Himachal Pradesh is a state in Northern India. It 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 theTibet
Popularly known as the Devbhumi – "Land of the Gods"
It is divided into 12 districts namely, Kangra, Hamirpur, Mandi, Bilaspur,
Una, Chamba, Lahaul and Spiti, Sirmaur, Kinnaur, Kullu, Solan and
The word "Hima" means snow when translated to Sanskrit, and the
meaning of the term stands out to be an area that sits on the laps of the
The economy of the Himachal Pradesh is currently the third fastest
growing economy in India. It has been ranked fourth in the list of the
highest per capita incomes of Indian states.
The economy of the state is highly dependent on three sources:
hydroelectric power, tourism and agriculture
Facts on Himachal Pradesh
Rivers: Ravi, Beas, Chenab, Sutlej,Yumana
Forests & National Park: PinVelley NP, Greater
Himalaya NP, RenukaWS, ChailWS, Kalatope Khajjiar
Languages: Hindi, Punjabi, Kinnauri, Pahari
Neighbours State: Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab,
State Animal: Snow Leopard
State Flower: Pink Rhododendron
Roads: As of December 2011, the total length of roads in
the state was 34,000 kms.The length of national highway in
the state was about 1500 kms as of June 2012.
Railways: Himachal Pradesh falls under Northern Railways
Network.The two narrow gauge lines with a route length of
96 km and 113 km connect Kalka with Shimla and Joginder
Nagar with Pathankot, respectively.
Airports:The state has three domestic airports in Shimla,
Kullu and Kangra districts.
Power: Most of the power generated in Himachal Pradesh
is hydel power, due to the hilly terrain and the ready
availability of water from five perennial rivers - Chenab,
Ravi, Beas,Yamuna and Sutlej.
Himachal PradeshTourism Development Corporation
Himachal PradeshTourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) is a pioneer in
the development of tourism infrastructure in Himachal. Formed in 1972, it
provides a complete package of tourism services, including accommodation,
catering, transport and sports activities.
Having the largest chain of finest hotels and restaurants in the State with nearly
57 hotels, having 950 rooms and 2050 beds. HPTDC also runs 62 restaurants and
cefes, serving a varied cuisine, including Himachali delicacies. All these
properties are set in superb locations in the lap of nature.
Its luxurious transport network makes this mountain State easily accessible with
a fleet of coaches, vans and jeeps.The HPTDC arranges sports activities like
skiing, para-gliding, river-rafting, trekking, ice-skating and golf. Besides camping
and tenting facilities in far flung tribal areas.
Tourist information centres are being run all over India and Himachal by HPTDC.
Besides disseminating information's, they provide reservation, accommodation
and transport facilities.
HPTDC also carrying out promotional activities on behalf of the State
Government by opening and developing unexplored areas of Himachal,
including the tribal belt.
Languages spoken: Hindi. Also English,
Punjabi and Pahari.
Religion: Mostly Hindu. Also Sikh, Muslim and
It was the summer capital of British India.
The town is distinctive for its variety of
Shimla’s famous Mall offers one of the longest
stretches of pedestrian shopping in the world.
Handicrafts. Shawls and tweeds. Fruit juice and
jams. Honey. Quality woollens. Silver jewellery.
Rare books and etchings. Contemporary pahari
miniature paintings. Metalware. Rugs and
carpets. Handmade footwear. Wooden items
like walking sticks.
Kamna Devi Temple: the temple offers splendid views of the town, the airfield and the ranges.
The Glen: 4 km away, this is a thickly forests area through which a stream flows. This is a popular
picnic spot and is especially attractive.
Anadale : 5 km away from the city center, this place is best known for a helipad. This large glade
has a golf course surrounded by thick deodar woods and has a charming temple by an edge.
Mashobra : Motorable on Shimla-Naldehra road. Surrounded by thick forests and offers ideal
walks. Goddess Durga temple is worth seeing.
Summer Hill: The Father of Nation, Mahatma Gandhi during his visit to Shimla lived in the elegant
Georgian House of Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur. HP University is situated here.
Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Viceregal Lodge: 3 km away, IIAS is housed in the former
Viceregal Lodge. Built in 1988 this is a spectacular English renaissance-inspired grey-stone
structure with superb Burma teak woodwork on the interiors. It is surrounded by magnificent
grounds and also has a small museum.
