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Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh
हिमाचल प्रदेश ਹਿਮਾਚਲ ਪ੍ਰਦੇਸ਼
State of India
Official seal of Himachal Pradesh
Location of Himachal Pradesh (marked in red) in India
Location of Himachal Pradesh (marked in red) in India
Map of Himachal Pradesh
Map of Himachal Pradesh
Coordinates (Shimla):
Country  India
Region North India
Established 25 January 1971
Capital Shimla
Largest city Shimla
 • Body Government of Himachal Pradesh
 • Governor Urmila Singh
 • Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh[1] (INC)
 • Legislature Unicameral[2] (68 seats)
 • Parliamentary constituency 4
 • High Court Himachal Pradesh High Court
 • Total 55,673 km2 (21,495 sq mi)
Area rank 17th
Elevation 2,319 m (7,608 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total 6,856,509
 • Rank 20th
 • Density 123/km2 (320/sq mi)
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
ISO 3166 code IN-HP
HDI Increase 0.652 (medium)
HDI rank 3rd (2011)
Literacy 83.78%
Official language Hindi

Himachal Pradesh (Hindi: हिमाचल प्रदेश  ( )) is a state in Northern India. It is spread over ,[3] and is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab on the west and south-west, Haryana and Uttarakhand on the south-east and by the Tibet Autonomous Region on the east.

Himachal Pradesh is famous for its abundant natural beauty.[4] After the war between Nepal and Britain, also known as the Anglo-Gorkha War (1814–1816), the British colonial government came into power. In 1950 Himachal was declared a union territory, but after the State of Himachal Pradesh Act 1971, Himachal emerged as the 18th state of the Republic of India. Hima means snow in Sanskrit, 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.[5]

The economy of Himachal Pradesh is currently the third fastest growing economy in India. Himachal Pradesh has been ranked fourth in the list of the highest per capita incomes of Indian states. This has made Himachal Pradesh one of the most wealthiest places in entire South Asia. Abundance of perennial rivers enables Himachal to sell hydroelectricity to other states such as Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan. The economy of the state is highly dependent on three sources: hydroelectric power, tourism and agriculture.

Himachal Pradesh is spread across valleys and 90% of the population lives in villages and towns. However the state has achieved 100% hygiene and practically no single house without a toilet. The villages are well connected to roads, Public Health Center and now with Lokmitra kendra using High speed broadband. Shimla district has maximum urban population of 25%. According to a 2005 Transparency International survey, Himachal Pradesh is ranked the second-least corrupt state in the country after Kerala.[6] hill stations of the state is among the most visited places in country. The government has successfully imposed Environmental protection and tourism development meeting European standards and it is the only state which forbids the use of polythene and tobacco products.


  • History 1
  • Geography and climate 2
  • Flora and fauna 3
  • Subdivisions 4
  • Government 5
  • Agriculture 6
  • Economy 7
  • Heritage 8
  • Tourism 9
  • Transportion 10
  • Demographics 11
    • Languages 11.1
  • Religion 12
  • Culture 13
    • Food 13.1
    • Notable people 13.2
  • Education 14
  • Media and communication 15
  • State profile 16
  • See also 17
  • Notes 18
  • References 19
  • External links 20


The history of the area that now constitutes Himachal Pradesh dates back to the time when the Indus valley civilisation flourished between 2250 and 1750 BCE.[7] Tribes such as the Koilis, Halis, Dagis, Dhaugris, Dasa, Khasas, Kinnars and Kirats inhabited the region from pre-historic era. During the Vedic period, several small republics known as "Janapada" existed which were later conquered by the Gupta Empire. After a brief period of supremacy by King Harshavardhana, the region was once again divided into several local powers headed by chieftains, including some Rajput principalities. These kingdoms enjoyed a large degree of independence and were invaded by Delhi Sultanate a number of times.[7] Mahmud Ghaznavi conquered Kangra at the beginning of the 10th century. Timur and Sikander Lodi also marched through the lower hills of the state and captured a number of forts and fought many battles.[7] Several hill states acknowledged Mughal suzerainty and paid regular tribute to the Mughals.[8]

Sansar Chand (c.1765–1823)

