Himachal Pradesh

Capital
Shimla
Population
6 million
Area
55673 km²
Languages
Hindi and Pahari

Best t ime to visit
September to March
Climate (°C)
Summer: 38 - 22 degrees
Winter: 15 - 0 degrees

About

Nestled in the Himalayas, the world's mightiest mountain ranges, Himachal is blessed with some of the most spectacular landscapes anywhere. Located North West, in the lap of the Great Himalayas. Bordered by Jammu & Kashmir in the North, Punjab in the West, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in the South and Tibet in the East. This beautiful state is divided into two parts Southern and Northern Himachal. The southern Himachal l is as hot as plain areas, where as upper is Northern Himachal less hot in Summer and extreme cold and heavy snow in Winter.

The land of eternal snow peaks - takes in the transition zone from the plains to the high Himalaya and in the trans-Himalayan region of Lahaul and Spiti, actually crosses that mighty barrier to the Tibetan plateau. The Kullu valley, with its developed and tourist-oriented economy, can be considered the backbone of the state.

How to get here

Air
There are 3 airports.
- Kangra airport at Gaggal
- Shimla airport at Jubbar Hatti
- Kullu airport at Bhuntar

Rail
All trains to Jammu pass through Pathankot station. From Pathankot there are direct trains to Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Varanasi, Madras, Banglore, Gujarat and Rajasthan.From Kalka there are direct trains to Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta and other parts of India.

Bus
Almost each and every part of the state is linked by roads. The Himachal Road Transport Corporation is running its buses covering the whole state.

Places to visit

Dharamshala -McLeod Ganj - Manali - Kangra - Shimla - Pin Valley National Park - Spiti - Kullu

.: Dharamshala
Dharamshala is the district headquarter of Kangra district. This is a hill station lying on the spur of the Dhauladhar range about 18kms. north east of Kangra town.

The land of eternal snow peaks!


.: McLeod Ganj
This is actually the upper part of Dharamshala. Best known as the headquarters of the Tibetan government in exile. Home to his holiness The Dalai Lama. It is one of the most popular Himalayan destinations for foreign tourists.

.: Manali
Manali derived its name from Manavalaya; the abode of Manu. According to myth, Manu the divine law-giver, was the only survivor of the Mahajal Pralay - the great flood - and is said to have fathered the human race. Manali still maintains its charm and beauty. With the majestic grandeur of the Himalayas on one side, river Beas cutting across the town, green valleys with rolling meadows and grazing herds dotting the hillsides. Experience the local color and beauty in Kullu-Manali's temples, villages and the vibrant and festive mood of the people and their colorful clothes and handicrafts. Experience adventure in the form of trekking trails and routes or rafting down the Beas. Discover for yourself the Kullu Valley, going upto the Rohtang Pass at 13050 feet and encompassing the beautiful Manal.

.: Kangra
The Kangra valley is one of the most picturesque valley of lower Himalyas. The valley, sheltered by the sublime Dhauladhar range, is green and luxuriant. It provides a tremendous contrast in nature of places to be visited. Dharamshala is full of Buddhist air whereas ancient Hindu Temples like Brajeshwari, Baijnath, Jawalamukhi and Chamunda Devi dot the country side.

.: Shimla
The British called Shimla the "Queen of Hill Stations." Situated in the north-West Himalayas, 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 forest that covered Jakhu Hill in the early 19th century. The English named it Simla. Shimla is well connected by air, road and rail with all parts of Himachal Pradesh and the neighbouring states.

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. The climate of Shimla varies from a maximum of 10-11 degrees in winter to a maximum of 25-26 degrees in summers.

.: Pin Valley National Park
Declared a National Park in 1987, Pin Valley is located in the cold desert region of the Spiti valley. With its snow laden unexplored higher reaches and slopes, the Park forms a natural habitat for a number of endangered animals including the Snow Leopard and Siberian Ibex. The elevation of the Park ranges from about 3,500 m near Ka Dogri to more than 6,000 m at its highest point.

Because of its high altitude and extreme temperatures, the vegetation in thearea is scant and mostly dominated by alpine trees, patches of Himalayan cedar and smatterings of several medicinal plants. In summer, flowers decorate the valley with startling hues. Along with animals, rare birds like the Himalayan Snowcock, Chukor, Snow Partridge and the Tibet Snow Finch also flourish in the area.Steeped in history, the influence of Tibetan culture is prevalent in the surrounding areas of the Park, visible in the Buddhist lamas, shrines, monasteries and culture of its residents.

.: Spiti
The valley of Monasteries. Monasteries like Tabo, Gulling, Dhankar and Kye Monastery are located in this valley. Also called "Little Tibet" because it has almost the same terrain, vegetation & climate . Spiti also means "Middle Country". It lies between Tibet, Ladakh, Kinnaur, Lahaul & Kulu. Some inhabitants have adopted Budhism as there faith and Bhoti is the spoken language. The people are simple and honest. The main Spiti valley is split into eastern and western valleys. They are connected with Ladakh & Tibet on eastern side & Kinnaur and Kulu on western side through high passes.

.: Kullu
Kullu was once known as Kulanthpitha - 'the end of the habitable world'. Beyond rose the forbidding heights of the Greater Himalayas and by the banks of the shining river Beas, lay the fabled 'Silver Valley'. Here is the core of an complex web of numerous valleys - each of which is a visual delight and seems more beautiful than the other. The Kullu valley have always been a popular place to hang out and take in mountain scenery.



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