[Himachal GK] Valleys in Himachal Pradesh

Chamba Valley :

Also known as Ravi valley is quite unexposed. But now the means of communication have made inroads into the interior parts of this valley. The scenery is charming and varied character presenting many delightful sights. In the lower parts, the trees grown are wild olive, pomegranate and fig trees mingling with the acacia, Shisham, Pipal and some other trees. Visitors get a good picture of small villages and hamlets extending over the landscape. On the mountain slopes, the fields are usually small in size and are arranged in terraces, the lower border of each being formed by a rough wall to make the ground more level for ploughing. In most part of the Chamba valley, under 2,550 meters, only two crops are reaped per year.

There are rich fields in the lower level, with maize, wheat, barley and other cereals high up. Northern mountain slopes are covered with forests, while Southern are often quite bare. The Chamba valley is famous for medical herbs and varities of flowers. This valley is fairly populated. The people here are very handsome, hardworking and honest. The important towns located in this valley are Chamba, Bharmaur, Dalhausie and Khajjiar. Adjoining to the Chamba valley is the Pangi valley, extending along the Chenab river as it cuts through the Pir Panjal range and off-shoots of the main Himalayan ranges. This is one of the remotest and most beautiful tracts of the Western Himalayas.

Kangra Valley :

Kangra is one of the most picturesque low altitude valleys in the Himalayas. This is an extensive dun-type valley located between the Dhauladhar range in the North and the Shivalik hills in the South. It ranges from West to East rising gradually from Shahpur to Baijnath and Palampur. People of this valley are beautiful. Here in the Kangra valley, coupled with the beauty of the landscape is the beauty of humanity. The surface is covered with the richest cultivation, irrigated by the lovely streams which descend from perennial snows. Turning from this scene of peaceful beauty, the stern and majestic hills confronts us. In the mysterious forests of Dhauladhar wander the lovely Gaddi maidens, unconscious of their beauty, living a life of pastoral simplicity.

In this valley, we do find the Kangra paintings known for their ageless beauty, in which human love has been represented in line and colour with great delicacy and which continue to throb with passion even after the passing of two centuries. The Kangra valley has also been found important from historical point of view, with the discovery of Palaeolithic hand tools in the area. The Kangra valley is full of of places of tourist interest, old forts, ancient temples, picturesque villages and side valleys. The important towns of this valley are Baijnath, Palampur, Kangra and world famous Dharamshala.

Kullu Valley :

The Kullu valley is famous for the beauty of its majestic hills, covered with pine and deodar forests and sprawling apple orchards. This is a broad open valley formed by the Beas river between Mandi and Larji. The course of the Beas river presents a succession of magnificent scenery, including cataracts, gorges, precipitous cliffs and mountains, clad with forests of Deodar, towering above trees of Pine on the lower rocky ridges. Hot water springs occur in various places much resorted to as places of pilgrimages. The valley changes its appearance and complexion with each change of season. The Kullu valley has an abundance of wild flowers. Nested in the heart of the Himalayas, this valley is 75 km. long and 2 to 4 km. wide. It eands near the famous Rohtang Pass. Beyond it, in the midst of higher Himalayan ranges lie the valleys of Lahaul and Spiti. The principal of the valley is Kullu which is situated at a height of 1,200 meters. It has a delightful and healthy climate and gets no snowfall. Kullu is a centre of considerable commercial and social activities. Across the Beas river, lies the pretty town of Naggar which is cooler than Kullu. The main attraction of the Naggar are the Naggar castle, Boerich Art Gallery and some temples. Manali at an altitude of almost 2,000 meters, situated at the head of the Kullu valley is an important Himalayan resort and trade centre, particularly in Manali are Hadimba Devi temple - built in 1553 AD., Vashisht and Rohtang Pass. In the Parvati valley lie the hot springs of Manikaran. The springs are believed to have healing properties. The people of Kullu are generally of the same type as those of Mandi and Shimla hills. They have a naturally happy temprament, and their hilarity and fun have a free play, especially during religious festivals like Dushehra. The women folk come out with bright multicoloured clothes and heavy jewellery on festival times.

Baspa or Sangla Valley :

The Baspa, also known as Sangla valley is the most beautiful and romantic in Kinnaur district. The altitude of this valley varies from 1,830 meters at the confluence of the Baspa river with the Satluj and 3,475 meters at the highest village of Chitkul. The Baspa river flows in this valley for approximately ninety five kms. The valley is richly cultivated. The valley is famous for green pastures, flowers and fruit trees. At the head of the valley lies the lofty Chung Shakhago Pass. Due to heavy snowfall, the upper ranges of this valley remain snow covered and so hardly any vegetation is grown. There are barren ranges covered with snow all the year round. From Chitkul to Satluj lies the inhabited part of the valley. The prominent vegetation found in the Baspa valley is Deodars, blue pines, firs and silver birch in the upper zones. Baspa valley gets fair amount of monsoon rains and so she has very good grassy land and alpine pastures. It opens into Satluj valley down stream of Tshong-Tong owing to the excellent climate and fertile landscape, the people in this valley are quite rich and prosperous. The gushing rivers of Kinnaur abound in Trout-the angler's prize catch, their waters have over the centuries chiseled beautiful gorges across this picturesque land and nurtured one of the most unique societies on their banks. In the lush land live the descendants of the Kinners-the demi gods of the Hindu pantheon, whose deeds have been immortalized in epics and the poems of ancient Sanskrit poets. It is no wonder that a local tradition maintains that Kinnaur with all its beauty fell from the clouds as a gift from the gods.

