Glimpses of History
Himachal Pradesh formerly known as 'Deva Bhoomi 'or the Land of the Gods is believed to have existence of primitive humans in this region. Tradition says that inhabitants mostly migrated from Central Asia.
The Aryans later settled here. In the later years, first the Mauryan Empire then the Kaushans, the Kanuaj and finally the Guptas ruled this region. In the 19th century, Ranjit Singh seized many of the states. After the arrival of the British the Gorkhas lost their supremacy during the Gurkha War of 1815-16 and entered into treaties with the Rajas and took over other kingdoms. This state of turmoil and disorder continued till independence after which thirty princely states of the area were united. Himachal Pradesh was hence formed on 15th April, 1948. January 25 1971, wad the day when Himachal Pradesh was recognized as a state of India.
Getting to Himachal
Today Himachal is easily accessible from any major city across India by rail, road and air. Reaching Himachal by rail would take about 5 hours with a stop at Barog. The Shivalik Deluxe Express and the Shivalik Palace Tourist Coach are some of the trains that will take you to Himachal Pradesh. One can avail of other trains traveling from Kalka to Shivalik like the Himalayan Queen.
Himachal is well connected with other cities of northern India. Buses to Himachal are available from the following locations:
A number of airlines offering reasonable rates, travel to Himachal regularly.
Enriched with heritage and antiquity, Himachal is a land of festivities and celebrations.
With the end of the New Year celebrations, comes Halda in Lahaul, a Himalayan valley situated on the Indo-Tibetan border. This festival is a celebration of the goddess of wealth, Shiskar Apa during which members of the families living especially in the valleys of the Chandra and Baga rivers, branches of the cedar tree and spread the fire of celebration among others.
Community bonfires, music and dance accompany the celebration of the Lohri, to honor the sowing of the Rabi crop. Other equally important festivals during winter are the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh, Dechhang, Phagli, Kinnaur's Sazi. In the midst of tradition and cultural events, Himachal also rejoices during the National Snow Statue Competition at Kufri (Shimla), the Folk Dance Competition on Republic Day at Shimla and the Water Sports Regatta at Kangra's Maharana Pratap Sagar.
The most significant festival in the month of February is the Winter Carnival of Himachal. In the Baga Valley, the birth of male children is celebrated in the form of Ghochi. Baba Barbhag Singh Mela is held in Una to commemorate the sage well-known for his supernatural powers. Basant Panchmi marks the coming of the spring season. Lossar is another important festival in this state.
The festival of Char is celebrated in Lahaul. Shivratri is also celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm.
Baisakhi is one of Himachal's main festivals. The Sui Mela at Chamba is another festival in the state of Himachal. Other mentionable events are the Mahu Nag Fair, the Markandaya Fair.
May witnesses some fairs like the Dhoongri and Banjar Fairs and the Sarhi Jatra.
In June, Shimla hosts the renowned Summer Festival and the Red Cross Fair.
At the Kaza's Ladarcha Fair, traders sell a variety of goods. Shravana Sankranti is celebrated at Nahan.
Chamba's well-known Minjar Fair is celebrated to praise nature and pray for a good harvest.
The festival of flowers, Fullaich is celebrated in the month of September.
Dussera along with the International Folk Festival keeps the month of October busy.
The water sports competition is held in November at the Maharana Pratap Sagar.
The International Himalayan Festival begins in December at Kangra. The Ice-skating competition is another key celebration in the winter month.
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