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Himachal Pradesh is a state of India located in Northern India. It is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab and Chandigarh on the west, Haryana on the south-west, Uttarakhand on the south-east and by the Tibet Autonomous Region on the east. Himachal Pradesh is famous for its natural beauty, hill stations, and temples. Many perennial rivers flow in the state, and numerous hydroelectric projects set up.
Tourism in Himachal Pradesh is a major contributor to the state's economy and growth. The mountainous state with its diverse and beautiful Himalayan landscapes attracts tourists from all over the world. Hill stations like Shimla, Manali, Dalhousie, Chamba, Dharamsala and Kullu are popular destinations for both domestic and foreign tourists. The state has many important pilgrimage centres with prominent Hindu temples like Naina Devi Temple, Vajreshwari Devi Temple, Jwala Ji Temple, Chintpurni, Chamunda Devi Temple, Baijnath Temple, Bhimakali Temple, Bijli Mahadev, Renuka Lake and Jakhoo Temple.
The state is also known for its adventure tourism activities like ice skating in Shimla, paragliding in Bir-billing and Solang valley, rafting in Kullu, skiing in Manali boating in Bilaspur and trekking, horse riding and fishing in different parts in the state. Spiti Valley in Lahaul & Spiti District situated at an altitude of over 3000 metres with its picturesque landscapes is an important destination for adventure seekers. The region also has some of the oldest Buddhist Monasteries in Asia.
Himachal hosted the first Paragliding World Cup in India from 24 October to 31 October in 2015. Venue for paragliding world cup was Bir Billing, which is 70 km from famous tourist town Macleod ganj, located in the heart of Himachal in Kangra District. Bir Billing is the centre for aero sports in Himachal and considered as best for paragliding. Buddhist monasteries, trekking to tribal villages, mountain biking are other activities to do here.
Himachal Pradesh has been inhabited by human beings since the dawn of civilization. It has a rich and varied history which can be divided into several distinct eras. It was known since the earliest of times as "Devabhoomi", the abode of the Gods. The splendid heights of the Himalyan ranges, with its great scenic beauty and aura of spiritual calm seem the natural home of the Gods. Two thousands or more temples all over the State, reiterate this fact. Being a State full of isolated valleys and high ranges, several different styles of temple architecture developed and there are temples with carved stone shikharas, pagoda style shrines, temples that look like Buddhist Gompas or Sikh Gurudwaras etc. Several of them are important places of pilgrimage and each year attract thousands of devotees from all over the country.
The British territories in the hill came under British Crown after Queen Victoria’s proclamation of 1858. The states of Chamba, Mandi and Bilaspur made good progress in many fields during the British rule. During the first World War, virtually all rulers of the hill states remained loyal and contributed to the British war effort both in thr form of men and materials. Amongst these were the states of Kangra, Siba, Nurpur, Chamba, Suket, Mandi and Bilaspur.
The state has several valleys and more than 90% of the population living in rural areas. Practically all houses have a toilet and 100% hygiene has been achieved in the state. The villages have good connectivity with roads, public health centres, and now with high-speed broadband.