HIMACHAL PRADESH- A SUMMARY
LOCATION AND DERIVATION
Himachal Pradesh is a northern state with Jammu and Kashmir as its northern neighbour, Punjab on its west and south west, Tibet on its west and Uttarakhand on its south east. This land locked state is a beautiful place with an enticing landscape and beautiful mountains and lakes and also with numerous waterfalls.
The name Himachal is derived from Sanskrit language where ‘Hima’ means snow. The name literally means’ in the lap of the Himalayas’. True in all sense, Himachal Pradesh is situated in the western part of the Himalayas. A mountainous state, the great rivers, Indus and Ganges are fed by the rivers like the Ravi, Beas, Chenab, Sutlej and the Yamuna. All these rivers are perennial as they are fed by the mountains.
HISTORY AND CULTURE
The land is so beautiful that it is called ‘Dev Bhumi’. The connotation means that Gods come down to earth on this land to spend their holidays. The pristine land also attracts a lot of tourists as there are so many places and features that will keep the visitors visiting the state quite often.
There are monuments, temples, churches, mosques and Buddhist temples that the ethnic diversity keeps the culture and traditions of the state united. Right from the stories of the great epics Ramayana and the Mahabharata to the invaders who have made their presence known, Himachal Pradesh has only enticed every person. The stories mentioned in the epics can be compared to places where the Gods have left behind their footprints bordering on the fact where myth becomes reality. There are places where Gods have left their calling cards and are believed to be living. There are places where men have had their tryst with nature but have failed and there are places where these men have won.
For the visitors, they will be satisfied with the fables, lores and places that nature has bestowed with great care. The sweet smell of pines, deodhars and the lilt of verdant grass on the valleys and slopes, the verdant green and dark shades of vegetation and forest when the sun shines on and the shadows in the meadows and the chill that passes, the sparkle of a thousand diamonds in the pure and serene lakes, the lilt of the stream and rivers and the gushing and roar of the waterfalls, it makes the visitor dream of the nether world where time stands still for a long time.
There are hill stations and there are places on these hill stations where one can enjoy to the utmost. Visitors can go hiking, mountain climbing, rafting in the white waters, rappelling, boating, swimming and for the weak hearted, they can walk and admire the surroundings and there are places for trekking or even cycling.
The hills also invite the religious of every colour and creed. There are ancient temples that even the atheist care to respect and silently tread past, there are mosques where the Mussalman does his daily namaz, and the Christians do have their Churches in beautiful places. Some of them are old with Victorian gables and on one side is the final resting place where there are headrests of some of the pioneer English men who had the vision. The Buddhists have made Dalhousie, their centre for Government – in – exile. The chants of the monks are so pervading in the air, bringing hope and blessing to everyone who visits the place. To sum up, Gods will never want to forsake the place forever because of the inherent charm and the simplicity of life.
Nature has endowed the state with a lot of charms. Water has always been the life line of humankind. Civilization anywhere in the world has dawned only on the banks of rivers or near places where water is evident. Apart from the charms of the mountains, glaciers, rivers, lakes and ponds – each one of them having a story or a fable which may relate to the epics or to some royal lineage in between, the epics, Mahabharatha and the Ramayana have deep descriptions of places that may charm and make visitors delve on their various aspects.. The other wonder that has been placed on this part of the earth by Mother Nature is the amazing waterfalls. Each one of them has a very distinct charm and some of them have stories woven in to them. There are waterfalls with temples and monuments and apart from being a wonder to the visitors, these are also revered by devotees.
Some of those distinct waterfalls in Himachal Pradesh are:
- Machhrial Waterfalls: situated in the lap of Himalayas, the waterfall is a gorgeous fountain. It is located on the Dharamshala – Pathankot road around 25 kms. from Dharamshala.
- Rahla Waterfalls: It is located near the Rohtang pass. It is a gorgeous falls and a must see place in Manali.
- Sissu Falls: this falls is situated in Sissu also known as Khagling, a small town in Lahual valley. The town is surrounded by huge mountains. There is a temple in the town known as Gyephang Temple where tourists are not allowed to enter. The Waterfall is an exotic place and must not be missed on the trip to Lahual Valley.
- Chadwick Waterfalls: This falls is near Shimla. This is a rain fed fall and imposes a wonderful sight with misty waters and roar of water gushing down the cliff.
- Bundla Waterfalls: The falls is 2 kms. past Palampur town. This falls is a known religious place for Hindu sages where they offer prayers and rituals.
- Badri Waterfalls: Located in the Solan District, the water that flows down the Himalayas is icy cold. Badri falls is on the Alakananda River and is said to have medicinal properties. The waterfall is also a very sacred place for the Hindus as Badrinath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is atop the falls.
- Bhagsu Waterfalls: The waterfall is a bit further away from the parking lot. One has to trek at least three kms. to reach a wonderful but small waterfall. The scenery from the trek is awe inspiring. There is a Bhagsunag Temple near the falls dedicated to Lord Shiva. The falls is located at Bhagsu, near McLeodganj
- Jogini Waterfalls: This falls is near Vashisht Kund, Manali. The falls is a bit treacherous as there are no pathways to the falls. There is a Jogini Mandir near the falls.
- Zana Waterfalls: It is in Zana village near Manali. The trek to the falls is quite tiresome but it is a relief once visitors reach the place. It is a quaint and serene place.
ACCESSIBILITY AND CLIMATE
The wonderful places in this fairy land of Himachal Pradesh are easily accessible by bus, taxies or even otherwise. There are three domestic airports and they are Shimla Airport, Bhuntar Airport in Kullu and Gaggal Airport in Kangra, which is near Dharamshala. The heritage Kalka -Shimla narrow gauge track is one prestigious track in Himachall Pradesh.
Climate in Himachal varies because of the variation in the altitude in this mountainous country. Summers are from mid – April to end June when the temperature ranges between 280C to 320C. Winters are from November till March and the average winter temperature is around 70C, though there are places that experience sub zero temperatures.