Himachal Pradesh is a state in Northern India. It is spread over , and is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab on the west and south-west, Haryana and Uttarakhand on the south-east and by the Tibet Autonomous Region on the east.
Himachal Pradesh is famous for its abundant natural beauty. After the war between Nepal and Britain, also known as the Anglo-Gorkha War (1814–1816), the British colonial government came into power. In 1950 Himachal was declared a union territory, but after the State of Himachal Pradesh Act 1971, Himachal emerged as the 18th state of the Republic of India. Hima means snow in Sanskrit, and the literal meaning of the state's name is In the lap of Himalayas. It was named by Acharya Diwakar Datt Sharma, one of the great Sanskrit scholars of Himachal Pradesh.
The economy of Himachal Pradesh is currently the third fastest growing economy in India. Himachal Pradesh has been ranked fourth in the list of the highest per capita incomes of Indian states. This has made Himachal Pradesh one of the most wealthiest places in entire South Asia. Abundance of perennial rivers enables Himachal to sell hydroelectricity to other states such as Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan. The economy of the state is highly dependent on three sources: hydroelectric power, tourism and agriculture.
Himachal Pradesh is spread across valleys and 90% of the population lives in villages and towns. However the state has achieved 100% hygiene and practically no single house without a toilet. The villages are well connected to roads, Public Health Center and now with Lokmitra kendra using High speed broadband. Shimla district has maximum urban population of 25%. According to a 2005 Transparency International survey, Himachal Pradesh is ranked the second-least corrupt state in the country after Kerala. The hill stations of the state are among the most visited places in country. The government has successfully imposed Environmental protection and tourism development meeting European standards and it is the only state which forbids the use of polythene and tobacco products.
The history of the area that now constitutes Himachal Pradesh dates back to the time when the Indus valley civilisation flourished between 2250 and 1750 BCE. Tribes such as the Koilis, Halis, Dagis, Dhaugris, Dasa, Khasas, Kinnars and Kirats inhabited the region from pre-historic era. During the Vedic period, several small republics known as "Janapada" existed which were later conquered by the Gupta Empire. After a brief period of supremacy by King Harshavardhana, the region was once again divided into several local powers headed by chieftains, including some Rajput principalities. These kingdoms enjoyed a large degree of independence and were invaded by Delhi Sultanate a number of times. Mahmud Ghaznavi conquered Kangra at the beginning of the 10th century. Timur and Sikander Lodi also marched through the lower hills of the state and captured a number of forts and fought many battles. Several hill states acknowledged Mughal suzerainty and paid regular tribute to the Mughals.
The Gurkhas, a martial tribe, came to power in Nepal in the year 1768. They consolidated their military power and began to expand their territory. Gradually the Gorkhas annexed Sirmour and Shimla. With the leadership of Amar Singh Thapa, Gorkhas laid siege to Kangra. They managed to defeat Sansar Chand Katoch, the ruler of Kangra, in 1806 with the help of many provincial chiefs. However, Gurkhas could not capture Kangra fort which came under Maharaja Ranjeet Singh in 1809. After the defeat, the Gurkhas began to expand towards the south of the state. However, Raja Ram Singh, Raja of Siba State managed to capture the fort of Siba from the remnants of Lahore Darbar in Samvat 1846, during the First Anglo-Sikh War. They came into direct conflict with the British along the tarai belt after which the British expelled them from the provinces of the Satluj. The British gradually emerged as the paramount power. In the revolt of 1857, or first Indian war of independence, arising from a number of grievances against the British, the people of the hill states were not as politically active as were those in other parts of the country. They and their rulers, with the exception of Bushahr, remained more or less inactive. Some, including the rulers of Chamba, Bilaspur, Bhagal and Dhami, rendered help to the British government during the revolt.
After independence the Chief Commissioner's Province of H.P. came into being on 15 April 1948 as a result of integration of 28 petty princely states (including feudatory princes and zaildars) in the promontories of the western Himalaya, known in full as the Simla Hills States & four Punjab southern hill States by issue of the Himachal Pradesh (Administration) Order, 1948 under Sections 3 & 4 of the Extra-Provincial Jurisdiction Act, 1947 (later renamed as the Foreign Jurisdiction Act, 1947 vide A.O. of 1950). The State of Bilaspur was merged in the Himachal Pradesh on 1 April 1954 by the Himachal Pradesh and Bilaspur (New State) Act, 1954. Himachal became a part C state on 26 January 1950 with the implementation of the Constitution of India and the Lt. Governor was appointed. Legislative Assembly was elected in 1952. Himachal Pradesh became a Union Territory on 1 November 1956. Following area of Punjab State namely Simla, Kangra, Kulu and Lahul and Spiti Districts, Nalagarh tehsil of Ambala District, Lohara, Amb and Una kanungo circles, some area of Santokhgarh kanungo circle and some other specified area of Una tehsil of Hoshiarpur District besides some parts of Dhar Kalan Kanungo circle of Pathankot tehsil of Gurdaspur District; were merged with Himachal Pradesh on 1 November 1966 on enactment of Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966 by the Parliament. On 18 December 1970, the State of Himachal Pradesh Act was passed by Parliament and the new state came into being on 25 January 1971. Thus Himachal emerged as the eighteenth state of the Indian Union.