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|District of Himachal Pradesh|
Location of Sirmaur district in Himachal Pradesh
|• Assembly seats||5|
|• Total||2,825 km2 (1,091 sq mi)|
|• Density||160/km2 (420/sq mi)|
|• Sex ratio||915|
Sirmaur is the southern most district in the south-eastern region of Himachal Pradesh, India. It is largely mountainous and rural, with 90% of its population living in villages. Some of its popular towns include Nahan (the capital), Paonta Sahib and Suketi, the latter famous for the Shivalik Fossil Park where fossils over 85 million years old have been found.
There are six tehsils in this district, namely Nahan, Renuka, Shillai, Rajgarh, Pachhad and Paonta Sahib. The Giri River divides the district into two almost equal parts: Giripar and Giriwar. The major towns are Nahan, Paonta Sahib, Rajgarh and Shillai.
Bishu is a popular fair that is held at several places, and features the Thoda dance. Nati, Gee, Rasa and Budhechu are the popular styles of folk dance in Sirmaur. These are enjoyed at occasions such as weddings and the Diwali festival.
Sirmaur was an independent kingdom in India, founded in about 1090 by Raja Rasaloo of Jaisalmer, one of whose ancestors was named Sirmaur. It became an 11 Gun Salute princely state in British India,The premier ruler of the Punjab Hills, located in the region that is now the Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh. The state was also known as Nahan, after its main city, Nahan. Sirmaur was ruled by the chiefs of Rajput lineage, who used the title "Maharaja".
The district's economy is based mainly on agriculture, including potatoes, ginger, tomatoes, apples, mangoes and peaches in the Rajgarh region, known locally as "the Peach Bowl". At Dhaula Kuan near Paonta Sahib there is a government-operated fruit research centre. At the village Lana-cheta, farmers grow mainly grain.
In recent years[when?] there has been growth in various light industries including pharmaceuticals and manufacturing in Paonta Sahib. This has been mainly because of the town's location and proximity to other state borders. The state government has also provided subsidies on taxes to entrepreneurs and industrialists to set up their operations in the town.
The district has mineral resources. Kamrau is a small village known locally as the "place of limestone millionaires". Sataun is the largest limestone market of South East Asia.
Places of interest
There are many small towns and scenic places in Sirmaur District.
Habben Valley's best known temples are Shirgul Devta, Palu Devta and Tokro Tibba Kali Maa. At Habben there are two well known temples, Tokro Tibba Kali Maa and Palu Devta. Haabbi 1500, a well known Rajoot caste, belongs to these two Devtas. Lord Shirgul Temple is one of the most famous temples in North India. Lord Shirgul is worshipped in Sirmaur, Solan, Shimla, Uttaranchal, and Delhi. Thick Deodar forests are visited by tourists from many parts of India. A trek leads to Churdhar, the Holy place of Lord Shiva.
The Chur Peak in district Sirmaur rises to an elevation of 3647 m above the sea level. The mountain is an important religious place for all Sirmauries. It is one of the Shivalik ranges at a height of 11965 feet, and is the highest peak in southern Himachal Pradesh. Churdhar, also known as Churchandni (Bangle of Snow), is known for its spectacular landscapes. The view from the summit offers a panorama of lowland tracts towards the south and snow-capped ranges, including the peaks of Badrinath and Kedarnath in the Garhwal region, towards the north. It is believed that this is the very place where Hanuman discovered the life-restoring Sanjivini booti, which revived Lakshmana, Lord Rama’s younger brother. Ruins of an ancient town have been discovered at the nearby dundi Devi.
Trekkers tread over small glaciers on their way to Churdhar summit, which has moderate to heavy snowfall (average of 33 feet snow). Often the Shirgul temple gets buried under it. On clear sunny days, the Badrinath and Kedarnath shrines, Gangetic plains, the Sutlej river and hills of Shimla and Chakrata can be seen. Atop the Churdhar summit there are lingams of Shiva and Kali, where goat and sheep were formerly sacrificed. Devotees hoist flags and make offerings here.