Jhakoo Temple: this is Shimla’s highest point and offers a panoramic view of the town’s hills and
distant mountain ranges. There are spectacular views at sunrise and sunset especially during the
monsoons. The peak has a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Legend has it that he stopped here
while searching for the sanjivini plant – the herb required to cure Laxman who lay mortally
wounded on a battlefield in Lanka in an episode from the epic Ramayana. A variation of the legend
says that his sandal fell here. The temple has been exhaustively renovated and this vantage point is
being connected by a ropeway. At the top of the hill in the temple complex a 108 feet tall idol of
Lord Hanuman is a big attraction for the tourists.
This is the hub of Shimla’s social life. Lined by shops and restaurants this pedestrian thoroughfare
loosely resembles an English Home County’s marketplace. The Gaiety Theatre, which is a
reproduction of an old British theatre is a center of cultural activities. A passenger lift operated by
HPTDC can be taken from the Cart Road to The Mall. Lakkar Bazaar adjacent to the Ridge is
popular for its wood crafts and souvenirs.
The Ridge: The large open space in the heart of town presents excellent view of the mountain
ranges. Shimla's landmarks-the Neo-Gothic structure of Christ Church and the new-Tudor library
building are worth seeing.
Chail was the summer capital of the former princely state of Patiala. It
came into being in the late nineteenth century when it’s
handsome and dashing Maharaja Bhupender Singh was banished
from Shimla, the summer capital of British India for an affair with
the British Commander –in-Chief’s daughter. To seek revenge
Bhupender Singh began exploring the neighbouring hills with a
single guiding force. Chail was higher than the British controlled
Shimla town. A site was selected and the Maharaja began
building his summer palace. But an ill omen seemed to hang over
the construction area. Local legend has it that the moment
anything was built, it would collapse over night. Dozens of snakes
would appear from nowhere and attack the labourers. Then
Bhupinder Singh had a dream. A sage appeared before him and
declared that the site the Maharaja had chosen was where he had
meditated till he was taken by the earth, and his peace should not
be disturbed. The Maharaja had the sage’s blessing to build on
any other spot. Bhupinder Singh moved to another site and at the
original spot – which is about a kilometre from the Palace Hotel –
he had a temple built to the sage. Here the stone embodiment of
the sage may still be seen along with the iron tongs and trident.
The shrine is known as the Sidh Baba Ka Mandir and is revered by
many who claim that the sage has the power to grant boons.
Meanwhile Bhupinder Singh had another site levelled out and a
splended mansion was built and sumptuously furnished.
In 1972 the property set in about 75 acres of land – including peripheral
cottages, woods, sport and recreation facilities and even an
orchard – passed into the hands of Himachal Tourism. This is now
the Palace Hotel – a full- fledged destination resort. This retains
the grandeur of its princely past and a large elegant lawn,
complete with pavilion and fountain, adjoins the Hotel. Chail’s
famous cricket ground was built in 1893 after leveling out the top
of a hill. This stands at 2444.4 m and is perhaps the highest cricket
pitch and the polo ground in the world.
Kullu valley spreads out on river Beas. The valley runs is 80km long and about 2km at its
broadest. The valley is also famous for its exquisitely woven colourful hand made shawls and
kullu caps.. Kullu valley is also known as the Valley of Gods (Dev-Bhoomi)
During the festival of Dussehra every year, idols of gods from the neighboring towns and villages
are brought to Kullu in procession to enable them to pay their respects to Lord Raghunath Ji
Places to visit
Bijli Mahadev Temple: a sacred destination. It is an ancient Shiva temple, famous for its
stone Shiva-Ling which shatters (it is believed)each time lightning strikes it, only to be
resurrected by the Pujari.
Camping site Raison: 16kms. away from Kulu, the sight is ideal for spending a quite holiday in
solitary splendor and for holding youth camps. There are a large number of orchards in this
part of the valley. HPTDC has log cabins for comfortable stay.
Kasol : Situated on the bank of Paravati river, Kasol makes a good holiday destination.
42kms. from Kulu, charmingly located on an open space which slopes down to the broad
expanse of clear white sand at the Parvati river. The place is well known for trout fishing.
