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10 lesser-known facts about Himachal Pradesh

As the name suggests, Himachal Pradesh is the state lying in the lap of the snow-clad Himalayas. We will see its area spreading from plain areas to the huge mountain ranges.

Why not have a look at some of the interesting facts about Himachal Pradesh that you must know.

1. Land of Gods

Did you know Himachal Pradesh is also known as the Land of Gods? Every village in this beautiful state has its own deity. Moreover, there are various ancient temples in Himachal Pradesh which are also discussed in the ancient Hindu scriptures. Some of these temples include Jakhu Temple, Naina Devi Temple (one of the Shakti peethas), Bhima Kali Temple (one of the Shaktipithas), Bijli Mahadev Temple, Renuka Ji temple, and many more.

2. The Fruit Bowl of India

After Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh is said to be the second-largest producer of apples in India. A surprising fact that you might not know is that apple cultivation was initiated by an American missionary named Satyanand Stokes in a place called Kotgarh in Himachal Pradesh.

In addition to apples, this state also produces fruits like peaches, cherries, kiwis, and plums in abundance. Moreover, dry fruits like hazelnuts and chilgoza or pine nuts are grown in HP.

3. Malana – the village of taboos

Malana is amongst the oldest democracies of the world, and interestingly it has got its own set of Greek-resembling beliefs and ways. In addition to that, the people even consider themselves to be the descendants of Alexander the Great. They see non-Malanis as inferior and untouchables.

Malana, a fairly unexplored village in HP, is also popularly known as the ‘The Village of Taboos’. This is due to the strict rules of no outsider touching any wall or belonging of the residents.

4. Dhaam

Dhaam is used to refer to the serving of different food items in one meal consisting of at least 5 to 7 traditional food items served with rice. As per the traditional customs, dhaam is to be eaten in a group in a well-synchronised manner and in a leaf plate.

A notable thing about Himachali dhaam is its way of preparation. The food is cooked in big brass containers locally called ‘batluyi’ under wooden chulha. They don’t use LPG in their cooking. Dhaam is a crucial part of any function – be it a small gathering, marriage, or function.

5. Khajjiar

Khajjiar is a popular hill station in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. The hill station is full of beautiful sceneries and will never fail to awe your heart. Khajjiar was brought to the world tourism map by Mr. Willy T. Blazer, Vice Counselor and Head of Chancery of Switzerland. He called this hill station ‘Mini Switzerland’.

In addition to other beautiful scenes, you will find a stream-fed lake that is home to a floating island at its centre!

6. Toy train

The Shimla to Kalka route via train is seen as one of the most amazing routes in India. A notable thing here is that this route was declared as a world heritage Site by UNESCO. It also holds the world record of being the train to cover the steepest (5816 ft) slope in the least distance (just 96km).

If you ever plan to go to Shimla, you must not forget to add this train route to your to-do list. In this beautiful journey, you will see 806 bridges, 103 tunnels and 18 stations. You definitely cannot afford to miss this beautiful rail journey at any cost.

7. Kulla Dussehra – God’s own get-together

The festival of Dussehra is amongst the major festivals celebrated by Hindus in India, especially the northern part of India. When Dussehra concludes in every part of India, Kullu Dussehra commences in Himachal Pradesh.

This 7-day festival used to attract tourists from across the world until COVID-19 came into existence. A local king named Jagat Singh started the Kullu Dussehra in the 17th century.

8. Famous associations

Himachal Pradesh has been the home town of some of the celebrities from the entertainment and sports industry of India. Some of the popular names are Anupam Kher, Preity Zinta, Kangna Ranaut, Mohit Chauhan, Yami Gautam, Rubina Dilaik.

If we have a look at the sports industry, Deepak Thakur (Hockey), Vijay Kumar (Shooting), Samresh Jung (Shooting), Anuja Jung(Shooting), Suman Rawat (Athletics), Great Khali (WWE), and Ajay Thakur (Kabaddi), belong to Himachal Pradesh.

9. Naati – the folk dance

Naati is the folk dance of the upper Himachal areas – a group dance in which both males and females take part. They make a human chain and dance synchronized steps to folk music.

The orchestra of this Himachali folk dance comprises a dhol, nagaada (made of pure leather) karnal, naag singha, and shehnai (made of copper and brass).

People follow a dress code including 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. It is a beautiful and simple folk dance that demands only one thing – a dancing heart.

10. Traditional Himalayan Houses

Over the past decades, the Himalayas have built its distinctive architectural style. To clearly state this architecture, imagine a stone and wood structure and a roof with a concave appearance, one on the top of the other. 

The wood used to build these houses is Cedrus deodara, locally known as Dyaar, and it is extremely valuable as it does not show easy signs of decay and is not vulnerable to insect attacks.

Wrapping up

Did we tell you the word Himachal is a combination of Sanskrit words, “Hima” and “Anchal”, which means “snow” and “lap” respectively? No wonder, this state is located in the lap of the Himalayas.

These are some of the amazing facts about Himachal Pradesh. Did you find them interesting?