List of Tourist places and destinations in Himachal Pradesh
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Himachal Pradesh : Hill Stations of Himachal
Himachal Pradesh - a popular tourist destination

Himachal Pradesh - the land of eternal snow peaks - takes in the transition zone from the plains to the high Himalayas and in the trans-Himalayan region of Lahaul and Spiti actually crosses that mighty barrier to the Tibetan Plateau.

The Kullu Valley with its developed and tourist-oriented economy can be considered the backbone of the state. Off to the east is Prabati Valley (popular with long – stay visitors). In Chamba and Kangra regions can be found typical British Hill Stations. The residence of Dalai Lama is in Upper Dharamshala, know as McLeod Ganj, which has become a center for Buddhism, as well as the headquarters of the Tibetan Government in Exile. Shimla, the famous colonial hot – weather capital, remains Himachal’s seat of government.

The bleak, high altitude regions of Lahaul, Spiti and Kinnaur were opened to foreigners in 1992. Permits (easy obtained) are necessary to visit some parts. The predominant influence here is Tibetan Buddhism.

History of Himachal Pradesh (HP)

The regions that today comprise Himachal were in ancient times crossed by trade routes to Tibet (over the Shipki La) and central Asia (via the Baralacha la and leh), and in addition commanded the sach Pass that led to Kashmir. Rajas, Ranas and Thakurs ran their rival Rrahuns and Thakurais, the regions over which they presided, making Himachal a patchwork quilt of tiny states. Only Kangra and Kullu (and later Chamba) had the power to break out of the pretty feuding system.

Several Himachal states had kings from Bengal, the best known of these states being Mandi, which was founded in 1527. With the exception of the bigger states, most of the later hill states were founded by Rajput adventurers from the plains in the early medieval period.

The first westerners to visit the region were Jesuit missionaries in search of Prester John’s legendary land. The British discovered Himachal after their wars with the Sikhs and the Gurkhas. And upon the subsequent discovery that Himachal was ideal for growing apples, an American missionary, the Reverend NS strokes, developed the Kotgarh orchards (his family still runs them). Little bits of England were created at Shimla, Dalhousie and Dharamshala during the late 19th century, in the early part of this century a railway was built to Shimla and another was laid through the Kangra Valley. In the interior, however, feudal conditions remained men were forced to work without pay and women were regarded as chattels.

The new state of Himachal Pradesh comprising only six districts was founded in 1948. By 1966, the Pahari – speaking parts under Punjab administration, including Kangra, Kullu, Lahaul and Spiti were added, full statehood was achieved in 1971.

Geography of Himachal Pradesh (HP)

Himachal Pradesh is dominated by mountains and associated rivers and valleys. The highest peaks are Shilla (7026 m), Manerang (6597 m) and Shipki (6608 m).

There are several major rivers running through the state including the Beas River, which flows through the Kullu Valley, the Chenab River in Lahaul and Spiti and the Spiti River, which joins the Sutlej River in Kinnaur.

A lot of Himachal Pradesh can be easily segregated according to various valleys. Lahaul and Spiti is a series of valleys stretching from the Chandra valley in the north-west to the Lingti Valley along the Spiti-River. The Kullu Valley stretches from Mandi to Manali. The Prabati Valley follows the Prabati River, which branches off the Beas River. The Kangra Valley stretches from Mandi to Shahpur, near Pathankot. To the north of the Kangra Valley, on the other side of the Dhauladhar Range, is the Chamba Valley, which is separated from the remote Pattan Valley (upper Chenab River Valley) by the Pir Panjal Range.

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