History and Geography
55,673 sq. km
Hindi & Pahari
Himachal situated in the heart of the Western Himalaya, identified as "Dev Bhumi" is believed to
be the abode of Gods and Goddesses. The entire State is punctuated with stone as well as wood temples.
The rich culture and traditions has made Himachal unique in itself. The shadowy valleys, rugged crags,
glaciers and gigantic pines and roaring rivers and exquisite flora and fauna compose the symphony that
is for ever Himachal.
Himachal Pradesh came into being as a Union Territory in April 1948 as a result of integration of 30
princely states spread over 27,000 sq.km. In 1954, when another "C" class state of Bilaspur merged in
Himachal Pradesh, its area increased to 28,241 sq.km. The position remained unchanged till 1966.
On reorganisation of the State, the hilly areas of Punjab were merged with the State, increasing its
size to 55,673 sq.km. Himachal Pradesh, today is quoted as a successful model of not only hill area
development but also for having realised development in education, health and social services.
The State came into being as a union territory in April 1948, as a result of integration of 30 princely
states spread over 27,000 sq. km. In 1954, when another 'C' class State of Bilaspur merged with Himachal
Pradesh, its area increased to 28,241 sq. km. The position remained unchanged till 1966, when on reorganisation
of the states, the hilly areas of Punjab were merged with the state increasing its size to 55,673 sq. km.
Proportionately, the population also increased from 1.4 million to 2.8 million, now standing at 60,77,248 according to census 2001.
Agriculture being the main occupation of the people of Himachal Pradesh has an important role in the economy of the state.
It provides direct employment to about 69 per cent of the main working population. Income from agriculture and allied sectors
accounts for nearly 22.1 per cent of the total State Domestic Product. Out of the total geographical area of 55.673 sq. km.,
area of operational holding is about 9.79 lakh hectare owned by 9.14 lakh farmers. The marginal and small farmers
possess 86.4 per cent of the total land holdings. The cultivated area in the state is only 10.4 per cent. About 80
per cent of the area is rain fed and farmers depend on weather gods for rains. The food grain production in 2006-2007
has been 16 lakh M.tonnes
Nature has endowed Himachal Pradesh with a wide range of agro-climatic conditions which have helped the farmers
to cultivate large varieties of fruits ranging from temperate to sub-tropical. The main fruits under cultivation
are apple, pear, peach, plum, apricot nut and citrus fruits like mango, litchi, guava and strawberry. The total
area under fruits, which was only 792 hectares in 1950, has increased to 2.23 lakh hectares now. Similarly, the
fruit production has also increased from 1200 MT in 1950 to 6.95 lakh tonnes in 2007 seven lakh tonnes is the
new target fixed for fruit production for year 2006-07. Horticulture generates gross domestic income of about
Rs. 2200 crore annually.
The Horticulture Technology Mission for the integrated development of horticulture is being implemented with a
total outlay of Rs. 80 crore during the tenth five-year plan period. This Mission is based on the "end to end approach"
taking into account the entire gamut of horticulture development with all backward and forward linkages in a holistic
manner. Under this scheme, four centers of excellence are being created in different Agro-Climatic Zones with common
facilities like water harvesting, vermicompost, greenhouses, organic farming and farm mechanization.
Roads are the lifelines and major means of communication in the predominantly hill State of Himachal Pradesh.
Out of its 55,673 sq. km area, 36,700 km is inhabited out which 16,807 inhabited villages are scattered over
slopes of numerous hill ranges and valleys. Realizing the importance of construction of roads for connecting
production areas with market centers, Himachal Pradesh Government has decided to connect every panchayat with
roads in the next two years. When the Pradesh came into existence in 1948 there were 288 km. of roads.
This number had gone up to 30,264 km by 15 August 2007.
Keeping in view the importance of bio-technology, special emphasis is being laid on exploiting the vast bio-technology
potential available in the state. A separate Department of Bio-technology has been set up in the state. States own
bio-technology policy has been formulated. All bio-technological units are entitled for incentives which have been
allowed for industrial units. The State Government proposes to set up Bio-Technology Park in Solan District.
Irrigation and Water Supply
Net sown area in the State was 5.83 lakh hectares till 2007.Villages have been provided with the facility of
drinking water. Over 14,611 hand pumps have been installed in the State so far. For better reform in water
supply and irrigation sector, the State Government has taken up a WASH project with the total cost of Rs.
339 crore for irrigation as well as for drinking water supply schemes with GTZ.
The total geographical area of the state is 55,673 sq km. As per record, the total forest area is 37,033 sq. km.
Out of this; 16,376 sq. km. area is not fit for tree growth comprising alpine pastures, area under permanent snow, etc.
The cultivable recorded forest area is only 20,657 sq. km. Efforts are being taken to bring maximum area under green
cover by implementing State's own projects, Government of India's projects and also through external aided projects.
The World Bank has also sanctioned a Rs. 365 crore Integrated Watershed Development Project for the Mid Himalayas.
545 panchayats of 42 developmental blocks in 10 districts would be covered during the next six years. There are 2
National Parks and 32 wild life sanctuaries in the State. Total area under wild life sanctuaries is 5562 Km area
under National Parks is 1440 Km and total area of Protected Area Network is 7002 Km.
Tourism Industry in Himachal Pradesh has been given very high priority and the Government has developed an appropriate
infrastructure for its development which includes provision of public utility services, roads, communication network,
airports, transport facilities, water supply and civic amenities, etc. The State Government is poised to transform the
State into "A Destination for All Seasons and All Reasons". The State Tourism Development Corporation contributes 10
per cent to the State exchequer. The corporation contributes more than Rs. 2.00 crore per annum by way of Sales tax,
luxury tax and passenger tax. In the year-2007, tourist arrivals in the State were 8.3 million of which 2008 lakh
The State has a rich treasure of places of pilgrimage and of anthropological value. The State has also the pride of being
the home to Rishies like Vyas, Parashar, Vashist, Markandey and Lamas, etc. Hot water springs, historic forts, natural and
man-made lakes, shepherds grazing their flock are sources of immense pleasure and joy to the tourist.
The State Government is aiming at promoting sustainable tourism, encouraging private sector to develop tourism related
infrastructure in the State without disturbing the existing ecology and environment. The main thrust is on employment
generation and promoting new concepts of tourism in the State. In order to increase the duration of the stay of the
visitors/tourists, a special emphasis is being laid on the development of activities-based on tourism.
For the promotion and development of the State from the tourism point of view, the Government is focusing on the following areas:
- History related tourism
- Identification of new areas/tourist destinations and promotion of village tourism
- Improvement of infrastructure, (4) Pilgrimage tourism
- Tribal tourism
- Health tourism
- Promotion of adventure tourism
- Wildlife tourism
- Cultural tourism.
For the year 2006-07, there is an allotment of Rs. 6276.38 lakh for the development of tourism in the State. A sum of Rs. 8 crore
for the development of Kullu-Manali- Lahaul and Spiti and Leh Monastic circuit, Rs.21.00 crore for Kangra,Shimla and Sirmaur Circuit,
Rs.16.00 crore for Bilaspur-Mandi and Chamba circuit and Rs.30.00 lakh for construction of tourism information centre at Manali has
been sanctioned by the Government of India. Rs.67.57 crore, Central financial assistance has been received for 1545 projects in respect
of festivals and other major events.