Shimla, April 15: Himachal Pradesh, the land of nature and pilgrims is today celebrating 70th "Himachal Day" function. The state-level Himachal Day function is celebrated at the district headquarters town where Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh announced the achievements of his government and said that 1329 new Schools opened or upgraded in last 4 years. 3,89,168 persons are being provided social security pension in the State, he added.
CM Virbhadra Singh to the state on also extended his best wishes this precious occasion. He also announced several policies such as to permanent workers which are on regular basis, implementing unemployment allowance etc for the betterment and development of a state.
The state came into existence after the merger of 30 odd princely states in 1948. The word ‘Himachal’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Hima’ which means ‘Snow’ and ‘Anchal’ means ‘Lap’. And hence the literal meaning of the state’s name is ‘In the lap of snow’.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Himachal Pradesh is a place where you can walk on the clouds, romance the hilly terrain and enjoy the cool breeze. But there is much to talk about Himachal rather than its scenic beauty.
Himachal Pradesh is a state of India located in Northern India. It is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab and Chandigarh on the west, Haryana on the southwest, Uttarakhand on the southeast and by the Tibet Autonomous Region on the east.
Himachal Pradesh is famous for its natural beauty, hill stations, and temples. Himachal Pradesh has been ranked fifteenth in the list of the highest per capita incomes of Indian states and union territories for the year 2013-14. Many perennial rivers flow in the state, and numerous hydroelectric projects set up. Himachal produces surplus hydroelectricity and sells it to other states such as Delhi, Punjab, and Rajasthan. Hydroelectric power projects, tourism, and agriculture form important parts of the state's economy.
The state has several valleys and more than 90% of the population living in rural areas. Practically all houses have a toilet and 100% hygiene has been achieved in the state. The villages have good connectivity with roads, public health centres, and now with high-speed broadband.
Achievement of Himachal Pradesh:
Himachal Pradesh is a second least corrupt state in India after Kerala. On October 2, 2009, the state government imposed a complete ban on polythene bags made of non-biodegradable materials. The ban is also imposed on its storage, production, sale and distribution. On July 2, 2013, Himachal Pradesh was declared as the first smoke-free state of the country. It means smoking in the public area is strictly prohibited.
Solan popularly known as ‘Mushroom city’ for its production of mushrooms, is one of the fastest growing city in Asia. Himachal Pradesh is India’s second largest producer of apple after Jammu and Kashmir. Besides, the state also produces peaches, cherries, kiwis, hazelnuts and plums in abundance.
Kalka-Shimla railway has been declared as the World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. It also holds the record for covering the steepest slope i.e. 5816 ft in just 96 km. The Kalka-Shimla express passes through 103 tunnels, 806 bridges and 18 stations. The state is home to 33 sanctuaries and 2 national parks. The Great Himalayan National Park has been declared as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Established in 1984, the park is home to about 370 fauna species, 30+ mammals, 180 birds and 9 amphibians, among others.
Malana, an unexplored village in the state is known as ‘The village of taboos’ because of its weird rule of no outsider touching any belonging or even the wall of the village. The village is also infamous as ‘weed-tourist destination’ and has won High Times magazine Cannabis Cup’s ‘Best Hashish’ award twice -in 1994 and 1996.
Himachal Pradesh has a close association to the mythological era of Ramayana and Mahabharata. It is said that Shimla’s Jakhoo temple is the same place where Lord Hanuman rested while he was in search of the Sanjeevani booti.
Himachal Pradesh famous for nature and pilgrims:
The snow leopard is now the state animal of Himachal. It replaced the musk deer. Pink Rhododendron is now the state flower of Himachal. It replaced Rhododendrum arboretum. It is a very beautiful flower with pink coloured petals. Its scientific name is Rhododendron campanulatum. In Hindi, it is called Burans (बुरांस).
Whereas, Western Tragopan replaced the bird Monal for the state bird of Himachal. Its scientific name is Tragopan melanocephalus. Since Monal is also the state bird of Uttrakhand and National bird of Nepal, there was a need to chose some new species of bird as state bird for Himachal. Western Tragopan was chosen keeping in view its beauty and decreasing number in Himachal.
The monasteries of Lahaul and Spiti are the epicenter of Buddhism, are world known which is situated in Himachal. Himachal Pradesh is home to some of the most interesting and famous temples of India where faith draws people to the miracles of god. The temple of Jwalamukhi, where a flame has been burning since centuries, through a fissure in an age-old rock, built over some natural jets of combustible gas. Himachal itself, though studded with temples, has a very special reverence for Hatkoti, the abode of Goddess Mahishasurmardini an incarnation of Durga. At Hatkoti, two other small mountain streams Bishkulti and Raanvti join the Pabbar. Local belief says that the stream oozes out the poison. With the convergence of the three water streams, according to the Hindu mythology makes Hatkoti a place fit to be a pilgrimage.
There are two another pilgrimages in Himachal Pradesh by the name of Panj teerthi and Mahakaleshwar of very good regional importance in Hinduism by the banks of river Beas which are closely associated with the exile of Pandavas.
Kangra district has some of the famous pilgrimages in Himachal Pradesh. One of the most remarkable monuments of the Beas Valley is the temple of Baijnath. The Temple is a good example of Nagri style of architecture. It consists of a puri or adytum, 8-feet-square inside and 18-feet outside, surmounted by a spire of the usual conical shape, and of a front hall, 20-feet-square inside, covered with a low pyramid shaped roof.
A major Sikh pilgrimage in Himachal Pradesh is Paonta Sahib. The shrine was made here after Guru Gobind Singh, 10th guru of Sikhs came here and stayed for 4 years at the age of 16 at the request of Raja Maidani Prakash.
Hot springs of Manikaran are situated under the snowy peaks of Parvati valley. The water of these springs is noted for its healing properties. The visiting deities are given a ceremonial bath. Manikaran, a place of pilgrimage for Hindus and Sikhs, has a temple and a gurudwara at a single place.
Himachal Pradesh is a tourism hub:
Himachal Pradesh has many beautiful hill stations, pilgrimages, shrines and temples which attract a large number of tourists and pilgrimages around the year. Especially in the summers hill stations like Shimla, Kullu-Manali, Chamba and Dharmashala are flourished by tourists in large number which contribute to the GDP of state in a big way.