Report on Himachal Pradesh

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<p>Himachal Pradesh: the Land of Gods.</p> <p>10/7/2011 ROSHNI RAMCHANDANI</p> <p>Himachal Pradesh: History and GeographyPre History &amp; Early HistoryThe history of Himachal Pradesh dates back to around two million years. At this point of time, people lived in the foothills of Himachal Pradesh. These original inhabitants of Himachal, the Kols and the Mundas, were forced by the people of the great Indus valley civilization to move up to the hills. The Indus valley civilization prospered here between 2250 and 1750 BC. The second wave of migrants to the state saw Mongoloid, like Bhota and Kiratas coming in. However, the most important lot of people entered the area only afterwards in the third wave of migration. These were Aryans from Central Asia. The Aryans contributed immensely in making the culture of the Himachal as it is today. The Mauryans In earlier times, as per the great epic of Mahabharata, small republics called Janapadas constituted the area of Himachal Pradesh. These Janapadas belonged to the Audumbras, Trigarta, Kuluta, Kulindas, Yugandhar and Gobdika. Later, the Mauryans came into prominence with Chandragupta capturing most of the small republics. His grandson, Ashoka, not only increased the boundaries of the kingdom but also introduced Buddhism. Numerous stupas were constructed during his reign. Out of these, the one in Kullu valley even found a mention in the chronicle of the Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang (630-45AD).</p> <p>Rule Of HarshaWith the collapse of the Gupta Empire, the entire area fell into the hands of small local chieftains known as the thakurs or ranas. However, in the seventh century Harsh rose to power and brought almost all the small kingdoms under his control.</p> <p>The RajputsIn the middle of the 7th century, after the death of Harsha, political upheaval again took over in the most of the area. The Rajputs of Rajasthan fought amongst themselves and drove the defeated party up to the hills. Here, the Rajputs established small principalities for themselves. Principal amongst these were the states were Kangra, Nurpur, Suket, Mandi, Kutlehar, Baghal, Bilaspur, Nalagarh, Keonthal, Dhami, Kunihar, Bushahar, Sirmour.</p> <p>Foreign Invaders &amp; The MughalsThese newly established states functioned independently till the time foreign invaders set their eyes on the area. Mahmud of Gaznavi ransacked the fort of Kangra in 1009. Soon, other invaders like Muhammad Tughlaq, his son Firoz Shah Tughlaq, Timur and Sikander Lodi marched in and captured many other fort. This period saw the rise of the Sen dynasty of Mandi which became powerful owing to its great king Ajbar Sen.</p> <p>The Mughals too made their presence felt in the early 16th century but finally broke up giving way to other rulers of the hill to establish themselves.</p> <p>Rise of Sansar ChandSeventeenth century saw more fight between the hill rulers. However, it was Sansar Chand of the famous Katoch dynasty who became extremely powerful by the second half of the 18th century. Sansar Chand plundered many places, nonetheless, he was a great patron of arts and crafts. He ruled Kangra for around half a century and had the states of Chamba, Suket, Mandi, Bilaspur, Guler, Jaswan, Siwan and Datarpur. This period also saw the rise of the Gurkhas, Sikhs and the East India company. The Gurkhas took over areas under the control of Sansar Chand forcing him to hide in his own fort. Sansar Chand remained there for around four years till Maharaja Ranjit Singh came to his rescue.</p> <p>Anglo Gorkha War &amp; Anglo Sikh WarThe might of Ranjit Singh was tremendous for the Gurkhas and hence they moved their attention towards the south. This movement brought them into direct conflict with the British. The British further moved the Gorkhas out of the hill states east of Sutlej. After the Anglo Gorkha war, the border demarcating the area of the British and the Sikh became highly sensitive. For a time, both the British and the Sikh avoided an encounter with each other, however, after the demise of Ranjit Singh, the Khalsa army walked into the territory of the British. This resulted into a war wherein a number of hill rulers supported the British to take revenge from the Sikhs. But even at the end of the first Anglo Sikh war, these rulers did not get back their kingdom (which was taken over by the Sikhs).</p> <p>The British Period &amp; Struggle For IndependenceThe revolt of the 1857 did not see much participation from the people of the hill. They preferred to stay away from the revolt and infact some of the rulers even extended help to the Britishers. Few exceptions here included the ruler of Bushahr. Between the year 1858 and 1914, the hill states of Chamba, Mandi and Bilaspur prospered under the British rule and even supported the latter during the first world war. The important states that contributed their men and money for the first world war included Kangra, Siba, Nurpur, Chamba, Suket, Mandi and Bilaspur. After 1914, things began to change and the people came out to participate in the freedom movement of India.