Himachal Pradesh India – Holiday Guide to Himachal Tourism & Travel
Literally meaning Region of Snowy Mountains, Himachal Pradesh is located in the western Himalayas in northern India just below the state of Jammu and Kashmir, with Uttar Pradesh to the south. As per most Indian states, Hinduism is the most popular religion. However unlike other states, Himachal has the most Hindus proportionally than any other though is still considered a multicultural and multilingual state.
Himachal Pradesh is rather a fascinating state of India in the respect that it has been relatively untouched by the rest of the world. Although this is starting to change with the rather foreboding technical advancements seeping into the communities, the state still remains largely one of traditional customs, with music and dance reflecting their identity.
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This cultural identity ignites the festivals that spread enthusiastically across their calendar. With festivals marking all significant events, you are likely to find yourself amongst the hype at least once during your travels with usually more than one festival each month. There are the bonfires of Lohri, skiing competitions, celebrations of the marriage of Shiva, the fabulous Holi festival of colour, buffalo fights and other sacred fairs and festivals of the Hindu religion. So in fact Himachal Pradesh is a rather exciting place to be!
Largely because of the many rivers in the area, hydro electricity is a main revenue booster for Himachal Pradesh’s economy as they sell to other states. This perhaps is the driving force behind Himachal’s status of having one of the highest (per capita) incomes out of the Indian states. Other than hydroelectric power, the state’s economy is also dependent on agriculture and tourism.
Divided into twelve districts, many areas experience very different weather outcomes throughout the year. Because of the contrasting elevations of the land, the climate here varies significantly, from the sub-tropical climate in the southern tracts to the cold alpine conditions in the elevated northern and eastern ranges. Also, particular areas have inconsistent weather with the rest of the state such as Dharamsala which experiences extreme rainfall, to places like Lahaul and Spiti that stay cold but experience very little rain. But for the most part, Himachal’s winter begins in mid November to March while summer is expected from April to June with temperatures usually not exceeding 32 °C.
Fondly known as Deva Bhumi, translated as the Land of the Gods, Himachal Pradesh encompasses many beautiful locations. Be sure to visit Manali, Dharamsala, Vashisht and Shimla to gain an all-round appreciation of this magnificent state.
The capital of Himachal Pradesh is Shimla, the summer capital of British India. Wonder the streets and reach the top of Shimla’s highest peak to score a spectacular view of the city. Also on this peak is the Jakhu Temple, an important Hindu structure dedicated to a monkey God in Indian mythology.
Just above the capital is Manali located in central Himachal Pradesh. Manali offers the best of both worlds with stunning views of the picturesque snow capped peaks and the Beas River while also being a great spot for adventure tourism. Try your hand at skiing, mountaineering, hiking, paragliding and mountain biking. It is also a hotspot for honeymooners who seek a break from the scorching sun.
On the other side of the river from Manali is Vashisht. Known for its spectacular waterfalls and incredible adventures, it is vast becoming a popular adventure playground for tourists. Some of the more unusual activities Vashisht offers are zorbing, paragliding, white-water rafting and rock climbing. While you are here, make sure you visit the World Peace Café which plays traditional music four nights a week.
For those keen to get a bit of fishing in, Dharamsala is the place to be. With several rivers and streams running through the area there is every opportunity to participate in some angling and fishing. The area between Nadaun and the Pong Dam is very popular where there is known to be plenty of fish.
Land in any of Himachal Pradesh’s three airports located in Bhuntar, Gaggal and Jubbarhatti. These airports do not service international flights but do connect with other states such as Delhi. Getting around Himachal Pradesh can be tricky during the winter when many roads are closed due to the monsoons and snow.
Rudyard Kipling once wrote that “surely the Gods live here; this is no place for men”. So perhaps you should come and experience what Kipling was pointing out in his writing for yourself.