Pradesh - The Apple Land of India, the abode of gods, the land of snows, is a
veritable paradise, a tourist's dream and delight. It is situated in the north-west
corner of India, right in the lap of the Himalayan ranges. It is bordered by Jammu and
Kashmir on north, Punjab on west and south-west Haryana on south, Uttar Pradesh on
south-east and by Tibet on east.
The state is dotted with holiday
resorts all over. The celebrated Kullu and Kangra valleys, and the Manali hill station,
have their unique charm and personality and are more gracious and exciting than Kashmir
valley. Thus in this state an ethereal other-worldly beauty is literally at your door
steps. Easily accessible, Himachal gives you an opportunity of a life time. Something to
live by and something to live for. This "apple land" of India is a mountaineer's
Hindi, Punjabi, Pahari.
of Himachal :
Prehistory and Protohistory
million years ago man lived in the foothills of Himachal Pradesh, viz in
the Bangana valley of Kangra, Sirsa valley of Nalagarh and Markanda
valley of Sirmour. The foothills of the state were inhabited by people
from Indus valley civilization which flourished between 2250 and 1750
B.C. People of Indus valley civilization pushed the original inhabitants
of Ganga plains who were known as Kolorian people towards north. They
moved to the hills of Himachal Pradesh where they could live peacefully
and preserve their way of life.
In the Vedas they have been referred to as Dasas, Dasyus and Nishadas
while in later works they have been called Kinnars, Nagas and Yakshas.
The Kols or Mundas are believed to be the original migrants to the hills
of present day Himachal.
The second phase of migrants came in the form of Mongoloid people known
as Bhotas and Kiratas. Later on came the third and most important wave
of migrants in the form of the Aryans who left their Central Asian home.
These laid the base of history and culture of Himachal Pradesh.
Early History up to Harsha
to the Mahabharta the tract which forms the present day
Himachal Pradesh was made up of number of small republics known as
Janpadas each of which constituted both a state and cultural unit.
Audumbras: The were the most prominent ancient tribes of
Himachal who lived in the lower hills between Pathankot and Jwalamukhi.
They formed a separate state in 2 B.C.
Trigarta: The state lay in the foothills drained by three
rivers, i.e. Ravi, Beas and Satluj and hence the name. It is believed to
have been an independent republic.
Kuluta: The kingdom of Kilita was situated in the upper Beas
valley which is also known as the Kully valley. Its capital was Naggar.
Kulindas: This kingdom covered the area lying between the Beas,
Satluj and Yamuna rivers, i.e. the Shimla and Sirmour hills. Their
administration resembled a republic with members of a central assembly
sharing the powers of the king.
Gupta Empire: Chandragupta slowly subdued most of the republics
of Himachal by show of strength or use of force though he usually did
not rule them directly. Ashoka, the grandson of Chandragupta extended
his boundaries to the Himalyan region. He introduced Buddhism to this
tract. He built many stupas one of which is in the Kullu valley.
Harsha: After the collapse of Gupta empire and before the rise
of Harsha, this area was again ruled by petty chiefs known as Thakurs
and Ranas. With the rise of Harsha in the early 7th century, most of
these small states acknowledged his overall supremacy though many local
powers remained with the petty chiefs.
history of present day Himachal Pradesh in the post-independence era has
been outlined below:
Chief Commissioner's province of H.P. came into being on 15th April,
became a part C state on 26th January, 1950 with the implementation of
the Constitution of India.
was merged with Himachal Pradesh on 1st July, 1954.
Pradesh became Union Territory on 1st November, 1956.
and most of the other hill areas of Punjab were merged with H.P. on
1st November, 1966 though its status remained that of a Union
December, 1970 the State of Himachal Pradesh Act was passed by
Parliament and the new state came into being on 25th January, 1971.
Thus H.P. emerged as the eighteenth state of Indian Union.