Manikaran : is famous for its hot springs. Thousands of people take a holy dip in hot waters
here. The water is so hot that dal, rice & vegetables etc. can be cooked in it. It is also a well
known pilgrimage place for both Hindus & Sikhs. According to an old legend, Manikaran is
connected with Lord Shiva and his divine consort, Parvati, who lost her ear rings here, which
gave birth to hot waters on the bank of Parvati river.
Manali is situated near the end of the valley on the National Highway leading to Leh.
It is famous for Beas river, snow capped peaks and fruit orchards. It is an excellent place for a
holiday, a favorite resort for trekkers to Lahaul, Spiti, Bara Bhangal (Kangra), and Zanskar
ranges. From temples to antiquity, to picturesque sight-seeing spots and adventure activities,
Manali is a popular resort for all seasons and for all travellers.
Places to visit:
Rohtang Pass (3979 m) is 51kms. from Manali on highway to Keylong/Leh. It offers a panorama and
spectacular mountain view. The pass is open from June to October each year although trekkers
can cross it earlier. It is a gateway to Lahaul Spiti, Pangi and Leh valley just as Zojila pass is a
gatway to Ladakh. There are a beautiful sight of glaciers, peaks and Chandra river flows down in
the Lahaul valley. Slightly to the left are the twin peaks of the Geypan.
Vashist, a small village located on the left bank of river Beas towards Rohtang pass is worth a visit. It is
renowned for its hot springs and temples. Nearby is the pyramidal stone temple dedicated to
Vashist Muni. There is another Temple of Lord Ram here. Natural hot sulphur springs with two
separate bathing tanks for gents and ladies are always full of tourists. Turkish style showers
fitted baths have also been built nearby. Hot water from the nearby spring is provided for
Solang valley offers the view of glaciers and snow capped mountains and peaks. It has fine ski slopes.
The Mountaineering Institute has installed a ski lift for training purpose. Located here is a hut
and guest house of the Mountaineering and Allied sports Institute, Manali. The winter skiing
festival is organised here. Training in skiing is imparted at this place.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports Manali, organises basic & advance
training courses, in trekking, mountaineering, skiing and water sports. Skiing and trekking
equipments can be hired from here by booking in advance.
Tibetan monasteries : There are 3 newly constructed colorful monasteries, where visitors can buy
carpets and other Tibetan handicrafts.
Manali has many attractions but the chief centre of interest, historically and archeologically, is
undoubtedly the DHOONGRI TEMPLE dedicated to goddess Hidimba. It has four-tiered Pagoda
shaped roof and the doorway is carved with legendary figures and symbols. This temple located
amidst wooden forest of deodar is about 2.5 kms. from the tourist office. It is a pleasant
experience to stroll in the temple complex which was built in 1533 A.D. A large festival is held
here in May.
The town stands on a plateau on the right bank of the Ravi river valley between
Dhauladhar and Zanskar ranges south of the inner Himalayas.
Places of visit:
Chamunda Devi temple: The temple has artistic carvings on its lintel, pillars and the ceiling.
Behind the main temple is a small shrine of Lord Shiva. The temple is being looked
after by Archaeological Survey of India.The temple is an ideal picnic spot throughout
the year because it has an easy approach and a commanding view.
Masroor Rock-cut Temple: There are 15 rock-cut temples in Indo-Aryan style and are richly
carved. It is a unique monolithic structure in the sub-Himalayan region and is a
protected monument. The main shrine contains three stone images of Rama,
Lakshmana and Sita. The temple complex is located on a hill and also has a large
rectangular water pond. The view of snow clad Dhauladhar is amazing from the
Rang Mahal is located in Surara Mohalla. The foundation of Rang Mahal was laid by Raja
Umed Sing. The architecture of Rang Mahal is a mix of Mughal and British styles. This
palace was the residence for a branch of the ruling family. Now under the aegis of
Handicrafts Department of the State Government, most of the rooms of this palace
are being used as work-shops for making shoes, chapples and rumals. A number of
decorative and colorful wall painting have been removed and taken to National
Museum of Delhi. Some of the wall paintings and richly painted doors of the palace
can be seen preserved in the Bhuri Singh Museum of Chamba.
