is a beautiful state in the north of India.
It is decorated with lovely snow capped hills
and trees that present an eye catching scenery.
Hill stations that mesmerize you and rivers
that attract you, temples and monasteries
that entice you; this is Himachal Pradesh,
just for you.
Himachal is blessed with many spellbounding naturally
beautiful tourist destinations. Shimla, the capital
city of the state, is one of India's most famous
hill stations. The small and beautiful town of
Kullu is well known for its temples, apple orchards,
and the annual Dussehra festival, all of which
attract innumerable tourists. Manali is another
extremely popular hill station, displaying its
lavish unspoilt natural beauty. Chamba, another
hill station that is located in a picturesque
valley, amidst the Shivalik ranges, is famous
for its medieval temples. Dalhousie a city named
after Lord Dalhousie, expands over five hills.
Khajjiar, a small grassy, is a popular picnic
spot of Chamba valley.
In Himachal Pradesh the remote valleys
of Lahaul, Spiti and Kinnaur have strong Buddhist
traditions. Outstanding gompas, Buddhist monasteries,
built along bare mountain-sides seem to be a part
of the rugged terrain. These are the collection
of a wealth of Buddhist art and culture. The dim,
cool interiors of ancient monasteries glow with
the brilliance of painted murals, stuccos and elaborate
thangkas framed with rich borders of silk. Dharamsala,
where the Dalai Lama has settled in exile, is a
marvelous Tibetan township where an entire cultural
tradition is being nurtured. It is a centre that
attracts scholars, pilgrims and tourists. Apart
from this, there are many other enchanting monasteries
in Himachal Pradesh. Some of them are Rewalsar,
Guru Ghantal Monastery, Kardang Monastery, Shashur
Monastery, Tayul Gompa, Kye Monastery, Thang Yug
Gompa, Kungri Gompa, Dhankar Monastery, Tabo Monastery,
Nako, Tashigang Gompa, Tilasangh Monastery.
The rich heritage
culture and traditions of Himachal Pradesh
are as suprising and diverse as the landscape.
This is evident through the rich variety of
customs, rituals, clothes and handicrafts
of this state. The most interesting are the
unusual customs of the Kinnauras who live
in the eastern district, Kinnaur. These are
a curious mix of the Buddhist practices followed
in Lahaul & Spiti and the Hindu traditions
in the rest of the State. At all important
social functions the hereditary oracle of
the local deity recites the mythology through
the oral tradition of the 'chirong'.
The popular folk dance 'naati' (or 'natti') of
Kullu is a part of all celebrations.Earlier it
used to be performed only by men dressed in their
traditional, swirling tunics, 'churidars' (pyjamas
that resemble jodhpurs) and decorated caps, accompanied
by four to eight musicians, but now women join
in too. This dance has thirteen variations depending
on the tempo. Other colourful folk dances are
the 'karthi' harvest dance of Kullu, the exciting
'birsu' and 'ghugti' from the upper Shimla hills,
and the 'kayang' and 'bakayang' from Kinnaur.
Himachal's handicrafts are unique and special,
they represent the quite and calm people of this
state. Women of Himachal wear extremely ornamental
and beautiful silver jewellery. Other handmade
things are richly embroidered scarves, footwear
and caps, leather embroidery, beautifully patterned
rugs and carpets, woollen blankets and shawls
of varying degrees of fineness. The State world
famous for the exquisite miniature paintings referred
to as the 'Pahari', a school which thrived during
the 16th to 18th centuries.
Therefore, Himachal Pradesh is a must visit destination
that lures tourists from all over the world.