GS-1 UNIT – 1; SUB-UNIT-2
Geographical region of Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh is bound between 30˚22 to 33˚12 north latitude and 75˚47 to 79˚4 east longitude. To the east, it forms India’s border with Tibet, to the north lies UT of Jammu & Kashmir, the state of Uttrakhand in the south–east, Haryana in the south and Punjab in the west. The entire territory of hp is mountainous with altitude varying from 350 to 7000 metres above mean sea level.
Geographically, it forms part of the western Himalayas, and thus presents an intricate pattern of mountainous ranges, hills and valleys. There is a general increase in elevation from west to east and from south to north. thus it covers almost the same area as ‘jalamdhara’ known to the ancient geographers of India. They had defined the Himalayan range into five distinct divisions as follows:
It need not to be said that two of the three eastern divisions of the Himalayas, Kurmachala (Kumaoun) and Kedara (Gharwal) at one end the western division, Kashmir at the other, form the border of Himachal Pradesh.
Topographically, Himachal territory from south to north can be divided into three zones- ‘the Shivaliks or outer Himalayas, ‘inner Himalayas or mid-mountains and ‘alpine zone’ or the greater Himalayas.
The Shivalik or outer Himalayas:
- The lower hills of districts Kangra, Hamirpur, Una, Bilaspur and lower parts of mandi, solan and Sirmour are known as ‘Shivalik hills’.
- The annual rainfall in this zone varies from 1500mm to 1800mm.
- The famous places covered in this zone are- Paonta valley, Nahan Tehsil, Pachhad and Renuka tehsil of Sirmour districts; Balh valley and Joginder Nagar area of Mandi district; Kangra, Nurpur, Dehra, Jwali and Palampur tehsil of Kangra; Dalhousie, Bhattiyat and Churah of Chamba district.
- In ancient times Shivalik hills were known as ‘ Manak Parbat( tresses of shiva)
- They are composed of highly unconsolidated deposits which easily lend themselves to erosion, leading to the formation of ‘CHOS’( small streams).
- The altitude of this zone ranges from 350m or 1050 feet to 1500 m or 4500 feet above mean sea level.
- Stone-embedded shallow and loam to clay soils are found in this zone.
- This area is suitable for the cultivation of maize, wheat, ginger, sugarcane, paddy, table potatoes and citrus fruit.
The inner Himalayas or mid- mountains:
- The altitude of this zone lies between 1500m or 4500 feet to 4500m or 13,500 feet above mean sea level.
- The lesser Himalayas are marked by a gradual elevation towards the Dhauladhar and Pir-Panjal ranges.
- Area falls under this zone includes upper areas of tehsil Pachhad and Renuka in Sirmour district; Chachiot and Karsog tehsil of Mandi district, the upper part of Kangra and Palampur tehsil and Dalhousie, Bhattiyat and Churah area of Chamba district.
- To the south of Shimla is the highest peak of Churdhar (3,647m.) also known as choorh chandani.
- To the saltuj, the rise of lesser Himalayas is gradual.
- The series of parallel ranges are divided by longitudinal valley, the only exception being the Kullu valley which runs transverse to the main alignment.
- The variety of soil found in this area ranges from silty loam to clay loam of dark brown color, which is useful for seed potatoes and temperate fruits.
- Two famous ranges of lesser Himalayas are; pir-panjal (in Chamba district) and dhauladhar (Kangra, Chamba and Mandi district).
- The largest of the lesser Himalayas range, the pir-panjal, and separates from the greater Himalayas range near the bank of the saltuj, forming the water-divide between the Chenab on one side and the Beas and the Ravi on the other.
The greater Himalayas or alpine zone:
- The altitude of this zone ranges from 4500 meters and above from mean sea level.
- To the north of the pir-panjal and dhauladhar ranges are the more lofty mountain ranges, known as the ‘greater Himalaya’ and ‘zanskar ranges’.
- The greater Himalayan ranges runs along the eastern boundary and is cut across by the saltuj. The ranges separate the drainage of the Spiti from that of the Beas.
- This comprises Kinnaur district, Pangi tehsil of Chamba district and some area of Lahaul and spiti.
- Some of the famous passes of this zones are- sach pass, chini pass, chabia pass and kugti pass, rohtang pass, kunzum pass, baralacha pass and hampta pass and chanderkharni pass.
- The zanskar range has peaks rising over 6500m. iwo purgyal is the highest among its peaks.
Physiographical classification of Himachal Pradesh
Physiographically, the state can be divided into five zones, viz.
1. WET SUB-TEMPERATE ZONE comprising of palampur and dharamshala area of kangra district, joginder nagar area of mandi district and Dalhousie area of chamba district.
2. HUMID SUB-TEMPERATE ZONE, comprising of Kullu and Shimla districts and parts of Mandi, Solan, Chamba, Kangra and Sirmour districts.
3. DRY TEMPERATE, alpine high lands which include major parts of Lahaul-Spiti, Pangi and Kinnaur;
4. HUMID SUB-TROPICAL ZONE, comprising of Bilaspur, major parts of Mandi district, Nahan area of Sirmour district, Bhattiyat valley of Chamba district, Nalagarh area of solan district, Hamirpur district and Dehra and Nurpur areas of Kangra districts and;
5. SUB-HUMID TROPICAL ZONES, comprising of Una district, Paonta sahib areas of Sirmour district and Indora area of Kangra district.
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