The basic governmental structure of Himachal Pradesh, like other Indian states, is determined by the National Constitution of 1950.
The state government is headed by a Governor appointed by the President of India. The Council of Ministers, headed by the Chief Minister and responsible to the directly elected Vidhana Sabha (Legislative Assembly), assists and advises the Governor.
The state is divided into a number of districts, each of which is headed by a Deputy Commissioner. Districts, in turn, consist of several subdivisions, which embrace many more levels of local administration. The smallest (and most numerous) administrative unit is the village.
Since the late 20th century, Himachal Pradesh has made great efforts to expand education. As a result, the number of primary, secondary and postsecondary institutions has increased significantly and enrollment at all levels has increased accordingly.
Himachal Pradesh University, established in Shimla in 1970, was the state’s first institution of higher education; It now has dozens of affiliated or associated colleges.
Other major tertiary institutions include Medical College in Shimla, Agricultural University in Palampur, Engineering College in Hamirpur, University of Horticulture and Forestry near Solan and University of Information Technology in Solan district.
In addition to its universities and colleges, Himachal Pradesh has several important research centers, notably the Indian Institute of Advanced Study in Shimla and the Central Research Institute in Kasauli.
The fairs and festivals of rural communities provide many occasions for the display of song, dance and colorful costumes. The Akullu Valley, known as the Valley of the Gods, provides the setting for the Dussehra festival held every autumn to celebrate the defeat of the demon king Ravana by Prince Rama (as described in the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana).
During the festival, various temple deities are taken in procession in covered palanquins, accompanied by bands of singers and dancers. Participants in these and other such celebrations are usually dressed in vibrant attire, often accented with exquisitely designed shawls from the Kinnaur district, finely embroidered handkerchiefs from Chamba, or distinctive woolen hats from Kullu.
Pilgrims from neighboring states and within Himachal Pradesh flock in large numbers to worship at the legendary ancient temples. Nagardharamshala has recently emerged as a sacred site, especially for Tibetan Buddhists; The Dalai Lama settled in Dharamshala after fleeing Tibet in 1959 following the Chinese occupation of Lhasa.
Apart from their festivals and holy places, Shimla hills, Kullu valley (including Manali town), and Dalhousie are popular tourist destinations, especially for outdoor recreation. Indeed, skiing, golfing, fishing, trekking and mountaineering are activities for which Himachal Pradesh is ideally suited.
The history of this hill state is complex and fragmented. It is known that a number of so-called Aryan groups filtered into the more productive valleys during the Vedic period (c. 1500 to 500 BC) and assimilated the pre-Aryan population.
Later, successive Indian empires—such as the Mauryas (c. 321–185 BCE), the Guptas (c. 320–540 CE), and the Mughals (1526–1761), all emerging in the Indo-Gangetic plain—controlled trade and pilgrimage. Use different degrees. Routes between India and Tibet in this area and across the Himalayas.
The remote, predominantly Buddhist region that is now the district of Lahaul and Spiti was controlled by Ladakh from the fall of the Mughal Empire (around the mid-18th century) until the early 1840s, when it briefly came under Sikh rule.
Also during this period, warring semi-autonomous petty rulers controlled trade routes as well as desirable tracts of agricultural and pastoral land in other areas of present-day Himachal Pradesh. British dominance over the region followed the Sikh Wars of the 1840s and continued directly or indirectly for the next 100 years.
Around the time of Indian independence in 1947, there was a popular movement to end feudalism in the region, and the Suket kingdom virtually surrendered to peaceful demonstrators. Subsequently, Himachal Pradesh was formed as a province in 1948. It consisted of 30 princely states and was administered by a Chief Commissioner, who represented the Government of India.
Between 1948 and its attainment of statehood in 1971, Himachal Pradesh underwent various changes in size and administrative form. It became a substate under the Indian Constitution of 1950. In 1954 it merged with Bilaspur (former Indian state and later Chief Commissioner’s Province) and became a Union Territory in 1956.
Himachal Pradesh was enlarged in 1966 by the merger and absorption of numerous hill areas of Punjab, including areas around Shimla, Kangra and Kullu; Lahaul and Spiti district; and parts of the districts centered at Ambala, Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur.
In early 1971, Himachal Pradesh became India’s 18th state; YS Parmar, who had been a leader in the quest for self-government in Himachal Pradesh since the 1940s, became the state’s first chief minister.
Dalhousie, town, northwestern Himachal Pradesh state, northwestern India. It was named for the British Viceroy of colonial India, Lord Dalhousie. Situated in the foothills of the Himalayas at an altitude of about 7,500 feet (2,300 m), it is 26 miles (42 km) northeast of Pathankot, to which it is connected by road.
Dalhousie is a hill station and a popular summer resort, offering relief from the heat of the plains to the south. Punjab University has a vacation center for teachers of its affiliated colleges.
Popular destinations in the Dalhousie area include the Sat Dhara (“Seven Streams”), which are rich in mica and flow under the Panjpula (“Five Bridges”), a monument to revolutionary Bhagat Singh; Subhash Baoli, natural spring; and Dainkund Peak, also known as Singing Hill, so called because of the sound of the wind blowing through the trees there. Balun camp is just to the north. Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary is located about 6 miles (10 km) from the city.
Chamba, Nagar, Northwestern Himachal Pradesh State, Northwestern India. The town is situated between two mountain peaks on the Ravi River. The independent principality of Ban was established in the 6th century and came under Kashmir, Mughal and Sikh rule before becoming part of British India in 1846. It was merged with Himachal Pradesh in 1948.
Chamba is built on two terraces; The lower part houses the public offices and the Bhuri Singh Museum, and the upper part houses the residential area. It has several industries, including textile weaving and the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, and has an active trade in agricultural produce. The area is known for its 10th century temples. The economy of the surrounding area is almost entirely agricultural, and there are large forest areas
Kulu, also spelled Kulu, formerly Sultanpur, town, central Himachal Pradesh state, northwestern India. It is situated about 60 miles (100 km) north of the state capital Shimla on the Beas River, to which it is connected by road.
The city is an agricultural trade center. Handloom weaving is the main industry, especially the production of kullu caps, shawls, handkerchiefs and scarves. Tea, fruit, wheat, barley and other crops are grown in the surrounding area, much of which is surrounded by forests.
In medieval times the region was part of a powerful kingdom of Rajput kings. Kullu is famous for its festivals during Dussehra (September–October), when the story of the epic Ramayana is reenacted. The city is the gateway to the scenic Kullu Valley, which stretches northwards to the source of the Beas River at the Rohtang Pass.
Bilaspur, also called Kahlur, is a town in southwestern Himachal Pradesh state, northwestern India. The town is situated on the edge of the Govind Sagar, an artificial lake northwest of the state capital Shimla.
The original city of Bilaspur was founded in 1663 on the southeast bank of the Sutlej (Sutlej) river. A landslide in 1782 caused the dam to burst, submerging most of it, including the old palace and the famous temple, in the river.
The Lakshmi Narayana and Radheshyam temples including the Vyasa cave have survived. Bilaspur was the capital of an independent Punjab hill state until 1814, when the Gurkhas overran it; The following year the British expelled them.
The new town of Bilaspur was rebuilt in the 1950s on the Govind Sagar above the old city, built on the Sutlej by the Bhakra Dam (completed in 1962), one of the world’s tallest dams. This dam generates electricity for most of the area.