Himachal Pradesh – land that transitions from Green Hills to White Mountains

Making its way through Uttarakhand, the Himalayan Range enters the state of Himachal Pradesh. This amazing Indian state is known for its high altitude hill stations, scenic beauties with hills, mountains, forests, and the diversity in people, with regards to their religion, culture, traditions and so on. The region is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Haryana and Punjab in the southwest, and Tibet and Uttarakhand in the southeast. The capital of the state, also the biggest and the most populated district, is the beautiful hill station known as Shimla.

Himachal Pradesh lies on the foot of Dhauladhar Mountain Range. Mt. Shilla (7025 m) is the highest mountain in the region. The state has numerous forests, with certain climate and atmosphere suitable for many species of plants and animals to survive. It’s considered to have one of the richest bio-diversities in the world. There are mainly two national parks here – Great Himalayan National Park and Pin Valley National Park, along with these, there are around 32 wildlife sanctuaries and conservation reserves. In these areas live around 463 species of birds, 120 species of animals and 80 species of birds.

Shilla Mountain, Himalayan Range (6132 m)- Himachal Pradesh
Shilla Mountain, Himalayan Range (6132 m)- Himachal Pradesh – Photo Credit – Wikipedia User Ashishchanda under Creative Common License

The tourists visiting Himachal Pradesh get a fair share of adventure in the form of sports like rafting, paragliding, ice skating, skiing and so on. They can also opt for rather laid-back activities like boating, horse-back riding, trekking, fishing and so on. There are few places in the state that are known particularly for one or the other activity. For instance, Bir Billing is known for paragliding. As a matter of fact, in the year 2015, the village hosted its first Paragliding World Cup. Similarly, Shimla proudly houses the one and only natural ice skating rink in Asia.

Paragliding In Manali
Paragliding In Manali – Credit

In the same way, the area known as Kullu is known as an ideal rafting destination, and Manali for skiing. For fishing and boating, a place known as Bilaspur is preferred by many tourists as well as locals alike. One activity that’ll help you discover the ins and outs of the state is trekking. The beautiful hilly landscape, with views of hills and mountains, ideal spots for experiencing sunrise and sunsets, make many parts of the state ideal for trekking. You will get to discover the life of the locals in various villages, which happens to be a part of the trekking routes, and also different Buddhist monasteries, old and new, each one of them with a story to tell.

Beas River Kullu Valley
Beas River Kullu Valley – Source

There are evidences of human settlement in the region from the prehistoric times. The rulers that have ruled over this land include the Gupta Empire, Delhi Sultanate, Shah Dynasty and so on. Every ruler created some kind of impact on the socio economic, religious and cultural aspect of the region. Apart from the regular population consisting of Brahmins, Rajputs, Kayasthas and so on, various tribal groups like Kanauras, Pangwalas, Bhots and so on also live throughout the state. These people are often referred as Paharis. They are ethnic to the region, and they have their own traditions and languages. Few of the languages spoken here, apart from Hindi, include Kulvi, Chambeali, Bharmauri and so on.

Himachal Pradesh Locals (Paharis) Wearing Ethnic Hat – Source

The most visited places in Himachal Pradesh include Shimla, Manali, Dharamshala, Kasauli and so on. They are popular around the country, and even in many parts of the world, due to their natural beauty. Apart from the fact that these are hill stations, situated on high altitude among the hills, they have much more to offer. Himachal Pradesh is also referred by many as the Land of the Gods due to the abundance of pilgrimage sites which include Naina Devi Temple, Vajreshwari Devi Temple, Jwala Ji Temple among many. Dharamshala, which is the second winter capital of the state, is home to the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzing Gyatso, a celebrated figure in Tibetan Buddhism.

Himachal Pradesh is an ideal destination for anyone who loves the hills, the mountains, the forests, and spending time with nature. However, the place has got a lot more to offer and not just that. From adventure sports to pilgrimage sites and various monuments and heritages throughout the state, there are so many things to do here. You’ll never have enough of it! It’s for a reason that the most preferred destinations in anyone’s bucket list, no matter the age group, happens to be in this region.