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Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh, the state of eternal natural beauty, is situated in the heart of the western Himalayas. It is known for its fascinating landscapes, lakes, wildlife, and rivers. The state is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir in the North, Uttar Pradesh in the South-East, Haryana in the South, Punjab in the West and Tibet in the East. Shimla, a beautiful city, is the state capital. Himachal Pradesh is dominated by mountains and their associated rivers and valleys. The state demarcated from the plains by the Shivaliks has five mighty rivers flowing through it - the Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej, Beas and Yamuna. Himachal Pradesh can be easily segregated by its valleys. Lahaul consists of the Chandra and Bhaga valleys. Further east, the Spiti river joins the Sutlej river in Kinnaur and flows all the way to the Punjab. In the west, the beautiful Kangra valley stretches from Mandi to Shahpur, near Pathankot. The country's highest dam, Bhakra Nangal, stands on river Sutlej in the Bilaspur district of this state, making it a major source of hydroelectric power. Himachal Pradesh is also known as the 'Apple state' because the country's first apples(and potatoes) were cultivated here. It also has Asia's largest fruit processing unit located in Parwanoo. The Himachal Pradesh is full of hill stations, pilgrimages, adventure sports destinations, and wildlife. The state has democratic form of governance , like any other Indian State. The people of the state elect their representatives every 5 years . The State Assembly or Vidhan Sabha has 68 M.L.As (Member of Legislative Assembly).


There are twelve districts in Himachal, as listed below:

Bilaspur, Chamba, Hamirpur, Kangra, Kinnaur, Kullu, Lahual Spiti, Mandi, Shimla, Sirmaur, Solan, Una

The entire region of Himachal Pradesh is hilly with the altitude ranging from 350 meters to 7000 meters above sea level. Forming a part of the Punjab Himalayas, the altitude increases from west to east and from south to north. Geographically, Himachal Pradesh can be divided into three distinct regions, the Shivalik or outer Himalayas, middle Himalayas or inner Himalayas, and greater Himalayas or the alpine zone. The lower Himalayas include the districts of Hamirpur, Kangra, Una, Bilaspur, and the lower parts of Solan, Sirmaur, and Mandi commonly known as the Shivalik Hills. The altitude in this region ranges from 350 meters to 1,500 meters.

The middle Himalayas comprise the region between the altitudes of 1,500 meters and 4,500 meters. The districts under this region are parts of Sirmaur, Mandi, and the upper parts of Kangra, Shimla, and Chamba.

The greater Himalayas or the alpine zone is at an altitude of 4,500 meters and above. The region is cut across by the river Sutlej and comprises the Kinnaur and Pangi tehsils of Chamba, and some part of Lahaul and Spiti.

Winters (October to February) are very severe and heavy snowfall is recorded during this season. April to June is delightful and comfortable at the higher altitudes, though on the lower hills, this season can have more humidity than usual. July to September is the time for rainfall and the entire region becomes green and fresh with streams swelling and springs replenished. The summer temperature varies from the maximum of 38° celsius to minimum 22° celsius and the winter temperature varies from maximum 15° celsius to minimum 0° celsius. The annual rainfall is 2909-3800 mm. Most of the adventure sports are conducted during June to September period. The months from September to March are best suited for a great trip to Himachal Pradesh.

Peaks :  
GayaHeight 6794 meters in lingti valley spiti
Leo-PargialHeight 6791 meters in kinnaur district
Mount-parbatHeight 6633 in lahaul- spiti
Mani rang Height 6554 meters in Kannaur district
Mulkila Height 6517 meters in lahaul
Indrasan Height 6220 meters in Lahaul
SikarvehHeight 6200 meters in Lauhal district
Mukarbeh Height 6060 meters in Kullu District
Kinnar Kailash Height 6050 meters in Kinnaur District
Deo Tibba Height 6001 meters in Kullu District
Hanuman Tibba Height 5932 meters in Kullu District
JeopangoHeight 5870 meters in Lauhal District
Sarchu peakHeight 5741 meters in Lauhal
Kailash peakHeight 5656 meters in Chamba
Shri Khand Mahadev Height 5227 meters in Kinnaur
Churdhar peak Height 3647 meters in Shimla District
Hatu peakHeight 3631 meters in Shimla District.

Important Rivers

Rivers :  
RaviPasses through Chamba
Satlujpasses through parts of Kinnaur,Rampur,Tatapani(shimla)
BeasPasses through parts of Manali,kullu,sujjanpur,Dehra
Spitipasses through parts of Kaza,Tabo and chango
ChandraPasses through parts of Batal,Chhatru,Gramphooand Tandi
BhagaPasses through the part of Dharcha and Keylong
ChenavPasses through Killar and Udaypur
Parvatipasses through the parts of Manikaran
GiriPasses through Renuka
PabbarPasses through Rohru and Hutkoti
YamunaPasses through Ponta Sahib.

Himachal at a glance

Himachal at a glance  
Latitude 30o 22' 40" N to 33o 12' 40" N
Longitude75o 45' 55" E to 79o 04' 20" E
Area 55,673 sq. km
Number of Districts12
Population6.13 Million
Females per 1000 Males 976
Birth Rate (per 1000)23.0
Death Rate (per 1000)8.0
Per Capital Income (1996-97) Rs. 9603
Literacy [1991]63.88 %
Male 75.36%
Female 52.13 %
Total Villages Electrified 100 %
No. of Bank branches 695
Airports Kullu, Shimla, Dharamsala
Capital Shimla
Main Languages Hindi, Pahari
State Animal Musk Deer
State Bird Monal
Major Rivers Sutlej, Beas, Ravi, Parbati
Average Rainfall 1469 mm
Maximum Temperature30°C
Minimum Temperature2°C
Best time to visitmid-May to mid-October, late December to March

Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corpn. Offices in India: New Delhi
Chanderlok Building
36 Janpath, New Delhi 110001 India. Tel: +91-11-3324764. Fax: 3731072

Tel +91-22-2181123

Tel +91-44-8272966

Tel +91-80-76591

Tel +91-177-78302 Fax 212591

How to reach :

Himachal Pradesh is very well connected by Air, Rail and Road.

