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State Info / Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh

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Himachal Pradesh is wrapped in snow most of the time. Many parts of the state have a distinctly Austrian look with conifer-clad mountains, chalet-like huts with overhanging balconies and serene blue valleys watered by snow-fed streams. Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh, is still very much a Raj township in appearance and atmosphere.Himachal Pradesh stores numerous wonderful hill stations which are particularly cool in summers. Shimla, Dalhousie, Kullu, Kasauli, Manali, Chail and Kufri are a few of the hill Stations which offer breathtaking scenery. Dharmasala, where the Dalai Lama lives, is another important centre on the tourist map. The foremost shrine in Kangra town is the Brajeshwari Devi temple. 30 km from Kangra is Jwalamukhi, one of the most revered temples in northern India. The Kangra Museum has an impressive art collection.

History

Aryan groups filtered into the more productive valleys during the Vedic Period. Later, the Mauryans, Guptas and the Mughals sought to exercise varying degrees of control over trade and pilgrimage routes into this area and between India and Tibet. Lahul and Spiti was controlled by Ladakh from the decline of the Mughal Empire (about the mid-18th century) until the early 1840s, when it briefly came under Sikh rule. British domination followed the Anglo-Sikh Wars and continued, directly or indirectly, for the next 100 years. In 1948, it was constituted as an administrative unit comprising 30 princely states. The People: Himachalis lead a simple and quiet life, tending their orchards, fields and flocks. The population is composed of a variety of distinctive hill tribes: Gadis, Gujaris, Kinnauris, Lahulis, Pangwalis, and Rajputs. Hindi (the official state language) and Pahari are the principal languages. Himachal Pradesh is the least urbanized state in India; the urban population accounts for less than 10 per cent of the total. A simple people, they still hold their gods in awe. Culture: Keeping alive their rich highland identity, they remain immersed in the annual rounds of fairs and festivals full of music, song and dance. The Shimla hills, the Kullu valley (including the town of Manali), and Dalhousie are tourist attractions. Skiing, golfing, fishing, trekking, and mountaineering are activities for which Himachal Pradesh is ideally suited. Occupation: Most people in Himachal Pradesh earn their keep by agriculture, pastoralism, horticulture, and forestry. Among the state's main industrial products are agricultural implements, turpentine, and resin at Nahan, television sets, fertilizer, beer, and liquor at Solan, cement at Rajban, processed fruit at Parwanoo, and electronics near Shimla. Thousands of artisan-based, small-scale industrial units are also in operation. Handicrafts: Exquisitely designed shawls of Kinnaur, the distinctive woollen caps of Kullu, and the embroidered handkerchiefs of Chamba are some of the very attractive examples of local weaving. Himachal Pradesh is also known for its Kangra Valley school of paintings.

CLIMATE

The State can be divided into two regions: the Southern part which is almost as hot as the plains and the northern region having a temperate summer and a winter with extreme cold and heavy snowfall. The rainfall is around 180.cms.

Population: 6 million

The best time to visit is from Mid-May to mid-October.

Capital: Shimla

Area ('000 sq. km): 56

Females per 1000 males (1991): 976

Literacy rate (1991): 63.9

Ratio of urban population (1991): 8.7

Net Domestic Product(Rs. million at current prices in 1992-93): 27,980

Per Capita Income(Rs. at current prices in 1992-93): 5,355.

Transport : Air links, Rail links from Shimla, Private and State buses, cars and private taxis are easily available and handy in this hill state.

Language Spoken : Hindi, English, Pahari

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