Arts and Ideas - Himachal

Monuments and Places

   The foothills of Himachal were inhabited by the protohistoric people as early as two million years ago. The Sanskrit epic Mahabharata refers to the Trigarta country, which has been interpreted to mean the valley watered by the three rivers of Himachal viz., Ravi, Beas and Sutluj. Kulinda republic mentioned in the text is interpreted as the valleys of Beas, Sutluj and Yamuna i.e., the Shimla and Sirmour regions. it is possible that the region was under the control of the Gupta empire in the 4th - 5th centuries C.E. In the mediaeval and early modern periods, princely courts of Kangra, Kullu and Chamba were great patrons of fine art and many painters migrated from the Mughal court to these centres during this period, apart from many indigenous painters flourishing in these courts. These centres were famous for the miniature painting traditions, which fused the Mughal and the local idioms. For quite some time, Himachal was joined with Punjab in the modern period. This region drew major attention from the British; one of the first being the Kangra Valley and later, Shimla becoming one of the capitals of the British India. The railway network covering the 96 kms. of the mountainous tract and going through th 103 tunnels dug into the mountains was a major engineering enterprise of the British, which is still in use and connects Himachal with the plains at Kalka.

   Much of the state being covered by the Lower Himalayas, there is not much scope for agriculture in this region; apples being the only major crop and apples, wool and tourism the only three major economic sources. Because of this, the common people of Himachal are very poor and lead a harsh life.

   In recent times, Dharmashala and Mc Leodgunj have drawn hundreds of thousands of Tibetan who left their homes in Tibet when China annexed their annexed it and came to Himachal. Mc Leodgunj houses a grand Tibetan Buddhist monastery and a modest residence for the Dalai Lama.

Interactive Map of Himachal

Photos of Himachal

Shimla Aurangabad Jaipur  Bombay