The peak can be approached from Dadahu, headquarter of Renuka tehsil, via Sangrah, Bhawai, Gandhuri and Naura, at a distance of about 48 kilometres (30 mi) by bridle path. Another approach to the peak is by the Solan Rajgarh Menus road.
Renuka is another place of religious and tourist interest in Sirmaur. It is nearly 40 kilometres (25 mi) from Nahan via a motorable metalled road. Boating is available for visitors at Renuka Lake, an oval-shaped lake with a circumference of 2.4 kilometres (1.5 mi). The lake is visited by thousand of pilgrims every year on Kartiki Ekadashi. There is a 1.6 kilometres (0.99 mi) patch between the Giri and humming camp where visitors often stay for a couple of days. Nightlong festivities including Kirtans are held by various groups.
The place reaches full capacity during the days of the fair and offers a variety of activities. At the entrance to the fairground there is a notice board put up by the Wild Life Wing of the Forest Department warning, "Hold Your Gun--Game Sanctuary Starts".
To this fair, the brass idol of Parasu Rama is brought from the village Jamu, his permanent abode, in a silver palki accompanied by musical instruments. The deity remains in the temple for three days i.e. sudi, dashmi to dwadashi (from 10th to 12th of the bright half). The hill people pray to pujari with questions during the night when he goes into a trance and turns into an oracle, answering questions and sometimes asking of the questioner some offering or sacrifice to the deity of some other act as a condition precedent to the fulfillment of the favourable prophecy, such as deliverance from a problem or recovery of health from some disease. On Dwadashi, generally, the people offer alms after the holy dip in the Renuka lake.
This place is at an elevation of 2687 m. Maa Bhangayani Temple, Haripurdhar, is a well known temple in Sirmaur. Haripur is the name applied to a mountain called Haripur Dhar. A fort on a peak of this hillwas built on this range of mountain by the rulers of erstwhile Sirmur State. It was primarily meant to guard the state frontiers with the neighbouring Jubbal State as there were constant boundary disputes between the two states and there was an unusual encroachment into each other's territory. It has fallen into disuse and the part which is still habitable is used by the Forest Department as forester’s headquarters. The fort reminds the visitor of the historical period when to hold or capture such forts used to be the chief aim of the contending hill states. At a distance of about 106 kilometres (66 mi) from Nahan, Haripurdhar can be approached by a regular bus service covering 40 kilometres (25 mi) up to Dadahu, wherefrom Andheri can be reached by jeep for about 44 kilometres (27 mi). The remaining portion is about 22 kilometres (14 mi). Another way to approach is from Solan via Rajgarh. Kharotiyon, a place from where the site of the fort remains about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) on the hill top.
Bhureshwar Mahadev is another religious and tourist destination in sirmour district. It is situated on a peak nearer to Sarahan on the Nahan - Solan state highway. There is a legend about this place that from here Mata Parvati and Lord Shiva saw the Kurukshetra War, as described in the Mahabharata. From here Chandigarh can also be seen.
Shillai Subdivision of Sirmaur Distt, which includes the area from Sataun to Haripur Dhar is a tourist destination for people from India and abroad, especially in summer season. NH-707 (old NH-72) is the national highway as from Paonta Sahib to Hatkoti.
- Mohit Chauhan, singer, is from Nahan town
- Siddharth Chauhan, independent filmmaker, was born in Renuka
- "The Great Khali" (Dalip Singh Rana), WWE wrestler, is from Shillai
- Rakesh Pandey, actor, is from Nahan
According to the 2011 census Sirmaur district has a population of 530,164, roughly equal to the nation of Cape Verde. This gives it a ranking of 542nd in India (out of a total of 640). The district has a population density of 188 inhabitants per square kilometre (490/sq mi) . Its population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 was 15.61%. Sirmaur has a sex ratio of 915 females for every 1000 males, and a literacy rate of 79.98%.