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Chamba – a beautiful hill town in Himachal Pradesh, India




Chamba is a hill town in Himachal Pradesh which is located at an altitude of 1,676 mts above sea level. It was founded by Raja Sahil Varman in 920AD after his daughter Champavati. This hill station has a temple built on her name. It is situated by the side of river Ravi. It is almost 1000 years old. The town is in between Dhauladhar and Zaskar ranges of the Himalayas, being located in the Shivalik Ranges and have many medieval temples. The Chamba District is situated between north latitude 32° 11? 30? and 33° 13? 6? and east longitude 75°49 and 77° 3? 30?, with an estimated area of 6528 square Kilometers and is surrounded on all sides by lofty hill ranges. The territory is wholly mountainous with altitude ranging from 2,000 to 21,000 feet.
Tourists are attracted to it because of its exquisiteness and beauty. It is a pilgrimage spot and 56kms from Dalhousie. Its scenic beauty is marvelous and makes it ideal for a holiday. It has everything from mountains, slopes, nature, refreshing cool air and a love for artists. There are a number of lakes around. They are Khajjiar Lake, Manimahesh Lake, Chamera Lake, Lama Dal (Lake), Gadasru Lake and Maha Kali Dal (lake).
It is populated with pine trees and deodar trees and an enchanting view of Himalayas. It has mango trees and litchi trees in the lower hills. In the high hills peach trees, pear trees and apple trees. There are different places to see there. Sri Bagheswar Mahadev Temple, a famous temple of Lord Shiva. Its Lingam is said to have emerged from the earth naturally. It is best in its grandeur during festivals of lord Shiva like shivaratri.
Another main attraction is Laxmi Narayan Temple. It has six other temples in Shikhara architectural style, prominent in Hindu temple. It has beautiful carvings and elegant architecture. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Out of six three of them are of Lord Vishnu in his different forms and other three are of Lord Shiva. It’s a very old temple built in the tenth Century. The temple has lord Vishnu, Goddess Laxmi(goddess of wealth), Lord Narsimha (Nar-man, simha-lion) and Lord Shiva in its finest sculptures.
The other spot to see is the Bada Chowgan which is a grassy lawn which is used for local festivals and fairs. It is located at the centre of the town. The fairs are usually held in July-August. Surara temples are towards northeast of Laxmi narayan temple and near which is Brajreshwari Devi temple. This temple is also build in shikara architectural style and dedicated to Goddess Durga.
After about climbing for 30 minutes we come across Chamunda Devi Temple which is located on a hill and dedicated to Goddess Chamunda, another form of Goddess Durga. This temple is also rich in architecture and carvings on ceilings and in temple. It encloses footprints of the Goddess. The Sui Mata Temple, dedicated to a local princess, who sacrificed her life for people of Chamba , is another place to see. It is located between Brajreshwari and Chamunda temple. It has Colorful painting of Chamba.
Harirai Temple , which has three-headed statue of Lord Vishnu, is another must-see temple. It’s special as the statue is said to have been made form eight different material. This temple is an 11th century built and is of Shikara style of architecture.
As a part of history are the two places, Rangamahal and Bhuri Singh Museum.
Rangamahal, is an old palace and also a place to buy handicrafts.
Bhuri Singh Museum has a collection of artifacts, paintings and crafts. The items are mostly a depiction from that region and about their traditions. Kangra, Basholi, are few of them.
St. Andrew church is another place as this is a church which is said to be hundred years old. It was founded by a mission of church of Scotland. It is filled with fine stone work and arch windows. The Church was founded by Rev. William Ferqueen in Chamba from 1863 to 1873.The other places are rock gardens, Chamba valley, art museusm, Dayanand Math and Chowari Jot.
The people and their lifestyles are unique. The five Wazarats of erstwhile Chamba State namely Chamba, Bhattiyat, Churah, Pangi and Bharmour now form sub-divisions of Chamba district. The people are called Chambyals, Bhattiyals, Churahis, Pangwals and Bharmauris according to the area they live in. Religion wise population can be divided into Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians.
The two tribal areas of Chamba are Pangi and Bharmour. Two nomadic tribes i.e. Gujjars and Gaddis inhabit some parts of the district. While Gaddis inhabit Bharmour and upper parts of Bhattiyat, the Gujjars are mainly found in Chamba, Churah and Salooni.
The Gaddis are identifiable from a distance due to their typical dress comprising topa, chola and dora. They sport a hukah (smoking pipe) in their hand and khalru containing cereals and other essential articles on their back. The Gujjars can be recognised by their typical beard and dress. They wear on their heads a special type of turban(safa) made of muslin cloth mostly in white colour. As upper garment they wear a loose shirt (kameez) of blue or black cotton fabric.

Best time to visit / climate:
The best time to visit Chamba is March – June as temperature is suitable for travelling.

Location on Google Maps:


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Route between Shimla and Chamba:


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Route between Chandigarh and Chamba:


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How to get there:
By Road: Well connected from the nearby Dalhousie. Daily bus service is available for Dalhousie and jeeps on hire are also available but it is relatively expensive.

By Air: Not a bad option, with the closest airport being at at Gaggal in Kangra valley, 180 km from Chamba. Indian Airlines operates its flights on the Delhi-Dharamsala sector.

By Rail: Pathankot is the nearest railhead, with Chamba being 122 km from Pathankot. Pathankot, is the nearest broad gauge rail head, which is linked by direct trains to Amritsar, Delhi, Bombay and Calcutta.

The Distances from other major areas are as below:
Distance of Pathankot to Chamba is 118 KM via Banikhet
Distance of Shimla to Chamba is 378 KM
Distance of Dharamsala to Chamba is 169 KM via Lahru
Distance of Dalhousie to Chamba is 41 KM

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers):
1. www.hotelium.com/Chamba
2. http://www.tourism-of-india.com/hotels-in-himachal-pradesh/chamba-hotels / : Gives best hotels and restaraunts in Chamba
3. www.tripadvisor.in/Hotels-g1156021-Chamba_Himachal_Pradesh-Hotels.html
4. http://www.travelmasti.com/chamba.htm

Blogs / Sites about Chamba in Himachal Pradesh (with small excerpts from these blogs):
• History and Culture: Chamba was part of Gorkha kingdom but later ruled by Gharwals.
The area is said to be a place fo Kolian tribes which were subjugated by Khasas.They were later under other peoplelike Gupta, Thakurs and Ranas but by the seventh Century , the Rajput Dynasty came to power and ruled them. Their principal diety was Lord Shiva.
http://hpchamba.nic.in/history.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chamba,_Himachal_Pradesh

• Chamba is Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chamba,_Himachal_Pradesh
• http://hpchamba.nic.in

Photo / Image Gallery:
• http://hpchamba.nic.in/photo.htm
• http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:mYqTubKOUrcJ:travel.sulekha.com/chamba-pictures.htm+Photo+/+Image+Gallery:+of+Chamba&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=in&client=firefox-a
• http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Asia/India/North/Himachal_Pradesh/Chamba/
• http://www.indianholiday.com/hotels-in-india/hotels-in-himachal-pradesh/chamba-hotels/




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