</p> <p>Post IndependenceHimachal Pradesh became a part C state on 26th January 1950 and a Union Territory on 1st November, 1956. In between, Bilaspur was made a part of it in 1950. Kangra and other hill states were merged into the Union territory of Himachal Pradesh in the year 1966. Finally, four years later, in 1970, through the the State of Himachal Pradesh Act, Himachal Pradesh became the eighteenth state of India.</p> <p>GeographyHimachal situated in the heart of the western Himalaya, identified as "Dev Bhumi" and is believed to be the abode of Gods and Goddesses. The entire State is punctuated with stone as well as wood temples. The rich culture and traditions have made Himachal unique in itself. The shadowy valleys, rugged crags, glaciers and gigantic pines and roaring rivers and exquisite flora and fauna compose the symphony that is forever Himachal. The word 'Hima' actually means snow in Sanskrit terminology. Acharya Diwakar Datt Sharma, an eminent Sanskrit Scholar from Himachal Pradesh named the state. Himachal Pradesh came into being as a Union Territory in April 1948 as a result of integration of 30 princely States spread over 27,000 sq.km. In 1954, when another C"class state of Bilaspur merged in Himachal Pradesh, its area increased to 28,241 sq.km. The position remained unchanged till 1966. On re-organisation of the State, the hilly areas of Punjab were merged with the State, increasing its size to 55,673 sq.km. Himachal Pradesh today is quoted as a successful model of not only hill area development but also for having realized development in education, health and social services. Himachal Pradesh borders Jammu and Kashmir to the North and Northwest, Punjab to the Southwest, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to the South and Uttaranchal to the. Shimla is the state capital and other major towns are Dharamshala, Kangra, Mandi, Kullu, Chamba, Hamirpur, Dalhousie and Manali. The soils of Himachal Pradesh can be divided into nine groups on the basis of their development and physio-chemical properties. These groups are alluvial soils, Brown hill soils, Brown earths, Brown porests soils, Grey wooded or Podozolic soils, Grey brown podzolic soils, Plansolic soils, Humus and iron Podzols and Alpine hunus mountain skeletal soils. Five perennial rivers Satluj, Beas, Ravi, Chenab and Yamuna flow through its territory. The utility of these rivers though restricted considerably by the rugged and undulating terrain of the State, nevertheless, these rivers posses immense potential for the generation of hydro-electricity</p> <p>The twelve Districts of Himachal Pradesh are listed as below</p> <p>Bilaspur Chamba Hamirpur Kangra Kinnaur Kullu</p> <p>Lahul and Spiti Mandi Shimla Sirmaur Solan Una</p> <p>The head of each of the Districts in Himachal Pradesh is a Deputy Commissioner also known as Deputy Magistrate. For administrative purposes, the districts are further divided into subdivisions, which are controlled by the sub-divisional magistrates. The sub-divisions are further divided into blocks. Blocks comprise panchayats that is the village councils and town municipalities. The law and order in the district is maintained by the Superintendent of Police.</p> <p>Demographics Himachal Pradesh's GDP is $9.140 billion. Its per capita income is Rs 58,493. It is rich in agriculture and hydroelectric resources. Agriculture contributes to over 45 per cent to the net state domestic product. It has been estimated that about 20,300MW of hydro electric power can be generated in the state. Himachal is also the first state in India to achieve the goal of having a bank account for every family.</p> <p>Male Literacy Female Literacy Districts Sub-Division Tehsils Sub-Tehsils Developmental Block Towns Panchayats Panchayat Smities Zila Parishad Nagar Nigam Nagar Parishad Nagar Panchayats Census Villages Total No.of Villages</p> <p>90.83%* 76.60%* 12 53 82 35 77 59 3,243 77 12 1 25 23 20,690* 20,690*</p> <p>Health Institutions Educational Institutions Motorable Roads Identified Hydroelectric Potential Potential harnessed Food grain production</p> <p>3,866 17,000 33,722 Kms. 23000.43 MW 6726 MW 15.79 lakh tonnes</p> <p>ClimateThe Himalaya constitutes the highest mountain system of the world. There is great diversification in the climatic conditions of Himachal due to variation in elevation (4506500mtrs). It varies from hot and sub-humid tropical (450-900mtrs) in the southern Low tracts, warm and temperate (900-1800mtrs), cool and temperate (1900-2400mtrs) and cold alpine and glacial (2400-4800mtrs) in the northern and eastern high mountain ranges. There are three main seasons in Himachal Pradesh:</p> <p>1. 2. 3.