Satluj Valley :

It is a long valley has been formed by the Satluj river from Shipki to Bilaspur. The river enters into Indian teritory near Shipki. This river has cut across the Dhauladhar, Pir Panjal, main Himalaya and Zanskar ranges. The towns Bilaspur, Rampur and Bhaba are located along the Satluj river in this valley

Pabbar or Rohru Valley :

The Pabbar or Rohru valley consists of the area drained by the river Pabbar which originates from Chansal peak - south of Kinnaur and its tributaries. The valley extends from Hatkoti upto Tikri at the base of Chansal. There are a great number of small Khads ( streams ) passing through this valley and making the zig-zag shape of the valley at various points. The important streams passing through this valley are Andhra Khad, Pejore and Shhikri streams. The altitude of the peaks in this valley varies from 1,500 meters to 5,000 meters. The common trees grown in this valley are blue pine at lower elevations, while spruce and silver-fair at the higher. During summer, the Pabbar valley is quite hot. The people of Pabbar valley are simple, hard working and contended, fond of fairs and festivals, singing and dancing. Main crops grown in the valley are maize, barley, wheat, pulses, rice, potatoes and millets. Pabbar river is famous for trout fish, which was introduced in this river by Mr. Glover, a British Chief Conservators of forests in 1938-39.

Lahaul and Spiti Valley :

The Lahaul valley lies to the North of the Pir Panjal and main Himalayan ranges. It is made up of the rivers Chandra and Bhaga till Tandi and river Chenab from Tandi to Udaipur, downstreams of which lies the famous Pangi valley. The Spiti valley has been formed by the Spiti river. It is situated between the main Himalayan and Zanskar ranges. Kaza, a small town is located in the Spiti valley. The Lahaul and Spiti valley are surrounded by mountains with elevations ranging from 3,000 to 6,500 meters above the mean sea level. This valley is famous for high snowfall and severe winter. The people of Lahaul valley are cheerful and of kind disposition. They are superstitious, credulous, industrious and honest. The land in Lahaul valley is quite fertile and extensively used for off season vegetables and seed potatoes. In comparison to Spiti, Lahaul valley has better irrigation facilities. The crops grown here are barley and buck wheat. The area is quite famous for Buddhist Monasteries. Pin valley is the tributary of Spiti valley in the Trans Himalayan zone.

Balh Valley :

The Balh valley lies in Mandi district at an average elevation of 800 meters. This is also known as Sundernagar valley and is broad open dun type valley between an off shoot of the Shimla Ridge in the North and Shivalik hills in the South. The valley stretches from Gutker in the North to Sundernagar in the South, Baggi in the East and Gumma in the West. Suketi stream divides this valley roughly into two parts. The soil found in this valley is loam in texture and light grey to brown in colour. The main crops are wheat, maize, sugarcane, ginger and paddy. To promote mixed farming, dairying, animal husbandry, vegetable cultivation and horticulture, manuring and soil conservation Indo-German Agriculture Project was started in this valley in November 1962.

Paonta or Kirda Dun Valley :

The Paonta or Kirda Dun valley of Sirmaur lies between the Eastern extremities of Markanda and the Dharti ranges. It falls in the South-Eastern corner of the State. Jamuna river separates it from Dehra Dun. For the sake of ease, the valley may be further divided into three distinct tracts :
  1. The Par Dun tract, which is surrounded by hills lies near Majro village. This is a natural fortress, only accessible by one road and now a deserted Waste forest, though the terrain shows that it was once cultivated and was a fertile tract.
  2. The tract which consists the Neli Khera and the adjoining hills of the lower Dharti on the North of the Bata, East of Jamun Khala, West of Tila Gharib Nath and South of Rajban which indeed may be regarded as included in it as it is a plain area
  3. The tract which consists the Neli Khera and the adjoining hills of the lower Dharti on the North of the Bata, East of Jamun Khala, West of Tila Gharib Nath and South of Rajban which indeed may be regarded as included in it as it is a plain area

Most of the plain area, namely Kirda Dun, falls within the Cis-Giri division and a very small part in a corner spreading across the Giri falls into the Trans-Giri division. Kirda Dun valley is very fertile as it is watered by Giri and Bata rivers. A century back, this valley was a dense forest, inhabited by wild beasts such as tigers and elephants, but people settled in it during the time of Raja Shamsher Prakash. Wheat, maize, ginger, millet and sugarcane are the major crops. A Sikh Gurudwara at Paonta Sahib and a Ram Mandir are the two famous religious places in this valley. Paonta is now rapidly becoming an industrial area. The people of this valley are well off. Adjoining to the Kirda valley is the Dun and Spron valleys of Solan district, mostly flat and fertile and cultivation of cereals and off season vegetables in extensively practised.

Kunihar Valley :

The Kunihar valley lies nearly 50 km. West of Shimla in Solan district and is on the average at an altitude of 1,000 meters. The valley begins from Kuni Khad ( stream ) and extends upto Tukardia village. Before the formation of the State of Himachal Pradesh, the valley formed a part of Kunihar State with its headquarters at Hat-Kot, an important town in the area. Kunihar forms a cup-shaped area in the middle of low hills bordered on one side by Kandaghat tehsil of Solan district. The valley is known for its fertility and the soil varies from sandy loam to loam. The main crops are wheat, black gram, mustard, pulses, maize and some sugarcane.

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