Himachal Pradesh, spread over 55,673 sq. km. is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir on north, Punjab on west and south-west, Haryana on south Uttaranchal on south -east and by Tibet on the east. It is a mountainous region, known for the natural beauty of its forests, rivers, valleys, hills and dales and is rich in natural resources.
The state is located in altitudes ranging from 450 meters to 6500 meters above sea level. It is veiled from the plains by the Shivalik range of mountains. (Shivalik literally means the tresses of Lord Shiva). There is a general increase in elevation from west to east and from south to north. The physiographic divisions from south to north are (1) The outer Himalayas or the Shivaliks (2) The lesser Himalayas or the central zone (3) The great Himalayan and Zaskar or the northern zone.
The Shivaliks consist of lower hills (about 600mtrs above sea level). These hills are composed of highly unconsolidated deposits which causes a high rate of erosion and deforestation.
The lesser Himalayas are marked by a gradual elevation towards the Dhauladhar and the Pir Panjal ranges. The rise is more abrupt in the Shimla hills, to the south of which is the high peak of church- Chandni (3647mtrs). North of river Sutlej, the rise is gradual.
The Kangra valley is a longitudinal trough at the foot of the Dhauladhar range. Dhauladhar which means the 'White Peak' has a mean elevation of about 4550 meters. It has an abrupt rise of 3600mtrs above the Kangra valley. The largest of the lesser Himalayan ranges, the Pir Panjal, branches off from the greater Himalayan range near the bank of the river Sutlej. Numerous glaciers exist and several passes lie across Pir Panjal. The Rohtang Pass (4800mtrs) is one of them.
The great Himalayan range (5000 - 6000 meters) runs along the eastern boundary and is cut across by the Sutlej. Some of the famous passes in this range are Kangla (5248mtrs), Bara Lacha(4512mtrs), Parang (5548mtrs) and Pin Parbati (4802mtrs).
The Zaskar range is the eastern most range and separates Kinnaur and Spiti from Tibet. It has peaks rising over 6500mtrs, Shilla (7026mtrs) and Riwo Phargyul (6791mtrs) are the highest among its peaks. There are many glaciers or Shigri (local name) over the Zaskar and the great Himalayan ranges.
Himachal has rich flora. Forests cover about 38% of the area. Several varieties of vegetation from the Himalayan meadows and high altitude birch and down to the tropical shrub and bamboo forests of the low foot hills are found here. It has a variety of wild life too.
Himachal has 49 cities and towns. The smallest town is Naina Devi and the largest is Shimla with a population of about 6,17,404. Urban population is only 7.5% of the total population. Most of the people live in rural habitations varying in size from isolated hamlets to conglomerated settlements.
The region of Himachal Pradesh was called 'Deva Bhoomi ' (the land of the gods). From the early period of its history it was inhabited by tribes like the Koilis, Halis, Dagis, Dhaugris, Dasa, Khasas, Kinnars and Kirats. The Aryan influence in this area of India dates to the period before the Rigveda. Sankar Varma, the king of Kashmir exercised his influence over regions of Himachal Pradesh in about 883 AD. This region witnessed the invasion of Mahmud of Ghazni in 1009AD, who during that period invaded and looted the wealth from the temples in the North of India. In about 1043AD the Rajputs ruled over this territory. Known for its vibrant and exquisite natural scenery it received the royal patronage of the Mughal rulers who erected several works of art as an appreciation of this land. In 1773 AD the Rajputs under Sansar Chand possessed this region, till the attack by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1804 which crushed the Rajput power here. The Gurkhas who migrated from Nepal captured this area and devastated it. In about the early 19th century the British exercised their influence and annexed the areas of Shimla after the Gurkha War of 1815-16. It became a centrally administered territory in 1948 with the integration of 31 hill states and received additional regions added to it in 1966.
The state of Himachal Pradesh has an area of 55,673 sq. km. and a population of 6.08 million. There are 12 districts, 77 blocks and 20118 villages. The State has population density of 109 per sq. km. (as against the national average of 312). The decadal growth rate of the state is 17.54% (against 21.54% for the country) and the population of the state is growing at a slower rate than the national rate.
The Total Fertility Rate of the State is 1.8. The Infant Mortality Rate is 40. The Sex Ratio in the State is 974 (as compared to 940 for the country). Comparative figures of major health and demographic indicators are as follows :
Demographic, Socio-economic and Health profile of Himachal Pradesh State as compared to India figures
|Total population (In Crore) (Census 2011)
|Decadal Growth (%) (Census 2011)
|Crude Birth Rate ( SRS 2013)
|Crude Death Rate ( SRS 2013)
|Natural Growth Rate ( SRS 2013)
|Infant Mortality Rate ( SRS 2013)
|Maternal Mortality Rate (SRS 2010-12)
|Total Fertility Rate (SRS 2012)
|Sex Ratio (Census 2011)
|Child Sex Ratio (Census 2011)
|Schedule Caste population (in crore) (Census 2001)
|Schedule Tribe population (in crore) (Census 2001)
|Total Literacy Rate (%) (Census 2011)
|Male Literacy Rate (%) (Census 2011)
|Female Literacy Rate (%) (Census 2011)
Health Infrastructure of Himachal Pradesh
|Primary Health Centre
|Community Health Centre
|Health worker (Female)/ANM at Sub Centres & PHCs
|Health Worker (Male) at Sub Centres
|Health Assistant (Female)/LHV at PHCs
|Health Assistant (Male) at PHCs
|Doctor at PHCs
|Obstetricians & Gynecologists at CHCs
|Pediatricians at CHCs
|Total specialists at CHCs
|Radiographers at CHCs
|Pharmacist at PHCs & CHCs
|Laboratory Technicians at PHCs & CHCs
|Nursing Staff at PHCs & CHCs
(Source: RHS Bulletin, March 2012, M/O Health & F.W., GOI)