Himachal Pradesh (Hindi: ) ) is a state in Northern India. It is spread over , and is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab on the west and south-west, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh on the south, Uttarakhand on the south-east and by the Tibet Autonomous Region on the east.
Himachal Pradesh is known to be abundant in natural beauty After the war between Nepal and Britain also known as Anglo Gorkha War, the British colonial government came into power. In 1950 Himachal was declared as a union territory but after the State of Himachal Pradesh Act 1971, Himachal emerged as the 18th state of the Republic of India. Himachal has many prestigious boarding schools. Hima means snow in Sanskrit, and the literal meaning of the state's name is In the lap of Himalayas. It was named by one of the great Sanskrit scholars of Himachal Pradesh, Acharya Diwakar Datt Sharma. Its name means "Abode of Snow".
The Economy of the Himachal Pradesh is currently the third fastest growing economy in India. Himachal Pradesh has been ranked fourth in the list of the highest per capita incomes of Indian states. Due to the abundance of perennial rivers, Himachal also sells hydro electricity to other states such as Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan. The economy of the state is highly dependent on three sources: hydroelectric power, tourism and agriculture.
Hindus make up 95% of the state population, making it the most Hindu state (proportionally), in India. According to a 2005 Transparency International survey, Himachal Pradesh is ranked the second-least corrupt state in the country after Kerala.
Sansar Chand (c.1765 1823) 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 that enjoyed a large degree of independence were devastated by Muslim invaders 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 Gorkhas could not capture Kangra fort which came under Maharaja Ranjeet Singh in 1809. After the defeat the Gorkhas 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. Thus the British gradually emerged as the paramount powers. The revolt of 1857 or first Indian war of independence resulted due to the building up of political, social, economic, religious and military grievances against the British government. People of the hill states were not as politically active as the people in other parts of the country. They remained more or less inactive and so did their rulers, with the exception of Bushahr. Some of them even rendered help to the British government during the revolt. Among them were the rulers of Chamba, Bilaspur, Bhagal and Dhami. The rulers of Bushars rather acted in a manner hostile to the interests of British.
The British territories in the hill came under 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. Amongst 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.
Geography and climate
Dal Lake]] A summer view of Khajjiar. Asian Paradise Flycatcher in Kullu Himalyan Monal at Birds Park in Shimla
Himachal is situated in the western Himalayas. Covering an area of , Himachal Pradesh is a mountainous state with elevation ranging from about to above the sea level.
The drainage system of Himachal is composed both of rivers and glaciers. Himalayan rivers criss-cross the entire mountain chain. In fact the rivers are older than the mountain system. 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.
There is great variation in the climatic conditions of Himachal due to extreme variation in elevation. The climate varies from hot and sub-humid tropical in the southern tracts to cold, alpine and glacial in the northern and eastern mountain ranges with more elevation. 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 experience three seasons; hot weather season, cold weather season and rainy season. Summer lasts from mid April till the end of June and most parts become very hot (except in alpine zone which experience mild summer) with the average temperature ranging from to . Winter lasts from late November till mid March. Snowfall is common in alpine tracts (generally above i.e. in the Higher and Trans-Himalayan region).
Flora and fauna
According to 2003 Forest Survey of India report, legally defined forest areas constitute 66.52% of the area of Himachal Pradesh, although area under tree cover is only 25.78%. Vegetation in the state is dictated by elevation and precipitation.
The southern part of the state, which is at the lowest elevations, has both tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests and tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests. These are represented by northwestern thorn scrub forests along the border with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and by Upper Gangetic Plains moist deciduous forests in the far southeast. Sal and shisham are found here.
Rising into the hills, we find a mosaic of western Himalayan broadleaf forests and Himalayan subtropical pine forests. Various deciduous and evergreen oaks live in the broadleaf forests, while Chir pine dominates the pine forests. Western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests grow near treeline, with species that include East Himalayan Fir, West Himalayan Spruce, Deodar (State tree), and Blue pine.
In the uppermost elevations we find western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows in the northeast and northwestern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows in the northwest. Trees are sturdy with a vast network of roots. Alders, birches, rhododendrons and moist alpine shrubs are there as the regional vegetation. The rhododendrons can be seen along the hillsides around Shimla from March to May. The shrublands and meadows give way to rock and ice around the highest peaks.
