Himachal Pradesh, with Shimla, a beautiful English country style city, as its state capital, is situated in the heart of the western Himalayas. The state is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir in the North, and Uttar Pradesh in the South-East. Haryana is in the South and Punjab is in the West. Himachal is located between 30"22' and 30"12' north latitude and between 75"47' and 79"4' east longitude. It is a mountainous state with altitudes ranging from 350 to 7000 meters (1050 ft. to 21000 ft.) above the sea level.
Most of the people in Himachal depend on agriculture for livelihood. Many people derive their income from sheep, goats, and other cattle. Ninety percent of the people live in villages and small towns. Villages usually have terraced fields and small two storey houses with sloping rooves. The villages are mostly self-contained with a few shops to take care of basic necessities of life. Most villages have a temple, where people congregate for worship. In many parts of the Himachal the village Gods are carried on palanquins to village fairs. On Dussehra the largest congregation of village Gods takes place at Kullu.
Most of the people in Himachal are Hindus. There is a sizable number of Buddhists who live in Himachal. Hinduism practiced in the areas of Himachal that are closer to the northern plains is very similar to the Hinduism practiced in the plains.
After Indian Independence, a Union Territory of Hill states was created. It primarily consituted of hill states around Shimla. On November 1, 1966 Punjab Hill areas were merged into Himachal as part of reorganization of Punjab. Himachal Pradesh became a full fledged state of the Republic of India on January 25, 1971.
Himachal Pradesh has been on the path of progress since Independence. The literacy rate of the state is 63% now and is improving every decade. The population has almost stabilized at about 5 million, thanks to high literacy and effective family planning programs. Every village in the state has electricity and drinking water now.
Many young men from Himachal serve in the Indian Army and have played a significant role in the National defense. Dharamsala has a war memorial dedicated to the memory of those who lost their lives for their country. Dharamsala also serves as the Seat of the 'Government in Exile of Tibet' and is the home and headquarters of the Dalai Lama.
Himachal has one state university at Shimla, namely, Himachal Pradesh University. There is a Regional Engineering College (REC) at Hamirpur that has students from all over India. In addition, there is a Medical College at Shimla.
Shimla was the former 'summer capital of the British Raj' it is known for its beautiful English country village atmosphere, its breath taking views and cool summer climate.
- See Wikipedia article on Himachal Pradesh for more information
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