Himachal is a state in Northern India. It is spread over 21,495 sq mi (55,670 km2), and is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab on the west and south-west, Haryana andUttarakhand on the south-east and by the Tibet Autonomous Region on the east.
Himachal Pradesh is famous for its abundant natural beauty. Hima means snow inSanskrit, and the literal meaning of the state’s name is In the lap of Himalayas. It was named by Acharya Diwakar Datt Sharma, one of the great Sanskrit scholars of Himachal Pradesh. According to a 2005 Transparency Internationalsurvey. The state is also the first state in India to achieve the goal of having a bank account for every family. Himachal Pradesh is ranked the second-least corrupt state in the country after Kerala. Himachal Pradesh is divided into 12 districts namely, Kangra, Hamirpur, Mandi, Bilaspur, Una, Chamba, Lahaul and Spiti, Sirmaur,Kinnaur, Kullu, Solan and Shimla. The state capital is Shimla which was formerly British India’s summer capital under the name Simla.
- AGRICULTURE AND ECONOMY
- FLORA AND FAUNA
Due to extreme variation in elevation, there is great variation in the climatic conditions of Himachal . The climate varies from hot and sub-humid tropical in the southern tracts to, with more elevation, cold, alpine and glacial in the northern and eastern mountain ranges. 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 experiences three seasons: Summer, Winter and rainy season. Summer lasts from mid April till the end of June and most parts become very hot (except in alpine zone which experiences a mild summer) with the average temperature ranging from 28 to 32 °C (82 to 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)
Agriculture contributes nearly 45% to the net state domestic product. It is the main source of income as well as employment in Himachal. About 93% of the state population depends directly upon agriculture. The main cereals grown in the state are wheat, maize, rice and barley. Kangra, Mandi and the Paonta valley of Sirmaur (to some extent) are the major producers of the first three cereals, while barley is mostly cultivated in Shimla.
it has gained a lot in other spheres of agricultural production such as seed potato, ginger, vegetables, vegetable seeds, mushrooms, chicory seeds, hops, olives and fig. Seed potato is mostly grown in the Shimla, Kullu andLahaul areas. Special efforts are being made to promote cultivation of crops like olives, figs, hops, mushrooms, flowers, pistachio nuts, sarda melon and saffron. Solan is the largest vegetable producing district in the state. The district of Sirmaur is also famous for growing flowers, and is the largest producer of flowers in the state. Himachal has abundant growth of fruits like apple, peaches, plums and berries. It is rightly called the ‘fruit bowl of India’. There are plenty of fruit orchards and fruits are exported to various parts of the country and abroad.
Hydro Power is also one of the major source of income generation for the State. Identified Hydroelectric Potential for the state is 23,000.43 MW in five rivers basins i.e. (Yamuna, Satluj, Beas, Ravi and Chenab).
Tourism in Himachal Pradesh is one of its major contributor to the state economy and growth. State is endowed with variety of landscape and vivid topographic features which attracts tourists from all the parts of the world. The state is also known for its adventure activities which includes Paragliding in Bir-billing and Solang valley, Rafting in Kullu, ice skating in Shimla, Boating in Bilaspur and various other activities like trekking, horse riding, Skiing, fishing etc. Shimla, the state capital, is home to Asia’s only natural ice skating rink.
The complete vegetation of this region relies on two factors – height and rainfall. The southernmost part of the state is at a lower altitude level and it contains both humid and subtropical dry broadleaf woodlands, along with subtropical moist broadleaf forests. The majority of area is covered by Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests. Apart from this we also have some of the vegetation which is abundant with sal, sisham, chir pine, dry deciduous and moist broad-leafed forests. The landscape which falls in temperate regions has some of the prominent trees like oaks, deodar, blue pine, fir and spruce. The places that lie in top elevation have numerous trees that are sturdy and contain roots that run deep into the earth. Some of the commonly found trees in these regions include Alders, birches, rhododendrons and moist alpine scrubs. The rhododendron is a common type of tree in the Shimla region and this is seen in abundance in months between March to May.
Lush Meadows and paddock can be seen along hillocks and steep lying areas. Post winter season the hilly regions and orchards are full of fruits. The pleasant climate helps numerous flower varieties like gladiolas, lilies, tulips, chrysanthemums, roses, marigolds, carnations etc to grow in abundance. The state government is dedicated in making the state ‘the flower basket of the world’ and for this there has been good initiative from all corners towards this commitment.
The state is house for numerous species of habitat. The state is the resting place for approximately 1200 birds along with 359 animal species. Some of the animals which form members of this vast list are leopards, ghoral, snow leopard, musk deer (state animal) and Western Tragopan (state bird). The state is an ideal tourist destination for animal lovers as it hosts 12 main national parks & sanctuaries. The state also has the distinction of hosting maximum number of sanctuaries in Himalayan region. The Kullu district hosts The Great Himalayan National Park, which was established with the main aim to protect endangered fauna and flora of main Himalayan Mountains. Similarly Pin Valley National Park conserves the flora and fauna of popular cold desert.
Hinduism is the main religion in Himachal Pradesh. More than 98% of the total population belongs to Hindu, spread all over the state. Muslims are mainly in the Chamba and Solan districts. Buddhist are in the Lahul & Sapiti and Kinnour districts. Some of the most commonly spoken languages includes Hindi, Pahari, Dogri, Mandeali Kangri,Mandyali, Gojri and Kinnauri.