Himachal Pradesh is a far northern state crowned by the snow-flecked peaks of the Himalaya. Famous for its abundant natural beauty, the scenery encompasses gentle foothills, lofty peaks, remote hill stations, rolling pine forests, apple orchards and the high-altitude deserts of Lahaul and Spiti.
The mighty peaks of the Dhaula Dhar, Pir Panjal and western Himalaya ranges provide an unparalleled setting for a host of adventure sports from treks and rafting in summer to skiing and skating in winter.
Wealthy and booming, Himachal is a multi-religion, multi-cultural and multi-lingual state. With Tibet and Kashmir on its borders, many of Himachal’s neighbours have sought refuge in this serene mountain paradise. Tibetan Buddhist culture abounds in the ancient monasteries of Lahaul and Spiti and the state is home to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile.
In the far east of Himachal, Shimla is India’s most popular hill station and the more central Manali and the Kullu Valley providing a base for everyone from honeymooners to extreme sports enthusiasts.
The state is renowned for its handicrafts. The intensely cold winters, where towns are often snowed in for 6 months of the year, make wool weaving an essential. Nearly every home owns a pit-loom, and the most common and celebrated woven object is the shawl. From fine pashminas to coarse desars, Himachal is famous for the striking patterns, vibrant colours and diversity of its weaves.
Beauty is in abundance in Himachal Pradesh from the frosted mountains in the distance to the traveler towns, monasteries, forts, temples and palaces of the lower lying regions.
The mountain scenery and hilltop resorts | Choosing a handspun shawl | Adventure sports | Buddhist meditation centres | Marveling at the treacherous trade routes of old
− Hima means ‘snow’ in Sanskrit, and the state’s name means ‘in the lap of Himalayas’
− Abundant perennial rivers allow Himachal to sell hydroelectricity to other states such as Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan and creating one of the key drivers of its economy