One place you cannot afford to miss is the state of Himachal, otherwise called as ‘The Land Of Snows’. Set in the northern part of India in the lap of the great Himalayas, Himachal Tourism is a blend of nature, adventure, spirituality and fun with the capital city Shimla being the summer capital for the British for nearly a century. Taking cognisance of its impeccable beauty and what it has to offer to visitors, the government of Himachal has come up with several initiatives through its tourism department of Himachal. Over the years,
Himachal Pradesh has beckoned many souls that searched for the essence of true travel and introspection. Two eyes are never sufficient for the scenic wonders this place has to offer and every few steps you take, the visual delight is something that can be found only in portraits or poetic imagination. Right from the majestic mountains to the serene valleys, the tranquil temples to the exquisite creations of nature, one needs to cater at least a fortnight to experience the true Himachal Pradesh. There are many places that trigger the spirit of adventure even in the shyest of visitors. The icing on the cake is the people of Himachal often referred to as the ‘Paharis’. Filled with warmth and affection, they are the epitome of hospitality. With their earthly nature and a proactive intent to help, you cannot help but feel it is a home away from home.
Himachal Pradesh has been the inhabited land since the civilization saw the first light. Himachal Pradesh has a rich and diverse history and can be divided into several distinct eras. The origin of the people of Himachal Pradesh can be dated back to the period between 2250 and 1750 BC. The land was occupied by the people of Indus Valley Civilization during this period. The ingress of these people resulted in moving of the Kolorian people, the primary inhabitants of Ganga Plains, towards the north and went to the hilly region of Himachal Pradesh to lead a peaceful life.
An immense number of people from central Asia and the Indian Plains wandered to this region from time to time, as per the history of Himachal Pradesh suggests. The first human to set its foot on this land is believed to be of a Proto-australoid, followed by the Mongoloid and later, the Aryans. And if you ask rig veda, it is supposed that the ancient races of dasyus and Nishads also inhabited magical land of Himmachal Pradesh along with their powerful king, Shambra who had as many as 99 forts.
However, the base of the history and culture was formed by the Aryans, the third phase of migrants. They defeated the local tribe and later settled here permanently. The influence of the Aryans over this land dates back to as far as the period before the Rig Veda.
The culture of the Himachal Pradesh is as vibrant as the people living in the state and it can be seen in the day-to-day lives of the local people here. People here known for their rich culture and heritage values. The culture of Himachal Pradesh is also evident from the languages that are spoken in the state. Pahari, a deviation of Sanskrit and Prakrit is the most spoken language by the people of Himachal Pradesh, although Hindi is the official language of the state. Many tribal dialects are also spoken in Himachal Pradesh including Chambyali, Pangwali, Lahauli, Kinnauri and others.
Hinduism is the main religion as Himachal lies in the laps of Himalayas, known to be the abode of Lord Shiva and Goddess Paarvati. There are innumerable temples of Shiva and Parvati scattered all around the state. Folk music and dance are an important part of life for the people in the state. Natti, Burah, Birsue, Ghugti and Bakayang are some of the popular dances performed by men and women all over the state to celebrae their culture.
Himachal Pradesh is a composite of distinct cultures as people of different racial stock have come together and mingled in the main stream on national life. Apart from being the place of magical landscapes, it is also a land of colourful festivals. In Himachal Pradesh, the festivals are celebrated in peace or by dancing away for hours in a care free environment, enjoying themselves to the fullest. When winter is the harshest during its peak season, these fairs, festivals and events bring fun and frolic to the people of Himachal Pradesh. Perhaps, these are an integral and inseparable part of the Himachal Pradesh society.
There are number of festivals, fairs and events that run throughout the year such as –
Chet festival – The first month of the Lunar year and the first day of the month is celebrated with a belief of bringing prosperity and happiness.
Chrewal – Also known as Prithvi pooja at many places, this festival celebrated on 1st of Bhadon – middle of August. Oxen are not yoked by farmers during this month. It is a festival of flowers here and is a great occasion for celebration, especially for the girls who dances on this day.
Sazo – It is the most awaited festival for the people of Himachal Pradesh where they bid adieu to the deities of the vilaage.It is believed that on this day, various deities went to heaven for a short nap. The doors of the temples remain closed during the festival, but wagons of gods and goddesses remains open. The festival is celebrated with a belief that the gods will shower good things on his devotees from heaven.
