Chamba, Himachal Pradesh
Chamba is located at an altitude of about 926 mtrs.and is situated in the western Himalayas between north latitudes 32°10' and 33°13' and eastlongitudes 75°45' and 77°33'. Chamba is known for its beautiful temples, which is made in Shikhara style. This land is a Shiv Bhumi has streams, meadows, temples, paintings, wild life sacstuaryand lakes. The river Ravi cuts across town and adds to the scenery. There are three ranges that is The Dhauladhar range, the Pangi or Pir Panjal range and Zanskar range.Chamba offers many places to visit and gives a beautiful experience, this valley is blessed with thick forests, snow capped mountains, lakes,springs, ancient temples , one who spend some time here will feel like to live here .
The Chamba district touches the boundarieswith Jammu and Kashmir on the North-West and West, Ladakh area of Jammu and Kashmir and Lahaul and Bara Banghal on the North-East and East, Kangra on the South-East and Gurdaspur district of Punjab on the South Total population of Chamba is 4,60,500 (according to Census 2001)
How to ReachBy Air: There are quite a lot of airports in the closest cities/states, Pathankot which is 120 kms, Amritsar is 220 kms, Kangra is 172 kms and Chandigarh is 400 kms. Cabs/Taxis and buses are available from all of these places to Chamba.
By Rail: Pathankot is the nearest railway station at about 120 kms from Chamba. Buses and Cabs are very easily available from Pathankot to Chamba. Alternatively, from Chandigarh or New Delhi also one can take a bus or a cab.
By Road: The HRTC ( Himachal Road Transport Corporation) , regular buses runs from Delhi, Haryana and Punjab.
In Chamba one can find Nort Indian and Himachal cuisine both. Yoghurt is the main ingredient here.
Park View Restaurant
Cafe Ravi View
Season To Visit
Summers (April-June): The temperature in summers does not rise above 38 degrees.
Monsoon (July- October): The temperature in Monsoon season ranges inbetween 15 and 35 degrees celsius.
Winters (October- March): The temperature can drop as low as 0 and at times can even drop to sub-zero ranges. December and January is the heavy snowfall season.
Chamba Chaugan / Chowgan Ground
Chaugan is the centre of all the activities in Chamba, has a peaceful environment ,one can spend quality time here with there family and friends. This is a public walkway less than 1 km and about 75 mtrs wide.
Bhuri Singh Museum
This museum is close to chaugan ,the town of Chamba and founded in the year of 1908 to honour Raja Bhuri Singh. This museum has a collection of items like carved doors from the old palaces, copper plate grants, frescoes, miniature paintings of the historical period . You will also find antique items which include coins, arms and armor, jewelry of the region, royal costumes, decorative items, musical instruments, etc. It remains open on all weekdays from 10 AM to 5 PM, except Mondays.
Bharmaur or Bharmour
Bharmaur is the capital of Chamba and is located at around 61 kms away from Chamba.Bharmaur is famous for its natural beauty and temples, some of the famous temples are Bansi Gopal temple, Shri Bajreshwari temple and Chamunda Devi temple.This region is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Vishnu , these temples werebuilt inbetween the 8th and 10th centuries A.D.
It is believed that Moutain Manimahesh Kailash is the house of Lord Shiva. Manimahesh Kailash lies inbetween the 32° 24′ 6″ N, 76° 40′ 9″ E with the altitude of 5653 meters / 18447 feet from main sea level. Saint Charpatnath discovered this place.Manimahesh is a lake which is situated at the base and at an altitude around 13390 feet and about 27 km from Bharmaur. This lake is theoretical to be blessed by Goddess Kali and sheltered by Lord Shiva.
Sarol is a beautiful picnic spot on the right bank of river Ravi. One can visit the expansive Horticulture farm with many variety of Citrus plants, Sheep breeding farm, Poultry farm, Bee keeping farm and Canning unit of Sarol. This place is just about 11 kms away from Chamba. A Sheep breeding centre, Apairy and landscaped gardens makes this place wonderful.
Salooni is at a height of 1764 mtrs and around 56 kms from Chamba and has a population of about 1800.Salooni has a combined office building, SDM office, government senior secondary school, Degree College, community health centre and all other important government offices.Also has a beautiful surrounding hills.
