Himachal Pradesh


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With spectacular snowy peaks and plunging river valleys, beautiful Himachal Pradesh is India's outdoor adventure playground. The ancient Sanskrit poet Kaldisa called the Himalayas "the measuring rod of the world" -- in size and scale and splendor there is little on earth that compares in magnitude to the high altitude ranges that shelter these far northern reaches of India. Himachal Pradesh is a must-see destination for those who love mountains. The state is proud of its glorious history and rich cultural heritage. Shimla, the state capital, takes you to get ready to tackle one of the greatest road adventures in Asia -- negotiating the ledges, landslides, and hairpin bends of the Hindustan-Tibet Road through the remote valleys of Kinnaur, Spiti, and Lahaul.

Himachal Pradesh State Basic Information

Capital Shimla
Area 55,673 sq. km
Population 68,56,5098
No. of District 12
Literacy Rate 83.78%
Chief Minister Shri virbhadra singh
Governer Acharya devvrat
Sex Ratio 968
Language Hindi
Date of Formation 25th jan 1971
State Animal Snow Leopard
State Bird Jujurana
State Flower Pink Rhododendron
State Tree Deodar
Official Website www.himachal.nic.in

History

Himachal Pradesh has a rich history that has laid a strong foundation for the state it is now. Himachal Pradesh region was called 'Deva Bhoomi'. In early period, the foothills of the state were inhabited by people from Indus valley civilization i.e. tribes like the Koilis, Halis, Dagis, Dhaugris, Dasa, Khasas, Kinnars and Kirats which flourished between 2250 and 1750 B.C. The Aryan influence in this area of India dates to the period before the Rigveda. Sankar Varma, the king of Kashmir exercised his influence over regions of Himachal Pradesh in about 883 AD. This region witnessed the invasion of Mahmud of Ghazni in 1009 AD, who during that period invaded and looted the wealth from the temples in the North of India.

There are evidences that confirm the existence of pre historic humans in this region. Himachal Pradesh has also find its place in Epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana too. Various legends and mythological depiction also have appraised this state with varied names. According to the Mahabharta the tract which forms the present day Himachal Pradesh was made up of number of small republics known as Janpadas each of which constituted both a state and cultural unit.

In the early 19th century the British exercised their influence and annexed the areas of Shimla after the Gurkha War of 1815-16. It became a centrally administered territory in 1948 with the integration of 31 hill states and received additional regions added to it in 1966. Under the British Raj, Kangra District was part of the British province of Punjab, and the princely states, then known as the Simla Hill States, were under the authority of Punjab until the early 1930's, when the Punjab States Agency was created, under the direct authority of the Governor-General of India.

Geography

Spreaded over an area of upto 55,673 km2 and surrounded by Jammu and Kashmir in the north,Himachal Pradesh is one of the very beautiful mountainous regions in India. It is located between Latitude 30O 22' 40" N to 33O 12' 20" N and Longitude 75O 45' 55" E to 79O 04' 20" E, with altitudes ranging from 350 meters to 6,975 meters above the mean sea level. The tallest peaks are Leo Purgyal (6791 m) near Nako in Kinnaur; Kinnaur Kailash (6050 m) overlooking eastern Kinnaur, and Deo Tibba (6001 m) not far from Manali. Himachal literally means 'Land of snowy mountains'. Himalayas, the great mountain system extends almost 2,500 Km., from North-West to South-East and width of Himalayas is between 250 to 300 Km. The Himalayas are one of the youngest among the mountain system in India and these are believed to be 40 million years old. There are a number of glaciers that exist here and a number of passes along the Pir-Panjal ranges. One of the famous pass is the Rohtang Pass. Zaskar and the great Himalayan ranges are home to many of the glaciers. Himachal Pradesh also boasts of its flaura. There is wildlife here and the state is covered by 38% of forests. Out of the 49 cities and towns, Naina Devi is the smallest town while Shimla is the largest. While the major population of Himachal Pradesh resides in the rural areas.

Culture

The people of Himachal Pradesh have a rich culture which is very much apparent in their day to day lives. Retaining their age-old customs and traditions, the people of Himachal Pradesh are proud of their rich cultural heritage. But at the same time they have embraced new influences keeping in pace with the changing times. Most of the people in Himachal depend on agriculture for livelihood. Many people derive their income from sheep, goats, and other cattle. Ninety percent of the people live in villages and small towns. However, more than 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.

