Ideal duration: 4 - 15 days
Best time: All year long (Read More)
Major Airports: Chandigarh, Shimla, Kangra, Bhuntar
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A place of immense beauty and charm, Himachal is endowed with clear and serene lakes, lofty mountains, ancient temples and cheerful people who are as innocent as nature itself. Home to the best of the tourist destinations like Kullu, Manali, Chamba and Shimla, Himachal is paradise on earth inviting an onslaught of tourists all round the year. The natural beauty of Himachal along with the hills and valleys add peace to your holiday while the pilgrimages make it serene and divine.
Himachal Pradesh is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir on the North, Punjab on the West, Uttar Pradesh on the South and Uttaranchal on the East. Owing to the massive production of apples, the Himachal Pradesh is known as the State of apples. The state is known for the eco-friendly environment, picturesque natural scenery, colourful culture, adventure sports, warm and hospitable people and a variety of fairs, festivals and celebrations throughout the year. Himachal is a favourite destination for tourists as well as pilgrims.
The state of Himachal Pradesh has a platter similar to that of other North- Indian states with similar elements, styles, food habits, ingredients and delicacies. The food derives much influence, flavors and styles from Punjabi and Tibetan cuisine, giving the visitors quite a unique blend to relish.
A staple meal in the state would consist of Dals, rice, broth, roti and sabzi. Meat, especially red meat is also popular and almost all delicacies here are prepared with a rich gravy, fragrant with local aromatic spices and herbs. With few of these constants in place, Himachal's cuisine differs over its varied terrains and climates and the geography gives newer alterations and versions to the food, making the overall platter rich and vibrant. Other than this staple meal, the state's menu has a number of unique delicacies. Sidu (a preparation of wheat), Patande (a local version of pancakes), Chouk, Bhagjery, Chutney of 'Til', Khatta, Kali Dal, Aloo palda, Auriya Kadoo (a preparation of pumpkin), Spicy lotus stems are the highlights of the state's cuisine. One also finds Momos and Noodles in the area. Himachal is also known for the fresh and juicy varieties of fruits here. One should not miss these and maybe even take some home. The state also hosts the Food Festival of Dham, which celebrates the variety, richness, color and festivity of the local cuisine, food styles and habits.
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Well connected by road and air. Pleasant weather throughout the year. A variety of adventure sports
Poor rail connectivity. Some districts are not very developed regarding tourism-related facilities.
A trip to Himachal is perfect for families looking to cool off in the summer, for adventure enthusiasts and trekkers, photographers, backpackers and those interested in religious tourism. It is also good for people looking to experience the Himalayas up close without the strain of trekking.
The majestic Himalayas stand tall in the state of Himachal which is located in the Dhauladhar range, one of the intermediate Himalayan ranges. The highest peak in the state is Reo Purgyil at 6816 metres. The Himalayas are an important aspect of the economy, geology, culture and social life of the state. All of the state's rivers originate from these mountains and make life possible by giving water to the region. The agricultural and water management practices too have developed keeping in mind the lifecycle of the mountain and the people have learned to live along side the harsh conditions. Many festivals celebrate mountain and river deities and have become part of the Himachali culture.
Being located in the foothills of the Himalayas, the evergreen forests are well irrigated and rich in flora and fauna. The rare big cat - the Snow Leopard, is found in this state and is also the state animal of Himachal. Apart from this, rare birds like the Himalayan Monal, many alpine thrushes and flycatchers and migratory birds are found only in Himachal Pradesh. >/br> It is also one of the leading fruit producers in the country, and there are cottage industries to make homemade products like jams and preserves. The forests of Himachal are also home to some treasured medicinal plants that are now being used in pharmaceuticals.
In Himachal, life is one long festival. Each month celebrates something new, and each community has something to be thankful for. Along with the rest of India, Himachal celebrates Holi, Baisakhi, Shivratri, Dussehra and Christmas but apart from this, there are many festivals peculiar to this state. The Buddhist festival of Losar is celebrated in Lahaul with dances and elaborate costumes to mark the victory of good over evil. Summer festivals and fairs are held in many cities like Shimla and Kangra Valley to commemorate the beginning of the prosperous time.
Bollywood has a fascination for the scenic mountains and fruit-filled orchards of Himachal Pradesh and has redefined the notion of romance using picturesque mountains and valleys. This has made Himachal Pradesh one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in India. Many fans of movies also come to visit particular locations where famous films like Roja, Jab We Met and Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani were shot.
Himachal Pradesh is inhabited by semi-nomadic tribes like the Gaddis, Gujjars, Kinnars, Lahaulis and Pangwals. The people of Himachal, known as Himachalis, are very warm and friendly and they love to welcome tourists. Women of Himachal are very hardworking as they work on fields and manage household too. Their honesty and down to earth nature enhance their beauty and charm. Most of the people who live in Himachal Pradesh have farmlands and tend to their crops and cattle.
Hindi is the official language of the state. Apart from Hindi, people also speak Pahari languages, Punjabi, Kangri, Dogri and Kinnauri. Pahari languages are Indo-Aryan languages that have been derived from Sanskrit and Prakrit. More than 95 percent of the people in Himachal Pradesh follow Hinduism. Other prominent religions in Himachal Pradesh include Islam, Buddhism and Sikhism. Most inhabitants in the trans-Himalayan areas such as Lahaul and Spiti, Kinnaur and Kullu follow Buddhism. Himachalis celebrate fairs and festivals throughout the year with dance and music.
Read about Traditional Dresses of Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh is located in the north of India bordering Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Uttaranchal and Punjab and has no international boundary. The state is mainly mountainous, but the southern part is made of fertile plains. Rivers and glaciers irrigate the state, and there is extensive terrace farming of rice and fruits in Himachal. The major rivers are Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej, Beas and Yamuna. There is extensive forest cover in this state and alpine, as well as evergreen forests, are present. There is also wide variation in temperature because of the vast difference in altitude. Shimla and Dharamshala are the summer and winter capitals of this state.
The history of Himachal is somewhat similar to the history of North India. This region has been inhabited by prehistoric humans and was one of the important regions during the Indus Valley Civilisation period. The Mauryas, Harsha and the Delhi Sultanate ruled this region before the arrival of the Mughals who were attracted to the beautiful landscapes and built summer homes here. The same trend was followed by the British who left the heat of the plains to go to the cool mountains to relax. After independence, Himachal Pradesh was given statehood when the Constitution came into effect in 1950.