The Gurkhas, a martial tribe, came to power in Nepal in the year 1768.[7] They consolidated their military power and began to expand their territory.[7] Gradually the Gorkhas annexed Sirmour and Shimla. With the leadership of Amar Singh Thapa, Gorkhas laid siege to Kangra. They managed to defeat Sansar Chand Katoch, the ruler of Kangra, in 1806 with the help of many provincial chiefs. However, Gorkhas could not capture Kangra fort which came under Maharaja Ranjeet Singh in 1809. After the defeat, the Gorkhas began to expand towards the south of the state. However, Raja Ram Singh, Raja of Siba State managed to capture the fort of Siba from the remnants of Lahore Darbar in Samvat 1846,[7] during the First Anglo-Sikh War. They came into direct conflict with the British along the tarai belt after which the British expelled them from the provinces of the Satluj.[7] The British gradually emerged as the paramount power.[7] In the revolt of 1857, or first Indian war of independence, arising from a number of grievances against the British,[7] the people of the hill states were not as politically active as were those in other parts of the country.[7] They and their rulers, with the exception of Bushahr, remained more or less inactive.[7] Some, including the rulers of Chamba, Bilaspur, Bhagal and Dhami, rendered help to the British government during the revolt.

Rock Cut Temple, Masroor

The British territories came under the British Crown after Queen Victoria's proclamation of 1858. The states of Chamba, Mandi and Bilaspur made good progress in many fields during the British rule.[7] During World War I, virtually all rulers of the hill states remained loyal and contributed to the British war effort, both in the form of men and materials. Among these were the states of Kangra, Jaswan, Datarpur, Guler, Nurpur, Chamba, Suket, Mandi, and Bilaspur.[7]

After independence the Chief Commissioner's Province of H.P. came into being on 15 April 1948 as a result of integration of 28 petty princely states (including feudatory princes and zaildars) in the promontories of the western

  • Official website

External links

  • Ahluwalia, M.S. (1998). Social, Cultural and Economic History of Himachal Pradesh. Indus Publishing.  
  • Batta, R.N. (2000). Tourism and the Environment: A Quest for Sustainability. Indus Publishing.  
  • Singh, Mian Goverdhan (2000). C.L. Gupta & Kulbhushan Chandel, ed. Himachal Pradesh: History, Culture & Economy (extensively revised ed.). Shimla.: Minerva Publishers & Distributors. 
  • Singh, Sarina (2005). India. Lonely Planet.  
  • Tiwari, A.K. (2000). Infrastructure and Economic Development in Himachal Pradesh. Indus Publishing.  
  • Verma, V. (1995). The Emergence of Himachal Pradesh: A Survey of Constitutional Developments. Himachal Pradesh (India): Indus Publishing.  
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (2002). Himachal Pradesh Human Development Report 2002. Government of Himachal Pradesh.  
  • Statistics and Data, Planning Department, Government of Himachal Pradesh