</p> <p>Cold - October to February Hot - March to June Rainy - July to September</p> <p>By October, nights and mornings are very cold. Snowfall at elevations of about 3000mtrs is about 3mtrs and lasts from December to March. About 4500mtrs, is perpetual snow. The main season is the spring from mid- Feb to March-April. The air is cool and fresh. Colourful flowers adorn the valleys, forest slopes and meadows. In the hill stations, the climate is pleasant and comfortable.The rains start at the end of June. The entire landscape becomes green and fresh. Streams begin to swell and springs are replenished. The heavy rains in July and August cause damage to erosion, floods and landslides. Dharamshala has the highest rainfall of 3400mm. Spiti is the driest area (below 50mm rainfall) being enclosed by high mountains on all sides.</p> <p>CultureThe people of Himachal Pradesh have a rich culture which is very much apparent in their day to day lives. The colourful dresses of Himachalis will strike you instantly as you make your way through the state. However, more than the dresses or even the notable physical features of the people, it is their warm and friendly nature that will draw you towards them. People &amp; Lifestyle The population of Himachal Pradesh is a mixed one though Hindus are definitely in majority. The Hindu communities residing in Himachal include the Brahmins, Rajputs, Kannets, Rathis and Kolis. There are also tribal population in the state which mainly comprise Gaddis, Kinnars, Gujjars, Pangawals and Lahaulis. In some area, like Lahaul &amp; Spiti, there is a majority of Buddhist population. A percentage of people are also Tibetans. Muslim, Christian and Sikhs are in relatively small numbers. The physical feature of most of the people resemble the Aryans however, there are still many with prominent Mongoloid feature. Though Hindi is the state language, many people speak Pahari. Pahari itself has many dialects and all of them trace their origin to the Sanskrit language. A majority of the population is engaged in agricultural work, however the more educated of them are now moving towards farming and other newer profession. Traditional dress of the Brahmin male includes dhoti, kurta, coat, waistcoat, turban and a hand towel while that of the Rajput male consists of tight fitting churidar pyjamas, a long coat and a starched turban. The female of these two caste have kurtas, salwars, long skirts (ghaghri), embroidered tops (choli) and red head scarves (rahide) as their traditional attire. The dress up of the people has now become a mixed one with traditional blending gracefully with the modern.</p> <p>The typical house in Himachal Pradesh is constructed of clay bricks and the roofs are of slate. The hilly areas have their own kind of house which is made of stone. The slate roof is replaced by timber. The houses are pucca and cattle shed is nearby. The tribals usually have two storied houses wherein the cattle house occupies the ground floor while the first floor is meant for personal use. Labourers have thatched roofs house for themselves.</p> <p>Music and Dance Music and dance in Himachal Pradesh revolves around religion. Through their dance and music, people entreat gods during festivals and other special occasions. There are also dances that are specific to certain regions and are best performed by the people of that area. Some of the dance forms of Himachal are Losar Shona Chuksam (Kinnaur), Dangi (Chamba), Gee Dance and Burah dance, (Sirmour), Naati, Kharait, Ujagjama and Chadhgebrikar (Kullu) and Shunto (Lahaul &amp; Spiti). As for the music of Himachal Pradesh is concerned, there is no classical form though there plenty of folk music to listen to. The folk stories of mountainous regions often find a mention in this music. The stories range from romance, chivalry and changing seasons. Musical instruments that are quiet frequently used by the artists here Ranasingha, Karna, Turhi, Flute, Ektara, Kindari, Jhanjh, Manjara, Chimta, Ghariyal, and Ghunghru. Fairs &amp; Festivals Apart from the festivals that are celebrated on an all India basis, there are numerous other fairs and festivals that are the high point of Himachal Pradesh. These festivals are time when the religious and cultural faith of the people can be seen and felt clearly. These festivals are also the time for them to adorn colourful dress and accessories and mingle with the rest of their kins freely. Amongst these fairs and festivals are the Kullu Dussehra, Shivratri Fair (Mandi), Minjar Fair (Chamba), Mani Mahesh Chhari Yatra (Chamba), Renuka fair (Sirmaur), Lavi Trade Fair (Rampur), Vrajeshwari fair (Kangra), Jwalamukhi Fair (Jwalamukhi), Holi Fair (Sujanpur), Shivratri Fair (Mandi) and Naina Devi Fair (Bilaspur).</p> <p>Famous Fairs &amp; FestivalsKullu Dussehra It is the famous festival celebrated in the northern India. It is called Dusshera all over but here it is called Kullu Dusshera. The actual festival begins here when it ends elsewhere. It marks the return of Lord Rama to his homeland Ayodhya. A seven day celebration marks it with the Gods of Kullu, Rupi and Seraj gathering here. For seven days dance and music fill the air. A trade fair is also held simultaneously. Shivratri</p> <p>This festival comes in February - March and a fair is held alongwith for 7-8 days. Many Gods and Goddeses are brought to Mandi town and taken to Mahad...</p>