Himachal Winter Carnival – Started in the year 1977, a winter carnival is organized every year in Manali to promote the culture of Himachal Pradesh. And with every passing year, it’s getting bigger and bigger. Ski championship and beauty contest are the main highlights of this Carnival along with other great events and competition.
Dongri Festival – Dongri festival or Hadimba Devi festival is celebrated in Kullu in honour of and to celebrate Hadimba Devi’s birthday, who was Bhima’s wife. One can witness a huge organized fair on this day followed by dance and musical performance by local artists. It’s celebrated on Basant Panchami, the season of flowers.
Must do things in your first Himachal Pradesh holidays
Visiting Himachal for the first time? Then here is a list of to-do things that you must do without fail. Among the many beautiful places to visit, the first in the list is Kullu. This is taken in reference along with another tourist destination called Manali. Kullu is present on the banks of the ever-flowing Beas river and the Kullu Valley is known by the locals as the ‘Valley Of Gods’. For starters, you must visit the Bhrigu lake, Parvati valley, the Mahadev temple, Sultanpur Palace, Bijli Mahadev temple, Great Himalayan National Park, Manikaran and others. Trekking, white water rafting, mountaineering, skiing, para gliding are some of the adventurous sports here. From here, you can head to Manali which is famous for its nature offering the view of Himalayan ranges. It is also a hill station which has noted places like Hidimba Devi temple, Solang Valley, Manu temple and the famous Rohtang Pass. The Vashisht hot water springs and Tibetan monasteries are something to be checked out. To experience some of the British culture, you must spend time in the capital city Shimla and witness the colonial influence. The places to visit are the Kalka- Shimla Railway, the Daranghati Sanctuary, Arki fort, Christ Church, The Ridge, Mall Road. If you are curious to know about Buddhist culture, you must visit Dharamshala which is surrounded by a valley from one side and snow capped mountains from the remaining three sides. You will find a large number of Tibetan refugees here and apart from them, you should visit places like the Namgyal Monastery, Kareri Lake, Kangra fort, Dal Lake, Gyuto Monastery. Another place to visit in the Himachal is Dalhousie, a hill station spread across five hills. If you still have the time and days, then plan a visit to places like Kasauli, Hamirpur, Parwanoo, Solan and Pragpur.
Why us for Himachal Pradesh Tourism
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What is the best time to visit ?
The most appropriate time to visit Himachal Pradesh is during the summer i.e between March to June where the average temperature ranges from 22 degrees- 37 degrees. The second-best option would be during the Monsoon i.e between July to September where the temperature ranges between 15 degrees to 28 degrees. If you love the snow and challenging weather, Winter from October to February is the time where temperatures drop to -15 degrees.
Where is Himachal Pradesh located?
Himachal Pradesh is located in the northern region of India amidst the Western Himalayas. It has an interesting location as it has Tibet on the east, Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab on the west, Haryana on the southwest and Uttarakhand on the southeast.
What languages do Himachal Pradesh people speak?
While Hindi is the official language, you would be surprised to know that even English is given the status of official language. A large percentage of them speak the Himachali or Pahari languages such as Dogri, Kangri, Jaunsari, Mandeali, Hinduri and others.
Does Himachal Pradesh have any International Airports?
There are no international airports in Himachal, the nearest is at Delhi. However, the state does have three domestic airports i.e Bhuntar airport in Kullu district, Gaggal airport in Kangra district, Shimla airport. The best way to get here is take a flight from Delhi to Shimla.
What are popular tourist places?
Kullu-Manali, Shimla, Chamba, Dharamshala, Dalhousie, Kasauli, Kangra, Hamirpur, Parwanoo, Solan, Pragpur, Sirmaur, Chail, Una. Each of these places are filled with lakes, natural landscapes, parks, adventure games and many other interesting things.
What type of food is available in Himachal Pradesh?
Popular places like Shimla, Manali have no issues as far as vegetarian or non-vegetarian food goes but there is a special penchant for Non-vegetarian here. Of course, if you are interested in local cuisine, you should try out delicacies like Madra, Dhaam, Tudkiya Bhath, Bhey which are vegetarian or Chha Gosht, Kullu Trout fish.
Any particular level of physical fitness is required?
To those who are interested in trekking, an average fitness is sufficient wherein you can do easy treks of upto 2 to 3 days. Focus more on getting used to the altitude.
How is the eco-tourism here?
It is excellent and well developed. One can plan exclusive eco-tourism trips here without any hassle.