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha". 18 April 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Statistical Facts about India". Retrieved 26 October 2006. 
  4. ^ Singh 2000, p. 1.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "India Corruption Study".  
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "History of Himachal Pradesh". National informatics center, Himachal Pradesh. Retrieved 31 March 2008. 
  8. ^ Verma 1995, pp. 28–35, Historical Perspective.
  9. ^ a b "Rivers in Himachal Pradesh". Suni Systems (P). Retrieved 28 April 2006. 
  10. ^ "Climate of Himachal Pradesh". Retrieved 26 October 2006. 
  11. ^ a b Himachal Pradesh Forest Department. "The Forests". National Informatics Center, Himachal Pradesh. Retrieved 3 April 2008. 
  12. ^ "In Himachal Pradesh Striking gold with marigold". Indianexpress. 2 July 2004. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  13. ^ "Himachal Pradesh (gov) Introduction". National informatics center. Computer Centre, Lok Sabha Secretariat. Retrieved 3 May 2007. 
  14. ^ "Legislative Assembly". Legislative Bodies in India. National Informatics Centre. Retrieved 28 October 2006. 
  15. ^ "Congress gets absolute majority in Himachal". The Statesman. Retrieved 20 December 2012. 
  16. ^ 
  17. ^ "$37 Million Additional Financing for Himachal Pradesh Mid Himalayan Watershed Development Project, India – 18000 Farmer Households to Benefit". 27 September 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  18. ^ "Independence Day-2013 Speech by Virbhadra Singh". Retrieved 18 August 2013. 
  19. ^ "Shimla Travel Guide". provides a travel guide on Shimla tourism. 
  20. ^ "Current GDP". H. K. Dua, The Tribune House. Retrieved 23 May 2007. 
  21. ^ a b "Himachal Pradesh: Infrastructure". Public Private Partnerships in India. Ministry of Finance,  
  22. ^ "Hamirpur road density". Hari Jaisingh, Published from The Tribune House. Retrieved 22 May 2007. 
  23. ^ a b "Census Population" (PDF). Census of India. Ministry of Finance India. Retrieved 18 December 2008. 
  24. ^ "Ethnic composition". The First Report on Religion: Census of India 2001. Archived from the original on 15 June 2007. Retrieved 31 January 2007. 
  25. ^ "Highlights of Himachal Pradesh HDR (2002)" (PDF). Government of Himachal Pradesh (2002), Himachal Pradesh Human Development Report 2002, Government of Himachal Pradesh, pp. 40. Archived from the original on 15 June 2007. Retrieved 26 May 2007. 
  26. ^ "Census of India – Religious Composition". Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  27. ^ "Culture of Himachal Pradesh". Indialine (2007). Retrieved 3 May 2007. 
  28. ^ "Ice-skating rink completes 100 sessions again". The Tribune, Chandigarh, India. Retrieved 11 February 2001. 
  29. ^
  30. ^ a b c d e "Educational Profile of Himachal Pradesh". General Overview of Education in Himachal. Retrieved 16 March 2007. 
  31. ^ "Factual source on Education in Himachal". Government of India. Retrieved 16 March 2007. 
  32. ^ Dua, H.K. "Educational updates- Himachal". The Tribune Trust, 2006. The Tribune House. Retrieved 16 March 2007. 
  33. ^ "IGMC-home". Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  34. ^ "Himachal At A Glance". Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  35. ^ a b c d census 2011
  36. ^ a b c d e "Provisional Population Totals". Census of India. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 


See also

Area 55673 km2
Total Population 6,856,509[35]
Males 3,473,892[36]
Females 3,382,617[36]
Population Density 123
Sex Ratio 974[35]
Rural Population 6,167,805[35]
Urban Population 688,704[35]
Scheduled Caste Population 1,502,171
Scheduled Tribe Population 244,587
Literacy Rate 83.78%[36]
Male Literacy 90.83%[36]
Female Literacy 76.60%[36]
Districts 16
Sub-Division 55
Tehsils 82
Sub-Tehsils 35
Developmental Block 77
Towns 59
Panchayats 3,243
Panchayat Smities 77
Zila Parishad 12
Urban Local Bodies 49
Nagar Nigam 1
Nagar Parishad 25
Nagar Panchayats 23
Census Villages 20,690
Inhabited Villages 17,495
Health Institutions 3,866
Educational Institutions 17,000
Motorable Roads 33,722 km
National Highways 8
Identified Hydroelectric Potential 23,000.43 MW in five rivers basins i.e. (Yamuna, Satluj, Beas, Ravi, Chenab and Himurja)
Potential harnessed 6726 MW
Food grain production 1579,000 tonnes
Vegetable production 900,000 tonnes
Fruit Production 1027,000 tonnes
Per Capita Income . 36,783 (2006–2007) Expected
Social security Pension 237,250 Persons, Annual Expenditure: Over INR 600 million
Investment in Industrial Area INR 273.80 billion, Employment Opportunities: Over 337,391
Employment generated in Government Sector 80,000
[34]Department of Information and Public Relations.Source:
Sunrise in Himachal Pradesh, at Kinnaur Kailash
Kalpa, a typical town in Himachal Pradesh
Symbols of Himachal Pradesh
Animal Snow leopard बर्फीला तेंदुआ
Bird Jujurana जुजुराणा
Flower Rhododendron
Tree Deodar देवदार

State profile

Durdarshan is the state-owned television broadcaster. Doordarshan Shimla also provides programs in Pahari language.Multi system operators provide a mix of Nepali, Hindi, English, and international channels via cable. All India Radio is a public radio station. Private FM stations are also available in few cities like Shimla. BSNL, Reliance Infocomm, Tata Indicom, Tata Docomo, Aircel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Airtel are available cellular phone operators. Broadband internet is available in select towns and cities and is provided by the state-run BSNL and by other private companies. Dial-up access is provided throughout the state by BSNL and other providers.

