What is the Capital City of Himachal Pradesh?

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Capital City of Himachal Pradesh

There are two Capital Cities of Himachal Pradesh for different reasons. The two Capitals are Shimla which is also the Summer capital and Dharamshala which is the winter capital. Himachal Pradesh, the northernmost state of India, resides in the beauty of the Western Himalayas. Furthermore, bordering on the north are the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, while Punjab covers its western side. Moreover, to the southwest lies Haryana, and Uttarakhand occupies the southeast. This article will uncover everything about the Capital Cities of Himachal Pradesh. 


The Capital Cities of Himachal Pradesh come with different features and qualities of their own. So let’s dive right into it. 


Steeped in history, Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh derives its name from Goddess Shyamala, an incarnation of Kali. 

  • Though a 2018 proposal to rename it Shyamala faced public disapproval, hence the city retains its colonial-era name. 
  • Once a venue for significant political agreements, Shimla today thrives as a major tourist hub and educational center.

Also Read: What is the Capital City of Jharkhand?


Additionally, beyond its role as the administrative center for Kangra district, Dharamshala holds a unique dual identity. 

  • Declared the winter capital of Himachal Pradesh in 2017, it also serves as the global center for Tibetan culture. It has become the home of the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration since 1960.
Gyuto Monastery. Source: Alphonso Stories

Brief History

We will move on to discuss the history of both the Capital cities of Himachal Pradesh. Scroll to know more. 


We all know that Shimla is a hill station with a colonial heritage and its architecture says it all. 

  • Founded by the British in 1819, it was the summer capital of British India. 
  • Thus, the cool climate attracted soldiers and civilians seeking relief from the heat. 

Source: Himachal Watcher

  • Today it is a popular tourist destination known for its natural beauty, British architecture, and handicrafts. 
  • The Kalka-Shimla railway line built in 1906 provides easy access. Shimla offers historical sites like the Viceregal Lodge and scenic spots like the Mall Road.

Also Read: Facts About Himachal Pradesh


A British military outpost in the 1800s, Dharamshala became a quiet and isolated hill town. 

  • However, in 1959, the arrival of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan refugees transformed it. 
  • India’s generosity provided a sanctuary, and Dharamshala flourished. 
Source: Indian Defense Review

  • Moreover, with Buddhist temples, schools, and cultural centers, it became a “mini-Tibet” attracting visitors worldwide. 
  • The upper area, McLeodganj, dates back to 1848 and was named after a British governor.

Also Read: What is the Capital City of West Bengal?


Mostly the demography of the capital cities is similar to each other but it is important to know the details. 


The table describes the features of the demography of Shimla.

HeadquartersShimla (State Capital)
Neighboring DistrictsNorth: Mandi, Kullu
Elevation Range987 meters (3,238 ft) to 4,500 meters (14,764 ft)
Population Rank (Himachal Pradesh)3rd (as of 2011)
Urbanization Rank (Himachal Pradesh)Most Urbanized

Also Read: What is the Capital City of Madhya Pradesh?


Here is everything to learn about the demography of Dharamshala. 

LocationHimachal Pradesh, India
StatusWinter capital of Himachal Pradesh
Administrative RoleHeadquarters of Kangra district (since 1855)
GovernmentMunicipal corporation (upgraded in 2015)
Elevation1,457 meters (4,780 ft)
RegionKangra Valley
Mountain RangeDhauladhar range of the Himalayas
Additional InformationHosts the Tibetan Government-in-Exile


Both cities are in an elevated geographical location, but certain things make them different from each other. To begin with, their location in summer and winter. 


Shimla rests in the southwestern Himalayas and is spread across seven spurs along a ridge.

  • The city stretches roughly 9.2 kilometers (5.7 miles) from west to east and covers an area of 18 square kilometers (6.9 square miles).
  • Shimla sits at an elevation of 2,397 meters (7,866 feet) above sea level, with Jakhoo Hill as its highest point at 2,454 meters (8,051 feet).
  • Due to its altitude, Shimla experiences a subtropical highland climate.
  • The nearest major water body is the Sutlej River which is located 21 kilometers (13 miles) away. The surrounding forests are home to oak, rhododendron, deodar, and pine trees.
Source: The Statemen


People who have been to Dharamshala even once in their lifetime must already be aware of the beauty of this Capital City of Himachal Pradesh. 