Bandal & Pangi Valley
Bandal and Pangi Valley is a meeting point for the borders of Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh with a greenry place.
Lakshami Narayan Temple
This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and built in 10th century and it is built by Raja Sahil Verma. The 'garbhagriha' or the deepest temple houses a mandapa (altar) that is forbidden to the public. The shell roofs or the umbrella like structures made of wood was built keeping in mind the climate,snowfall is predictable in this part . The temple has been built in the Shikhara style.
Chamunda Devi Temple
This temple is about 3 km away from Chamba and is situated at Chamunda Hill.The temple is being looked after by Archaeological Survey of India. This is also an ideal picnic spot.
Suhi Mata Temple
It is believed that in order to bring water to the village, the queen or her son had to be sacrificed. So, the queen decided to sacrifice her life. In her memory Raja made the temple at the top of the hill . A Suhi Mela is also celebrated in her memory where only women and childrens are allowed.
This temple is located around 65 km away from Chamba town. 'Chaurasi' means 84 and this temple enshrines 84 shivalingams (symbolic representation of Lord Shiva). According to one legend, 84 saints visited Bharmaur and King Sahil Varma greeted them. With the saints blessing, he became a father of ten sons and a daughter. To honor the presence of the saints in Bharmaur, he built a number of shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva and they are now popular as Chaurasi Temples of Bharmaur.
Hari Rai Temple
The temple is simply an old and beautiful sculpture famous for its drastical history. This temple has a heavy lauded bronze statue of Lord Vishnu. Hari Rai Temple is addressed to Lord Vishnu, Salabhana built this temple in 11th century,built in Shikhara style. Bridge leading to the temple, known as the Sheetla bridge was built in 1894.
Champavati Temple is named after Champavati, who was the daughter of King Sahil Varman, the originator of the temple. The temple is located nearby Treasury building and Police Post in Chamba. The Shikhara style of this temple reminds travelers about the Laxmi Narayana Temple.
This temple islocated at the end of Jansil Bazaar in Chamba, dedicated to Devi Vajreshwari and is 10000 years old and is in the Shikhara style. This temple is also known as Bajreshwari temple.
Shakti Devi Temple
Shivshakti Devi temple is located at village Chhatrari, around 33 km from Bharmour. King Meru Verman constructed Shivshakti Devi Temple at a height of 6,000 feet, the temple was built in 650AD at the same period when Lakshana Devi temple of Bharmour was constructed. It is famous for its remarkable hill-style temple with wooden carvings and an attractive metallic idol ofDevi, constructed by an artist by the name of Gugga.
Khajjiar lake is situated around 16 km from Dalhousie and about 22 kms from Chamba. The lake is surrounded by cedar forest,. The small water streams of the Himalaya act as a foundation for the Khajjiar Lake. One can also visit the Khajinag temple, Khajjiar is also called "Mini Switzerland". The lake remains full of water in all the seasons without rain water.
Manimahesh Lake lies 4800 meters above the sea level. Manimahesh lake which is situated at the base and at an altitude around 13390 feet and about 27 km from Bharmaur. This lake is theoretical to be blessed by Goddess Kali and sheltered by Lord Shiva.
Chamera Lake situated in the Chamba district and the lake which is constructed over River Ravi and came into existence when Chamera Dam was created. This is a artificial lake and located at a height of approximately 892 mtrs above sea level and is around 36 kms from Dalhousie.
Lama Dal Lake
Lama Dal Lake is situated around 45 km from Chamba town ,at an altitude of 12,000 feet above sea level and it is 20 km from Dainkund with unknown depth. Local people pronounced this lake as Lama Dal.
Ghadasru Lake is situated at an height of 11500 feet above the sea level,lies in the Churah tehsil of Chamba and is 24 km away from Tissa which is approx. 72 kms from Chamba. Surroundings of this lake is very beautiful and this is a sacred place as Kali temple is located on its bank ,where local people visit mostly.
Mahakali Dal Lake
This lake is situated at an altitude of approx. 12,000 feet and lies inbetween Sani and Gudial in Chamba.This lake is little bigger than Khajjiar and Manimahesh Lake and is surrounded by wild meadows and peaks. This lake is held sacred to the goddess Maha Kali.