Pradesh has come a long way since then. It has seen a number of
full-fledged governments which have led the state towards economic
was known since the earliest of times as "Devabhoomi", the abode of the
Gods. The splendid heights of the Himalyan ranges, with its great scenic
beauty and aura of spiritual calm seem the natural home of the Gods. Two
thousands or more temples all over the State, reiterate this fact.
State full of isolated valleys and high ranges, several different styles
of temple architecture developed and there are temples with carved stone
shikharas, pagoda style shrines, temples that look like Buddhist Gompas
or Sikh Gurudwaras etc. Several of them are important places of
pilgrimage and each year attract thousands of devotees from all over the
BAJRESHWARI TEMPLE: Just outside the town of Kangra is the temple
dedicated to Bajreshwari Devi. Known once for its legendary wealth this
temple was subject to successive depredations by invaders from the
north. Destroyed completely in 1905 by an earthquake, it was rebuilt in
1920 and continues to be a busy place of pilgrimage Please Visit.
BAIJNATH: The ancient temple at Baijnath is particularly
beautiful. Built of stone in the 9th century AD, in the shikhara style,
it is a fine blend of sculpture and architecture. Dedicated to Lord
Shiva, Baijnath is close to Palampur and Kangra.
JWALAMUKHI TEMPLE: Not too far from Kangra is this popular place
of pilgrimage. An eternally burning flame that issues from a hollow rock
in the sanctum, is considered the manifestation of the goddess Devi.
During March-April and September-October every year, colorful fairs are
held during the Navratra celebration. Jwalamukhi temple is 30 km. from
Kangra Please Visit.
CHAMUNDA DEVI TEMPLE: Not far from Dharamsala (Kangra) is the
famous temple to Chamunda Devi. It is an enchanting spot with glorious
views of the mountains, the Baner Khud, Pathiar and Lahla forest Please
LAKSHMI NARAYAN TEMPLE: The Lakshminarayan group of temples in
the town of Chamba are of great archaeological importance. Six stone
temples dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu with tall shikaras, finely carved,
date from the 8th century AD. The Lakshminarayan Temple is the oldest in
this group. Other temples around Chamba town include, those dedicated to
Hari Rai, Champavati, Bansigopal, Ram Chandra, Brijeshwari, Chamunda,
Narsingh, and Yogi Charpat Nath.
CHAURASI TEMPLES: The 9th century temples at Bharmaur are among
the most important early Hindu temples in the Chamba Valley. According
to legend, 84 (chaurasi) yogi's visited Bharmaur, capital of King Sahil
Varma. They were so pleased with the king's humility and hospitality
that they blessed him with ten sons and a daughter, Champavati. A
cluster of shrines commemorates that visit. The temple square is the
Centre of all activities in the little town of Bharmaur and the Lakshmi,
Ganesh, Manimahesh and Narsing temples, the main shrines, are splendidly
set off by the dramatic mountainscape.
CHATTARI TEMPLES: Not far from Bharmaur (Chamba) is the Chattari
Temple with early examples of carved wood and an 8th century brass image
MANIMAHESH (3,950 m): The Manimahesh Lake, high up in the
mountains near Bharmaur, is an important place of pilgrimage. The
solitary Manimahesh Kailash Peak- the legendary abode of Shiva, is
reflected in its still waters. A little temple in the shikhara style
with an exquisite brass image of Lakshmi Devi as Mahishasuramardini
stands near-by. Every year, following Janmashtami, the annual Manimahesh
Yatra is undertaken. The pilgrimage starts from Chamba from the
Lakshaminarayan Temple and devotees wend their way up the arduous track
from Bharmaur to take a sacred dip in the waters of the lake.
MANDI: Mandi has a picturesque group of ancient stone temples
with tall vimanas, splendidly located below the town on the banks of the
foaming river. The Tarna Devi Temple (Mandi), a new shrine up on a hill,
overlooks the town and valley.
