Himachal Pradesh

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Map of Himachal Pradesh (Source: India-WRIS)



The original inhabitants of this state were tribals called Dasas. In the later period Aryans came and assimilated the tribals. Himachal Pradesh, or the region now comprising it, was included in the earliest Indian empire of Chandragupta Maurya. The great epic Mahabharata mentioned that the kings of this region participated in the Kurukshetra war between Kauravas and Pandavas. The practice of polyandry system of marriage in the Pandavas is still prevalent in some parts of Himachal. After Maurayas several dynasties like Kushans, Guptas, Kanuaj rulers etc. ruled this state. In the Muslim reign in India this state was harassed by the Muslim invaders but they could not penetrate on a permanent basis. In the Mughal regime the Rajas of the hill states made some l arrangements on their relations with Mughal kings. In the 19th century Ranjit Singh annexed/subjugated many parts of this state. In the British regime, British defeated the Gorkhas and entered into treaties with some Rajas and annexed the kingdom of others. But the basic pattern remained unchanged. After independence, thirty princely states merged and Himachal Pradesh was formed. In 1966, after reorganisation of Punjab state, some parts of old Punjab province were included in Himachal Pradesh. It became a full-fledged state in 25th January 1971.


The state is bound by Uttar Pradesh on the southeast, Tibet on the east, Punjab on the west and southwest, Haryana on south and Jammu & Kashmir on the north. It is situated in the northwest corner of India, right in the lap of Himalayan ranges. The state has an area of 55,673 sq km. and its altitude ranging between 460 meters to 6,600 meters above sea levels. The state is divided into three zones - the Shivaliks or the outer Himalayas, the low mountains which has less altitude compare to great mountains in the middle and the zone of the Zaskar (other high peaks of Himalayas). Many parts of this state are snow bound from December to April.
Numerous passes and glaciers are found in this state. Most important rivers of this state are Chenab (Chandrabhaga), Ravi (Iravati), Sutlej (Shatadru), Beas (Vipasa) and Yamuna (Jamuna). The Chenab flows 122 km inside Himachal Pradesh before it enters Kashmir. Yamuna has a catchments area of 2,320 sq. km. in Himachal Pradesh. Forest occupy about 64% of the area.
The climate of northern part of this state is almost cool throughout the year. The northern part or the glacial region is extremely cold in winter and a temperate summer. In winter snowfall goes on until March and could be as high as three meters on the average. The southern part has similarity with the plains, varies from hot and sub-humid. The state experiences the cold season from October to middle of March, hot seasons from April to June. Rainy season begins from July and goes upto September.


Himachal Pradesh, located in Northern India, share its border with Jammu and Kashmir in the North, Uttarakhand in the Southeast, Uttar Pradesh in the South, Haryana in Southwest and Punjab in the West. It is located between 30°22’ and 33°12’ North latitude and between 75°47’ and 79°04’ East longitude.


There is great diversification in the climatic conditions of Himachal Pradesh due to variation in elevation. It varies from hot and sub-humid tropical to warm and temperate to cool and temperate to cold alpine and glacial in different parts of the state. The maximum temperature goes upto 22°C in the month of June–July and the minimum temperature around 3°C in the month of January. Average annual rainfall varies largely in the state with 454 mm in Lahul & Spiti and 1565mm in Kangra.

Water Resources

The major river systems of the region are the Chandrabhaga or Chenab, Ravi, Beas, Sutllej and Yamuna. These perennial rivers are fed by snow and rainfall. The annual replenishable groundwater resource in the state is 0.43BCM and the stage of ground water development is 30%.


  • Agriculture
  • Industry
  • Mines & Minerals


Agriculture is the mainstay of more than 75 per cent people in Himachal Pradesh. Most of farmers belongs to small and marginal category (about 83.7%). Major food crops are rice, wheat, jowar, bajra, potato etc.
In the year 2006-2007, the state produced 123.5 thousand tonnes of kharif rice in 79.2 thousand hectares land, 501.6 thousand tonnes of Wheat produced from 362.2 thousand hectares land, 695.4 thousand tonnes of kharif Maize produced from 299.0 thousand hectares land, Total Food grains production 1,382.2 thousand tonnes in 806.4 thousand hectare of land and during the same period was Total Pulses production 28.9 thousand tonnes in 31.0 thousand hectare of land, 118.3 thousand tonnes of Potato produced from 12.7 thousand hectares land. Diverse agro-climatic conditions afford excellent opportunities for horticulture and cash crops. Fruit cultivation is dominated by apples. Himachal's apples are world famous. Vegetables plays a notable part in the agriculture of Himachal Pradesh. Himachal has always been known for its potatoes and Shimla even gives its name to the vegetable paplwoca, popularly known in north India as Shimla mirch. Large scale expansion of mushroom cultivation has been undertaken. Farm activities are being supplemented by improvement in milch cattle through a cross-breeding programme, rabbitry, pisiculture and floriculture.