Himachal is also said to be the fruit bowl of the country with orchards scattered all over the place. Meadows and pastures are also seen clinging to steep slopes. After the winter season, the hillsides and orchards bloom with wild flowers, while gladiolas, carnations, marigolds, roses, chrysanthemums, tulips and lilies are carefully cultivated. The state government is gearing up to make Himachal Pradesh as the flower basket of the world.
Himachal Pradesh is a well known habitat to a variety of animals. There are around 1200 bird and 359 animal species in the state. This includes the Leopard, Snow leopard (State animal), ghoral, musk deer and Western Tragopan. It has 12 major national parks and sanctuaries the largest number in the Himalayan region. The Great Himalayan National Park in Kullu district was created to conserve the flora and fauna of the main Himalayan range, while the Pin Valley National Park to conserve the flora and fauna of the cold desert.
Himachal Pradesh is divided into 12 districts namely, Kangra, Hamirpur, Mandi, Bilaspur, Una, Chamba, Lahaul and Spiti, Sirmaur, Kinnaur, Kullu, Solan and Shimla. The state capital is Shimla which was formerly British India's summer capital under the name Simla.
A district of Himachal Pradesh is an administrative geographical unit, headed by a Deputy Commissioner or District Magistrate, an officer belonging to the Indian Administrative Service. The district magistrate or the deputy commissioner is assisted by a number of officers belonging to Himachal Administrative Service and other Himachal state services. Each district is subdivided into Sub-Divisions, governed by a sub-divisional magistrate, and again into Blocks. Blocks consists of panchayats (village councils) and town municipalities. A Superintendent of Police, an officer belonging to the Indian Police Service is entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining law and order and related issues of the district. He is assisted by the officers of the Himachal Police Service and other Himachal Police officials.
Town Hall in Shimla. The Legislative Assembly of Himachal Pradesh has no pre-Constitution history. The State itself is a post-Independence creation. It came into being as a centrally administered territory on 15 April 1948 from the integration of thirty erstwhile princely states.
Himachal Pradesh is governed through a parliamentary system of representative democracy, a feature the state shares with other Indian states. Universal suffrage is granted to residents. The legislature consists of elected members and special office bearers such as the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker who are elected by the members. Assembly meetings are presided over by the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker in the Speaker's absence. The judiciary is composed of the Himachal Pradesh High Court and a system of lower courts. Executive authority is vested in the Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister, although the titular head of government is the Governor. The Governor is the head of state appointed by the President of India. The leader of the party or coalition with a majority in the Legislative Assembly is appointed as the Chief Minister by the Governor, and the Council of Ministers are appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister. The Council of Ministers reports to the Legislative Assembly. The Assembly is unicameral with 68 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA). Terms of office run for 5 years, unless the Assembly is dissolved prior to the completion of the term. Auxiliary authorities known as panchayats, for which local body elections are regularly held, govern local affairs.
Governments have seen alternates between Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Indian National Congress (INC), no third front ever has become significant. In 2003, the state legislative assembly was won by the Indian National Congress and Virbhadra Singh was elected as the chief minister of the state. In the assembly elections held in December 2007, the BJP secured a landslide victory. The BJP won 41 of the 68 seats while the Congress won only 23 of the 68 seats. BJP's Prem Kumar Dhumal was sworn in as Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh on 30 December 2007.
Chief Ministers of Himachal Pradesh
Gross State Domestic Product at Current Prices
figures in millions of Indian Rupees
||Gross State Domestic Product
The era of planning started in Himachal in 1948 along with the rest of India. The first five year plan allocated .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. Himachal now ranks fourth in respect of per capita income among the states of the Indian Union.
Agriculture contributes over 45% to the net state domestic product. It is the main source of income and employment in Himachal. Over 93% of the population in Himachal depend directly upon agriculture which provides direct employment to 71% of its people. The main cereals grown are wheat, maize, rice and barley.
Himachal has a rich heritage of handicrafts. These include woolen and pashmina shawls, carpets, silver and metal ware, embroidered chappals, grass shoes, Kangra and Gompa style paintings, wood work, horse-hair bangles, wooden and metal utensils and various other house hold items. These aesthetic and tasteful handicrafts declined under competition from machine made goods and also because of lack of marketing facilities. But now the demand for handicrafts has increased within and outside the country.