The beauty of the culture of Himachal Pradesh lies in its simplicity. The most commonly spoken languages in Himachal Pradesh are Hindi, Punjabi, Pahari, Dogri, Kangri and Kinnauri. A majority of the people of the state are Hindus. Other inhabitants include Buddhists. There are several Hindu communities in the state such as Brahmins, Rajputs, Kannets, Rathis and Kolis. Some of the tribes inhabiting the state are Gaddis, Kinnars, Gujjars, Pangawals and Lahaulis. The Monuments of the state of Himachal Pradesh reveal crosscurrents of cultural and stylistics exchange along with local innovation in Art. This art has mostly grown out of age-old cultural heritage and numerous religious beliefs.Music and dance in Himachal Pradesh revolves around religion. Through their dance and music, people entreat gods during festivals and other special occasions. There are also dances that are specific to certain regions and are best performed by the people of that area. Information on Himachal Pradesh culture is incomplete without the mention of its delicious cuisine. The day to day food of Himachalis usually consists of pulses, rice, vegetables, chapati and chutney but at the same time their menu is also tilted towards non-vegetarian dishes.

Education

In the mid of 19th century, Himachal Pradesh was under the Direct control of British administration .During that period the state was the summer capital of India. This became one of the specific reasons behind penetration of good education in the state. The state of Himachal Pradesh has one of the best literacy rates in the country. According to Census 2011, the literacy rate in HP is 83.78%. It is 90.83% for the male population and 76.60% for the female population.

Himachal Pradesh has the some of the premier educational institutes like Himachal Pradesh University (Shimla), IIT (Mandi), NIT (Hamirpur), Central University of Himachal Pradesh (Dehra Gopipur) among others. There are five universities, two medical colleges, four dental colleges and two engineering colleges in the state. There are more than 10,000 primary schools, 1,000 secondary schools and more than 1,300 high schools in the state. In order to make constitutional promises a reality ‘to make primary education compulsory,’ Himachal has now become the first state in India to make elementary education easy to get to every child in the state.The state has also made commendable progress in allowing students belonging to Scheduled Caste, Schedules Tribe, and Other Backward Castes categories access education better. Education in Himachal Pradesh is administered by the Department of Education at all levels.

Economy

Himachal Pradesh is one of the fastest growing states in India.In a short span of time of Himachal Pradesh has become a model of development not for smaller States but for the bigger States of the country in the field of Education, Health, Horticulture, Social Welfare and inclusive growth. The first five year plan allocated Rs.5.27 crore to Himachal. More than 50% of this expenditure was incurred on road construction since it was felt that without proper transport facilities, the process of planning and development could not be carried to the people, who mostly lived an isolated existence in far away areas. The State Gross Domestic Product (GSDP) at factor cost at current prices, the GSDP is estimated at ₹ 1,13,667 crore in 2015-16 as against ₹ 1,04,177 crore in 2014-15 showing an increase of 9.1 percent during the year.

The economy of Himachal Pradesh is based mainly on agriculture and food processing. Terraced farmlands cover the lower slopes, while fruit orchards can be seen in the temperate regions. With suitable agro-climatic conditions, Himachal Pradesh has realised the importance of commercial crops, including off-season vegetables, potatoes and ginger. The state has emerged as the leading producer of off-season vegetables. Himachal Pradesh is one of the fastest-growing regions in the pharmaceutical industry in India, driven by incentives announced by the state Government in its Industrial Policy, 2004.

Governance

Himachal Pradesh comprises of 12 administrative districts, which are further divided into sub-divisions. The government and administration in Himachal Pradesh is controlled on the same paths as in other states of the country. The Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha). The Vidhan Sabha consists of 68 members. Himachal Pradesh has 4 seats in the Lok Sabha - the lower house of Parliament and 7 seats in Rajya Sabha - the upper house of Parliament. The Himachal Pradesh Assembly is elected by universal adult suffrage for a period of five years. The Chief Minister is the head of government and is vested with most of the executive powers. The Chief Minister is assisted by a Council of Ministers that he nominates, the size of which is restricted.

Judiciary in Himachal Pradesh is headed by Chief Justice as in other states of the country and Himachal Pradesh High Court is the head of the judiciary system in Himachal Pradesh. High Court of Himachal Pradesh was established at Bilaspur on 25th January 1971.

Tourism

'The land of snows', the meaning, is adequate to give you an idea of what to expect in Himachal Pradesh.Composed of lofty snow peaks, deep gorges, lush green valleys, fast flowing rivers, enchanting mountain lakes, flower bedecked meadows, beautiful temples and monasteries, the state of Himachal Pradesh is a traveller's paradise. Sandwiched between the Punjab and Tibet, its lowland orchards, subtropical forests and maize fields peter out in the higher reaches where pines cling to the steep slopes of mountains whose inhospitable peaks soar in rocky crags and forbidding ice fields to heights of more than 6000m. Surrounded by majestic mountains, out of which some still challenge mankind to conquer them, the beauty of the land is beyond imagination. Simla, one of the most captivating hill stations, is the capital of the state. May it be for relaxing, sightseeing, or for some hill side adventures like trekking, mountaineering, para-gliding, or more, Himachal has something for everyone.

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