Though situated in a remote part of the country, Himachal Pradesh has an active community of journalists and publishers. Several newspapers and magazines are published in more than one language, and their reach extends to almost all the Hindi speaking states. Radio and TV have permeated significantly. Judging by the number of people writing to these media, there is a very large media-aware population in the state. All major English daily newspapers are available in Shimla and district headquarters. Aapka Faisla, Amar Ujala, Panjab Kesari, Divya Himachal are Hindi daily newspaper with local editions are read widely.

Media and communication

The state has Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital, Homoeopathic Medical College & Hospital, Kumarhatti. Besides that there is Himachal Dental College which is the state's first recognised dental institute.[33]

There are over 10,000 primary schools, 1,000 secondary schools and more than 1,300 high schools in Himachal.[31] The state government has decided to start three major nursing colleges to develop the health system in the state.[30] In meeting the constitutional obligation to make primary education compulsory, Himachal has became the first state in India to make elementary education accessible to every child.[32]

The state government is working constantly to prepare plans and projects to strengthen the education system. The state government decided to start three nursing colleges to develop the health system.

The Indian Institute of Technology Mandi, Himachal Pradesh University Shimla, Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT, CSIR Lab), Palampur, the National Institute of Technology, Hamirpur, the Central University Dharamshala, APG (Alakh Prakash Goyal) Shimla University, The Bahra University (Waknaghat, Solan) the Baddi University of Emerging Sciences and Technologies Baddi, Shoolini University Of Biotechnology and Management Sciences, Solan, the Jaypee University of Information Technology Waknaghat, Eternal University, Sirmaur & Chitkara University Solan are some of the pioneer universities in the state. CSK Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishwavidyalya Palampur is one of the most renowned hill agriculture institutes in world. Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry has earned a unique distinction in India for imparting teaching, research and extension education in horticulture, forestry and allied disciplines. Further, state-run Jawaharlal Nehru Government Engineering College started in 2006 at Sundernagar is an important milestone in higher technical education in the state.[30]

Hamirpur District is among the top districts in the country for literacy.[30] Education rates among women are quite encouraging in the state.[30] The standard of education in the state has reached a considerably high level as compared to other states in India[30] with several reputed educational institutes for higher studies.

Indian Institute of Advanced Study at Shimla
Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital at Shimla


Prominent people associated with Himachal include:

Notable people

The day to day diet of Himachalis is though similar to the rest of north India but is unique for its taste and ingredients used. They have lentil, rice, and vegetables. The rotis (breads) are made of flours like wheat and maize. Some of the specialties of the Himachali cuisine include Madrah, Maahni, Batt, Mitha Saloona, Bhujju, Saag, Palda, Redhu, chouck, bhagjery, jhoul, siddu/batooru, beduan, chutney, khatti dal, etc.


Shimla, the state capital, is home to Asia's only natural ice skating rink.[28]

Local music and dance reflect the cultural identity of the state. Through their dance and music, they entreat their gods during local festivals and other special occasions. Apart from the fairs and festivals that are celebrated all over India, there are number of other fairs and festivals that are of great significance to Himachal Pradesh.

The state is well known for its handicrafts. The carpets, leather works, shawls, metalware, woodwork and paintings are worth appreciating. Pashmina shawls are a product that is highly in demand in Himachal and all over the country. Himachali caps are famous art work of the people. Extreme cold winters of Himachal necessitated wool weaving. Nearly every household in Himachal owns a pit-loom. Wool is considered as pure and is used as a ritual cloth. The well-known woven object is the shawl, ranging from fine pashmina to the coarse desar. Kullu is famous for its shawls with striking patterns and vibrant colours. Kangra and Dharamshala are famous for Kangra miniature paintings.

Himachal was one of the few states that had remained largely untouched by external customs, largely due to its difficult terrain. With the technological advancements the state has changed very rapidly. It is a multireligional, multicultural as well as multilingual state like other Indian states. Some of the most commonly spoken languages includes Hindi, Pahari, Dogri, Mandeali Kangri, Mandyali, Gojri and Kinnauri. The caste communities residing in Himachal include the Khatri, Brahmins, Rajputs, Gujjars, Gaddis, Ghirth (choudhary), Kannets, Rathis and Kolis, Sood There are tribal populations in the state which mainly comprise Kinnars, Pangawals, Sulehria, and Lahaulis.[27]

The village of Nako in Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh
'Kullu Dussehra festival


Hinduism is the main religion in Himachal Pradesh. Himachal Pradesh is ranked first in India having a high percentage of Hindu in India statewise. 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.

