After Indian Independence, a Union Territory of Hill states was created. It primarily consituted of hill states around Shimla. On November 1, 1966 Punjab Hill areas were merged into Himachal as part of reorganization of Punjab. Himachal Pradesh became a full fledged state of the Republic of India on January 25, 1971. Himachal Pradesh has been on the path of progress since Independence. The literacy rate of the state is 63% now and is improving every decade. The population has almost stabilized at about 5 million, thanks to high literacy and effective family planning programs. Every village in the state has electricity and drinking water now. Many young men from Himachal serve the Indian Army and have played significant role in the National defense. Dharamsala has a war memorial dedicated to the memory of those who lost their lives for their country. Himachal has one state university at Shimla, namely, Himachal Pradesh University. There is a Regional Engineering College (REC) at Hamirpur that has students from all over India. In addition, there is a Medical College at Shimla.Himachal is literally a power house when it comes to hydro-electricity. The state has many dams that harness the hilly rivers to generate electric power. The electricity is used by farmers in Punjab, Haryana and by the industries in the northern plains.
Kullu in Himachal Pradesh is one of the most frequented tourist destinations. Often heard along with the name Manali, yet another famous tourist spot, Kullu is situated on the banks of Beas River. It was earlier called as Kulanthpitha, meaning 'The end of the habitable world'. Awe-inspiring, Kullu valley is also known as the 'Valley of Gods'.Nestled in the lap of the majestic Himalayas, Kullu is a veritable jewel in the crown of Himachal Pradesh. The breathtaking beauty of its marvelous landscapes, the hospitality of its people, their distinctive lifestyle and rich culture have enthralled travelers for aeons.
Manali is a high-altitude Himalayan resort town in India's northern Himachal Pradesh state. It has a reputation as a backpacking center and honeymoon destination. Set on the Beas River, it's a gateway for skiing in the Solang Valley and trekking in Parvati Valley. It's also a jumping-off point for paragliding, rafting and mountaineering in the Pir Panjal mountains, home to 4,000m-high Rohtang Pass.
Shimla is the capital of the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, in the Himalayan foothills. Once the summer capital of British India, it remains the terminus of the narrow-gauge Kalka-Shimla Railway, completed in 1903. It's also known for the handicraft shops that line The Mall, a pedestrian avenue, as well as the Lakkar Bazaar, a market specializing in wooden toys and crafts.The enchanting beauty of Shimla made British declare the land as their summer capital. The colonial influence is still evident in the city. The hill station offers spectacular views of the snow-capped Himalayan ranges. With lakes and rich greenery around, Simla welcomes tourists round the year, of course, if you don't mind the 'below zero' temperature in winter.
The High snow clad Dhauladhar ranges form a magnificent backdrop to the hill resort of Dharamsala. This is the principal township of Kangra district and overlooks wide spread of the plains. With dense pine and deodar forests, numerous streams, cool healthy air, attractive surroundings and the nearby snowline, Dharamsala has everything for a perfect holiday. It is full of life and yet peaceful. The headquarters of His Holiness the Dalai Lama are at upper Dharamsala. Covering a wide area in the form of twin settlement, lower Dharamsala (1380m) is a busy commercial centre. While upper Dharamsala (1830m) with the suburbs of Mcleodganj and Forsytheganj, retains a British flavor and colonial lifestyle. The charming church of St. John in the wilderness is situated here and this is the final resting place of Lord Elgin, a British Viceroy of India during the 19th century. There is also a large Tibetan community who have made this place their home. Numerous ancient temples like Jwalamukhi, Brijeshwari and Chamunda lie on the plains below Dharamsala.
In western Himachal Pradesh, the hill station of Dalhousie is full of old world charm and holds lingering echos of the Raj era. It covers an area of 14 sq. km. and is built on five hills - Kathlog, Patreyn, Tehra, Bakrota and Balun. It is named after the British governor General of the 19th century, Lord Dalhousie. The town's average height is 2036 m, and is surrounded by varied vegetation - pines, deodars, oaks and flowering rhododendron. Dalhousie has charming colonial architecture, including some beautiful churches. Its location presents panoramic views of the plains and like a long silver line, the river Ravi twists and turns below Dalhousie. The spectacular snow-covered Dhauladhar mountains are also visible form this enchanting town.
Chamba is bounded on north-west by Jammu and Kashmir, on the north-east and east by Ladakh area of Jammu and Kashmir state and Lahaul and Bara-Bangal area of Himachal Pradesh, on the south-east and south by the District Kangra of Himachal Pradesh and Gurdaspur District of the Punjab.Ensconced in the valley of the fast-flowing Ravi River, the capital of Chamba district is a beguiling old town with some beautiful temples, a good museum and bustling markets. Chamba was founded in AD 920 when Raja Sahil Varman moved his capital here from Bharmour, and it remained capital of the Chamba kingdom until merger with India in 1947, though under British control from 1846.
Known as one of the most picturesque valleys of lower Himalayas, the Kangra valley is full of greenery and provides a tremendous contrast in nature of places to be visited. The region is famous for the arts and crafts. Crafts like the exquisitely designed shawls and miniature paintings of this region are internationally appreciated.Guest houses located in Kangra valley give the tourist a breathtaking view of the valley and the mountains beyond. However, these have to be booked in advance. Many hotels provide extra facilities like Ayurvedic massages, fitness centers, horse riding and swimming pools. Modern life requirements like high speed internet and television are found in most hotels. Some hotels have in-house stores that sell honey, rice, opium and other spices cultivated in Kangra.
This small hill station seems to live in time warp that belongs to the 19th century. The narrow roads of Kasauli (1951m) slither up and down the hillside and offer some magnificent vistas. Directly below is the spread of vast plains of Punjab and Haryana which as darkness falls, unroll a gorgeous carpet of twinkling lights. At 3647 m, the peak of Choor Chandni also called the Choordhar powerfully dominates the lower hills and across the undulating ranges, Shimla is visible.The upper and lower malls run through Kasauli's length and one can enjoy longs walks. A mixed forest of pine, oak and huge horse-chestnut encircles the town. Its colonial ambience is reinforced by stretch of cobbled road, quaint shops, gabled houses with charming facades and scores of neat little gardens and orchards.
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