Agro-horticulture, herbal, wool, sericulture and electronics are the major industries in the state. This state has adopted a new industrial policy. Priority has given to above industries in the new policy.Small-scale village based industries plays important role in employment generation. In small scale sector, microscopes, watch parts, thermometers, hospital and heating equipments are being manufactured, whereas the village industry sector consists sheep-rearing, wood carving, blacksmithy, spinning, weaving, leather tanning, pottery, handloom, handicrafts and bamboo crafts.Handloom and sericulture are the most important village industries. One export promotion industrial park is developed in Baddi and one electronics complex is being developed in Shoghi near Shimla. Fruit processing is naturally an important element in the industrial development of the state. One of the biggest fruit processing plants in Asia at Parwanoo is in operation. Tea is grown in Kangra and Mandi districts. As on December 2004, there were 2,348 hectare Area under Tea Cultivation. There are three big cement plants in the state. Besides these, there are many mineral based industries like stone crusher, calcium carbonate units, hydrated lime units etc.

Mines & Minerals

The state has considerable mineral resources which include rock salt, limestone, gypsum, silica-sand and baryte. Traces of iron, gold, lignite, pyrite, natural gas and slates have been found in some districts like Bilaspur, Kangra, Mandi and Solan.


  • Irrigation
  • Power
  • Transport
  • Health
  • Education
  • Telecommunication


One fifth of the net sown areas are irrigated in Himachal Pradesh. There is limited scope for major and medium irrigation projects. Efforts have been made to bring more and more hectares of land under irrigation. Shahnehar and Bhabour Sahib irrigation projects are the milestone in this direction. Besides these there are Sidhata irrigation projects.


The state with limited resources has commissioned Bassi (60 MW), Binwa (6 MW), Andbra (16.95 MW), Bhaba-Sanjay Vidyut Pariyojna (120 MW), Gaj (10.5 MW), Baner (12 MW), Nogli (2.5 MW) etc. An agreement has been signed with NHPC for Parbati project (2051 MW). Naptha Jhakri Hydro Electric Project (1500 MW) is being executed jointly by the State government and Central government. Chamera Stage II (300 MW) is one of the greatest achievement. The state government has taken to selective privatisation for its speedy exploitation. The private sector projects are Baspa Stage -II (300 MW, UHL Stage III (100 MW), Hibra (231 MW), Dhamwari Suna (70 MW), Karchham Wangtoo (1000 MW), Neugal (15 MW), Allain Duhangan (192 MW) and Malana (86 MW).



The state has two narrow/meter gauge railway lines running from Pathankot to Joginder Nagar and Kalka to Shimla. Broad gauge line from Nangal to Talwara under construction and commissioned upto Una. Survey works is in progress in Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Beri region for broad gauge lines.


The state is airlinked via Chandigarh. Himachal Pradesh has three airports - Jubbarhatti (Shimla), Bhuntar (Kullu Valley) and Gaggal (Kangra). The construction works of another airport in Chamba district is in progress. There are 12 helipads in the different parts of the state.


Tourism is emerging as a big industry of Himachal Pradesh. This state has a number of cool and beautiful places, rivers, rivulets, lakes, parks and other centres where flowers are in bloom, apart from famed mountains, to attract the tourist. After the threat of terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir a large number of tourists moves towards this state to enjoy the same type of natural beauty. Main tourist complexes are Shimla, Palampur, Dharamsala, kullu-Manali and Chamba-Dalhousi. The Chamba district has been christened as the Switzerland of Himachal Pradesh. Main pilgrim centres are Bhima Kali temples, Sarahan, Hatkoti, Jwalajee, Chamunda Devi, Chintpurni, Renuka, Rewalsar, Deoth Siddh and Naina Devi. The State Tourism Development Board developed many tourist attractions like resorts, water sports complex, hang-gliding etc. The hang-gliding competition at Kangra valley, Khajjar resort at Chamba district and the water sports complex of Solang Nallah are very popular in this state.

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