  • Dharamshala sits at an average elevation of 1,457 meters (4,780 ft) and covers an area of roughly 8.51 square kilometers (3.29 square miles).
  • It is nestled within the Kangra Valley, sheltered by the Dhauladhar mountains.
  • The town itself consists of two main areas: Lower Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj.
Source: IndiaMart

  • A scenic route lined with pine, Himalayan oak, and rhododendron trees connects these two sections.

Also Read: What is the Capital City of Uttrakhand?


Everyone must be aware of the fact that the Capital City of Himachal Pradesh runs on tourism much more than anything else.  


Moreover, Shimla’s employment opportunities are concentrated in:

  • Government sector
  • Tourism industry
  • Education sector (to a lesser extent)
  • Processing of horticultural produce (to a lesser extent)

In addition, the rest of the economy is based on services:

  • Transportation and trade hub for the region
  • Healthcare center with a medical college and four major hospitals:
    • Indira Gandhi Hospital (Snowdown Hospital)
    • Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital (formerly Ripon Hospital)
    • Kamla Nehru Hospital
    • Indus Hospital
  • Aiming to become a health tourism destination


Dharamshala’s economy relies heavily on agriculture and tourism.

  • The Kangra Valley produces rice, wheat, and tea, and the famous Kangra tea has a special geographical designation.

Source: TripAdvisor

  • Dharamshala is a major hill station and spiritual center attracting tourists. Dharamshala offers numerous trekking trails into the Himalayas, including hikes to:
  • Indrahar Pass (4,342 meters)
  • Toral Pass (4,575 meters)
  • Bhimghasutri Pass (4,580 meters)
  • Dharamshala-Bleni Pass (3,710 meters)
  • Kareri Lake
  • Himani Chamunda
  • Thatarna
  • Triund

Also Read: What is the Capital City of Assam?


Culture is a major part of Himachal Pradesh’s growth and development. It is the culture that attracts more and more people to the state every year. 


Shimla’s culture blends tradition and modernity. Locals earn a living through farming and raising cattle. 

  • The hill station is known for its unique music and dance forms, some of which are religious and use instruments like flutes and ghungroos. 
  • Popular dances include the Kayang and the Rasa. 
  • Moreover, Shimla is also a haven for handicrafts. 
  • Tourists flock here to buy beautiful jewellery, embroidered shawls, leather goods, and wooden sculptures. 
  • The wood from pine and deodar trees is used to make boxes, bowls, and even carpets.
  • The wool from local sheep is woven into blankets and rugs.

Also Read: What Is The Capital City Of Tamil Nadu?


Dharamshala’s vibrant culture blends Tibetan and Hindu traditions. Tibetan refugees settling in McLeod Ganj, nicknamed “Little Lhasa,” brought their customs and Buddhism. 

  • The Namgyal Monastery and the presence of the Dalai Lama are a big draw for Buddhist devotees. 
  • Tourists can find Tibetan handicrafts and experience a Buddhist way of life. 
  • Dharamshala also retains hints of its colonial past with British-era buildings like St. John’s Church and the Kangra Museum. 
  • The city celebrates both Hindu and Buddhist festivals, hence offering a unique cultural experience for visitors.

Also Read: What is the Capital City of Odisha?

Facts About Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh is the state of love, culture, and tourism. Yet, there are a lot of things that we do not know. 

  • Home to the world’s oldest democracy, the village of Malana with its centuries-old judicial system.
  • Known as the Land of Gods, with every village having its own deity and numerous ancient temples mentioned in Hindu scriptures.
  • Location of the world’s highest statue, a 108-foot tall Lord Hanuman statue in Jakhu Temple, Shimla.
  • Site of India’s first elections held in Kalpa due to seasonal isolation.
  • Moreover, it is the hometown of India’s first voter, Mr. Shyam Saran Negi from Kalpa.

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What is the real capital of Himachal Pradesh?

The real capital of Himachal Pradesh is Shimla. However, Dharamshala is also one of the capitals. 

Why are there two capitals for Himachal Pradesh?

In winter, Shimla usually has harsh winters and snowy roads which makes it impossible for people to visit Shimla in winter. 

Who is the current CM of Himachal?

Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu is the current Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh. 

That is all about what is the Capital City of Himachal Pradesh! If you want to know more about topics like this, then visit our general knowledge page! 

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