Himalaya Day: Know History, Significance and Importance

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Feb 23, 2023, 12:57

The aim of observing Himalaya Day is to preserve the Himalayan ecosystem and region. The Himalayas plays a vital role in saving and sustaining nature and protecting the country from adverse weather conditions. Besides being rich in floral and faunal biodiversity, the Himalayan range is also responsible for bringing rain to the country.

History of Himalaya Day

9th September was officially declared as Himalaya Day by the then chief minister of Uttarakhand, Harish Rawat, in 2014. The idea was conceptualized by Anil Joshi of the Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organization and other Indian environmentalists. The initiative aimed to observe 9th September as Himalaya Diwas in all the Himalayan states of India—from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh. The reason is that these states have a common Himalayan social ecology.

The date selected for this celebration has no significant relevance to the environmental history of the socio-cultural sphere of any Himalayan state in India. One reason why Himalaya Diwas was declared could be the devastating monsoon that affected the area in August 2010. The 2013 Kedarnath catastrophe could be another inspiration as it was the first large-scale event that exposed the fragility of the Himalayan ecosystem.

2021 Himalaya Day, Uttarakhand

On the occasion of Himalaya Day (9th September 2021), a webinar was organized in Uttarakhand. In this webinar, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami announced an incentive amount that would be offered for the purchase of private electric two-wheelers and four-wheelers. This incentive scheme aims to reduce vehicular air pollution in Uttarakhand and will be supervised by the Pollution Control Board.

Under the incentive scheme, an incentive of 10% of the value of the vehicle or Rs. 7500 (whichever is less) would be payable by the Pollution Control Board for the first 5000 two-wheelers used personally, while an incentive of 5% of the vehicle value or Rs. 50,000 (whichever is less) would be payable for 1,000 four-wheelers.

The Chief Minister further announced the starting of the 'Sunderlal Bahuguna Nature Conservation Award' in memory of the late Sunderlal Bahuguna, a renowned environmentalist. Finally, the book 'Himalaya Divas' by Himalaya United Mission (WE) was also released in the webinar.

Importance of Himalaya Day

Himalaya Day is not just an annual event; it is an important occasion to reflect on the current status of this geographically sensitive region of the country. Himalayan hill towns face challenges such as poor building planning and design, poor infrastructure, inadequate water supply, etc. The result is serious ecological issues, some of which are irreversible.

By earmarking a day dedicated to the vulnerable Himalayan region, the need for eco-sensitive hill town plans and designs can be discussed with various stakeholders. Himalaya Day is also an excellent occasion to raise awareness amongst the general public and bring community involvement in conservation activities.

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FAQs about Himalaya Day

Who launched the Himalaya Day initiative?

The Himalaya Day is an initiative that was started by a group of Indian environmentalists and activists, including Sunderlal Bahuguna, Anil Joshi, and Radha Behan, to bring attention to sustainable development and ecological stability of the Himalayas.

Which date in September is celebrated as Himalaya Diwas?

Himalaya Day is celebrated every year on 9th September in Uttarakhand.

What was the Himalayan Day theme for 2021?

The Himalaya Day theme for the last Himalaya Day, which was celebrated in 2021, was "The Contribution of the Himalayas and Our Responsibilities".