Geography of Himachal Pradesh is characterized by breathtaking beauty. The huge Himalayan mountain ranges laden with snow, complemented by the picturesque landscapes, take one to the land of his dreams. The elevation of this state varies between 350 m to 6000 m above sea level. Shimla is the capital of the state. Spread over a vast area of 55,780 sq km and bordered with the beautiful state of Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab in the south-west, Haryana in the south, Uttaranchal on the south-east and the Chinese state of Tibet on the east, Himachal Pradesh is charming the senses of humanity since eternity.
The Shivalik range of mountains covers most of the region of the state. The general physiographic divisions from south to north are:
1. The outer Himalayas i.e. the Shivaliks;
2. The lesser Himalays i.e. Central Zone;
3. The great Himalayan i.e. Northern Zone.
The Shivalik range consists of the lower hills with a meager elevation of 600 meters above sea level. The hills of this region are comprised of highly loose deposits which account for a sgnificant rate of erosion and deforestation. The lesser Himalayas have a steady rise towards the Pir Panjal and the Dhauladhar ranges. The climb is more brisk once it comes to the Shimla hills, to the south of which there is the peak of the Church-Chandani, which has an elevation of about 3747 meters. The rise is steady as the range touches the north of the river Sutlej.
The Kangra valley represents a longitudinal trough which is at the foothills of Dhauladhar range. The literal meaning of Dhauladhar is 'The White Peak' whose mean elevation is 4550 meters. The range has a very steep rise, and rises 3600 meters above the Kangra valley. The largest but the lesser known of the Himalayan ranges is the Pir Panjal. It branches off the Great Himalayan Range near the bank of the Sutlej. Rohtang Pass, a major tourist destination which greets you at a height of 4800 meters, lies in the Pir Panjal alongwith a number of glaciers and passes.
With an elevation of 5000 meters to about 6500 meters, the Great Himalayan range moves along the eastern border of the state and is cut across by the Sutlej. The passes in this range are very popular among tourists and some of the major tourist destinations in this area are the Kangla pass that has an elevation of about 5248m, Bara Lacha pass with an elevation of about 4512 meters, and also the Pin Parbati that helps you enjoy snow at a height of 4802 meters.
Himachal Pradesh is also well known for its diverse flora and fauna. The state enjoys a forest cover of 38 percent of the state's total area. Thus it is no wonder that the state has a rich variety of some of the rarest and well preserved wildlife in the world.
Last Updated On: 2011/07/06