with some of the most spectacular and beautiful places anywhere, it is a travellers paradise - lofty snow peaks, deep gorges, lush green valleys, fast flowing rivers, enchanting mountain lakes, flower bedecked meadows, beautiful temples and monasteries steeped in time. May it be for relaxing, sightseeing, trekking, mountaineering, fishing, para-gliding, skiing, ice skating and golf, Himachal has it all.
Himachal is situated in the heart of western himalayas. The state is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir in the North, and Uttar Pradesh in the South-East. Haryana is in the South and Punjab is in the West. Himachal is located between 30"22' and 30"12' north latitude and between 75"47' and 79"4' east longitude. It is a mountainous state with altitudes ranging from 350 to 7000 meters (1050 ft. to 21000 ft.) above the sea level.
Himachal Pradesh came into being as a part C State of Indian Union on 15th April, 1948 by integrating 30 big and small hill states. With the recognition of Punjab on 1st November, 1966, certain areas belonging to it were also included in Himachal Pradesh. On 25th January, 1971, Himachal Pradesh was made a full-fledged State.
Since, 1st September, 1972 onwards, there had been no change in the administrative structure of Himachal Pradesh. Presently, there are 12 districts, 52 Sub-divisions, 75 tehsils and 34 Sub-tehsils in Himachal Pradesh.
Lahual Spiti || Lahaul|
Bilashpur : The Bilaspur district is situated in Satluj valley in the outer hills and covers area of 1,167 sq. Kms. Its boundaries touch Una, Hamirpur, Mandi and Solan districts. Satluj is the main river which passes through the middle of the district and divides it into almost equal parts.The New Township Bilaspur should be regarded as the first planned hill town of the country. The best months from visiting this place are from September to December.
Chamba : Chamba valley lies enclosed between two principal spur ranges of the Great Himalaya, the Dhauladhar and the Pangi-Pir Panjal. The sedimentary deposits of the Shivaliks give way to the first granite range in the system, the Dhauladhar. The Pir Panjal runs roughly parallel, to the north but on a converging line, and in between lies the drainage basin of the Ravi, one of the principal rivers of the Punjab. The Ravi arises in two streams, the Kalihain from the glaciers in the Bara-Banghal basin, and the Buddhal from the snowfields of Kugti and Manimahesh. Dividing the two is the outthrust spur of the small Manimahesh range, named after the mountain revered locally as an abode of Lord Shiva.
Hamirpur : This is another area situated at lower elevation and comparatively warmer but has some hilly ranges covered with Pine forests. These hills can be developed for trekking and camping during winter months. This district was made in 1972 by carving it out from the Kangra district. It is well connected by roads from all sides and thus can be promoted as a tourist destination by developing some historical and religious places. At present the known attractions are Deot-Sidh, Temples of Sujanpur Tihra and Nadaun. Hamirpur town is the Headquarter of this District, which lies on Shimla Dharamshala road.
Kangra : Kangra town is 18 km from Dharamsala. This was the first seat of Raja Sansar Chand II (1775-1823) .One of the ancient capital of powerful hill state-fort of Nagarkot(3km) stands as a mute witness to the ravages of conquerors from Mahmood of Ghazni to the Emperor Jehangir, and the disastrous earthquake of 1905. The place is now called Purana Kangra". 2km from the bus stand is the temple dedicated to the goddess Barjeshwari Devi. Known for its legendary wealth it was invaded in 1009 AD by Mahmud of Ghazni who departed with King's ransom in gold,silver and jewels. Earthquake of 1905 destroyed it completely. Rebuilt in the present form in 1920, it continues to be a busy palce of pilgrimage. Old Jain temple and Gupt Ganga are the other attraction of the town. Jayanti Devi temple is 7 km and the Kangra mandir railway sation 3 km from the main bus stand.
Kinnaur :The remote tracts of Kinnaur, Lahaul & Spiti are bound together by a rich Cultural tradition, rivers, steep mountains, valleys and passes. All essential Facilities are available at these remote places due to networking of Roads. The natural beauty of the region is heightened by hospitable people Who till the recent past lived in secluded isolation. Kinnaur, it is said, fell from the heavens as a gift from the gods. Its people, the Kinners, according to ancient Hindu texts, are halfway between humans and gods. Sarahan, gateway to Kinnaur, is revered as one of the shakti peeths and the seat of power of the Bushair rulers. From here one approaches Sangla valley, one of the beautiful sights of Kinnaur, and district headquarters Recong Peo, Kalpa, Kinner Kailash, a mythical abode of Lord Shiva, can be viewed from here.
Kullu :The most charming and beautiful Kulu valley spreads out its charm on either side of river Beas. The valley runs north to south of this river and is 80kms. long and about 2kms. at its broadest. Yet with awe inspiring glens and mossy meadows encircled by the rushing streams and meandering brooks, flung east & west, a fairly wide area is open to the tourists, the trekkers, the mountaineers, the artists and to anyone who wishes to escape the heat & dust of the plains to breathe the exhilarating air of the Himalaya and enjoy the spectacle of the variegated mountain scenery. The valley is also famous for its exquisitely woven colourful hand made shawls and kullu caps.