Himachal is extremely rich in hydro electric resources. The state has about 25% of the national potential in this respect. It has been estimated that about 20,300MW of hydro electric power can be generated in the State by constructing various major, medium, small and mini/micro hydel projects on the five river basins. The state is also the first state in India to achieve the goal of having a bank account for every family.
As per the current prices, the total GDP was estimated at 25,435 crore ( 254,350,000,000), as against 23,024 crore ( 230,240,000,000) in the year 2004 05, showing an increase of 10.5%.
Railway: Railway track is accessible only to a few places in Himachal Pradesh. The Pathankot Jogindernagar line connects Punjab with Himachal Pradesh. The other railway tracks pass through Shimla, Solan and Una. Shimla is connected with Kalka by a narrow gauge railway line, which in turn is connected with the major cities in India. Himachal has two narrow gauge rail tracks. The Kalka-Shimla Railway track has a length of 96 kilometres. It passes through 102 tunnels and crosses 864 bridges. Bilaspur-Mandi-Leh Railway is a proposed railway project which will be longest in Himachal Pradesh and it is expect to be highest railway track in the world.
Traditional home, Manali 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 Brahmins, Gujjars, Rathis, Saini, Jats, Rajputs Gaddis, Ghirth (choudhary), Kanets, and Kolis. The Ghirth (choudhary) community is found mainly in Kangra District. Himachal has a sizeable population of Tibetans. Himachal Pradesh has the highest proportion of Hindu population in India (95%). 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. 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 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 62 in 1999 and crude birth rate has declined from 37.3 in 1971 to 22.6 in 1998, below the national average of 26.5 in 1998. The crude death rate was 7.7 in 1998. Himachal Pradesh's literacy rate grew by 34.65% between 1981 and 2001.
Hindi is used in official businesses. Pahari is spoken in most of Himachal as mean of communication between common people. Bhoti and Kinnauri is spoken in districts of Kinnaur and Lahul and Spiti.
The major spoken languages include Hindi, Punjabi, Mahasui, Kulluyi, Lahauli, Kinnauri, Chambyali, Sirmauri, Gojri (by Gujjars), Bilaspuri, Pahari, Dogri, Kangri. Sino-Tibetan languages spoken in Himachal Pradesh are the Sunam language 558 (1998), Gahri language 4,000 (1997), Jangshung language 1,990 (1998), Kanashi language 1,400 (2002 Chauhan), Kinnauri language 48,778, Kinnauri Bhoti language 6,000 (1998), Chitkuli language 1,060 (1998), Pattani language 11,000 (1997), Shumcho language 2,174 (1998) and the Tukpa language 723 (1998).
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, Gojri, Punjabi and Kinnauri. The caste communities residing in Himachal include the Brahmins, Rajputs, Gujjars, Gaddis, Grith (choudhary), Kannets, Rathis and Kolis. There are tribal populations in the state which mainly comprise Kinnars, Pangawals, Sulehria, and Lahaulis.
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.
The day to day food of Himachalis is very similar to the rest of the north India. They have lentil, broth, rice, vegetables and bread. Some of the specialties of Himachal include paneer, chouck, bhagjery, jhoul, patrode, siddu/batooru ( wheat flour mixed with yeast make thick bread), beduan, chutney, khatti dal, mahni, khatta and ambua, madra,lingree( unfolded fern twigs),, lachede,karale, pahari aloo and pahari murgh, rehroo. .
Prominent people associated with Himachal include The Great Khali, Anupam Kher, Amrish Puri (who studied here), Prem Chopra (brought up here), Mohit Chauhan, Anand Sharma (member of Rajya Sabha and Union Cabinet Minister for Commerce and Industry of the Government of India), Third Supreme Court Chief-Justice and former Prime Minister of Kashmir in 1947 Mehr Chand Mahajan, economist and former vice-president of World Bank Shahid Javed Burki, NSG Commando, Pritam Singh, Bollywood actresses Preity Zinta, Kangna Ranaut, Hollywood actress Namrata Singh Gujral, Satyananda Stokes who introduced apple in the region, writer Idries Shah, ornithologist Allan Octavian Hume (had his home here),Dr. Ishwar Das IAS- first IAS from Kangra belonging to Sujanpurtira, and retired as Chief Secretary-Madhya Pradesh; Dr. Sant K. Bhatnagar -eminent Rubber Technologist and Scientist and Kharagpur IITian belonging to Sujanpurtira; Professor Uttam Chand Mahajan- retired Principal of Government College, Hamirpur who authored four books on Astrology; former general of Pakistan Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and current president of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai who both studied here.