Religion in Himachal Pradesh[26]
Religion Percent


Hindi is both the official language and the lingua franca of Himachal Pradesh. However, most of the population speaks Pahari, which includes nearly all Western Pahari dialects.


The life expectancy at birth in Himachal Pradesh is 62.8 years (higher than the national average of 57.7 years) for 1986–1990. The infant mortality rate stood at 40 in 2010 and crude birth rate has declined from 37.3 in 1971 to 16.9 in 2010, below the national average of 26.5 in 1998. The crude death rate was 6.9 in 2010. Himachal Pradesh's literacy rate grew by 34.65% between 1981 and 2001.[25]

The main communities are Rajputs, Rathis, Brahmins and Ghirth. The Ghirth (choudhary) community is found mainly in Kangra District. Himachal has a sizeable population of Tibetans. Himachal Pradesh has the one of the highest proportion of Hindu population in India (95%). Other religions that form a small percentage are Buddhism and Sikhism. The Lahaulis of Lahaul and Spiti region are mainly Buddhists. Sikhs mostly live in towns and cities and constitute 1.23% of the state population. For example they form 10% of the population in Una District adjoining the state of Punjab and 17% in Shimla, the state capital. The Buddhists are mainly natives and tribals from Lahaul and Spiti, where they form majority of 60% and Kinnaur where they form 40%, however the bulk are refugees from Tibet.[24] The Muslims constitute slightly 1.63% of the population of Himachal Pradesh.

Census-wise, the state is placed 21st on the population chart followed by Tripura at 22nd place. Kangra district was top ranked with a population strength of 1,507,223 (21.98%), Mandi district 999,518 (14.58%), Shimla district 813,384 (11.86%), Solan district 576,670 (8.41%), Sirmaur district 530,164 (7.73%), Una district 521,057 (7.60%), Chamba district 518,844 (7.57%), Hamirpur district 454,293 (6.63%), Kullu district 437,474 (6.38%), Bilaspur district 382,056 (5.57%), Kinnaur district 84,298 (1.23%) and Lahaul Spiti 31,528 (0.46%).

Himachal Pradesh has a literacy rate of 83.78 per cent and gender ratio at 974/1000, according to the 2011 Census figures.

Himachal Pradesh has a total population of 6,856,509 including 3,473,892 males and 3,382,617 females as per the provisional results of the Census of India 2011. This is only 0.57 per cent of India's total population, recording a growth of 12.81 per cent. Total fertility rate (TFR) per woman is 1.8 which is one of lowest in India.

Woman with sheep, in Himachal Pradesh
Traditional home, Manali


Roads are the major mode of transport in the hilly terrains. The state has road network of 28,208 km (17,528 mi),[21] including eight National Highways (NH) that constitute 1,234 km (767 mi) and 19 State Highways with total length of 1,625 km.[21] Some roads get closed during winter and monsoon seasons due to snowfall and landslides. Hamirpur has the highest road density in the state.[22]


Himachal is famous for its narrow gauge tracks railways, one is UNESCO World Heritage Kalka-Shimla Railway and another one is PathankotJogindernagar. Total length of these two tracks is 259 km. Kalka-Shimla Railway track is passes through lot of tunnels while Pathankot–Jogindernagar gently meanders through a maze of hills and valleys. It also has standard gauge railway track which connect Amb (Una district) to Delhi. Survey is being conducted to extend this railway line to Kangra (via Nadaun). Another proposed railway tracks in state are Baddi-Bilaspur, Dharamsala-Palampur and Bilaspur-Manali-Leh.


State has three domestic airports in Shimla, Kullu and Kangra districts The air routes connect the state with Delhi and Chandigarh.



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. The state is also a famous destination for various film shooting units and various films have been shot in the state like Roja, Henna (film), Jab We Met, Veer-Zaara, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Highway (2014 Hindi film) mostly by the contribution of Mr Anil Kaistha. Major tourist and religious destinations include Bahadurpur fort, bhakra dam, naina devi temple, Manimahesh, Bhuri Singh museum, Bharmaur, khajjiar,prashar lake, rewalsar, chotti kashi mandi, jogindernagar valley, dalhousie, sujanpur tira, dharamshala, palampur, masroor rock temple, kangra fort, kinnaur, manikaran, manali, rohtang pass, spiti, Shimla, kasauli, gobind sagar lake.


