Thursday, April 26, 2007

Himachal Pradesh

Capital : Shimla
Principal Language : Hindi and Pahari

Geography :

The mountain state of Himachal Pradesh sits on the hilly terrain of north India. With Jammu and Kashmir to its north, China to its east, Uttaranchal to its southeast, Uttar Pradesh to its south, Haryana to its southwest, and Punjab to its west, the state itself is geographically divided into three regions: the Shivalik (outer Himalayas), the inner Himalayas, and the alpine zone (greater Himalayas). The Shivalik region is between 350 and 1,500 meters above sea level, the inner Himalayas are between 1,500 and 4,500 meters above sea level, and the alpine zone is over 4,500 meters above sea level. These high altitudes help maintain the snow-fed rivers that slice through the state: the Chenab, Ravi, Beas, Sutlej, and Yamuna.

Important Cities - Towns and Religious - Tourist Place :

Baijnath, Bhakar-Nangal, Bilaspur, Chail, Chamba, Chandwick Falls, Chintpurni, Craignano, Dalhousie, Dharamsala, Hamirpur, Jwalamukhi, Jogindernagar, Kalpa, Kangra Valley, Kasauli, Keylong, Kufri, Kulu, Lahaul Valley, Kasauli, Keylong, Kufri, Kulu, Lahaul Valley, Mahasu, Manali, Mandi, Mashobra, Nahan, Naldera, Narkanda, Palanpur, Pangi Valley, Paonta Sahib, Parvati Valley, Phagu, Shimla, Prospect Hill, Rewalsar Lake, Solan, Spiti Valley, Summer Hill, Rewalsar Lake, Solan, Spiti Valley, Summer Hill, Tara Devi, Una, Wild Flower Hall are health resorts. Temples at Chamunda Devi. Chintpurni Devi, Jakhu, Jwalajee. Naina Devi. Renuka and Rewalsar Deoth Siddh are pilgrimage centres. Ski courses are held at Narkanda. Museum-cum-art gallery in Naggar and Dharamsala. Tourist resort of Khajjair in Chamba district has been christened as the Switzerland of Himachal Pradesh.

Climate :

The state is also divided climatically into two regions. The weather of southern Himachal Pradesh tends to be warm like that of the plains of India. It is said that Himachal Pradesh's ranges from semi tropic to semi arctic, because northern Himachal Pradesh, with its high elevation, regularly experiences extremely cold weather. Despite summer (April to June) bringing moderate, comfortable weather and the monsoon season (July to September) bringing only slightly cooling rains, winter (October to February) brings bone chilling temperatures and heavy snowfall.

Location :

Himachal Pradesh is bounded north by Jammu and Kashmir, South by Uttaranchal and Uttar anchal and Uttar Pradesh, Tiber (China) in the east and Punjab in the west

Culture :

A great deal of the state's population is made up of tribal hill peoples and cannot be found in urban areas. This population is divided into five major groups: the Gaddis, Kinners, Gujjars, Pangawals, and Lahaulis. The Gaddis and Kinners are traditionally shepherds or herdsman, and the Gujjars are nomadic buffalo herders. The Pangawals are lesser known by a distinctive way of life, due to the many Hindu castes present in their culture. Similarly, the Lahaulis are more often distinguished as being predominantly Buddhist. These many peoples provide for many celebrations across the land. Some of the most famous of these being the Kullu Dussehra (October), Lavi fair (November), and Navratri fair (April and October). The importance of crafts in the state focuses on everyday use. Master craftsmanship in metalworking is typically used to create beautiful utensils, ceremonial articles, and common jewelry. Fabulously embroidered shawls and winter clothing display traditional styles and designs, while providing practical protection from the harsh weather. The cuisine of the state is less distinctive due to longtime interaction with the people of Punjab and Tibet. Punjabi and Tibetan culture have made their impact on the food of Himachal Pradesh; however, many regions of the state are known for their own particular specialties that are not easily available outside the state. For example, the Kangra region is known for its Nasasta (sweetmeat).

History :

Himachal Pradesh came into being on April 15, 9148 and comprised 30 former hill States. The State of Bilaspur was merged with Himachal Pradesh in 1954. The six original districts were: Mahasu, Sirmur, Mandi, Chamba, Bilaspur and Kinnaur. On November 1,1966 under the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966 certain parts of the State of Punjab were transferred to Himachal Pradesh. These comprise the districts of Shimla, Kulu, Kangra and Lahaul and Spiti, and parts of Hoshiarpur and Ambala districts. Himachal Pradesh attained full statehood on January 25, 1971 as the 18th State of the Union

Economy :

Agriculture and horticulture are the mainstay of Himachal Pradesh. About 76 percent of the total working population is engaged in these occupations. Fruits and cash crops, like seed potatoes, ginger, vegetable seeds, apples, stone fruits, etc. are grown in the State. Wheat, maize and rice are the major food crops. Besides apples, excellent variety of plums, peaches and apricots is also grown. Forests cover 64 percent of the area of the State. Rock salt, slate, gypsum, limestone, barytes, dolomite and Pyrites are the important minerals of Himachal Pradesh. Agro-horticulture produce, herbal resources, wool, sericulture and electronics industries have come up in Himachal Pradesh. There is also a brewery at Solan in the Private sector, also a brewery at Solan in the private sector, as also two big cement plants. One of the biggest fruit processing Plants in Asia in operation at Parwanoo. New power projects viz., Chamera II, Parbati Hydel Power Project and Kol Dam also being harnessed.

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