State of northwest India, to the south of Kashmir and west of Tibet; area 55,673 sq km/21,495 sq mi; population (2001 est) 6,077,248 (mainly Hindu; some Buddhists). The capital is Shimla, which lies at an altitude of 2,213 m/7,200 ft. Himachal Pradesh is a mainly agricultural state, partly forested, producing fruit, grain, rice, and seed potatoes. Timber production is an important industry, and there is small-scale mining of slate, gypsum, and limestone. Manufacturing industries indclude iron founding and the production of agricultural implements, resin, fertilizer, and turpentine at Nahan, television sets at Solan, and electronic goods near Shimla. The mountain scenery attracts increasing numbers of tourists, and Shimla is the leading hill resort in India.
British forces entered the area in the early 19th century to protect 30 small hill states from Nepalese expansion. British annexation of the area in 1846 was followed by the choice of Shimla as the summer capital. Himachal Pradesh was centrally administered after independence before becoming a Union Territory in 1948, incorporating some hill areas from the former Punjab state. It became a state in 1971, formed from Hindi-speaking parts of the former Central Provinces, various princely states, and the Bastar region.
The languages spoken are Pahari and Hindi.
The land is mountainous, stretching from the Shiwaliks in the south to Himalayan peaks of more than 6,700 m/22,000 ft. The Chenab, Ravi, and Beas rivers are in the west, and the Sutlej and Yamuna rivers in the east. The Bhakra dam across the Sutlej is used for irrigation and power generation.
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