HIMACHAL PRADESH TOURISM GUIDE
Map: Himachal Pradesh Tourism, India
Location: Himachal Pradesh
Places Of Interest: Jawalamukhi, Kangra Fort, Brajeshwari Temple
Best Time To Visit: Mid-May to Mid-October.
ABOUT HIMACHAL PRADESH
Himachal Pradesh is wrapped in snow most of the time. Many parts of the Himachal state have a distinctly Austrian look with conifer-clad mountains, chalet-like huts with overhanging balconies and serene blue valleys watered by snow-fed streams. Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh, is still very much a Raj township in appearance and atmosphere.
Himachal Pradesh stores numerous wonderful hill stations, which are particularly cool in summers. Shimla, Dalhousie, Kullu , Kasauli, Manali, Chail and Kufri are a few of the hill Stations in Himachal Pradesh which offer breathtaking scenery. Dharmasala, where the Dalai Lama lives, is another important centre on the tourist map. The foremost shrine in Kangra town is the Brajeshwari Devi temple. 30-km from Kangra is Jwalamukhi, one of the most revered temples in northern India. The Kangra Museum has an impressive art collection.
Capital of Himachal Pradesh:
Built in the mid-eighteenth century, Shimla was highly popular among the British royalty after it was named the ‘Summer Capital of India’. The Parliament used to move up to the hills to get a break from the hot Indian summers. The town is a picturesque place dotted with charming bungalows and shops made of stone. A perfect setting for romance or to go on a idle holiday. The best way to see Shimla is to pick up a tour book, which tells a small history of the buildings and churches.
History of Himachal Pradesh:
Aryan groups filtered into the more productive valleys during the Vedic Period. Later, the Mauryans, Guptas and the Mughals sought to exercise varying degrees of control over trade and pilgrimage routes into this area and between India and Tibet. Lahul and Spiti was controlled by Ladakh from the decline of the Mughal Empire (about the mid-18th century) until the early 1840s, when it briefly came under Sikh rule. British domination followed the Anglo-Sikh Wars and continued, directly or indirectly, for the next 100 years. In 1948, it was constituted as an administrative unit comprising 30 princely states.
Himachalis lead a simple and quiet life, tending their orchards, fields and flocks. The population is composed of a variety of distinctive hill tribes: Gadis, Gujaris, Kinnauris, Lahulis, Pangwalis, and Rajputs. Hindi (the official state language) and Pahari are the principal languages. Himachal Pradesh is the least urbanized state in India; the urban population accounts for less than 10 per cent of the total. The simple people of Himachal Pradesh still hold their gods in awe.
Culture in Himachal:
Keeping alive their rich highland identity, they remain immersed in the annual rounds of fairs and festivals full of music, song and dance. The Shimla hills, the Kullu valley (including the town of Manali), and Dalhousie are tourist attractions. Skiing, golfing, fishing, trekking, and mountaineering are activities for which Himachal Pradesh is ideally suited.
Occupation in Himachal:
Most people in Himachal Pradesh earn their keep by agriculture, pastoralism, horticulture, and forestry. The state’s main industrial products are agricultural implements, turpentine, and resin at Nahan, television sets, fertilizer, beer, and liquor at Solan, cement at Rajban, processed fruit at Parwanoo, and electronics near Shimla. Thousands of artisan-based, small-scale industrial units are also in operation.
Handicrafts from Himachal:
Exquisitely designed shawls of Kinnaur, the distinctive woollen caps of Kullu , and the embroidered handkerchiefs of Chamba are some of the very attractive examples of local weaving. Himachal Pradesh is also known for its Kangra Valley School of Paintings.
CLIMATE OF HIMACHAL PRADESH:
The State can be divided into two regions: the Southern part, which is almost as hot as the plains and the northern region having a temperate summer and a winter with extreme cold and heavy snowfall. The rainfall is around 180 cms. Best time to visit Himachal is during the months Mid-May to Mid-October.
Population in Himachal Pradesh:
Festivals of Himachal Pradesh:
Shivratri festival in Mandi in Feb/March; Sul Mata festival in Chamba in March; Kangra Valley Tea Festival in April; Shimla Summer Festival in May; Kulu Dussehra, which begins when festivities in the rest of the country have ended in October; Renuka Fair, held on the banks of Renuka lake in November.
Himachal Pradesh Tourism Offices:
Himachal Pradesh Tourist Information Counter – The Mall, Shimla- 171001, Himachal Pradesh.
Himachal Pradesh Tourist Information Counter – The Mall, Manali – 175131, Himachal Pradesh.
Department of Tourism & Civil Aviation – Daizy Bank Estate, Shimla- 171001 Himachal Pradesh.
Himachal Tourism Office – Chandralok Building, 36, Janpath, New Delhi – 110 001