Capital : Shimla
Largest city : Shimla
District(s) : 12
Population : 6,077,248 (20th)
Density : 109/km² (282/sq mi)
Language(s) : Hindi, Pahari
Established : 25 January 1971
Himachal Pradesh is a state in the north-west of India. Himachal
Pradesh is spread over 55,780 square kilometres (21,537 sq mi)
and is bordered by the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir on
north, Punjab on west and south-west, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh
on south, Uttarakhand on south-east and by Tibet area of China
on the east. The literal meaning of Himachal Pradesh is Land
of snowy mountains.
Himachal Pradesh was also known as Deva Bhoomi (the land of
the gods). The Aryan influence in the region dates back to the
period before the Rigveda. After the Anglo Gorkha war, the British
colonial government came into power. It was initially in Punjab,
except Siba State of Punjab Hills, under the rule of Maharaja
Ranjit Singh till 1857  In 1950 Himachal was declared as
the union territory but after State of Himachal Pradesh Act
1971 Himchal emerged as the 18th state of Indian Union.
The state is located in altitudes ranging from 450 metres (1,476
ft) to 6,500 metres (21,325 ft) above sea level. The state capital
is Shimla (formerly British India's summer capital under the
name Simla); other major towns include Una, Solan, Dharamsala,
Kangra, Mandi, Chamba, Hamirpur, Dalhousie and Manali.
Himachal Pradesh has one of the highest per capita incomes of
any state in India. Due to the abundance of perennial rivers,
Himachal also sells hydro electricity to other states such as
Delhi, Punjab & Rajasthan. The economy of the state is highly
dependent upon three sources i.e. Hydel power, tourism and agriculture.
95% of the state population constitutes of Hindus. The major
communities are of Brahmins, Rajputs, Kannets, Rathis and Kolis.
As per the survey conducted in 2005 by Transparency International
Himachal Pradesh is ranked second least corrupt state in the
country after Kerala.
The history of Himachal Pradesh dates back to the time when
the Indus valley civilisation flourished i.e. between the time
period of 2250 and 1750 B.C. From the pre historic time it was
inhabited by tribes like the Koilis, Halis, Dagis, Dhaugris,
Dasa, Khasas, Kinnars and Kirats.
The small kingdom enjoyed a large degree of independence till
the eve of the Muslim invasions in northern India. The states
of the foothills 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.
The Gorkhas, 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, 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 re-captured the fort of Siba from the army of
Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Samvat 1846.
This led in the 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 British
gradually emerged as the paramount powers.
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 politically alive 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 the first world war, 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. Himachal became a part C state
on 26 January 1950 with the implementation of the Constitution
of India. Himachal Pradesh became Union Territory on 1 November
1956. 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 Indian Union.
Himachal is situated in the interiors of western Himalayas.
The state is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir in the North, Uttarakhand
in the South-East, Haryana in the South and Punjab is in the
west. Himachal is situated between 30"22' and 30"12'
north latitude and between 75"47' and 79"4' east longitude.
The state covers an area of 55,780 kilometres (34,660 mi). It
is a mountainous state with elevation ranging from about 350
metres (1,148 ft) to 6,000 metres (19,685 ft) above the sea
level. Shimla is the state capital. There is great variation
in the climatic conditions of Himachal due to extreme variation
in elevation i.e. 450 metres (1,476 ft) to 6,500 metres (21,325
ft) The climate varies from hot and sub-humid tropical (450
metres (1,476 ft) to 900 metres (2,953 ft)) in the southern
tracts, warm and temperate (900 metres (2,953 ft) to 1,800 metres
(5,906 ft)), cool and temperate (1,900 metres (6,234 ft) to
2,400 metres (7,874 ft)) and cold alpine and glacial (2,400
metres (7,874 ft) to 4,800 metres (15,748 ft)) 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 28 °C (82 °F) to 32
°C (90 °F). Winter lasts from late November till
mid March. Snowfall is common in alpine tracts (generally above
2,200 metres (7,218 ft) i.e. in the Higher and Trans-Himalayan
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.
Flora and fauna
It has been estimated that 68% of the land area is covered with
forests. The southern tracts are dominated by sal, sisham, chir
pine, dry deciduous and moist broad-leafed forests. The temperate
region grows oaks, deodar, blue pine, fir and spruce. In the
uppermost region, trees are sturdy with a vast network of roots.
