Facts about Himachal Pradesh (Know Your States)

HImachal Pradesh: HIstory, Geography, Economy, Art and Culture Notes
Himachal Pradesh/Image: Wikimedia
Himachal Pradesh is one of the 29 states of India. It is located in the Western Himalayan region of India.

It touches Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab on the west, Haryana on the southwest, Uttarakhand on the southeast, Uttar Pradesh on the south and Tibet (China) on the east.

The name of the state "Himachal Pradesh" was given by the Acharya Diwakar Datt Sharma, one of the state's Sanskrit scholars.

Known for its rich natural resources, Himachal Pradesh is one of the highest earning states in India.

Quick Facts
Established as State: 25 January 1971
Capitals: Shimla and Dharamshala (Second Capital in Winter)
Largest City: Shimla
No. of Districts: 12
Governer: Acharya Dev Vrat
Chief Minister: Jai Ram Thakur (BJP)
State Legislature: Unicameral
Vidhan Sabha Seats: 68
Lok Sabha Seats: 4
Area:    55673 km²
Area Rank: 18
Population: 6864602
Density: 123 per km²
Official Language: Hindi and English
Literacy: 83.78%

History
The earliest records of settlements in Himachal Pradesh dates back to Indus Valley Civilization.

Koili, Hali, Dagi, Dhaugri, Dasa, Khasa, Kinnar, and Kirat have inhabitated the area since pre-historice times.

Rig Veda mentions the presence of Dasyus and Nishads in the Himachal Pradesh region.

During Mauryan Age, small Hill Kingdoms of Himachal Pradesh maintained a healthy relationship with Mauryans, but after fall of Mauryas, they were captured by the Gupta Empire.

These Hill Kingdom saw invasion of Delhi Sultanate, Mahmud Ghaznavi, Ibrahim Lodi, and Timur Lang.

During Mughal period, they accepted the suzerainty of Mughal rulers.

The power of the region exchanged many hands from Nepali Rule to British Raj.

During British Raj, Shimla became the Summer Capital of British India.

The present state of Himachal is actually result of merger of 31 big and small princely states of the region.

During 1956, Himachal Pradesh became one of the seven union territories of India.

On 25th January 1971, Himachal Pradesh was granted statehood with its own legislature assembly.

Geography and Climate
Himachal Pradesh lies in the foothills of Himalayas. At 6816 m, Reo Purgyil is the highest mountain peak in the Himachal Pradesh.

Himachal Pradesh provides water to both Ganga and Indus basin. The major flowing rivers of Himachal Pradesh are Satluj, Ravi, Beas, Chenab, and Yamuna.

Thanks to extreme variation in altitudes of the region, one can experience great variation in the climatic conditions of the state.

Flora and Fauna
Himachal Pradesh is one of the richest states in terms of biodiversity. According to HP Forest Department survery, Himachal Pradesh is the home to 463 birds, 77 mammalians, 44 reptiles and 80 fish.

According to 2003 FSI survery report, Himachal Pradesh forest cover measures at 66.52%.

As of now, there are 30 wildlife sanctuaries and 3 conversation parks in the state.

Administration
Himachal Pradesh is divided into 12 districts which are grouped under three divisions, Shimla, Kangra, and Mandi. The districts are further divided in 69 subdivisions, 78 blocks, 145 tehsils, and 3226 gram panchayats.

There are 68 Vidhan Sabha seats, 4 Lok Sabha seats and 3 Rajya Sabha seats in the state.

Economy
Agriculture, Energy, and Tourism are the main growth drivers of the state. Agriculture employs more than 90 per cent of the state populace.

As per estimates, the GDP of the state is INR 1.247 trillion in 2016-17, and per capita income is in between range of 135000.

Transport
Himachal Pradesh has three domestic airports: 1. Kangra, 2. Kullu, and 3. Shimla.

Himachal Pradesh is known for its narrow gauge railway lines. Kalka-Shimla Railway line is declared as the World Heitage Site.

Roads form the major mode of transportation. With road network of 28208 km, 8 national highways and 19 stae highways, Himachal Pradesh is well connected with rest of India.

Demography
Population
Himachal Pradesh has population of 6864602, according to 2011 Census of India. More than 90% of population lives in rural areas.

The state ratio is 972 females per 1000 males, which is fairly high than the national average.

The average fertility rate is 1.8 per woman, which is lowest in the nation.

Literacy rate of Himachal Pradesh is 83.78%.

Languages
Hindi is the official language of the state whereas English is the additional official language of the state.

However, most of the natives speak local Himachali languages, such as Dogri, Kangri, Mandeali, Jaunsari, Kullu, Hinduri, and Simauri.

Religion
More than 95% of people follows Hinduism. Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, Christianity and Jainism makes up the rest.

Culture
Himachal is well known for its unique cultural tradition. Some of the popular Himachali festivals are Kullu Dussehra, Shivratri Fair (Mandi), Shoolini Mela (Solan), Minjar Fair (Chamba), Mani Mahesh Chhari Yatra (Chamba), Renuka fair (Sirmaur), Lavi Trade Fair (Rampur), Vrajeshwari fair (Kangra), Holi, Nanda Devi Fair and Kamakhya Temple Fair.

Himachal Pradesh is also known for its handicrafts. Kullu Shawls, Kangra Tea, Chamba Rumal, Kangra Paintings, Kullu Shawls, and Kinnauri Shawls are some of the geographical indicators of Himachal Pradesh.