40 kms. away from Kulu to the north, Manali is situated near the end of the valley on the National Highway leading to Leh. The landscape here is breath taking. One sees well-defined snow capped peaks, the Beas river with its clear water meanders through the town. On the other side are deodar and pine trees, tiny fields and fruit orchards. It is an excellent place for a holiday, a favorite resort for trekkers to Lahaul, Spiti, Kinnaur & Leh. It is known as the SWITZERLAND OF INDIA.
Lahaul-Spiti : This is a craggy area that is located between Ladakh and Tibet in the north and the Kullu valley in the south. Lahaul begins 51km north of Manali, right after crossing the 3978m (13,127 ft) Rohtang Pass. You go through this area when you travel north from Manali to Leh. Many of the peaks here are over 6000m, the highest being Mulkila at 6,500m. It is basically a dry barren hilly area with some green areas. It has some interesting Buddhist gompas and secluded villages. There are some good treks in this area. About half the people in Lahaul are Buddhist and the other half are Hindu. Permits You only need a permit if you are going between Tabo and Rekong Peo, the capital of Kinnaur.
Kaza : Kaza is the main town in Spiti. It is a nice town that is divided into two basic areas, the "old town" and the "new town." New town is basically some government buildings (the District Magistrate office is there).
Mandi : The historic town of Mandi (800 m) is built along the banks of the river Beas. It has long been an Important commercial centre, and the sage Mandvya is said to have meditated here. This one time capital of the princely state of Mandi is a fast developing town that still retains much of its original charm and character. Today, it is a district head quarters. Mandi is renowned for its 81 old stone temples and their enoemous range of fine carving and is often called the 'Varanasi of the Hills'. The town also has the remains of old palaces and notable examples of 'colonical' architecture. Mandi is the gateway to the Kullu valley and acts as the base for several exciting excursions.
Shimla : Shimla the summer capital of India before independence is now the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Shimla derives its name from "Shyamala";- the goddess Kali, whose temple existed in the dense forest that covered Jakhu Hill in the early 19th century. The English named it Simla. Covering the area of 18 sq. km. at a height of 7,238 ft. Shimla is surrounded by pine, deodar, oak and rhododendron forests. Its well developed facilities, easy accessibility and numerous beautiful places make it one of Indian's most popular and biggest hill-stations.
A narrow-railway links Kalka with Shimla. This important rail-link was built in 1924 and its "toy trains" still ply between the two stations, passing through 105 tunnels and beautiful rail-road stations.
Situated in the North-West Himalayas, the climate of Shimla varies from a maximum of 10-11 degrees in winter to a maximum of 25-26 degrees in summers. During the monsoon, we see some of the best sunsets in the world. Winter in Shimla is known as the season of "Long moon-night".
Kasauli is a charming little town about 12 kms from the Shimla-Kalka road. Its colonial ambience is reinforced by cobbled paths, quaint shops, gabled houses and scores of neat little gardens and orchards. Kasauli is a pleasant alternative to staying in Shimla; it is devoid of its crowds and is still close enough.
Sirmaur : The district of Sirmaur is in the south eastern corner of the state. It is famous for its places of pilgrimages and for the legends that surround them. Sirmaur is a triangle of 3 important tourist places namely Nahan, Renuka and Paonta Sahib, have attracted many tourists all round the year. Nahan is a historic town pleasantly located on a ridge of the Shivalik Hills. It has beautiful green forests and valleys especially in Choordhar peak. There are many attractions available in this triangle. One can visit these places either in the order we have explained or first visit Renuka then Nahan and lastly Paonta Sahib from Shimla side or the vice versa.
Solan : Blessed with a pleasant climate all the year round, Solan is the district headquarters of Mashru, another city established by the British, is named after the Goddess, Soloni Devi, whose temple is located in the southern end of the town. Solan is well known for its brewery 4.8 km from town started in 1835 with Anglo-German co-operation, and known as Dyer-Meakin Brewery, producing excellent larger beer and quality whisky. Chir pine clothes the Shimla Hills, which yields resin and timber, while apricots and walnuts grow all over the hills, maize and paddy are the two leading grains. Vegetables and variety of green chillies are extensively grown in the Shimla Hills. The area surrounding Solan in very rich in peas, tomatoes, ginger and beans.
UNA : Una district is in the South-Western part of Himachal Pradesh. In the Western part also there is hill range whose maximum height is about 600 metres. The altitude varies from mere 350 metres to over 1,200 metres on the Solahsinghi Dhar. Shivalik ranges experience heavy rainfall. The hill ranges are covered by scanty vegetation comprising mostly of shrubs. Una has been carved out of Hoshiarpur district of Punjab in 1966 where the hilly areas of Punjab were transferred to Himachal Pradesh and the whole area is warm. It has borders with Kangra, Hamirpur and Bilaspur and then acts as a gateway to these regions. Efforts are being made to develop same places in Nangal and Bhakra areas.
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