10 Interesting Facts about Himachal Pradesh
There are many other interesting facts about Himachal but here we are just writing 10 of them.India is a country of diversity. There is variation in people, religion, traditions, food, culture, language etc with regions. Somehow the state of Himachal Pradesh can also be called a mini country, this is so because of its rich and diverse nature. Every district of the state has its own tradition, food, culture and the most important, the dialect. For example, in the capital district Shimla, Shimla pahari dialect is spoken; in district Kullu, Kullvi pahari is spoken, both the dialects have a great difference in the pronunciation as well as subject denotion. Every district has many interesting facts. Likewise, in district Kangra, dogri or Kangri, in Mandi mandyali, in Chamba chambyali, in Lahaul and Spiti lahauli are spoken. So, considering so many dialects you can easily say that Himachal is truly versatile.
Dhaam denotes to the serving of different food items in one meal that contain atleast 5-7 traditional food items served one by one with rice. According to the traditional customs, dhaam is to be eaten in a group in a well synchronised sitting manner and in a leaf plate and when the meal is complete everyone stand up at the same time that is no one should leave the meal in between whether he is finished or not. The food items ranges from place to place. Generally in the Kullu area sepu badiya, madra, chana dal, kadi, dal maash, khatta, rayeta and sweet rice are served. In lower Himachal regions a variation occurs in some of the items such as ‘jhole’ takes place of kadi and a pure ghee mung dal replaces the chana dal. The best thing about the Himachali dhaam is the way of its preparation, I.e. it is cooked in big brass containers locally called ‘ batluyi’ under wooden chulha. No LPG is used in any of the cooking. Generally dhaams are important part of any function whether its a small get together, marriage or funerals.
3. Naati- the folk dance
The folk dance of upper himachal areas is famous as naati. It is a group dance in which both males and females participate. They make a chain and dance synchronized steps to the folk music. The orchestra of naati include dhol, nagaada (made of pure leather) karnal, naag singha and shehnai (made of copper and brass ). Generally a dress code is followed for the dance that includes pattu (gown of shawl) or sadari , dhattu (head wrap), bumdi (decorated pin to hold pattu) and rumaal for women and kurta pyjama and traditional topi for men. Naati is a beautiful dance that requires only a dancing heart.
4. Traditional dress and ornaments
Famous as a geographical indication of the Kullu valley, the traditional woolen shawls or commonly known as Kullu Shawls are not only a winterwear but a piece of art. The traditional designs of the valley culture are beautifully wooven on the shawls. Unlike the modern cloth making industries utilising machines for manufacturing cloth piece, the Kullu Shawls are hand wooven by local men and women in small scale industries and their own homes. A cap also called topi is also wore by men which is another art piece. It may be made from light fabric suited for summers and heavy woollen fabric for colder seasons. The front of the topi is colourfully designed usually in tradional geometrical patterns. The males usually wear a kalgi over it made of flower seeds or of monal bird feather.
5. Deities – Rishis to Rakshas
The Himachal Pradesh is mentioned in most of the ancient texts to be an abode of almost all the sages; they meditated in the silence and deep forests and hence had attained divine knowledge and powers. Their powers are still influencing many folks who worship them. The lower part of the state has most of the shaktipeeths (divine energy temples) such as Mata Chintapurni, Mata Jawalamukhi, Mata Naina etc.
The Mandi area has maximum concentration of Shiv temples and so called as ‘Shiv Bhumi’. With shiv as their lord, the nag clan and their dieties are also worshipped here. The dieties of the Shimla area are the kings who meditated to attain cosmic powers such as Mahasu devta, Shirgul devta, etc. The kullu area has almost all the rishis and munis like Parashar rishi, Ved vyas, Vashisht rishi, Kapil muni, Narad muni etc. Also the rakshas dieties occupy their space in the same district.
6 Traditional Himalayan Houses
The Himalayas in the past ages has developed its own distinctive architectural style. This type can be understandable as stone and wood structure with a square or rectangular plan and a roof with a concave appearance or superimposed pyramidical roofs, one on the top of the other. The wood used in the houses is Cedrus deodara, locally known as Dyaar, is a very valuable timber because it does not show easy signs of decay and is not prone to the attacks of insects.