Alders, birches, rhododendrons and moist alpine scrubs are there
as the regional vegetation. The rhododendrons can be seen along
the hillsides around Shimla from March to May.
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 leopards, ghoral, musk deer (the state animal)
and monal, (the state bird). 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.
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.
Himachal Pradesh is a multireligional, multicultural as well
as multilingual state like other Indian states. Some of the
most commonly spoken languages includes Hindi, Punjabi, Pahari,
Dogri, Kangri and Kinnauri. The Hindu caste communities residing
in Himachal include the Brahmins, Rajputs, Kannets, Rathis and
Kolis. There are also tribal population in the state which mainly
comprise Gaddis, Kinnars, Gujjars, Pangawals and Lahaulis.
Himachal is well known for its handicrafts. The carpets, leather
works, shawls, paintings, metalware, woodwork and paintings
are worth appreciating. Pashmina shawl is one of the product
which is highly in demand not only in Himachal but all over
the country. Himachali caps are also famous art work of the
Local music and dance reflects 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 also that
are of great significance to Himachal Pradesh.
Shimla, the state capital is home to Asia's only natural Ice
The day to day food of Himachalis is very similar to the rest
of the north India. They too have lentil, broth, rice, vegetables
and bread. As compared to other states in north India non vegetarian
is more preferred. Some of the specialities of Himachal include
Pateer, Chouck, Bhagjery, Patrode, Beduan and chutney of Til.
Famous people associated with Himachal include English author
Rudyard Kipling, Indian film personalities Dalip Singh Rana,
Anupam Kher, Preity Zinta, Amrish Puri (who studied here), and
Prem Chopra (brought up here), economist and former vice-president
of World Bank Shahid Javed Burki, Satyananda Stokes who introduced
apple in the region, writer Idries Shah, ornithologist Allan
Octavian Hume (had his home here), and former general of Pakistan
Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq who studied here.
Gaddi man at Dharamkot, Himachal Pradesh, 2004The population
of Himachal in 2001 stood at 6,077,248 as per the provisional
results of the Census of India 2001. The population of Himachal
Pradesh includes estimated population of entire Kinnaur district,
where the population enumeration of Census of India, 2001 could
not be conducted due to natural calamity. In terms of population
it holds the same position (twenty first) among States and Union
territories as at the previous census. The population of
the State rose by 17.53% between 1991-2001. The sex ratio
(i.e., the number of females per thousand males) of population
was recorded as 970, which has declined from 976 in the previous
census. Total literacy of the State rose to 77.13% from
63.94% in 1991.
The tribal population of the state comprise of the Gaddis, Kinnars,
Gujjars, Pangawals, Lahaulis and Spitians. The Gaddis are
the traditional shepherds who migrate from the alpine pastures
to the lower regions during the winters. The Kinnars are the
inhabitants of the Kinnaur region and have traditionally practiced
polyandry and polygamy. The Gujjars are nomads who rear buffalo
herds. Himachal also has a sizeable population of Tibetans
About 95.4% of the population of Himachal Pradesh consists of
Hindus, Muslims 2.0%, Sikhs 1.2% and Buddhists 1.2% . There
main communities are Brahmins, Rajputs, Kannets, Rathis and
Kolis. Himachal Pradesh has the highest proportion of Hindu
population in India. Other religions are Sikhism and Buddhism.
The Lahaulis of Lahaul and Spiti region are mainly Buddhists.
The major spoken languages include Hindi, Punjabi, Mahasui,
Kulluyi, Lahauli, Kinnauri, Chambyali, Sirmauri, Bilaspuri,
Pahari, Dogri, Kangri.
Some of the achievements in human development by the state are
-The life expectancy at birth was 62.8 years (higher than the
national average of 57.7 years) for the period 1986–1990.
-The Infant mortality rate has fallen down from 118 in 1971
to 62 in 1999.
-The crude birth rate has declined from 37.3 in 1971 to 22.6
in 1998 i.e. below the national average of 26.5 in 1998.
-The crude death rate has declined from 15.6 in 1971 to 7.7
-The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) has declined from 4.7 to 3.6.
-Overall literacy grew by 34.65% between the period 1981 and
Kullu district is leading with the value of 0.534 in Human development
Languages of the 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