Himachal Pradesh State

Introduction :

Himachal Pradesh is a state in north India. It is spread over 21,495 sq mi (55,673 km), and is bordered by the Indian states of 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 Tibet on the east. The literal meaning of Himachal Pradesh is Region of snowy mountains.

Himachal Pradesh was also known as Deva Bhumi (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 part of Punjab, except the Siba State of Punjab Hills which was under the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh until 1857. 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 Indian Union. Himachal has many prestigious boarding schools. Hima means snow in Sanskrit. It was named by one of the great Sanskrit scholars of Himachal Pradesh, Acharya Diwakar Datt Sharma.

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 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.

History :

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-histotic 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 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 to 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 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. The province comprised the hill districts around Shimla and southern hill areas of the former Punjab region. Himachal became a part C state on 26 January 1950 with the implementation of the Constitution of India. Himachal Pradesh became a 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 the Indian Union.


Geography and climate :


Himachal is situated in the western Himalayas. Covering an area of 55,780 kilometres (34,660 mi), Himachal Pradesh 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. Lahaul, Himachal Pradesh.

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 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 region).

Geography and climate :


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, 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.[19] This includes the leopards, ghoral, snow leopard, musk deer (the state animal) and Western Tragopan (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.