History of Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh has a rich history that has laid a strong foundation for the state it is now. The origin of Himachal Pradesh goes back to the era of the first ever human settlement that took place in India – Indus Valley Civilization.

The flourishing civilization affected the foothills of the Himalayas, the place where present day Himachal Pradesh is located. According to evidences studied by historians, it is clear that the influence of the Aryans in this region dates back to the time period preceding the Rig-Veda. The history of Himachal Pradesh is reflective of the accumulation of the varied culture that evolved as well as flourished here. This was the ‘Deva Bhoomi’ – land of Gods, since earlier times. There are evidences that confirm the existence of pre historic humans in this region. Himachal Pradesh has also find its place in Epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana too. Various legends and mythological depiction also have appraised this state with varied names

Pre independence

Himachal Pradesh came under British control in the middle of the 19th century. The British annexed Kangra District, which includes present-day Kangra, Kullu, Hamirpur, and Lahul and Spiti districts, in 1846 at the conclusion of the First Anglo-Sikh War. The remainder of Himachal Pradesh was made up of a number of princely states. Under the British Raj, Kangra District was part of the British province of Punjab, and the princely states, then known as the Simla Hill States, were under the authority of Punjab until the early 1930’s, when the Punjab States Agency was created, under the direct authority of the Governor-General of India. The Punjab Hill States Agency, which included most of the princely states in present-day Himachal Pradesh, was separated from Punjab States Agency in 1936. Shimla became the summer capital of India and even today, many old houses and buildings tell the story of English grandeur.

Post independence

The beautiful mountain state of Himachal Pradesh (HP) was originally formed as a centrally administered territory on April 15, 1948 by the integration of 30 odd Punjab hill provinces. In 1951, it became a Part C State under a Lieutenant Governor

In 1954, Bilaspur, another Part C State, was merged with HP.

On November 1, 1966 Punjab Hill areas were merged into Himachal as part of reorganization of Punjab. Himachal Pradesh became a full fledged state of the Republic of India on January 25, 1971.

Till October 1966, HP consisted of only six hill districts Mahasu, Mandi, Chamba, Sirmaur, Bilaspur and Kinnaur. In November 1966, it was reorganized and enlarged into ten districts with the inclusion of some of the hilly areas of Punjab Shimla, Kangra, Kullu, Lahaul, Spiti, Nalagarh tehsil of Ambala district and areas of Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur districts.

In 1972-73, the state was re-organized into 12 districts Bilaspur, Chamba, Hamirpur, Kangra, Kinnaur, Kulu, Lahaul & Spiti, Mandi, Shimla, Sirmaur, Solan and Una.

Every village in the state has electricity and drinking water. A large cross section of youth from Himachal serve the Indian armed forces mainly in the army and have played significant role in the National defense, Kargil war being the latest example.

Himachal has now emerged as the power house of India when it comes to hydro-electricity. The state has many dams that harness the hilly rivers to generate electric power.

The art and crafts of the region as well as the famous music and dance practiced in the state are not free from foreign effects. The Rajputs who lived on the land, have gifted Himachal Pradesh with their colorful culture that is reflective in the various festivals that when celebrated in Himachal spreads floods of colors on the white landscape of Himalayas.

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