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Himachal Pradesh is predominantly a mountainous State located in North West India. It shares an international border with China. The State has highly dissected mountain ranges interspersed with deep gorges and valleys. It is also characterized with diverse climate that varies from semi tropical in lower hills, to semi arctic in the cold deserts areas of Spiti and Kinnaur. Altitude ranges from 350 meters to 6975 meters above mean sea level. It is located between Latitude 30O 22.40 N to 33O 12.20 N and Longitude 75O 45.55E to 79O 04.20 E.
Himachal Pradesh is a state in Northern India. Its area is 21,495 sq mi (55,670 km2), and is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab on the west, Haryana on the south-west, Uttarakhand on the south-east and by the Tibet Autonomous Region on the east.
Himachal Pradesh is famous for its abundant natural beauty. After the war between Nepal and Britain, also known as the Anglo-Gorkha War (1814-1816), the British colonial government came into power and the land now comprising Himachal Pradesh became part of the Punjab Province of British India. In 1950 Himachal was declared a union territory, but after the State of Himachal Pradesh Act 1971, Himachal emerged as the 18th state of the Republic of India. Hima means snow in Sanskrit, and the literal meaning of the state's name is In the lap of Himalayas. It was named by Acharya Diwakar Datt Sharma, one of the great Sanskrit scholars of Himachal Pradesh.
The economy of Himachal Pradesh is currently the third fastest growing economy in India. Himachal Pradesh has been ranked fourth in the list of the highest per capita incomes of Indian states. This has made Himachal Pradesh one of the most wealthiest places in entire South Asia. Abundance of perennial rivers enables Himachal to sell hydroelectricity to other states such as Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan. The economy of the state is highly dependent on three sources: hydroelectric power, tourism and agriculture.
Himachal Pradesh is spread across valleys and 90% of the population lives in villages and towns. However the state has achieved 100% hygiene and practically no single house without a toilet. The villages are well connected to roads, Public Health Center and now with Lokmitra kendra using High speed broadband. Shimla district has maximum urban population of 25%. According to a 2005 Transparency International survey, Himachal Pradesh is ranked the second-least corrupt state in the country after Kerala. The hill stations of the state are among the most visited places in country. The government has successfully imposed environmental protection and tourism development meeting European standards and it is the only state which forbids the use of polythene and tobacco products
Administrative Units:- Twelve districts of the State have been divided into 3 Divisions, 52 Subdivisions, 77 Development Blocks and 3243 Panchayats. The PRIs are in place in all the 12 districts comprising 12 ZilaParishads, PanchayatSamitis in 77 Development Blocks, and Gram Panchayats in 3243 Panchayats. One Municipal Corporation in Shimla, 20 Municipal Councils and 28 Nagar Panchayats, besides 7 Cantonment Boards, represent the Urban Local Bodies infrastructure in the State.
Agriculture: As per the state department of Agriculture, Himachal Pradesh is predominately an agricultural state and provides direct employment to about 71 percent of the total population. The Agriculture sector contributes nearly 30 percent of the total state domestic product. About 18-20 percent area is irrigated and rest is rain fed. Food grains production was 1440.66 thousand tonnes in the Year 2007-2008. The production of major crops of the state i.e. maize, rice and wheat for 2007-2008 6 was 682.61 thousand tonnes, 121.45 thousand ton and 61.2 thousand tonnes respectively. The vegetable production for 2007-2008 was 1060.00 thousand tonnes.
Temples: The State of Himachal has large number of Hindu temples as pilgrimage centres. According to some estimates there are more than 2000 temples in the State. Some of the temples in the State like JawalaMukhi&Baijnath in Kangra, Chintpurni in Una, BijliMahadev in Kullu, Tarna in Mandi, Renukaji in Sirmour, Laxmi Narayan in Chamba, Bhima Kali in Sarahan Shimla attract large number of visitors and tourists every year. Stampedes are common during religious gatherings. Himachal Pradesh being a land of Gods the people observe large number of festivals when mass gathering forms dense moving crowd.
Tourism in Himachal Pradesh is a major contributor to the state's economy and growth. The state is endowed with variety of landscape and vivid topographic features which attract tourists. The state is also known for its adventure activities which include paragliding in Bir-billing and Solang valley, rafting in Kullu, ice skating in Shimla, boating in Bilaspur and trekking, horse riding, skiing and fishing. Spiti Valley in Lahaul & Spiti District provide breathtaking landscapes for adventure seekers. The region also has some of the oldest Buddhist Monasteries in Asia.
The state is also a famous destination for film shooting for movies like Roja, Henna, Jab We Met, Veer-Zaara, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and Highway mostly by the contribution of Anil Kaistha.
Himachal is hosting the first Paragliding World Cup in India from 24th October to 31st October in 2015. Venue for paragliding world cup is Bir Billing, which is 70 km from famous tourist town Macleod ganj, located in the heart of Himachal in Kangra District. This is first such kind of event happening in Himachal. Bir Billing is the centre for aero sports in Himachal and considered as best for paragliding. Buddhist monasteries, trekking to tribal villages, mountain biking are other activities to do here.
State has three domestic airports in Shimla, Kullu and Kangra districts The air routes connect the state with Delhi and Chandigarh.
Shimla Airport, which is around 21 kilometres (13 mi) west of the city.
Bhuntar Airport is in Kullu district around 10 kilometres (6 mi) from district headquarters.
Gaggal Airport is in Kangra district which is around 10 kilometres from Kangra
Himachal is famous for its narrow gauge tracks railways, one is UNESCO World Heritage Kalka-Shimla Railway and another one is Pathankot Jogindernagar. Total length of these two tracks is 259 kilometres (161 mi). Kalka-Shimla Railway track passes through many tunnels, while Pathankot Jogindernagar gently meanders through a maze of hills and valleys. It also has standard gauge railway track which connect Amb (Una district) to Delhi. A survey is being conducted to extend this railway line to Kangra (via Nadaun). Other proposed railways in the state are Baddi-Bilaspur, Dharamsala-Palampur and Bilaspur-Manali-Leh.