REWALSAR: Around a natural lake with a floating island are a
Shiva temple-the Lomesh Rishi Temple, Guru Govind Singh's gurdwara and a
Buddhist monastery founded by Guru Padmasambhava. A spot that is revered
by people of three faiths (Mandi).
PRASHAR TEMPLE: This temple, built in the 14th century, is a
shrine where the rulers of Mandionce worshipped. The pagoda-style temple
stands in the little green hollow around the Prashar lake, above the
town of Pandoh. The views of the mountains are spectacular.
SHIKARI DEVI (2850 m): It is possible to trek up to Shikari Devi
from Janjheli and Karsog (Mandi). Through woods of assorted trees and
shrubs - which include several medicinal herbs - two separate trek
routes lead up to this ancient shrine located at the crown of the hill.
Hunters in the area once prayed to the Goddess for success in their hunt
- and here, perhaps, lies the origin of the name 'Shikari Devi'. The
Goddess is worshipped in the form of a stone image. Interestingly, the
temple which is said to have been in existence since the time of the
Pandavas, has no roof - for local legend has it, that all attempts to
build one have been unsuccessful.
HANOGI MAA & KOYLA MAA TEMPLE :
Hanogi Maa temple in on the way from
Mandi to Kullu near Pandoh and Koyla Maa temple near Sunder Nagar in
RAGHUNATHJI TEMPLE: Built in 1651 by the Raja of Kullu, the
temple has an image of Raghunathji that was brought from Ayodhya. During
the Kullu Dussehra, all the temples in the area send their deities to
pay homage to Raghunathji at Kullu.
BIJLI MAHADEV TEMPLE: An unusual temple dedicated to Shiva-the
Lord of lightning, is located on a height overlooking the Kullu and
Parvati valleys. A 60ft staff above the temple attracts divine blessing
in the form of lightning and breaks the stone linga in the sanctum.
DHOONGRI TEMPLE: This four tiered pagoda, embellished in finely
carved wood, stands sheltered in grove of tall deodar at Manali (Kullu).
It is dedicated to Hadimba Devi, wife of the Pandava, Bhim.
BHIMAKALI TEMPLE: A marvelous example of hill architecture, the
temple complex at Sarahanis set against the incredibly beautiful
backdrop of high ranges and forested slopes. Built in a mixture of the
Hindu and Budhists styles, it was the temple of Bushair rulers of Rampur
(Shimla). The palaces of the royal family are adjacent to the temple.
From Sarahan there is a view of the Srikhand Peak, revered as the home
of goddess Lakshami.
HATKOTI: Along the River Pabbar, 104 km from Shimla, is the
temple dedicated to Durga and Shiva. The gods are said to have fought a
pitched battled at this spot.
JAKHU AND SANKAT MOCHAN: These two temples close to Shimla have a
commanding views of the hills.
NAINA DEVI TEMPLE: On a hill, close to Bilaspur and Kiratpur (34
km), is famous shrine of Naina Devi. A colourful fair, the Shravana
Astami Mela is held in July-August.
CHINTPURNI: A winding road goes up to the temple dedicated to
Bhagwati Chinmastika or Chinpurni-the goddess who grants all wishes. A
popular place of pilgrimage, Chintpurni is about 75 km from the town of
Una and 100 km from Jalandhar.
RENUKA: The temple, dedicated to the immortal Renuka, stands near
the picturesque Renuka Lake (Sirmour).
TRILOKPUR: About 25 km from Nurpur (Kangra), at the confluence of
the Bohar and Bhali streams, is another sacred spot popular with
pilgrims of various faiths. There is a Hindu temple, a Buddhist
monastery, a gurdwara and a mosque at Trilokpur.
BABA BALAK NATH TEMPLE: A cave temple located in Deothsidth, in
the Dhaulagiri Hills of Hamirpur, is a noted place of pilgrimage. People
come here to seek the blessing of Baba Balak Nath whose image is located
in the cave. Shahtalai, 46 km from the the district headquarters of
Hamirpur and accessible by road, is about 10 km from Deothsidh