Himachal Information All About Himachal Pradesh
The climate in Himachal Pradesh varies and you can experience many forms of climate in various zones of Himachal. There are many areas in Himachal Pradesh that receive very heavy rainfall like Dharamshala, Palampur, Kullu (in the foothills) and there are areas where you will find very less rainfall, like the deserts of Lahaul, Spiti and Puh. Summer in Himachal Pradesh commences in April and lasts till June. During the summers many areas are very hot except for the places with altitude over 3,000m which experience very mild summer.
The average maximum temperature in most of the areas in Himachal ranges from 28ºC to 32ºC. Winters are cold in most parts from End November to Mid March and are severe in the high altitude. During winter the places above 2000 meters experience moderate to heavy snowfall and the mercury remaining below freezing point in these areas of higher altitudes and Trans-Himalayas. Autumn is the best season in Himachal Pradesh and you can witness bright sunny skies during the day and clear starry nights.
Himachal derives its name from "Him" means snow and "Achal" means strong which cannot move. The snow capped strong Himalayas guards Himachal with 2400km long and some 160km wide area. Himachal is also called 'the Mountain State'.
Himachal Pradesh is a beautiful, panoramic, exquisite and complex mosaic of hills especially the Himalayas and Shivallik. The mesmerizing lush green valleys and snow-clad peaks are soothing and enchanting. It sits astride the Himalayan ranges from the foothills, over peaks, to the valleys of Lahaul and Spiti. Shiwalik, Pir Panjal, Pangi, Zaskar and Dhauladhar are the prominent and major ranges in Himachal Pradesh that curve across the state. The highest peaks in Himachal are are Shilla (7,026m), Manerang (6,597m) and Shipki (6,608m). The hills in the state rise gradually from the southen part to the northern area, the outer Himalayas called as Shiwaliks, the Lower or Lesser Himalaya, the Main Himalaya and Trans Himalaya.
Himachal is known for the dun type of valleys like Kiarda dun, the Kangra valley and Chakki dun. All these valleys are home to rich deep alluvial soils because the valleys are drained by rivers and streams with rich sediments deposited into the valley bottom. The Inner Himalayas in contrary have thin bare soils, and the valleys of Lahaul and Spiti have cold desert-like soil. India's only rock salt mines are located in Drang in Mandi. Other places in Himachal like Sirmaur, Mandi, Solan and Bilaspur districts have hills that yield limestone, dolomite and marble. Landslides are common during the monsoons.
Trekking the Mountain
The Himalayas have always been big challenge to the mountaineers and adventure sports lovers. Himalayas in Himachal offers exhilarating, enthralling, enchanting and challenging mountaineering opportunities in the world. There is Mountaineering Institute at Manali which has regional centres at Dharamsala, Bharmour and Jispa. The institute organizes number of expeditions every year and offers adventure courses as well for the adventure lovers. For the beginners there are some easier peaks in the Manali region like Patalsu and Sitidhar. Other popular trekking spots are Deo Tibba, Moulkila, Hanuman Tibba, Centre Peak and Indresen.
Himachal Pradesh has some of the most vibrant tracks in the country running through the passes and valleys. One of the best ways to explore Himachal Pradesh is by Trekking. The better and exciting trekking terrains lie between the green Shiwaliks and the tough upper reaches of the Greater Himalaya.
Some popular treks in Himachal Pradesh are:
Manali to Beas Kund, Manali to Rohtang Pass, Manali to Bhrigu Lake, Dalhousie to Khajjiar. If you're more valiant and courageous with great stamina you can trek to Chandra Tal, crossing the Baralacha La to Keylong is breathtaking. You can also walk across Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges to reach Lahaul and Kullu. Ideal months for trekking are July to September in Lahaul and Bharmour. However in Narkanda, Manali and Kangra regions trekking can be done between April and November.
Himachal Pradesh can also be easily divided according to its exquisite valleys. Lahaul and Spiti Valleys extend from the Chandra Valley to the Lingti Valley alongside the Spiti River. The gorgeous Chamba valley and beautiful Kangra valley lies on both side of the rock solid and giant Dhauladhars. Pattan Valley on very high altitude is separated from Chamba valley by the Pir Panjal ranges. The famous Kullu Valley extends from Mandi to Manali, and there is Parbati Valley folloeing the Parbati River. The Malana Valley near Kullu is rather an exciting place, believed to be the oldest democracy in the world.
Flying and Skiing
Himachal Pradesh is a famous hub for the Para gliders and skiers because HP offers in the world some of the best skiing and paragliding opportunities because of its topography. The paragliders and ski experts from all over the world can be seen during winters on the slopes in Solang Nullah, Kufri and Narkanda. Heli-skiing in Himachal is rapidly becoming popular too. The Mountaineering Institute located at Manali organizes skiing courses in Manali and the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation offers this course at Narkanda.
