The picturesque state of Himachal Pradesh is located between 30022’40” N latitude to 33012’40” N and 75047’55” to 79004’20” E longitude. It extends over a geographical area of 55, 673 sq. kms, which is 1.69 percent of the country’s area and 10.54 percent of the Himalayan landmass. It is surrounded by Jammu and Kashmir in the north, Tibet on north/north east, Uttaranchal in the east/ south east; Haryana in south and Punjab in south west/ west. There are four agro-climatic zones viz. Shivalik Hill Zone, Mid Hill Zone, High Hill Zone and Cold Dry Zone. Shimla, which once was the summer capital of India, now serves as the state capital.
Himachal Pradesh is a beautiful land. It seems that nature bestows its every color here, snow – cladding mountains, Eye-catching valleys captive the mind of people all over the world. It’s a northern state of India and situated at the western Himalayas, it literally means “abode of snow” and popularly known as “DEV BHOOMI”, on account of abundant amounts of fruits and rich flora and fauna. It is also known as the “fruit bowl of India”. A number of princely hilly states were integrated into a single unit to be administered by the Government of India. Himachal Pradesh came into being as a state of the India Union on April 15, 1948, by integrating 31 big and small hill states of the region. In 1956, it was converted into a Union Territory. Subsequently, some more hill areas of the Punjab state were added to this Union Territory and it was made into a full-fledged state, the status that it continues to have now.
- Total Geographic Area: 55,673 km2
- No. of Districts: 12 (Bilaspur, Chamba, Hamirpur, Kangra, Kinnaur, Kullu, Lahaul-Spiti, Mandi, Shimla, Sirmaur, Solan and Una)
- No. of Towns and cities: 57
- Population: 68,56,509
- Population Growth rate: 12.81%
- Literacy Rate: 83.78%
- Total Length of Roads: 31,512 km
- Apple Production: 592.57 MT
- Total Forest Area: 37,033 km2
- Area under Tree cover: 14,679 km2
- Dense Forests: (Crown density 40%) 8,976 km2
- Unclassed Forests: 976 km2
- Capital: Shimla
- Area Rank : 18th(India)
- Official Language: Hindi
- Founder: Dr.Yashwant Singh Parmar
- Founded: January 25, 1971
- Formed: April 15, 1948
- State Animal: Snow leopard (Uncia uncia)
- State Bird: Western tragopan (Tragopan melanocephalus)
- State Flower: Pink Rhododendron
- State Tree : Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodara)
Geographically, Himachal Pradesh can be divided into three distinct regions, the Shivalik or outer Himalayas, middle Himalayas or the inner Himalayas, and greater Himalayas or the alpine zone.
Read Also: Mountain Peaks of Himachal Pradesh
- Himachal Pradesh is almost wholly mountainous with altitudes ranging from 350 meters to 6,975 meters above the mean sea level.
- It is located between Latitude 300 22’ 40’’ N to 33O 12’ 20’’ N and Longitude 75O 45’ 55’’ E to 79O 04’ 20’’ E.
- It has a deeply dissected topography, complex geological structure and rich temperate flora in the sub-tropical latitudes.
- The Forest Cover in the State, Based on Interpretation of satellite data of October – December 2008, is 14, 679 sq. kms. Which is 26.27% of the State’s geographical area.
Physiographically, the State can be divided into five zones – viz.
- Wet Sub-temperate zone: comprises Palampur and Dharamsala of Kangra District, Jogindernagar area of Mandi district and Dalhousie area of Chamba district.
- Humid Sub-temperate zone: comprises the districts of Kullu, Shimla, parts of Mandi, Solan, Chamba, Kangra, and Sirmour.
- Dry temperate-alpine High lands: include major parts of Lahaul-Spiti, Pangi and Kinnaur.
- Humid Sub-tropical zone: consists of district Sirmaur, Bhattiyat valley of district Chamba, Nalagarh area of district Solan, Dehragopipur and Nurpur areas of district Kangra.
- Sub-Humid Sub-tropical zone: are Sirmour and Indora area of district Kangra.
- Himachal Pradesh region was called ‘Deva Bhoomi’.
- In the early period, tribes like the Koilis, Halis, Dagis, Dhaugris, Dasa, Khasas, Kinnars, and Kirats inhabited it.
- The Aryan influence in this area of India dates to the period before the Rigveda.
- Sankar Varma, the king of Kashmir exercised his influence over regions of Himachal Pradesh in about 883 AD. This region witnessed the invasion of Mahmud of Ghazni in 1009 AD, who during that period invaded and looted the wealth from the temples in the North of India.
- In about 1043 AD the Rajputs ruled over this territory.
- Known for its vibrant and exquisite natural scenery it received the royal patronage of the Mughal rulers who erected several works of art as an appreciation of this land.
- In 1773 AD the Rajputs under Sansar Chand possessed this region, till the attack by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1804 which crushed the Rajput power here.
- The Gurkhas who migrated from Nepal captured this area and devastated it. In the early 19th century the British exercised their influence and annexed the areas of Shimla after the Gurkha War of 1815-16.
- It became a centrally administered territory in 1948 with the integration of 31 hill states and received additional regions added to it in 1966.
- The Economy of Himachal Pradesh is mainly dependent on tourism and apples.
- The state also has some natural minerals.
Read Here: Minerals found in Himachal Pradesh
- It has two large cement factories, which not only caters to the people of Himachal but also sell their output to other states.
- Another major part of the Himachal economy is hydroelectricity due to the abundance of perennial rivers.
- In spite of the considerable challenges, the state has good connectivity through road, rail, and air.
- Besides having the highest road density among all the hill states of India, it also has three airports and two narrow gauge rail tracks.
- The rapid developments in infrastructure by government and promotion of modern techniques of cultivation among the farmers, suitable agricultural machinery and good breeds of cattle, sheep, and poultry made Himachal as one of the classic examples of rapid transformation from the most backward part of the country to one of its most advanced states.
HYDRO POWER (in MW)
- Yamuna: 817
- Satluj: 10,361
- Beas: 5,357
- Ravi: 2958
- Chenab: 2,973
- Self Identified/New Identified: 534
IMPORTANT WILDLIFE SANCTUARIES
Read Also: National Parks in Himachal Pradesh
In the advent of increased pressure from the various facets of developmental, population explosion, infrastructure, urbanization, industrialization, establishment of mega hydro power projects, industrial projects, mining, tourism, encroachment of forest land, deforestation, excessive agricultural and horticultural activities etc. the fragile mountain ecology and vulnerable hill environment is under threat of degradation.
Himachal Pradesh, which has its own peculiar environmental problems, needs to tread the developmental path without compromising with its pristine environment. Climate change and biological diversity loss are the two major planetary environmental threats facing mankind today and they are closely interlinked.
Himachal Pradesh has a sensitive and highly bio-diverse ecosystem. To conserve our Himalayan heritage, we must jointly strengthen our endeavors to tackle, climate change and curb the loss of biological diversity through adoption of sustainable environmental management practices.
Read more about your state HERE