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Himachal Pradesh: In The Lap Of The Himalayas With A History Dating Back To The Indus Valley Civilisation

Indian State Himachal Pradesh

States and UTs

Himachal Pradesh: In The Lap Of The Himalayas With A History Dating Back To The Indus Valley Civilisation

Himachal Pradesh, which became a full-fledged state on 25 January 1971, is popular with tourists.

Himachal Pradesh is situated on the lap of the Himalayas and is popularly known as the “Fruit Bowl of India”. It is spread over an area of 55,673 sq. km. It shares its borders with Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Uttrakhand and Haryana. It has an international boundary with China.

Quick Facts

  • Capital – Shimla
  • Districts -12
  • Population – 6,864,602
  • Assembly seats – 68
  • Lok Sabha seats – 4
  • Rajya Sabha seats – 3
  • Literacy rate – 88.78%
  • Sex ratio – 972
  • Life expectancy – 71.6 years.
  • Infant mortality rate – 35

Political Background

Yashwant Singh Parmar was the first chief minister of Himachal Pradesh which was created on 25 January 1971. The current incumbent Jai Ram Thakur belongs to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Historic Relevance

The history of the state is as old as the Indus Valley Civilisation and has some traces of pre-historic humans, Aryans and Rajputs in the region. The state came under the British the Anglo-Gorkha War 1814-16.

Initially, Himachal Pradesh was a centrally administrative territory established on 15 April 1948. It was on 25 January 1971, that it emerged as an independent and self-governing state.

It is believed that the Kinnaur Tribe was the first to vote in the elections of independent India. Shyam Saran Negi, who turned 100 in 2017, is the oldest voter of an independent India.

State Exclusives 

  • Himachal Pradesh was declared as the first Smoke-free State of India on 2 July 2013.
  • The train that connects the Kalka-Shimla route is known as the ‘Toy Train’ and the route has been declared as a World heritage Site by UNESCO.
  • Kullu’ folk dance spreading the message “Save the Girl Child” was performed by over 9,500 dancers on 26 October 2015. The feat found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
  • The people in the Malana Village, popularly known as “The Village of Taboos” consider themselves to be the descendents of Alexander, the Great and follow the strict set of ‘Greek-resembling ways and beliefs’.
  • The Barog Tunnel or Tunnel No. 33 is the longest tunnel on the Kalka – Shimla Railway with a length of 1143.61 m.
  • The Chail Cricket Stadium in Himachal Pradesh is regarded as the ‘highest cricket ground in the world’.
  • Chitkul village in the state is the “last Indian inhabited village” near the Indo-China Border.

Cultural Heritage

  • The name of the state has been extracted from two words “Him” and “Aanchal” meaning a land covered with snow.
  • Hindi is the state language though other languages like Pahari, Kinnauri, Punjabi and English are also widely spoken.
  • The main folk dance of the state is Nati.
  • Dham, Mittha and Sidu are some traditional dishes of the state.
  • The major rivers flowing in the state are Beas, Ravi, Chenab, Sutlej and Yamuna.

(Read: Flavours of India: Bangaler Rasogolla and other Geographical Indications)

Tourism

The state is also a pilgrimage destination as it has temples that have 7 incarnations of Goddess Durga. The state is also famous for the Manikaran Gurudwara and its hot sulphur water which is believed to cure all kinds of skin diseases.

Khajjiar Lake has a floating island attracting holidaymakers in large numbers. Other lakes like Renuka Lake, Dal Lake, Govind Sagar, Suraj Tal, Nako Lake, Chandertal Lake, etc are also famous lakes in the state.

Places like Manali, Kasauli and Dharamsala are major tourist attractions. The ice skating rink in Shimla is also a popular destination.

The state has 33 Sanctuaries and 2 National Parks. The Great Himalayan National Park sheltering rare species like Barking Deer and Snow Leopard, has been declared a heritage site by UNESCO.

Fruit Bowl Of India

Almost 90% of total population of the state is dependent on agriculture for its livelihood. It is famous for cultivating off-season vegetables. The state is an eminent producer of apples in India.

Himachal Pradesh generates one-fourth of the total Hydroelectricity of the country. The state is also active in sectors like pharmaceuticals, textiles, handicrafts, handloom and Information Technology.

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