Welcome To Himachal Pradesh

Himachal was known since the earliest of times as "Devabhoomi", the abode of the Gods. The splendid heights of the Himalyan ranges, with its great scenic beauty and aura of spiritual calm seem the natural home of the Gods. Two thousands or more temples all over the State, reiterate this fact. Himachal Pradesh  is a state in Northern India. Its area is 21,495 sq mi (55,670 km2), and is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab on the west, Haryana on the south-west, Uttarakhand on the south-east and by the Tibet Autonomous Region on the east. Himachal Pradesh is famous for its abundant natural beauty.

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Demographics

geography

History

Religion&Culture

Tourist Attractions

Demographics

Himachal Pradesh has a total population of 6,856,509 including 3,473,892 males and 3,382,617 females as per the provisional results of the Census of India 2011. This is only 0.57 per cent of India's total population, recording a growth of 12.81 per cent. Total fertility rate (TFR) per woman is 1.8 which is one of lowest in India. Himachal Pradesh has a literacy rate of 83.78 per cent and gender ratio at 974/1000, according to the 2011 Census figures. Census-wise, the state is placed 21st on the population chart followed by Tripura at 22nd place. Kangra district was top ranked with a population strength of 1,507,223 (21.98%), Mandi district 999,518 (14.58%), Shimla district 813,384 (11.86%), Solan district 576,670 (8.41%), Sirmaur district 530,164 (7.73%), Una district 521,057 (7.60%), Chamba district 518,844 (7.57%), Hamirpur district 454,293 (6.63%), Kullu district 437,474 (6.38%), Bilaspur district 382,056 (5.57%), Kinnaur district 84,298 (1.23%) and Lahaul Spiti 31,528 (0.46%). The main communities are Rajputs, Rathis, Brahmins and Ghirth. The Ghirth (choudhary) community is found mainly in Kangra District. Himachal has a sizeable population of Tibetans. Himachal Pradesh has the one of the highest proportion of Hindu population in India (95.45%). Other religions that form a small percentage are Buddhism and Sikhism. The Lahaulis of Lahaul and Spiti region are mainly Buddhists. Sikhs mostly live in towns and cities and constitute 1.21% of the state population. For example they form 10% of the population in Una District adjoining the state of Punjab and 17% in Shimla, the state capital. The Buddhists are mainly natives and tribals from Lahaul and Spiti, where they form majority of 60% and Kinnaur where they form 40%, however the bulk are refugees from Tibet. The Muslims constitute slightly 1.94% of the population of Himachal Pradesh. The life expectancy at birth in Himachal Pradesh is 62.8 years (higher than the national average of 57.7 years) for 1986–1990. The infant mortality rate stood at 40 in 2010 and crude birth rate has declined from 37.3 in 1971 to 16.9 in 2010, below the national average of 26.5 in 1998. The crude death rate was 6.9 in 2010. Himachal Pradesh's literacy rate almost doubled between 1981 and 2011 (see table to right).

geography

Himachal is in the western Himalayas. Covering an area of 55,673 square kilometres (21,495 sq mi), it is a mountainous state. Most of the State lies on the foothills of The Dhauladhar Range. The drainage system of Himachal is composed both of rivers and glaciers. Himalayan rivers criss-cross the entire mountain chain. Himachal Pradesh provides water to both the Indus and Ganges basins.The drainage systems of the region are the Chandra Bhaga or the Chenab, the Ravi, the Beas, the Sutlej and the Yamuna. These rivers are perennial and are fed by snow and rainfall. They are protected by an extensive cover of natural vegetation. Due to extreme variation in elevation, there is great variation in the climatic conditions of Himachal . The climate varies from hot and sub-humid tropical in the southern tracts to, with more elevation, cold, alpine and glacial in the northern and eastern mountain ranges. The state has areas like Dharamsala that receive very heavy rainfall, as well as those like Lahaul and Spiti that are cold and almost rainless. Broadly, Himachal experiences three seasons: summer, winter and rainy season. Summer lasts from mid April till the end of June and most parts become very hot (except in the alpine zone which experiences a mild summer) with the average temperature ranging from 28 to 32 °C (82 to 90 °F). Winter lasts from late November till mid March. Snowfall is common in alpine tracts (generally above 2,200 metres (7,218 ft) i.e. in the higher and trans-Himalayan region).

