HIMACHAL PRADESH
 
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Origin of Name

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Last Updated On: 18/09/2015  
Lahaul & Spiti, which now form, a district of Himachal Pradesh, bordering Tibet, were at one time separate Himalayan waziries or cantons of the Kullu sub-divisions, and Kullu itself formed a part of Kangra district of Punjab.

As is clear from the name Lahaul & Spiti, the district comprises two different mountains tracts, one known as Lahaul and the other as Spiti. Hence the name of the district came into being with the formation of these two parts into a revenue district. The names, Lahaul & Spiti, have different origins.

Hiuen Tsiang stated Lahaul to be 1800 or 1900 li (575 or 610 Km) distant by road from the middle of Kiu-lu-to (Kulu). It is a gross overestimate as the first village in Lahaul is only about 70 kms from Sultanpur. Despite this error, whatever its source may be, Lahaul is clearly the country referred to here. But the Tibetan Li-yul has also ben identified by Rockhill with Khotan. If this is correct Hiuen Tsiang placing Lo-u-lo at 1800 or 1900 li north of Kulu might be intelligible though an under-estimate. Probably Hiuen Tsiang confused the two countries as Li-yul (Khotan) and Lo-u-lo (Lahaul) in his estimate of distances, admittedly derived from hearsay.

In ancient Buddhist scripures, Padma thangyiang and Mam-kambum there is mention of a country named Khasa or Hasha to the south of Ladakh and Zangskar. It is possible also that Garzha may be corruption of Khasa or Hasha. Between the 6th century B.C. and the 5th century A.D., the Saka and Khasa tribes, after having been driven out from Central Asia by the Huns, crossed over into India. many of these settled down in the valleys of Mid-Himalayas between Garhwal and Ladakh. This is borne out by the numerous remains of their graves found in these valleys. There is a nullah near Keylong known as Shaks, which seems to have taken its name after the Saka tribe settled in the Bhaga valley.
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