Himachal Pradesh

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Himachal Pradesh is a state in north India. It is spread over 21,629 sq mi (56,019 km²), 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, China on the east. The literal meaning of Himachal Pradesh is Region of snowy mountains.

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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 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.

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Transport

Roads are the major mode of transport in the hilly terrains of Himachal Pradesh. The state has road network of 28,208 km (17,528 mi), including eight national highways (NH) that constitute 1,234 km (767 mi).  Some roads get closed during winter and monsoon seasons due to snowfall and landslides. Regular bus services connect Shimla with Chandigarh, Kullu, Manali, Delhi, Mandi, Pathankot, Ambala, Chail and Dehradun. Local taxis are the major local transport here. District Hamirpur has got the highest road density in the country.

Railway track is accessible only to a few places in Himachal Pradesh. The Pathankot–Jogindernagar line connects Punjab with Himachal Pradesh. The other railway tracks pass through Shimla, Solan and Una. Shimla is connected with Kalka by a narrow gauge railway line, which in turn is connected with the major cities in India. Himachal has two narrow gauge rail tracks. The Kalka-Shimla Railway track has a length of 96 kilometres. It passes through 102 tunnels and crosses 864 bridges.

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There are three domestic airports in the state—Shimla Airport, Bhuntar Airport serving Kullu and Manali, and Gaggal Airport serving Kangra and Dharamsala. The air routes connect the state with Delhi and Chandigarh. There are no international airports in Himachal Pradesh. Deccan, Air India, MDLR has flights from Delhi, Chandigarh to Kullu & back. Jagson Airlines has flights from Delhi to Shimla.

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Districts

There are twelve districts in Himachel Pradesh State:

* Bilaspur

* Chamba

* Hamirpur

* Kangra

* Kinnaur

* Kullu

* Lahaul and Spiti

* Mandi

* Sirmaur

* Shimla

* Solan

* Una

Cities

* Shimla – the state capital and once the summer capital of the British Raj, it’s a cool and charming Himalaya outpost

* Bir – a small town with a large Tibetan community and several Buddhist monasteries.

* Dalhousie – a sleepy little town which retains its Victorian charm

* Dharamsala – the home of the Dalai Lama and India’s largest Tibetan community, and a major Buddhist center

* Kullu – a few km south of Manali

* Manali – a buzzing and popular hill station, it’s one of the hubs for travel around this part of the Himalaya

* Mandi

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Talk

Hindi, Pahari, Punjabi and English are the main languages found in the state.

See

Dalhousie: Dalhousie is a world famous hill station, located in the western part of Himachal Pradesh. Dalhousie is basically built on five different hills called Balun, Tehra, Kathlog, Patreyn and Bakrota, it covers teh area of 14 sq. Km. Dalhousie is named after one of the British Governor General names Lord Dalhousie. Dalhousie has many beautiful churches and charming colonial architecture.

Kullu Valley: Kully valley, very well known as “Valley of Gods”, is situated on the Beas river bank, lower reaches of Himalayas. Rudyard Kipling has written, “Surely the Gods live here; this is no place for men”. Kully if a world famous tourist place and it is very well known for its ancient temples, festivals and apples orchards. This place is also famous for its handicraft work and woollen work of puhla, shawl, patoos, caps and namdas. The best time to visit Kullu is during Dusshera in the month of October.

Spiti Valley: Spiti valley is also known as the “Little Tibet” due to its vegetation, terrain and climate which is almost similar to Tibet.Spiti also means “Middle Country”. Spiti is surrounded by Lahul, Tibet, kulu, Kinnaur and Ladakh.

Manali

District(s)         12

Established       25 January 1971

Capital             Shimla

Largest city       Shimla

Governor          Prabha Rau

Chief Minister   Prem Kumar Dhumal

Legislature (seats)         Unicameral (68)

Population

• Density          6,077,248 (20th)

• 109 /km2 (282 /sq mi)

Language(s)      Hindi, Pahari

Time zone         IST (UTC+5:30)

Area     56,019 km2 (21,629 sq mi)

ISO 3166-2     IN-HP

Himachal Pradesh Portal: Himachal Pradesh

Website            himachal.nic.in