History

Himachal Pradesh has been inhabited by human beings since the dawn of civilization. It has a rich and varied history which can be divided into several distinct eras. The history of the area that now constitutes Himachal Pradesh dates back to the time when the Indus valley civilisation flourished between 2250 and 1750 BCE. Tribes such as the Koilis, Halis, Dagis, Dhaugris, Dasa, Khasas, Kinnars and Kirats inhabited the region from pre-historic era. During the Vedic period, several small republics known as "Janapada" existed which were later conquered by the Gupta Empire. After a brief period of supremacy by King Harshavardhana, the region was once again divided into several local powers headed by chieftains, including some Rajput principalities. These kingdoms enjoyed a large degree of independence and were invaded by Delhi Sultanate a number of times. Mahmud Ghaznavi conquered Kangra at the beginning of the 10th century. Timur and Sikander Lodi also marched through the lower hills of the state and captured a number of forts and fought many battles. Several hill states acknowledged Mughal suzerainty and paid regular tribute to the Mughals.  The Gurkhas, a martial tribe, came to power in Nepal in the year 1768. They consolidated their military power and began to expand their territory. Gradually the Gorkhas annexed Sirmour and Shimla. With the leadership of Amar Singh Thapa, Gorkhas laid siege to Kangra. They managed to defeat Sansar Chand Katoch, the ruler of Kangra, in 1806 with the help of many provincial chiefs. However, Gurkhas could not capture Kangra fort which came under Maharaja Ranjeet Singh in 1809. After the defeat, the Gurkhas began to expand towards the south of the state. However, Raja Ram Singh, Raja of Siba State managed to capture the fort of Siba from the remnants of Lahore Darbar in Samvat 1846, during the First Anglo-Sikh War. They came into direct conflict with the British along the tarai belt after which the British expelled them from the provinces of the Satluj. The British gradually emerged as the paramount power. In the revolt of 1857, or first Indian war of independence, arising from a number of grievances against the British, the people of the hill states were not as politically active as were those in other parts of the country. They and their rulers, with the exception of Bushahr, remained more or less inactive. Some, including the rulers of Chamba, Bilaspur, Bhagal and Dhami, rendered help to the British government during the revolt. The British territories came under the British Crown after Queen Victoria's proclamation of 1858. The states of Chamba, Mandi and Bilaspur made good progress in many fields during the British rule. During World War I, virtually all rulers of the hill states remained loyal and contributed to the British war effort, both in the form of men and materials. Among these were the states of Kangra, Jaswan, Datarpur, Guler, Nurpur, Chamba, Suket, Mandi, and Bilaspur. After independence the Chief Commissioner's Province of H.P. came into being on 15 April 1948 as a result of integration of 28 petty princely states (including feudatory princes and zaildars) in the promontories of the western Himalaya, known in full as the Simla Hills States & four Punjab southern hill States by issue of the Himachal Pradesh (Administration) Order, 1948 under Sections 3 & 4 of the Extra-Provincial Jurisdiction Act, 1947 (later renamed as the Foreign Jurisdiction Act, 1947 vide A.O. of 1950). The State of Bilaspur was merged in the Himachal Pradesh on 1 April 1954 by the Himachal Pradesh and Bilaspur (New State) Act, 1954. Himachal became a part C state on 26 January 1950 with the implementation of the Constitution of India and the Lt. Governor was appointed. Legislative Assembly was elected in 1952. Himachal Pradesh became a Union Territory on 1 November 1956. Following area of Punjab State namely Simla, Kangra, Kulu and Lahul and Spiti Districts, Nalagarh tehsil of Ambala District, Lohara, Amb and Una kanungo circles, some area of Santokhgarh kanungo circle and some other specified area of Una tehsil of Hoshiarpur District besides some parts of Dhar Kalan Kanungo circle of Pathankot tehsil of Gurdaspur District; were merged with Himachal Pradesh on 1 November 1966 on enactment of Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966 by the Parliament. On 18 December 1970, the State of Himachal Pradesh Act was passed by Parliament and the new state came into being on 25 January 1971. Thus Himachal emerged as the eighteenth state of the Indian Union.

Religion&Culture

Hinduism is the main religion in Himachal Pradesh. Himachal Pradesh is ranked first in India in terms of the proportion of Hindus present within it. More than 95% of the total population belongs to the Hindu faith, the distribution of which is evenly spread throughout the state. Muslims are mainly present in the Chamba and Solan districts, whilst the minority Buddhist population primarily resides in the Lahul & Sapiti and Kinnour districts. Himachal was one of the few states that had remained largely untouched by external customs, largely due to its difficult terrain. With the technological advancements the state has changed very rapidly. It is a multireligional, multicultural as well as multilingual state like other Indian states. Some of the most commonly spoken languages includes Hindi, Pahari, Dogri, Mandeali Kangri, Mandyali, Gojri and Kinnauri. The caste communities residing in Himachal include the Khatri, Brahmins of the Hindu Faith and the Sikh Brahmin Caste Bhatra, Rajputs, Gujjars, Gaddis, Ghirth (choudhary), Kannets, Rathis and Kolis, Sood There are tribal populations in the state which mainly comprise Kinnars, Pangawals, Sulehria, and Lahaulis.The people Of Himachal Pradesh are very simple and live a traditional ´Pahari' lifestyle. The state is well known for its handicrafts. The carpets, leather works, shawls, metalware, woodwork and paintings are worth appreciating. Pashmina shawls are a product that is highly in demand in Himachal and all over the country. Himachali caps are famous art work of the people. Extreme cold winters of Himachal necessitated wool weaving. Nearly every household in Himachal owns a pit-loom. Wool is considered as pure and is used as a ritual cloth. The well-known woven object is the shawl, ranging from fine pashmina to the coarse desar. Kullu is famous for its shawls with striking patterns and vibrant colours. Kangra and Dharamshala are famous for Kangra miniature paintings. Local music and dance reflect the cultural identity of the state. Through their dance and music, they entreat their gods during local festivals and other special occasions. Apart from the fairs and festivals that are celebrated all over India, there are number of other fairs and festivals that are of great significance to Himachal Pradesh. Shimla, the state capital, is home to Asia's only natural ice skating rink.

Tourist Attractions

Tourism in Himachal Pradesh is a major contributor to the state's economy and growth. The state is endowed with variety of landscape and vivid topographic features which attract tourists. The state is also known for its adventure activities which include paragliding in Bir-billing and Solang valley, rafting in Kullu, ice skating in Shimla, boating in Bilaspur and trekking, horse riding, skiing and fishing. Spiti Valley in Lahaul & Spiti District provide breathtaking landscapes for adventure seekers. The region also has some of the oldest Buddhist Monasteries in Asia. The state is also a famous destination for film shooting for movies like Roja, Henna, Jab We Met, Veer-Zaara, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and Highway mostly by the contribution of Anil Kaistha.