Himachal has a rich heritage of handicrafts. These include woolen and pashmina shawls, carpets, silver and metal ware, embroidered chappals, grass shoes, Kangra and Gompa style paintings, wood work, horse-hair bangles, wooden and metal utensils and various other house hold items. These aesthetic and tasteful handicrafts declined under competition from machine made goods and also because of lack of marketing facilities. But now the demand for handicrafts has increased within and outside the country.


Himachal is extremely rich in hydro electric resources. The state has about 25% of the national potential in this respect. It has been estimated that about 20,300MW of hydro electric power can be generated in the State by constructing various major, medium, small and mini/micro hydel projects on the five river basins. The state is also the first state in India to achieve the goal of having a bank account for every family. As per the current prices, the total GDP was estimated at INR 254 billion as against INR 230 billion in the year 2004–05, showing an increase of 10.5%.[20] The recent years witnessed quick establishment of International Entrepreneurship. Luxury hotels, food and franchisees of recognised brands e.g. Mc Donalds, KFC and Pizza hut have rapidly spread.

Hydro Power is also one of the major source of income generation for the State.[18] Identified Hydroelectric Potential for the state is 23,000.43 MW in five rivers basins.[19]

Agriculture contributes over 45% to the net state domestic product. It is the main source of income and employment in Himachal. Over 93% of the population in Himachal depends directly upon agriculture which provides direct employment to 71% of its people. The main cereals grown are wheat, maize, rice and barley.

The era of planning in Himachal Pradesh started 1948 along with the rest of India. The first five-year plan allocated INR 52.7 million to Himachal. More than 50% of this expenditure was incurred on road construction since it was felt that without proper transport facilities, the process of planning and development could not be carried to the people, who mostly lived an isolated existence in far away areas. Himachal now ranks fourth in respect of per capita income among the states of the Indian Union.

Gross State Domestic Product at Current Prices
figures in millions of Indian Rupees
Year Gross State Domestic Product
1980 7,940
1985 13,720
1990 28,150
1995 66,980
2000 135,900
2005 230,240
2007 254,350


Land husbandry initiatives such as the Mid-Himalayan Watershed Development Project, which includes the Himachal Pradesh Reforestation Project (HPRP), the world's largest clean development mechanism (CDM) undertaking, have improved agricultural yields and productivity, and raised rural household incomes.[17]

Fruit cultivation has also proved to be an economic boon. There are huge tracts of land suitable only for growing fruits. Fruit of all cultivation does not add to the problem of soil erosion and its employment potential is more than conventional farming. The yield per acre in terms of income is also much higher. Apple farming produces the maximum income. Fruit growing in the state is fetching over INR 3 billion annually.

Though the state is deficient in food grains, 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 and Lahaul 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.

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.

However, agriculture in the state suffers from certain limitations, especially in the production of food grains. One of these reasons is that the area under cultivation can't be extended to an appreciable extent. Also, reclamation of land on slopes is not economical and increases environmental degradation. The state can profit more by cultivating cash crops as per the agro-climatic conditions.

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.

Himalayas from Kullu Valley


In the assembly elections held in November 2012, the Congress secured an absolute majority.[15] The Congress won 36 of the 68 seats while the BJP won only 26 of the 68 seats. Virbhadra Singh was sworn-in as Himachal Pradesh's Chief Minister for a record sixth term in Shimla on 25 December 2012. Virbhadra Singh who has held the top office in Himachal five times in the past, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Urmila Singh at an open ceremony at the historic Ridge Maidan in Shimla.[16]

Governments have seen alternates between Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Indian National Congress (INC), no third front ever has become significant. In 2003, the state legislative assembly was won by the Indian National Congress and Virbhadra Singh was elected as the chief minister of the state. In the assembly elections held in December 2007, the BJP secured a landslide victory. The BJP won 41 of the 68 seats while the Congress won only 23 of the 68 seats. BJP's Prem Kumar Dhumal was sworn in as Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh on 30 December 2007.

