Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh meaning land of snowy mountains is a state in the north-west of India bordered by the states of Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab on the west and south-west, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh on the south, Uttarakhand on the south-east and by China on the east. In 1950 Himachal was declared as the union territory but after the State of Himachal Pradesh Act, 1971, Himachal emerged as the 18th state of Indian Union.

Due to the abundance of perennial rivers, Himachal also sells hydro electricity to other states such as Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan. As per the survey conducted in 2005 by Transparency International, Himachal Pradesh is ranked the second least corrupt state in the country after Kerala.

Shimla is the state capital. Himalayan rivers criss-cross the entire mountain chain. In fact the rivers are older than the mountain system. Himachal Pradesh provides water to both the Indus and Ganges basins. The drainage systems of the region are the Chandra Bhaga or the Chenab, the Ravi, the Beas, the Sutlej and the Yamuna.

Himachal was one of the few states that had remained largely untouched by external customs, largely due to its difficult terrain. With technological advancements the state has changed very rapidly.

Himachal Pradesh is a multi-religional, multicultural as well as multilingual state like other Indian states.

Himachal is well known for its handicrafts. The carpets, leather works, shawls, paintings, metalware, woodwork and paintings are worth appreciating. Pashmina shawl is one of the products which is highly in demand not only in Himachal but all over the country. Himachali caps are also a famous art work of the people.

Local music and dance reflects 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 also a number of other fairs and festivals that are of great significance to Himachal Pradesh. Shimla, the state capital is home to Asia's only natural ice skating rink.

Facts at a glanceTime zone – IST (UTC+5:30). Area – 55,780 km² (21,537 sq mi). Capital – Shimla. Largest city – Shimla. District(s) – 12. Population – 109/km² (282/sq mi). Density – 6,077,248 (20th). Language(s) – Hindi, Pahari. Established – 25 January 1971. Legislature (seats) Unicameral (68). ISO abbreviation IN-HP. Website: himachal.nic.in