Two-storey stone built houses, with veranda and courtyard on the edge of the old village of Kullu. Overlooking sweeping deodar and Pine Hills, with open, panoramic views. The houses provide calm and relaxation. Originally built in the traditional original style, these comfortable well-finished homes have a special atmosphere. They are separated in fully equipped rooms for 2-4 people with stone fire places and basic kitchen. The houses are also available for residents who wish to stay for long in order to write and read. Long term rental for sharp monthly
7. Wildlife- flora to fauna
The wildlife of the state is rare. Usually the beauty of flora and fauna of the wild areas of the state remains unnoticed to most of the tourists except to the nature lovers. The climatic variations of the state make it a biodiversity rich area. The lower Himachal or the Shiwalik area has a subtropical climate so the plants are deciduous to evergreen. Also a variety of species can be found here of both plants and animals. Coming to the Upper Himachal areas, the plant species are fixed and limited. Mostly pines can be found with oaks and shrubs that are evergreen. The state bird -Western Tragopon, state animal- Snow leopard and state flower- Rhododendron, all are found in the wilderness of the upper Himachal. The state has two national parks viz., The Great Himalayan National Park and The Pin Parvati National Park which are biodiversity rich in every sence, moreover GHNP has attained the status of world heritage site by United Nations. The apples of Himachal have gained very much importance in the Indian market. The quality of Kinnaur and Shimla apples are no doubt superior in all sense. Apart from apples the state also grows other fruits like kiwi, pomegranate, orange, mandarin, grapes, plum, peach, pear etc.
8. Landscape- Deserts to Wettest places
The geography of Himachal Pradesh is truly versatile and incredible at the same time. From the barren glacial mountain ranges in the north-eastern parts of the districts of Lahaul and Spiti and Kinnaur and extremely dense forests of central districts of Kullu, Shimla, Mandi, Kangra, Chamba, Solan and Sirmaur to the lowland Shiwalik ranges with sub tropical climate in the districts of Bilaspur, Una, Hamirpur and Sirmaur.
The cold desert is peculiar to the Spiti valley where no vegetation is to be found and only sand eroded from the glacial mother mountains welcomes the humans. There is no rainfall in this region but direct snow falls on the ground almost every day. Coming to the wettest place of the state, Palampur located in the Kangra district recieves the maximum amount of rainfall not only in the state but also in the entire north India and this is because of the perpendicular allignment of Dhauladhars to the wind direction and because of which it foster a lush of vegetation. The tea gardens are hence peculiar to this part of the state.
9. Customs and festivals
Apart from the general customs and traditions shared by the entire country, different ethnic communities in Himachal have their own rituals and practices followed according to the local myths and tales. The most important and distinguishing reference is the polyandry or marriage of one girl to all the brothers of the same family; this system is followed in Kinnaur district just to ensure the intact property from generation to generation. Another certain example is that of funeral ceremonies being followed in the district of Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti; where the dead are cremated in either of following three ways depending on persons past as burning in a pier or burying or throwing dead body into river/ to wild animals.
Apart from the customs followed in the state there are certain festivals and fairs which are celebrated with enthusiasm and happiness. The most common of them are the local deity fairs celebrated in almost every village of the districts of upper Himachal. Also the very first days of each of the four seasons I.e. spring, summer, monsoon and winter are celebrated by cooking traditional food and sharing it with family and neighbors.
The native people of every place n the state are always welcoming. They are always ready to help the outsiders in every manner possible. There are many life incidents of tourists coming to different parts of the state struck into a difficult situation, where localites came up to help them. I myself had many of those experiences the best of which I would love to mention. On our way to Kinnaur through the Spiti valley something went wrong with our tour bus and it stopped in the middle of nowhere. There was no person or a house to be seen anywhere. It was growing dark so we decided to go back to a village that we passed by a few kms before. We were a gru of 50.When we reached the place it was already dark so we asked help from the local people. They instantly came forward and invited us to their homes, there they made food and provided bedding to each one of us. Our bus remained broken for three days plus there used to be no light for weeks and all those days we stayed with them, ate their food and apples, helped them in their daily chores, danced and sung with them. Whatever situation we passed through everyone of us was overwhelmed by their hospitality and kindness. Literally I fee so proud to be a part of this state. Though the people of the state are innocent and calm but those who try to take this as an advantage are taught a lesson accordingly.