Himachal Pradesh, a land of its own
The north western Indian state of Himachal Pradesh is spread over a geographical area of 55,673 sq. km. Literally meaning the land of snowy mountains, the state is located at the foot of the majestic Himalayas and is regarded as a favourite travel destination for its natural beauty with its rivers, forests, valleys, hills and dales.
It is the Shivalik range of Himalayas that gives the state a distinguished identity. Shivalik literally means the ‘tresses of Shiva’ and to ancient geographers the range was known as Mainak Parbat.
It is one of the very few states in India which remains untouched by external cultures. Himachal Pradesh is a multilingual, multicultural and multireligious state. There is also a very lively tradition of tribal life, including sects like Gaddis, Kinnauras, Gujjars and Lahaulis.
About 67 percent of the state is forest area and there are 32 wildlife sanctuaries and two national parks. Trees like oaks, deodars, pines and firs, which are not common in the rest of India are found here. There are also around 1200 bird and 359 animal species in the state.
Himachal Pradesh is also known for its orchards and rightly deserves the name ‘the fruit bowl of India’. The state now produces about 4 lakh tons of fruits everyday, most of them apples, stone fruits and litchis.