Geo-Bio-Cultural Diversity of Haryana

Geography: The state of Haryana which was found November 1, 1966 has a total area of17,070 sq miles or 44,212 km2 which makes it the 20th biggest state in India by area. As laid down by the census performed in 2011, the population of the state is 25,353,081, making it the 16th most populated state in India. The density of population in Haryana is 1,485.212/sq miles or 573.443/km2. Haryana is a non-coastal, interior state. It is located at an altitude of 200 meters to 1200 meters or 700-3600 feet over sea surface.

Geographically, the state can be divided into the following regions:

• The Shivalik mountain range in the northeast

• The Yamuna-Ghaggar basin, creating the biggest portion of the state

• The Aravalli mountain range to the south

• Semi-arid sandy plateaus in the southwest

Climate: Haryana has an extreme climate. Weather remains very hot in summers and markedly cold in winters. The rainfall is unevenly distributed, with Shivalik Hills region being the wettest and the Aravalli Hills region being the driest. The best season to visit the state is during the spring season from February to April and August to November. Light cotton clothes are recommended for the summer months whereas woolens are required for the winters.

Cultural Heritage: Haryana has a rich cultural heritage that goes back to the vedic times. The seasonal and religious festivals glorify the culture of this region. The art and craft of Haryana which mainly include Pottery, Embroidery, Weaving, Durrries and more are full of aesthetic essence.

The Mahabharata describes Haryana as the land of ‘Bahudhanyaka’ (Grains in abundance) and ‘Bahudhana’ (Immense riches). It was on this land where the great Mahabharata was written by Sant Ved Vyas and where Lord Krishna preached the gospel of duty to Arjuna.

Flora, Fauna and Avi Fauna: Woodlands cover a total area of 1,553 km2 of the state. The variety of flora in the state includes eucalyptus, mulberry, kikar, pine, babul and shisham.

Haryana though deficient in natural forest has variety of wildlife species like Black Bug (State Animal), Sambar, Chinkara, Blue Bull, Jackal, Indian Porcupine, Indian Wild Boar and more. Major predator animal in the state is Leopard (Panthera Pardus), which is mainly confined to Shivaliks. What makes it a unique place for wild fauna is its location and climatic, edaphic and topographic variation. State boundaries are almost co-terminus with the three bio geographic zones namely Himalaya in north, Gangetic plain in east and Thar desert in south and west. Due to these ecotones rich wildlife particularly avifauna is found in Haryana.

Out of the total 1250 odd bird species reported in the Indian subcontinent approximately 450 are reported to spend at least some time in a year in Haryana. Due to its unique location, water birds from Europe and Siberia spend a part of their winter sojourn in the small ponds, lakes and canals of Haryana while migrating to and from to less hostile warmer climate towards equator. Similarly lots of species of terrestrial birds come and stay during the winters. Attitudinal migration is also observed among the Himalayan species. To avoid harsh winters birds like Black Bulbuls, Blue Whistling Thrush, Red Billed Blue Magpie, Verditer Flycatcher come down to Shivalik hills of northern Haryana.