Wild Life Sanctuaries
Gamgul Siahbehi Sanctuary
Gamgul Sanctuary is located in Bhandal Valley in Salooni tehsil, at an altitude of 1, 800 metres to 4, 000 metres. It is spread over an area of nearly 108.85 square kilometres and was developed in the year 1974. Its northern boundary adjoin the state of Jammu and Kashmir.There are three villages within the sanctuary grounds while the neighbouring areas have as many as 55 villages.
This Sanctuary is situated around 87 kms away from Chamba and 15 kms away from Kugti village at an altitude of about 2,195 mtrs to 5,040 mtrs above sea level. This sanctuary is considered to be the second largest wildlife in this Indian State and was constructed during 1962. A number of water sources are available in this area. Snow Leopard, Musk Marten, Ibex, Leopard, Brown Langur, Himalayan Tahr, Common Cat, Himalayan Yellow-Throated Fox, Deer, Indian Serow, etc. are some of the wild animals which are provided refuge inside the grounds of Kugti Wildlife Sanctuary. Red-Billed Babbler, Snow Cock, Monal, Redvented Bulbul, Crested Bunting, Great Hill Barbet, Black Bulbul, Greyhead Bunting, Jungle Babbler, Ghoral, White Cheeked Bulbul and much more species of birds are also available.
Sechu Tuan Nala Sanctuary
This Sanctuary is located at an altitude of around 6072 mtrs, around 113 km from Chamba .It is a very high altitude with populations of Ibex, Musk deer, Snow leopards and Pheasants. Species of medicinal interest found in the sanctuary include Aconitum heterophyllum, jurinea morcocephala and epherdra gerardiana.
This Sanctuary is located around 60 kms from Chamba town,this was first notified sanctuary in 1862 and renotified on 17th September 1975. Forest types include moist deodar, western mixed coniferous, moist temperate decidous and alpine pasture. Different Flora and Fauna are available here.
Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary
This Sanctuary is located at a distance of around 36 km from chamba and about 13 km from Dalhousie. It covers the area of 61 square kms across the Himalayan slopes of 1158 to 2768 mtrs above sea level. This Sanctuary provide homes to various species.
This fair is celebrated in Chowgan which is in Chamba district. In the Minjar Fair people generally wear silk costumes and there is always a tail of Minjar attached to it. They offer their prayers to the Laxmi Narayan Temple and celebrate throughout the week. During the Minjar Fair, sweets, fruits and money are sent to friends and relatives. The engagement ceremony follows the Puja. This festival is held in the month of August on second Sunday.
Suhi Mela is held in the month of Aril and in Chamba town. Naina was the queen of Raja Sahil Verman who sacrificed herself to bring water to Chamba town. The temple was created by the Raja where she sacrified in her memory , this fair is entirely for women who gather and worship the Devi.
Bharmaur Jatra Fair
The fair starts in the month of August at Chamba ,the fair starts right after the day of the Janmashtami and goes on for the six days that follow. Every day of the fair is dedicated to one of the holy Gods. This is a unique way of thanking the holy Gods for their blessings. During the fair playing of the holy instruments including the nagara, dhol and other similar instruments that are generally played in the temple are all taken out and played.
Manimahesh Jatra Fair
Manimahesh is approx. 28 kms from Bharmour, this lake is blessed by Goddess Kali and protected by Lord Shiva. A fair is held every year at this lake during the month of August or September.
Baisakhi or Bisoa
This festival is held on 13th April ,it is known as Bisowa in Kangra. Peaople start preparation for this festival much early, they took dip at Haridwar, Tattapani near Shimla etc.. This festival is held at many places with traditional gaity andattraction.
Hori was celebrated during the state administration with much excitement.This festival is celebrated from 1st Baisakh.
This festival is held for two days next to Minjar fair by the womens and girls who climb the steps of Chamunda temple singing songs and offering flowers.
Men drew pictures of snakes in their houses and it is held on the fifth day of the dark half of jeth month as a worship of snake.
The rathni is the figure of a women made up with clothes, and is prepared in the boundaries of the Lakshmi Narayan temple. The rathni is taken to Champavati temple and the rath is carried through the town, brought back to Chaugan and torn into pieces. This festival is held at the new moon of Asuj. The rath is a squre frame of wood with a piece of cloth tied round it and is prepared at the Hari Rai temple.