Kalatop and Khajiar are best explored if you take a three days walk from Dalhousie to
Kalatop, Khajjiar and back Dalhousie. Kalatop is the mini Switzerland of India i.e.
Khajjiar, at a height of 6400 ft. Hutchison writes, "Khajjiar is a forest glade of great
beauty, 6400 feet above sea level". Khajjiar is often reffered to as "Gulmarg of
Himachal Pradesh". The lush green meadows are surrounded by thick pine and cedar
forests. There is a small lake in the center of the saucer shaped meadow which has in
it a floating island.
It is 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.
Located near the Indo-Tibet border, the village has a naturally preserved
unique Mummy, which is more than 500 years old and is an attraction for the
visitors. The village Giu is situated at a height of approx 10,000 feet above the
sea level. The mummy in the village is placed in a room constructed on a hilltop.
It is believed that this mummy is of a Lama, who died at the age of around 45
years and was found in a sitting posture. Presently, the mummy is kept in an
open glass box.
Places to see:
Chander Tal: Surrounded by snows and acres of scree, this deep blue-water lake
has a circumference of 2.5 k.m.This is the source of the river Chandra.
kibber: isone of the highest villages in the world at an altitude of 4205 m above
sea level in a narrow valley surrounded by mountains from all sides.
Dhankar is a big village and erstwhile capital of Spiti Kingdom. On top of a hill
there is a fort which use to be the prison in olden times. The Monastery has
about 100 Lamas and is in position of Budhist scriptures in Bhoti language.
Principal figure is a Statue of " Vairochana" (Dhayan Budha) consisting of 4
complete figures seated back to back. It has relics in the shape of paintings and
Dharamshala is also the headquarter of the Kangra
tragedy struck Dharamshala when an earthquake
levelled it completely. After its reconstruction,
Dharamshala flourished as a quiet health resort. It is
divided into two distinct parts. Lower Dharamshala has
civil offices and business establishments with courts.
Kotwali bazar and Upper Dharamshala comprise of
places with names which bear witness to its history like
McLeod Ganj and Forsythe Ganj. Since 1960, when it
became a temporary headquarter of His Holiness The
Dalai Lama, Dharamshala has risen to international
fame as "The Little Lhasa in India". Mcleodganj is 9 km
In and around Dharamshala, one can visit the Kangra Art
museum at Kotwali bazar, War memorial, Kunal Pathri
temple and tea gardens on way to Kunal Pathri. There is
also a beautiful Cricket stadium in the city facing mighty
Shopping centres: Kotwali Bazar, a general shopping
area, and McLeod Ganj forTibetan handicrafts
Dalhousie (2036 m) is a hill station full of colonial charm that holds lingering
echoes of the Raj. Spread out over the five hills (Kathlog, Potreys, Tehra,
Bakrota and Balun) the town is named after the 19th century British Governer
General Lord Dalhousie. Rich in colonial architecture, the town preserves
some beautiful churches. St. John church is the oldest one built in 1863, St.
Francis was built in 1894, St.Andrew in 1903 and St. Patric in 1909.
There are also magnificent views of Chamba valley and the mighty
Dhauladhar range with its awe-inspiring snow covered peaks filling an entire
In & around Dalhousie the visitable places are:
Subash Baoli: Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose spent a large portion of 1937
contemplating here. A nice secluded place.
Panjpulla: It means five bridges. It is a picturesque spot with water flowing
under the five small bridges. A samadhi of Sardar Ajit Singh, uncle of Bhagat
Singh, adds to its importance. A small fresh water spring Satdhara is close by.
Bakrota hills: Visit for a brisk walk round the hills and have a view of snow clad
peaks. It is 5 km from Dalhousie.
Kalatope: It is a picnic spot and a wild life sanctury, 10 km from Dalhousie and
offers a fine view of the countryside.
Bara Pathar: It is 4 km from Dalhousie enroute Kalatope. In village Ahla here,
there is atemple of Bhulwani Mata.
Dainkund: It is 10 km from Dalhousie. On a clear day this tall peak (2745
m) affords a birds eye-view of the hills, verdant valleys and the Beas, Ravi and
Chenab rivers threading their silvery passage down to the plains.