, with orchards dotted all over the place.
Brief history of Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh evolved way back in the Vedic period, and thereafter the Aryans mixed up with the native people. The earliest residents of Himachal Pradesh were the Dasas, and later on Hindu Rajputs attained supremacy over the North Western districts of Chamba and Brahmour, which were the princely states of India between the 6th and 16th centuries. At that time, Kangra evolved as the most powerful territory, where the Katoch Rajputs fought many battles before surrendering to the Moguls in the 16th century. During the 17th century, the recently empowered Sikh community posed threat to Moguls, and at the beginning of the 18th century Maharaja Ranjit Singh gained throttlehold in Western part of Himachal, including Spiti and Kullu. After India got Independence in 1947, the areas bordering Punjab, were incorporated and named as Himachal Pradesh, and on the eve of first Republic day in 1950, Himachal became part of India, and in 1971 it was declared as the new state of the country.
Topography of Himachal Pradesh
The topographic diversity and the incredible scenic beauty of Himachal Pradesh are evident when tourists travel up the hills. The state is spread across an area of 55,673 square kilometers. Himachal Pradesh is positioned in the center of the western Himalayas. Majority of the area is covered by mountains with elevation ranging from 350 meters to over 6000 meters. The major rivers flowing through the state are Ravi, Beas, Chenab, Yamuna and Sutlej.
Demography of Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh is a multilingual, multicultural and multiregional state. The core communities are Rajputs, Brahmins, Rathis, Mahajans, Kannets and Kolis. The tribal populace comprises the Gujjars, Kinnars, Lahaulis, Pangawals, and Spitians. The people of Himachal reside in relatively closed community. The state has a considerable population of Tibetans. The major religions include Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Islamic and to some extent Christianity. The most widely spoken languages are Hindi, Punjabi, Kangri, Pahari, Sirmauri, Lahauli, Mahasui, Dogri, Chambyali, Kulluyi, Kinnauri and Bilaspuri.
Tourism in Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh, nestled in the northwestern part of Himalayas, has some popular hill stations including Dalhousie, Mussoourie, Kullu, Manali, Dharamshala, Mcleodgunj, and Palampur. Among the mountains, glaciers, valleys and pastures, Spiti and Lahaul are Buddhist Gompas or monasteries, forts, ancient monuments with frescos on the walls and ceilings. Other tourist spots include Kasauli, Chail, Naldera, Narkanda, Rampur Bashahr, Tibba, Solang, Chamba, Brahmour, Fagu, Kufri and Lakagot. Himachal Pradesh is easily accessible through rail, road and airways.