Nature spells it’s own magic on such astonishing mountains, If we talk about the History, Traditions, Rituals and Cuisine, an ancient town Chamba fortifies a very distinct set among all in the state Himachal Pradesh.
So, Pack your bags to witness the untouched exquisite natural beauty of the land of the Lord Shiva. It shelters five lakes, five wild life sanctuaries and countless number of temples. Chamba known for the Temples and Palaces marking the Royalty of kings and their religious affiliations in the past.
Two popular fairs, “Suhi Mata” and “Minjar” hosts by the town, which includes display of Folk Dances, Music, Arts and Crafts. It is noted for its miniature Pahari paintings, where Basohli style of Pahari paintings took roots with Nikku, the artist of Basohli migrating from Guler to Chamba in the eighteenth century.
Chamba is an important centre for the making of traditional handicrafts, and the town has numerous small workshops maintained by the artisans. Many of the items produced are exquisite and lavish, testament to the towns’ aristocratic heritage
Geographically, Chamba is situated on the right bank of the Ravi river (a major tributary of the Trans-Himalayan Indus River) valley, and topographically it is bounded by the Dhauladhar and Zanskar ranges.
Chamba is bounded on north-west by Jammu and Kashmir, on the north-east and east by Ladakh area of Jammu and Kashmir state and Lahaul and Bara-Bangal area of Himachal Pradesh, on the south-east and south by the District Kangra of Himachal Pradesh and Gurdaspur District of the Punjab.
Pleasing climate of the place is another factor why Chamba is one among the popular tourist destinations in the whole of India.
From Pathankot to Chamba, usually it takes around 4 hours (120 km), the road is quite maitained till Banikhet, but narrows down to single lane after that. You need to be really careful while driving from Chamba to Khajjiar, as it is a narrow single lane road. No doubt the roads are almost in pathetic shape most of the way (in the plains), but once you get a glimpse of the mountains, everything just seems so lively that you forget the trauma that you’ve just gone through, driving through pot-holed roads and water filled tarmac.
Things to Do
Khajjiar and Dalhousie lies on the same circuit to Chamba so you could be easily coupled.
Chamunda Devi Temple is located in a prominent position on the spur of Shah Madar range of hills. It was built by Raja Umed Singh, and was completed in 1762. It is the only Wooden Temple with gabled roof (single storied), while all others in the town are built from stone in the north Indian Nagara architectural style.
The Church of Scotland, a Presbyterian Church, known as ‘St. Andrew’s Church‘, was established by the first missionary in Chamba, the Reverend William Ferguson, who served there between 1863 and 1873.The Raja had contributed a generous grant to build the church and ensured that it was exquisitely built in fine stone masonry. The walls are supported by buttresses, and lancer arch windows provide the light and ventilation. Several schools are run by the Mission located within the church precincts.
The Chaugan (a Sanskrit word meaning: “four sided”) is the nucleus of all the happenigs here. Amidst with a glamorous administrative buildings and a worth buying shopping arcade built during the British period, with the old Akhand Chandi palace standing nearby. Evening time is perfect for shopping; or you can buy ‘Slippers’, ‘Rumals’ and ‘Shawls’ .
The Lakshmi Narayan Temple complex, devoted to the Vaishnavite sect, includes the main Lakshmi Narayan temple, built in the 10th century by Raja Sahil Verman.
The Akhand Chandi Palace, noted for its distinct green roof, was built by Raja Umed Singh between 1747 and 1765 and used as his residence. Later, Raja Sham Singh refurbished it with the assistance of British engineers. In 1879, the Darbar Hall (also named ‘Marshal Hall’ after the builder) was built. The building is exemplary of the fusion of Mughal and British architectural influences. In 1973, the Royal family of Chamba sold the palace to the Government of Himachal Pradesh, who in turn converted it into a Government College and District Library.
Bhuri Singh Museum named after Raja Bhuri Singh, It is a treasure house of Chamba’s rich past. This exhibits include copper plates, murals, doorways, costumes, paintings and stone carvings.
Getting to Chamba
The Himachal Road Transport Corporation runs long distance services throughout the state from their main stands at Shimla, Solan, Kangra, D’Sala and Pathnakot and from locations in the adjoining states of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. Private buses, serving everywhere else, frequent and provide a relaxed mode of commuting.
Nearest railway station is at Pathonkot,(120 Km from Chamba town). Regular trains to Pathankot from New delhi.
Nearest Airport is at Pathonkot (120km). Other reachable air ports are Kangra (172 km), Amritsar (220 km) and Chandigrah (400 km).
Taxis serves the main means of traveling between the linking hills. The fixed rate fares only apply to peak season and at other times one should be able to negotiate.