Himachal Pradesh is a beautiful snow-laden mountainous state situated in North India. The State was formed in 25 January 1971 out of former Eastern Punjab just like other States of Haryana, Delhi and Punjab. Shimla is the capital city of Himachal Pradesh and other major towns are Dharamshala, Kangra, Mandi, Kullu, Chamba, Hamirpur, Dalhousie and Manali. The state has 12 districts. It is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab and Chandigarh on the west, Haryana on the southwest, Uttarakhand on the southeast, and the Tibet Autonomous Region on the east. At its southernmost point, it also touches the state of Uttar Pradesh. The name of this state has been termed from the Sanskrit language- “Him” means ‘snow’ and “achal” means ‘land’ or ‘abode’.
|Established||25 January 1971|
|Total Population (2011)||6,864,602|
|High Court||Himachal Pradesh High Court|
|Rivers||Beas River, Sutlej, Ravi River, Chenab River, Yamuna, Parvati River, Baspa River and Bhaga River etc.|
|National Parks||Great Himalayan National Park, Simbalbara National Park, Khirganga National Park, Inderkilla National Park etc.|
|Languages||Hindi, English, Punjabi, Kinnauri, Pahari, Kangri and Dogri|
|State Animal||Snow Leopard|
|State Bird||Western Tragopan|
|State Flower||Pink Rhododendron|
|Literacy Rate (2011)||68.74%|
|Females per 1000 males||974|
|Lok Sabha constituencies||4|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+05:30)|
The history of Himachal Pradesh dates back to the ancient times since Indus Valley Civilization which prospered in between 2250 and 1750 BCE. Himachal Pradesh was also inhabited by the pre-historic tribes like Dagis, Khasas, Koilis, Halis, Dhaugris, Dasa, Kinnars and Kirats. This region also saw the rule of Gupta Empire especially the golden times of King Harshavardhana. Himachal Pradesh was also ruled by various powers like Rajputs, Delhi Sultanate, Mughals, Thapas, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Gorkhas and lastly the powerful rule of British till Indian independence in 1947. In 1950, Himachal Pradesh was declared a Union Territory of India. Later on, with the passing of Himachal Pradesh Act (1971), it emerged as the 18th state of India.
The beautiful state of Himachal Pradesh is located in the Western Himalayas covering an area of 55,673 square kilometers. The major part of this mountainous state lies on the foothills of Dhauladhar Range and Shilla (7,025 m) is the highest mountain peak in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The drainage system of Himachal Pradesh consists of both rivers and glaciers and its rivers like Chenab, the Ravi, the Beas, the Sutlej, and the Yamuna flows the entire mountain chain of this region. These rivers are perennial and are fed by snow and rainfall and they are also protected by an extensive cover of natural vegetation.
The total population of Himachal Pradesh is 6,864,602 which include 3,481,873 males and 3,382,729 females according to the final results of the Census of India 2011. The life expectancy at birth in Himachal Pradesh is 62.8 and the infant mortality rate is counted at 40 in 2010. The literacy rate of Himachal Pradesh is 82.80 %.
The current GDP was estimated at Rs 254 billion. Agriculture is the main source of income and employment in Himachal Pradesh and it contributes almost half of the total net state domestic product. About 90% of the population depends directly upon agriculture and employment to almost 62% of total workers of state. The main cereals grown here are wheat, maize, rice and barley and apples are the principle cash crop grown here especially in the districts of Shimla, Kinnaur, Kullu, Mandi, Chamba and some parts of Sirmaur and Lahaul-Spiti Valley with an annual production of 5 lakh tones. Apple production contributes 3500 crore rupees to its State economy and apples from Himachal are exported to other Indian States and also abroad. Hydropower and tourism is also one of the major sources of income generation for the state. The state sells hydro electricity power to Punjab, Delhi and Rajasthan.
