Chamba in Himachal Pradesh is a personally magnetized old-fashioned and unenlightened town hill station amidst lush greenery, scenic picnic spots, and cluster of tiny villages.Chamba is known for its temples and scenic locations. Chamba is now one of the most popular tourist destination of Himachal Pradesh known for its historic values.Thus a tour to Chamba, is a serene beauty which makes it an ideal holiday retreat.Chamba with its temples and palaces preserves much of its rich medieval past.
Chamba is situated in the western Himalayas between north latitudes 32°10' and 33°13' and east longitudes 75°45' and 77°33'. The town stands on a plateau on the right bank of the Ravi river valley between Dhauladhar and Zanskar ranges south of the inner Himalayas.
Chamba perched on a plateau overhanging the river Ravi, the town is named after Champavati, daughter of Raja Sahil Varma of the Barmaur royal house who shifted his capital in 920 AD. But even before that around 6th century AD it was ruled by the Rajputs of the Chamba valley. Later in the medieval period it was under the reign of the Mughals and then taken over by the Sikh kingdoms.Chamba became a part of the state of the Himachal Pradesh only after the British during the independence of India in 1947.
SUI MATA FESTIVAL
The Sui Mata festival is celebrated in memory of princess Sui who gave her life to protect the people of Chamba.It is celebrated for four days and falls in the month of March/April. During this festival the image of Sui mata is carried from the Old Palace to her small shrine accompanied by singing and dancing of the devotees.
Minjar festival celebrates the harvesting of the annual maize crop which is highlighted by the procession to River Ravi and throwing of the silk tassels or Minjars worn by men and women into the river. This festival falls early in the month of August.
PLACES OF INTEREST
LAXMI NARAYANA TEMPLE
The richly carved Lakshmi Narayan temple is the oldest structure.
The temple is built in the shikhara style.
The presiding deities of this temple are Lord Vishnu, Goddess Laxmi, Narasimha and Lord Krishna.
The temple dates back to 10th century AD and was built by Sahil Varman.
CHAMUNDA DEVI TEMPLE
Overlooking the town a little distance away the temple of goddess Chamunda Devi has some of the finest wood carvings that adorn its exterior and interiors.
The entire wooden ceiling of this temple is embellished with intricate carvings depicting floral motifs and different deities.
By road to this temple it is about 3kms from Chamba otherwise tourists can take the flight of steps from Sapri.
Dalhousie is a beautiful hill station in Himachal Pradesh. Established in 1854 by the British Empire in India as a summer retreat, the town was named after Lord Dalhousie who was the British Viceroy in India at that time. It is about 42 km from Chamba.
SUI MATA TEMPLE
The temple is located on Shah Madar Hill and is dedicated to Rani Sui Mata. This temple is famous for the Sui Mata festival is celebrated in memory of Princess Sui who gave her life to protect the people of Chamba.During this festival the image of Sui mata is carried from the Old Palace to her small shrine accompanied by singing and dancing of the devotees.
This temple was built by Raja Sahil Varman in memory of his daughter Champavati who is believed to have influenced her father to set-up Chamba at its present location. This temple is as big as the Laxmi Narayana Temple and is known for its stone carving and the wheel roof. The Champavati Temple is situated behind the City Police Post and Treasury building.
This incredible ancient capital and the surrounding land, often referred as 'Switzerland of the East', has been the original capital of the district of Chamba for 400 years.
Bharmaur has temples built in the classic 'Pahari' style peculiar to the hills.
Situated in Jansali Bazaar Vajreshwari Temple is nearly 1000 years old and the presiding deity of this is Devi Vajreshwari.This temple is also accompanied by two other smaller shrines and is noted for its Shikhara which is very intricately carved.
AKHAND CHANDI PALACE
This was the royal palace of Chamba built by Raja Umed Singh belonging to the 18th century.
But now this palace belong to the government of Himachal Pradesh.
One can get a view of the Chaugan, Laxmi Narayan temple, Sui Mata Temple and other prominent attractions of the town.
HARI RAJ TEMPLE
The Hari raj temple near the Chaugan is known for the four armed bronze statue of Lord Vishnu which is a masterpiece in metal craft.
This is a very old palace which is supposed to be built in the Mughal and British style of architecture.
The Rangmahal houses the Himachal Emporium and the Bhuri Singh Museum which has a rich collection of scriptures, manuscripts, paintings, coins and jewellery.
Apart from the paintings, other items on display are the embroidered Chamba rumaals, coins, hill jewellery and costumes- both traditional and royal, arms and armour, musical instruments and various decorative objects.
Gandhi Gate was built in the year 1900 whose main attraction is its saffron colour.It was mainly built to welcome Lord Curzon, the then viceroy of the British Government.
Manimahesh is 97 km away from the district Chamba, this lake, at the base of the peak Manimahesh Kailash, is celebrated for its holiness. A beautiful and ancient shikara or spire style temple marks the spot.
1. Classic Hill Top Resort
2. Hotel Royal Dream
3. Hotel City Heart, Chamba
4. Snow Leopard Himalayan Retreat, Chamba
5. The Iravati, Chamba
There are not many great eating options in Chamba.There are small restaurants in and around Chamba where you can have both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian dishes here.
You can Shop for Traditional Himachali Handicrafts and Exclusive Traditionally Woven Shawls. The shopping area is concentrated more in the Chaugan market and then on to Amichand Dheems or Handicrafts Centre in Rang Mahal to buy some exclusive Chambal handicrafts. The items in the shopping list includes rummals, Chamba chappals, miniatures, stone and metal work, and the most important is mashed chillie pickle, Chamba Chukh.
HOW TO REACH
The nearest airport from Chamba is that of Kangra, located at the distance of 180 kilometer, and offers facility for reaching the place by air. Flights are easily available from all the major cities, like Delhi and Chandigarh.
The nearest railway station is Pathankot in Punjab which is approx.119 km from Chamba.
The nearest bus station from Chamba is located at Chowgan.Regular buses, taxis and coaches from Delhi & Chandigarh. Delhi is 627 km & Chandigarh is 357 km from Chamba.