President Droupadi Murmu on Tuesday asked people to cooperate in preserving the beauty of countless attractive and wonderful tourist destinations in Himachal Pradesh and promote eco-tourism.
Murmu is on a four-day visit to the hill state.
From snow-clad mountains, circular valleys, gardens with blossoming flowers to forests with abundant flora and religious places, Himachal is bestowed with numerous places which attract tourists, the President said while speaking at the civic reception hosted in her honour at the Raj Bhavan here.
Paying tributes to soldiers and freedom fighters from Himachal Pradesh, Murmu said the state is known as Vir Bhumi as the youth from almost every village have been rendering services in the armed forces.
The contribution of Himachal Pradesh in the freedom movement has been scripted in golden words, she added.
As the presidential candidate, I had come to Baddi, and earlier also I had visited the state and still remember the pleasure of simple and affectionate nature of the people, Murmu recalled, adding that the Rigveda has references about Himachal Pradesh while specific references have been made to Sutlej and Beas rivers originating from the state.
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She said several ancient temples, religious places and Shakti Peeths' are located in Himachal Pradesh, and sought the blessings of goddesses for the people of the country.
It is a matter of pride for the people of Himachal that the first Paramvir Chakra awardee, Major Somnath, was from Himachal and Col DS Thapa, Captain Vikram Batra and Rifleman Sanjay Kumar also hailed from Himachal, she said.
Lauding the achievements of Himachal Pradesh, the President said the Atal Rohtang tunnel located at an altitude of 10,000 feet is in the state.
The state earned second position in achieving the goals of sustainable development and its accomplishment in education, health, roads and industrial development have been appreciated at the national level, she added.
Murmu said she was happy to know that the farmers of the state are switching to natural farming and the state has emerged as an all-weather vegetable producing state.
On the occasion, the President planted a sapling of rhododendron in the Raj Bhavan premises.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Governor Shiv Pratap Shukla said the President's life has been inspirational and her efforts in social welfare and education sectors are exceptional, especially in promoting innovation.
He said Himachal Pradesh's journey since 1948 has been a great example of inclusive development and social upliftment.
Every region of the state has a tale to tell, the tale of its valour, its culture and traditions and its mesmerising natural beauty, Shukla added.
Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu greeted Murmu on her maiden visit to the state.
He said she was an inspiration for all as she has been consistently working for the upliftment of the backward and weaker sections of society.
Sukhu thanked the President for opening the Presidential Retreat for the general public, as people coming from all over the country can now visit the Rashtrapati Niwas and acquaint themselves and enjoy the picturesque beauty of the historical place.
He said there is a vast potential for tourism development in Himachal Pradesh and keeping this in view, the government has decided to develop Kangra as the Tourism Capital of the state.
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