Himachal Pradesh tourism is the main contributor of the State’s economy. This mountainous region is the haven for the tourists coming from both domestic and foreign locations. Himachal Pradesh is known as the land of gods and abode of Lord Shiva. Hill stations like Shimla, Manali, Dalhousie, Chamba, Dharamshala and Kullu attracts tourists from all over places especially for its beauty and serene environment and cool climate. The state has various noted pilgrimage centres and famous Hindu temples like Naina Devi Temple, Vajreshwari Devi Temple, Jwala Ji Temple, Chintpurni, Chamunda Devi Temple, Baijnath Temple, Bhimakali Temple, Bijli Mahadev, Manu Temple at Shenshar in Kullu district, Renuka Lake and Jakhoo Temple. There are many tourists who come here to enjoy adventure sports like ice skating in Shimla, paragliding in Bir-billing and Solang valley, rafting in Kullu, skiing in Manali, boating in Bilaspur and trekking, horse riding and fishing in Spiti Valley. Himachal Pradesh is also an ideal destination for filmmakers for shooting their films. Films like Roja, Henna, Jab We Met, Veer-Zaara, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and Highway have been shot at various locations of Himachal Pradesh.
Himachal Pradesh is known for its adventure sports like Angling, Trekking, Skiing, Camping, Mountaineering, Para-gliding, River rafting, etc. Some of the sports personalities like Vijay Kumar (silver medalist in 25m shooting at the 2012 Summer Olympics) and Ajay Thakur (gold medalist at the Asian Games and World Cup in 2016) hails from Himachal Pradesh.
Himachal Pradesh is connected to all parts of India by various modes of transport- air, rail and road. Himachal Pradesh has 3 airports- Bhuntar airport in Kullu, Gaggal airport in Kangra and Shimla airport in the capital city of Himachal Pradesh- Shimla. The air routes connect the state with Delhi and Chandigarh. Himachal Pradesh is connected via narrow-gauge railway network especially the Kalka-Shimla Railway- an UNESCO World Heritage Site and another one is the Pathankot- Jogindernagar line. It also connects Amb (Una district) to Delhi. Roads are the major mode of transport in the hilly terrains. It has road network of 28,208 kilometers including eight National Highways that constitute 1,234 kilometers and 19 State Highways with a total length of 1,625 kilometers. Buses and cars ply on these roads.
The commonly spoken languages of Himachal Pradesh are Pahari, Kullvi, Mandeali, Kangri, Kinnauri, Chambeali, Hindi and Punjabi. This region is the home of various Hindu communities Brahmins, Rajputs, Kayasthas, Kannets, Rathis and Kolis. There are also tribal population like Gaddis, Kinnars, Gujjars, Pangawals and Lahaulis living here since centuries. The culture is mixed here. Pori, Fulaich, Diwali, Dusshera are the major festivals celebrated here. Mala and Rakshas Dance are the main folk dance of Himachal Pradesh. This region is famous for its handicrafts like carpets, leather works, Pashmina shawls, Himachali caps, Pahari paintings and the renowned Chamba Rumal has Kangra style paintings embroidered on cloth.
Himachal Pradesh has over 17000 educational institutes. This includes the renowned Indian Institute of Technology (Mandi), Himachal Pradesh University (Shimla), Institute of Himalayan Bio-resource Technology (Palampur), the National Institute of Technology(Hamirpur), Indian Institute of Information Technology(Una), the Central University (Dharamshala), Arni University (Kathgarh), Alakh Prakash Goyal University, the Bahra University (Waknaghat, Solan), the Baddi University of Emerging Sciences and Technologies (Baddi), IEC University, Shoolini University of Biotechnology and Management Sciences (Solan), Manav Bharti University (Solan), the Jaypee University of Information Technology(Waknaghat), Eternal University (Sirmaur) and Chitkara University are some of the universities in the state. CSK Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishwavidyalya (Palampur) is one of the most renowned hill agriculture institutes in the world. Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry has earned a unique merit in India for imparting teaching, research and extension education in horticulture, forestry and allied disciplines. Moreover, state-run Jawaharlal Nehru Government Engineering College was established in 2006 at Sundernagar. Himachal Pradesh also has a campus of the prestigious fashion college, National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) in Kangra.
Hospitals and Health care
Himachal Pradesh has around 3835 health institutions out of which the famous ones are Fortis Hospital (Kangra), Kullu Valley Hospital (Kullu), Malhotra Super Speciality Hospiyal (Baddi), Ekdantam Dental College (Hamirpur), Temzin Hospital (Shimla), etc.