Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh (Province of the Snowladen Mountains) is a state in the northern part of India. Situated in the Western Himalayas, it is one of the eleven mountain states and is characterized by an extreme landscape featuring several peaks and extensive river systems. Himachal Pradesh is the northernmost state of India and shares borders with the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to the north, and the states of Punjab to the west, Haryana to the southwest, Uttarakhand to the southeast and a very narrow border with Uttar Pradesh to the South. The state also has an international border to the east with the Tibet Autonomous Region in China. Himachal Pradesh is also known as 'Dev Bhoomi' or 'Land of Gods and Goddess'.

Hindi is the official language of Himachal Pradesh and is spoken by the majority of the population as a lingua franca. Sanskrit is the additional official language of the state, though it is largely restricted to educational and symbolic use.[citation needed]

Most of the population, however, speak natively one or another of the Western Pahari languages (locally also known as Himachali or just Pahari), a subgroup of the Indo-Aryan languages that includes Bhattiyali, Bilaspuri, Chambeali, Churahi, Gaddi, Hinduri, Kangri, Kullu, Mahasu Pahari, Mandeali, Pahari Kinnauri, Pangwali, and Sirmauri. Additional Indo-Aryan languages spoken include Punjabi (native to 4.4% of the population), Nepali (1.3%), Chinali, Lahul Lohar, and others. In parts of the state there are speakers of Tibeto-Burman languages like Kinnauri (1.2%), Tibetan (0.3%), Lahauli (0.16%), Pattani (0.12%), Bhoti Kinnauri, Chitkuli Kinnauri, Bunan (or Gahri), Jangshung, Kanashi, Shumcho, Spiti Bhoti, Sunam, Tinani, and Tukpa.

Hinduism is the major religion in Himachal Pradesh. More than 95% of the total population adheres to the Hindu faith and majorly follows Shaivism and Shaktism traditions, the distribution of which is evenly spread throughout the state. Himachal Pradesh has the highest proportion of Hindu population among all the states and union territories in India.

Other religions that form a small percentage are Islam, Sikhism and Buddhism. Muslims are mainly concentrated in Sirmaur, Chamba, Una and Solan districts where they form 2.53-6.27% of the population. Sikhs mostly live in towns and cities and constitute 1.16% of the state population. The Buddhists, who constitute 1.15%, are mainly natives and tribals from Lahaul and Spiti, where they form a majority of 62%, and Kinnaur, where they form 21.5%.