Rajgarh: The Peach Bowl of Asia

The scenic valley of Rajgarh is situated in the Sirmaur district and is famous as the Peach Bowl of Asia. The valley produces peaches worth around Rs 5 crore annually, and Rajgarh alone contributes nearly Rs 4 crore to this production. This valley is a testament to the generosity of nature and human creativity.

Rajgarh: Where Nature Flourishes

Rajgarh is situated in the heart of Sirmaur district, within a lush green valley. It is the largest subdivision of Sirmaur, with a population of 76,509. Rajgarh consists of two subdivisions- Rajgarh itself and Sarahan, another beautiful valley of Sirmaur. Rajgarh covers a total geographical area of 810 sq km, out of which 30% is covered with dense forest. During the months of March and April, the whole valley of the region is beautifully covered with pink flowers due to peach cultivation. Peach Hut has become a household name in the Valley.

The Legacy of Dr YS Parmar 

The inception and introduction of peaches in Rajgarh can be attributed to the late Dr Y.S. Parmar, who served as the first Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh. In 1955, the Department of Horticulture planted the first experimental peach orchard, which marked the beginning of the peach industry in the region. However, it wasn't until 1970 that the peach industry began to thrive, and people started growing other routine stone fruits and vegetables in the area.

As of today, the total turnover of peaches in Himachal Pradesh is 3500 tonnes, valued at Rs 5 crore. The turnover of peaches in Rajgarh valley alone amounts to Rs 4 crore, making it a significant contributor to the state's economy. The peach industry in Rajgarh valley mainly comprises canning and early table varieties. 

The most popular canning varieties include elbata, July elbata, helbatagiant, and C-Smith, while the early table varieties include Shan-e-Punjab, Sun Haven, and Red Haven.

Overall, the peach industry has played a crucial role in the development of the economy in Rajgarh and Himachal Pradesh as a whole, thanks to the pioneering efforts of Dr Y.S. Parmar. It is also due to the tireless efforts of former diplomat TN Kaul, who worked to popularize them. Their visionary work laid the foundation for the agricultural prosperity of the region.

Echoes of the Past

This area is mainly inhabited by people belonging to the Khash Rajput clan. It is believed that the local Miyans in the Pachhota Valley were originally Rajputs from Rajasthan. The village was an important part of the Pachhota movement during the freedom movement and played a significant role in the liberation of many states. Vaid Surat Singh, a veteran freedom fighter from this valley, played a key role in the movement. Sai Ram, another notable personality from this area, was an educationist during the pre-British era. He actively worked towards spreading education in Rajgarh and Sirmaur, and even established the first school in this region around 100 years ago.

Main attractions

The main attraction of Rajgarh, apart from the peach orchards, are the beautiful lakes that run through the green mountains covered with vibrant flowers. The breathtaking scenery and the ultimate serenity of the area will surely make you wish to extend your stay in Rajgarh.

For sightseeing, you can visit the Lord Shiva Temple and the Shaya Temple of Lord Shirgul, which are important religious spots in Rajgarh. The local Shaya temple of Lord Shirgul, the descendant of Lord Shiva, has a massive following. 
According to legend, Lord Shirgul first came to Shaya village and later settled in Chur Chandani Chur-Dhar mountains at a height of 12,000 feet.The locals of Rajgarh, Sirmaur, and the people of adjoining Shimla district go to pay obeisance at this temple once every year.
Apart from the religious places, there is also a historical fort in the area that belonged to the king of Sirmaur district. It used to house various offices of Rajgarh subdivision, including the PWD office and a store of blasting materials i.e. detonators.Unfortunately, in 1960, the store blew up in a freak accident and the entire fort was razed to the ground. The valley mourned the loss of a priceless monument. But the tragedy proved to be a blessing in disguise as a construction boom started in this area. 
Rajgarh has today emerged as a small town cluttered with hundreds of concrete structures. It is a good sign from the development point of view, but definitely not a healthy one keeping in mind the natural beauty of this valley.Around the 1960s, the people of this valley also started growing vegetables and stone fruits that included peaches. 
The famous Baru Sahib Gurdwara is also located in this valley and is worth a visit. This Gurdwara is 29 km from Rajgarh and is situated beyond Kheri, a picturesque spot on the banks of a tributary of the Giri river. According to legend, Guru Gobind Singh meditated here.

Paving the Way for Tourism

The Peach Bowl of Asia, Rajgarh, has undergone a significant transformation due to the peach boom and has become a hub of construction and development in the surrounding villages. This, in turn, has led to a marked improvement in the standard of living for the locals.

However, the potential of Rajgarh goes beyond just agricultural prosperity. With the right infrastructure, it could be developed into a major tourist destination, especially during the peach bloom season. This would require the establishment of basic facilities such as hotels, restaurants, and transportation services to cater to the needs of the tourists.

Rajgarh is a place of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and agricultural abundance. Its rolling hills, lush green orchards, and quaint villages are a sight to behold. The rich cultural heritage of the region is reflected in the ancient temples, forts, and palaces that dot the landscape. As the Peach Bowl of Asia, Rajgarh continues to attract visitors from far and wide. Its stunning landscapes and unique cultural offerings make it an ideal destination for those seeking a break from the hustle and bustle of city life. 

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