The Land of Himachal Popularly known as the Devbhumi - "Land of the Gods", Himachal Pradesh is a beautiful hill state in India, nestles in north-west region of western Himalayas. The state is landlocked with the Tibetan plateau to the east, Jammu and Kashmir to the north, and the Punjab to the west. However, the state stands apart from its neighbours in terms of its sheer topographic diversity and breathtaking pristine natural beauty. From vast tracts of high-altitude Trans-Himalayan desert to dense green deodar forests, from apple orchards to cultivated terraces, from snow capped high Himalayan mountain ranges to snow fed lakes and gushing rivers.
BRIEF SOCIO-POLITICAL HISTORY OF THE STATE
The earliest known inhabitants of the region were tribals called Dasas. Later, Aryans came and they assimilated in the tribes. In the later centuries, the hill chieftains accepted suzerainty of the Mauryan empire, the Kaushans, the Guptas and Kanuaj rulers. During the Mughal period, the Rajas of the hill states made some mutually agreed arrangements which governed their relations. In the 19th century, Ranjit Singh annexed/subjugated many of the states. When the British came, they defeated Gorkhas and entered into treaties with some Rajas and annexed the kingdoms of the others. The situation largely remained the same untill 1947. After Independence, 30 princely states of the area were united and Himachal Pradesh was formed on 15th April, 1948. On 1st November, 1966, certain areas belonging to Punjab were included in Himachal Pradesh. On 25th January, 1971, Himachal Pradesh was made a full-fledged State.
The State is bordered by Jammu & Kashmir on North, Punjab on West, Haryana on South, Uttar Pradesh on South-East and China on the East
There are five major zones that draw the maximum visitor or act as base camps for most of Himachal - Shimla, Kullu and Manali, Dalhousie and Chamba, Kangra- Dharamshala-Palampur and Paonta-Nahan. From these routes one can explored "off-beat" destinations also. A wide range of accommodation like tourism hotels, private hotels, guest houses, home stays, rest houses etc. are available in these areas.
By Air : The airport is at Jubbarhatti, 23 km from Shimla city and is connected to Delhi. Taxi/cabs are available.
By Rail : Shimla is connected by a broadgauge line up to Kalka (90 km). The journey between Kalka and Shimla takes about six hours and is one of the finest ways of enjoying the landscape. The quaint rail car, which runs on this stretch, takes about five hours. A luxury coach that accommodates six persons has recentely been introduced and can be attached to any train of your choice. The Shivalik Express is a deluxe train on this route. Delhi (380 km), Chandigarh (120 km) and Kalka (90 km) from Shimla.
By Road : Shimla is connected by road to all major cities in north India. Taxi cabs for Shimla are available at Delhi, Chandigarh, Ambala and Kalka. Several state-run transport corporations including the Himachal Tourism Development Corporations ply Volvo ac and deluxe buses from Delhi and Chandigarh. Buses can also be chartered.
KULLU AND MANALI
By Air : The airport at Bhuntar is the common base that feeds these towns. This is 10 km from Kullu and 50 km from Manali. Public transport buses and taxis are available.
By Road : Kullu and Manali are connected by an extensive network of road with the northen region. Air-conditioned and non air-conditioned deluxe coaches are run by HRTC, HPTDC and by private sector operators. National Highway No. 21 runs through the valley and connects Chandigarh and Delhi. Kullu is 535 km from Delhi.