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HIMACHAL PRADESH     General Information of Himachal Pradesh

After independence of India, Himachal was declared as Union territory but later on its status was raised to part 'C' state till 1966 when some hilly areas of Punjab were merged in this due to re-organzation of Punjab state. However, it was declared a fullfledged state on 25.1.71 with 12 districts. It is larger in area than Punjab, Haryana and Kerala. It is located in the north-west of India in the lap of Himalaya. It is surrounded by Jammu-Kashmir in the north, Uttar Pradesh in the south-east, Haryana in the south and Punjab in the south-west. In the east it has borders with Tibet. It has an elevation from 450 to 6800 mts. and can be divided into southern and northern regions. Southern region is warm in summer and the northern is extremly cold with heavy snow.

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.

Himachal is literally a power house when it comes to hydro-electricity. The state has many dams that harness the hilly rivers to generate electric power. The electricity is used by farmers in Punjab, Haryana and by the industries in the northern plains.Many young men from Himachal serve the Indian Army and have played significant role in the National defense. Dharamsala has a war memorial dedicated to the memory of those who lost their lives for their country.

Himachal has five mighty snow-fed rivers flowing through it - the Chenab, Ravi, Beas, Sutlej and Yamuna. Climatically, this state is divisible into two regions - the south which is as warm as the plains, and the north where the summers are temperate and winters are extremely cold.


According to the Mahabharta the tract which forms the present day Himachal Pradesh was made up of number of small republics known as Janpadas each of which constituted both a state and cultural unit.
Audumbras:
The were the most prominent ancient tribes of Himachal who lived in the lower hills between Pathankot and Jwalamukhi. They formed a separate state in 2 B.C.
Trigarta:
The state lay in the foothills drained by three rivers, i.e. Ravi, Beas and Satluj and hence the name. It is believed to have been an independent republic.
Kuluta:
The kingdom of Kilita or Kuluta was situated in the upper Beas valley which is also known as the Kully valley now.Naggar was the capital of Kilita.
Kulindas:
This kingdom covered the area lying between the Beas, Satluj and Yamuna rivers, i.e. the Shimla and Sirmour hills. Their administration resembled a republic with members of a central assembly sharing the powers of the king.
Gupta Empire:
Chandragupta slowly subdued most of the republics of Himachal by show of strength or use of force though he usually did not rule them directly. Ashoka, the grandson of Chandragupta extended his boundaries to the Himalyan region. He introduced Buddhism to this tract. He built many stupas one of which is in the Kullu valley.
Harsha:
After the collapse of Gupta empire and before the rise of Harsha, this area was again ruled by petty chiefs known as Thakurs and Ranas. With the rise of Harsha in the early 7th century, most of these small states acknowledged his overall supremacy though many local powers remained with the petty chiefs.

The Rajput Period:-
A few decades after Harsha's death (647 A.D.) many Rajput states ascended in Rajsthan and Indus plains. They fought amongst themselves and the vanquished moved to the hills with their followers, where they set up small states or principalities. These states were Kangra, Nurpur, Suket, Mandi, Kutlehar, Baghal, Bilaspur, Nalagarh, Keonthal, Dhami, Kunihar, Bushahar, Sirmour.

The Mughal Period:-
The small hill kingdom enjoyed a large degree of independence till the eve of Muslim invasions in northern India. States of the foothills were devastated by Muslim invaders from time to time. Mahmud Ghaznavi conquered Kangra at the begining of the 10th centuary. Timur and Sikander Lodi also marched through the lower hills and captured several forts and fought many battles. Later on as the Mughal dynasty began to break up; the rulers of the hill states took full advantage. The Katoch rulers of Kangra availed of this opportunity and Kangra regained independence status under Maharaja Sansar Chand who ruled for nearly half a centuary. He was one of the ablest administrators of the region. After he took formal possession of Kangra fort, Sansar Chand began to expand his territory. The states of Chamba, Suket, Mandi, Bilaspur, Guler, Jaswan, Siwan and Datarpur came under the direct or indirect control of Sansar Chand.


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