Himachal Pradesh - land of Hills is situated in the northern part of India. The state formerly is the Hill States of Punjab, is a mostly mountainous state in northern India.
The state capital of Himachal Pradesh is Shimla and other major towns of this state are Solan, Dharamsala, Kangra, Mandi, Kullu, Chamba, Hamirpur, Dalhousie and Manali. In the north and east there is western Himalayas and the smaller Shiwalik (or Shivalik) range in the south.
There are five major rivers - Sutlej, Ravi, Chenab, Beas and Yamuna in Himachal Pradesh.
Himachal Pradesh is bordered by Tibet in the east, Jammu and Kashmir in the north and northwest, Punjab in the southwest, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in the south and Uttaranchal in the southeast. Himachal is one of the smaller states in India and holds the 17th rank in the list of States and Union Territories in the country.
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.
The Shivaliks consist of lower hills i.e. about 600 meters above sea level. These hills are composed of highly unconsolidated deposits which causes a high rate of erosion and deforestation.
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 - 4800 meters, is one of them.
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 is 3647 meters. North of river Sutlej, the rise is gradual.
The great Himalayan range (5000 meters to 6000 meters) runs along the eastern boundary and is cut across by the Sutlej. Some of the famous passes in this range are Kangla - 5248 meters, Bara Lacha - 4512 meters, Parang - 5548 meters, and Pin Parbati - 4802 meters.
The Zaskar range is the eastern most range and separates Kinnaur and Spiti from Tibet. It has peaks rising over 6500 meters, Shilla is 7026 meters and Riwo Phargyul is 6791 meters are the highest among its peaks. There are many glaciers or Shigri over the Zaskar and the great Himalayan ranges.
There is great diversification in the climatic conditions of Himachal due to variation in elevation over 450 to 6500 meters. Generally, there are three seasons in a year. Winter (October to February), Summer (March to June) and Rains (July to September).
Springs - is the main season starts from mid February to March or April. The air is cool and fresh. Colourful flowers adorn the valleys, forest slopes and meadows. In the hill stations, the climate is pleasant and comfortable.
The rains start at the end of June. The entire landscape becomes green and fresh. Streams begin to swell and springs are replenished. The heavy rains in July and August cause damage to erosion, floods and landslides.