Himachal Pradesh is governed through a parliamentary system of representative democracy, a feature the state shares with other Indian states. Universal suffrage is granted to residents. The legislature consists of elected members and special office bearers such as the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker who are elected by the members. Assembly meetings are presided over by the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker in the Speaker's absence. The judiciary is composed of the Himachal Pradesh High Court and a system of lower courts. Executive authority is vested in the Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister, although the titular head of government is the Governor. The Governor is the head of state appointed by the President of India. The leader of the party or coalition with a majority in the Legislative Assembly is appointed as the Chief Minister by the Governor, and the Council of Ministers are appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister. The Council of Ministers reports to the Legislative Assembly. The Assembly is unicameral with 68 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA).[14] Terms of office run for 5 years, unless the Assembly is dissolved prior to the completion of the term. Auxiliary authorities known as panchayats, for which local body elections are regularly held, govern local affairs.

The Legislative Assembly of Himachal Pradesh has no pre-Constitution history. The State itself is a post-Independence creation. It came into being as a centrally administered territory on 15 April 1948 from the integration of thirty erstwhile princely states.[13]

Town Hall in Shimla


A district of Himachal Pradesh is an administrative geographical unit, headed by a Deputy Commissioner or District Magistrate, an officer belonging to the Indian Administrative Service. The district magistrate or the deputy commissioner is assisted by a number of officers belonging to Himachal Administrative Service and other Himachal state services. Each district is subdivided into Sub-Divisions, governed by a sub-divisional magistrate, and again into Blocks. Blocks consists of panchayats (village councils) and town municipalities. A Superintendent of Police, an officer belonging to the Indian Police Service is entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining law and order and related issues of the district. He is assisted by the officers of the Himachal Police Service and other Himachal Police officials.

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.


Himachal Pradesh has around 1200 bird and 359 animal species, including the leopard, snow leopard (State animal), ghoral, musk deer and Western Tragopan. It has 2 major national parks and sanctuaries — the largest number in the Himalayan region. The Great Himalayan National Park in Kullu district was created to conserve the flora and fauna of the main Himalayan range, while the Pin Valley National Park to conserve the flora and fauna of the cold desert.

Himachal is also said to be the fruit bowl of the country, with orchards being widespread. Meadows and pastures are also seen clinging to steep slopes. After the winter season, the hillsides and orchards bloom with wild flowers, while gladiolas, carnations, marigolds,[12] roses, chrysanthemums, tulips and lilies are carefully cultivated. The state government is gearing up to make Himachal Pradesh as the flower basket of the world.

The uppermost elevations have western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows in the northeast and northwestern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows in the northwest. Trees are sturdy with a vast network of roots. Alders, birches, rhododendrons and moist alpine shrubs are there as the regional vegetation. The rhododendrons can be seen along the hillsides around Shimla from March to May. The shrublands and meadows give way to rock and ice around the highest peaks.

Rising into the hills, we find a mosaic of western Himalayan broadleaf forests and Himalayan subtropical pine forests. Various deciduous and evergreen oaks live in the broadleaf forests, while Chir pine dominates the pine forests. Western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests grow near treeline, with species that include East Himalayan Fir, West Himalayan Spruce, Deodar (State tree), and Blue pine.

The southern part of the state, at lower elevations than the north, has both tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests and tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests.[11] These are represented by northwestern thorn scrub forests along the border with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and by Upper Gangetic Plains moist deciduous forests in the far southeast. Sal and shisham are found here.

According to 2003 Forest Survey of India report, legally defined forest areas constitute 66.52% of the area of Himachal Pradesh, although area under tree cover is only 25.78%.[11] Vegetation in the state is dictated by elevation and precipitation.

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.[10] 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).

The drainage system of Himachal is composed both of rivers and glaciers. Himalayan rivers criss-cross the entire mountain chain. Himachal Pradesh provides water to both the Indus and Ganges basins.[9] The drainage systems of the region are the Chandra Bhaga or the Chenab, the Ravi, the Beas, the Sutlej and the Yamuna. These rivers are perennial and are fed by snow and rainfall. They are protected by an extensive cover of natural vegetation.[9]

Himachal is situated in the western Himalayas. Covering an area of 55,673 kilometres (34,594 mi),[3] it is a mountainous state.

Himalayan Monal at Birds Park in Shimla
Asian Paradise Flycatcher in Kullu
• Avg. Winter 7 °C (45 °F)
• Avg. Summer 28 °C (82 °F)
Precipitation 1,469 mm (57.8 in)
A summer view of Khajjiar.
Key Gompa with Spiti River flowing behind.

Geography and climate


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