By Air
There are three main airports in Himachal at 'Jabbarhatti' (23 kms from Shimla),Kangra airport at Gaggal(15 kms from Dharamshala and 25 kms from Mcleodganj) and Kullu airport at Bhuntar (10 kms from Kullu and 50 kms from Manali).The three airports of the state have regular flights from Indian Airlines. There is no international airport in Himachal Pradesh. Other nearest airports having regular service are: Jammu (210 kms from Dharamshala), Amritsar (205 kms from Dharamshala) and Chandigarh (260 kms from Dharamshala, 116 kms from Shimla and 312 kms from Manali)

By Train
The longest railway line is from Pathankot in Punjab to Jogindernagar in Himachal Pradesh. Other railway tracks touch Shimla, Solan, and Una. There are two narrow gauge line between Kalka to Shimla (about 96 kms) and Pathankot to Joginder Nagar (covers about 113 kms). From Pathankot one can have direct trains to Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Baranasi, Madras, Banglore, Gujarat, Rajasthan and other parts of India. From Kalka one can have direct trains to Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta and other parts of India. The Northan Railways has computerised reservation counters at Pathankot, Shimla and Mandi in Himachal for booking throughout India.

By Road
Almost each and every part of the state is linked by roads. Most of the important places in the state are connected with a good road network. The most popular mode of transport is by Road. Three National Highways cris-cross Himachal Pradesh.The highway no.20 enter the Himachal through the Pathankot which connect Nurpur,Dharamshala, Palampur, Joginder Nagar and ends at Mandi. The highway no.21 starts from Chandigarh and goes upto Leh via Bilaspur,Mandi and Kullu Manali. The third National High no. 22 starts from Ambala and goes upto Kinnaur via Solan, Shimla, Narkanda and Rampur. The Total motorable road is 19310 Kms. HRTC and private bus operators are running their buses within the state.

Adventure activities

At Naldhera, 23 kms beyond Shimla is one of the oldest golf courses in India. The course, whose topography is absolutely natural, was originally placed by the british Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon. This is a par 68, nine hole course which is regarded as one of the most challenging in the country. In the repeat nine, the yardage somewhat increases. The links are maintained by Himachal tourism.

The main trekking areas in Himachal are the Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges, routes over the passes between the Shimla region and the Kullu valley, the numerous treks out of kullu and select tracks in the Trans-Himalayan regions of Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti. Most trekking areas are between 1,500 metres and 6,000 metres.

With well over two hundred and seventy defined trails, the variation in terrain is also enormous. Low scrub-land and paths through paddy fields, give way to trails strewn with pine needles. Then come woods of oak and flowering rhododendron, which merge into forests of Himalayan cedar - 'deodar' - and spruce. On most trails, small pastoral hamlets dot the way. Cunningly hidden between the high mountains, are passes which were once known only to migrant shepherds and dare-all traders. These lead to the fabulous wastes and swift rivers of the arid Trans-Himalaya.

Kufri, near Shimla is one of the oldest places in India to be Associated with skiing during winter. Above Kufri, the Mahasu ridge also has good slopes. Comprehensive facilities exist at Narkanda, 64 kms from Shimla. There is a range of slopes, including a beginners run, an advanced slope and a slalom run. Winter and summer skiing are possible in the Solang area near Manali.

Camping is perhaps the best way of enjoying the wonders of nature given to Himachal and sharing the warmth of its people. You can carry your own gear along or opt for any of the several camps that are pitched in various parts of the state. These camps offer accommodation, catering and a variety of activities like hikes, fishing, nature-tours and rafting. Most of these offer quality facilities and services. Himachal tourism has camps at Sarchu in Lahaul and in addition to built-accommodation, tents are available at Sangla and Kalpa in Kinnaur and at Kaza in Spiti.

Riding the warm thermal currents of the air, is perhaps the closest man has ever come to sailing the skies as free as a bird. Almost at will, you dip and wheel high over the hills and valleys. The bald peak of billing, above the Buddhist monastery of Bir in Kangra, has been the venue for five national and three international hang-gliding rallies since 1984. The site is perfect for para-gliding too. This sport is a mix of sky diving and hang-gliding. A fairly recent sport that is steadily gaining popularity, para-gliding is possible at various places in the state. Places where para-gliding is done regularly are - Bundla Dhar near Bilaspur, in the Kullu valley and at Intkali in the Pabbar valley near Rohru.

Rock climbing is often seen as the basic stage for mountain climbing. Yet it may also be treated as an independent sport, where its most basic level is climbing a rock face, using only hands and feet and a safety rope. The area around Manali, presently forms the core of mountaineering in Himachal. The Beas Kund region and lower reaches of the Hanuman Tibba, the Manali and Shitidhar peaks around the source of the river Beas, and the Deo Tibba area, are suggested for beginners with some experience. The Chandra Bhaga ranges, the Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar ranges are an exsiting focus. The state also has several other areas where mountaineering is possible.