Himachal Pradesh

Overview

If sprawling exquisite landscapes defined heaven, Himachal would be representative of such a utopian place! To complete the picture, it is a mixed bag of spiritual destinations, towns appropriate for backpackers, mountain ranges to trek, a significant multi cultural society with Hindus and Buddhists in dominance and a notable connect with Tibet, as its home to Dalai Lama. One can pick from a vast array of things to do, depending on your taste of being thrown into touristy crowds or plunging into your own pace and times with the lonely mountains like those of Lahaul and Spiti. A paradise for trekkers, the peaks of Dhaula Dhar & Pir Panjal are often on the list of ‘must negotiate’. For those seeking a spiritual haven, monasteries & old temples that have stood the test of time, are in plenty and breathtaking. See if you can stay with the locals in their homes, so you get a more upclose insight into the lifestyle and culture of Himachal Pradesh. Infact in some of the remote villages of Spiti, the idea of having visitors stay is extremely welcome. Some NGOs have taken up this to organise financial aid and promote eco tourism. The people of Himachal are very mild mannered, warm and easy to get along with.

History

The foothills of Himachal were inhabited the Indus valley civilization from the 2250 to 1750 B.C. This civilization pushed out the original inhabitants of Gangetic plains called the Kolorians. And these people moved to Himachal Pradesh to continue their existence in peace. They have been mentioned in the Vedas. The second wave of migrants was from the Mongoloids called Bhotas and Kiratas. And finally came the Aryans from Central Asian. They were in many ways the most significant population for the region. Both the Gupta and Harsha empires influenced Himachal’s early 7th century. Rajput, Mughal and British rule followed the Harsha empire in that order. After India’s independence many smaller districts were merged into the state over decades and finally on 18th December, 1970 the State of Himachal Pradesh Act was passed by Parliament. With this the state came into being as the 18th state of independent India.

Language

Pahari is the local language but hindi is spoken by virtually everyone.

Cuisine

Much like everything else in the hills, even the cuisine here is simple and unadulterated. Fresh fruits are grown in many orchards around which also produce fresh jams, jellies etc. vegetables are grown locally and therefore are fresh when cooked. The cuisine is Manali is much more cosmopolitan. Old Manali has some fantastic cafes and restaurants which have been opened by ex-pats and retired celebrities. Here you can food find cuisines of the world in the finest avatar. For those who prefer their drinks with a bit of a kick, Lugdi and Chhang are the perfect options. Read more
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