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
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.
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.
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 theDhauladhar
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).
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.