IIT Mandi Campus Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital at Shimla Indian Institute of Advanced Study at Shimla Himachal Pradesh has one of the highest literacy rates in India next to Kerala. Hamirpur District is among the top districts in the country for literacy. Education rates among women are quite encouraging in the state. The standard of education in the state has reached a considerably high level as compared to other states in India with several reputed educational institutes for higher studies.
The Indian Institute of Technology Mandi, Himachal Pradesh University Shimla, Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT, CSIR Lab), Palampur, the National Institute of Technology, Hamirpur, the Central University Dharamshala, the Baddi University of Emerging Sciences and Technologies Baddi, the Jaypee University of Information Technology Waknaghat, Eternal University, Sirmaur & Chitkara University Solan are some of the pioneer universities in the state. CSK Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishwavidyalya Palampur is one of the most renowned hill agriculture institutes in world. Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry has earned a unique distinction in India for imparting teaching, research and extension education in horticulture, forestry and allied disciplines. Further, state-run Jawaharlal Nehru Government Engineering College started in 2006 at Sundernagar is an important milestone in higher technical education in the state.
The state government is working constantly to prepare plans and projects to strengthen the education system. The state government decided to start three nursing colleges to develop the health system.
There are over 10,000 primary schools, 1,000 secondary schools and more than 1,300 high schools in Himachal. The state government has decided to start up with three major nursing colleges to develop the health system in the state. In meeting the constitutional obligation to make primary education compulsory, Himachal has became the first state in India to make elementary education accessible to every child.
The state has Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital, Homoeopathic Medical College & Hospital, Kumarhatti. Besides that there is Himachal Dental College which is the state's first recognised dental institute.
Himachal has institutions to revive fading traditional skills such as those in art and architecture. The Chitera School of Art teaches the delicate style of Kangra miniature paintings. The Dharmalaya Institute is working to preserve the arts of the Kangra style of traditional, vernacular earthen architecture.
W.R.S. College Dehri (Nurpur) is an ancient college of Himachal |Pradesh. |}
Media and communication
Though situated in a remote part of the country, Himachal Pradesh has an active community of journalists and publishers. Several newspapers and magazines are published in more than one language, and their reach extends to almost all the Hindi speaking states. Radio and TV have permeated significantly. Judging by the number of people writing to these media, there is a very large media-aware population in the state.
The Telegraph, The Statesman, Asian Age, Hindustan Times, Punjab Kesari, Amar Ujala, Divya Himachal and The Times of India are the newspapers published here. Vernacular newspapers such as those in Hindi, Punjabi and Nepali are also read by selected readership.
Doordarshan is the state-owned television broadcaster. Doordarshan Shimla also provides programs in Pahari language.Multi system operators provide a mix of Nepali, Hindi, English, and international channels via cable. All India Radio is a public radio station. Private FM stations are also available in few cities like Shimla. BSNL, Reliance Infocomm, Tata Indicom, Tata Docomo, Aircel, S Tel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Airtel are available cellular phone operators. Broadband internet is available in select towns and cities and is provided by the state-run BSNL and by other private companies. Dial-up access is provided throughout the state by BSNL and other providers.
Source: Department of Information and Public Relations.
|Scheduled Caste Population
|Scheduled Tribe Population
|Urban Local Bodies
|Identified Hydroelectric Potential
||20,787 MW in five rivers basins i.e. (Yamuna, Satluj, Beas, Ravi, Chenab and Himurja)
|Food grain production
||16.69 lakh tonnes
||9 lakh tonnes
||6.95 lakh tonnes
|Per Capita Income
||. 36,783 (2006 2007) Expected
|Social security Pension
||237,250 Persons, Annual Expenditure: Over . 60 Crore
|Investment in Industrial Area
||. 27,380/- crore, Employment Opportunities: Over 337,391
|Employment generated in Government Sector
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