The international Hang Gliding Championship and International Hang Gliding festival is organized at Billing in Kangra valley. Hundreds of Para Gliders from all parts of the world come here during winters.
Glaciers, Rivers & Lakes
There are many glaciers above the snow line of Himalayas and they feed the fast flowing rivers of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. You can say that whole of the Greater Himalayas is like one massive and huge reservoir of snow. The Beas Kund glacier is located near Rohtang pass and is know as mother of the Beas. Bara Shigri, is the largest glacier in Lahaul valley. Other huge glaciers in Himachal are Bhadal Glacier, the Bhaga Glacier and the Chandra Glacier. Alpine pastures make the glaciers even more glittering during summer turning them into a picnic spot for migratory grazers.
The most important rivers of Himachal Pradesh are Beas, Chenab, Spiti, Sutlej, Ravi and Yamuna. The major rivers have numerous tributaries. Most of the rivers of Himachal join the Indus River system flowing into the Arabian Sea. To take advantage of the massive hydel power potential, the dams have been built over many rivers at many places. The Bhakra Dam is the highest dam in India constructed on the Sutlej. The dam has formed Govind Sagar Lake, the largest artificial lake in the region. The scenes during the monsoons is rejuvenating and serve as a treat to the eyes when you see abundant waterfalls and splashing streams gushing out from every nook and corner of the land.
Round the year you can see miraculous hot water sulphur springs at Manikaran Sahib and Vashist Kund in Manali which serve as ointment for tired limbs.
Himachal Pradesh is also known for its panoramic and splendid lakes. There is Bhagsunath lake in the Dhauladhar range suspended high up on the hills and is enclosed by lush green oaks and conifers. Another beautiful lake in Himachal is Renuka Lake in Sirmaur, and Khajjiar Lake in Khajiiar near Dalhousie.. Chandra Tal is a fantastic and enchanting lake in a large glacial depression in the Lahaul valley. Other marvelous lake with crystal clear ice chilled water is Manimahesh.
River Rafting and Adventure Sports
River Rafting excite people from all parts of the world. When you are in Himachal you can go rafting in many Himalayan rivers with ice cold water with great flow. The Beas River, Spiti River, Chandrabhaga or Chenab and Satluj have stunning white water flowing with great speed so this ride is not for the faint-hearted.
People who still want to enjoy the flow of the rivers without going into them can opt for Fishing which is relatively safe and sedentary sport. Trout is the main fish which is found in the Beas near Manali and also in the Pabbar River at Rohru. Mahseer is a large freshwater fish found in Govind Sagar Lake, in Nadaun and in the Pong Dam. You need to get a license for Fishing from Himachal Tourism Department..
Flora & Fauna
Himachal Pradesh is a also known as land of green forests offering pollution free fresh air. Almost 68% of the land area of Himachal is covered with forests. The Shiwaliks, and its foothills and valleys are a refreshing jade; the areas above the snow line with desert look. The main trees on the southernmost tracts are sal (Shorea robusta), sisham, chir pine, and some areas are covered with dry deciduous and moist broad-leafed forests. The regions with high altitude have oaks, deodar, blue pine, fir and spruce.
In the uppermost regions which experience heavy snow fall, you will find vegetation of alders, birches, rhododendrons and moist alpine scrubs. The hard rhododendron is an astounding plant having remarkable significance in the ecological chain. It attracts insects, which in turn attract birds thus the rhododendron forms a major link in high altitude ecosystems. The rhododendrons are beautiful and amazingly attractive can be seen from March to May along the hill sides.
Himachal Pradesh is also known as the fruit bowl of India as you can see orchards scattered all over the places. In the slopes of the hills you can see Meadows and pastures. After the snow melts, the hills are full of colors as orchards start blooming with wild flowers. There are many species of flowers like gladiolas, carnations, marigolds, roses, chrysanthemums, tulips, lilies and other flowers are carefully cultivated. The Himachal Government is contemplating to make Himachal the flower basket of the world.
In Himachal the vegetation ranges from thick sub-tropical jungles to the dry alpine plants, Himachal is a home of a variety of animals, this leopard, the snow leopard, ghoral (goat-like stout animal), musk deer and monal a beautiful and colorful bird in nine iridescent colours are some of the unique animals and birds in Himachal. The state has eleven main national parks and bird sanctuaries. The Great Himalayan National Park was formed to preserve the flora and fauna of the Himalayan range, while the Pin Valley National Park was created to preserve the flora and fauna of the cold desert.
More articles: Exploring Himachal