Chamba is a very beautiful district of Himachal Pradesh located at altitude of 726 meters. Area of Chamba is just 6528 square Km and has a population of just 4.60 lakh. Chamba town is the district headquarters located in the western Himalaya. Geographic location of Chamba is 32°10' and 33°13' north latitudes and east longitudes 75°45' and 77°33'.
This town was discovered in 920 A. D. This town was founded originally by Raja Sahil Varman in the early 10th Century when he defeated the local rulers called Ranas and Thakurs. In Kalhan's Rajtarangani it is mentioned that the original name of this place was Champa. Name is also thought to be on the name of the Godess Champavati, better known as Chameshni. She also was the daughter of the Raja Sahil Varman, the temple of whom was built by Raja Sahil Varman. Chamba is one of the most beautiful locations in Himachal Pradesh. It is surrounded by the green forests and peaks covered with the snow.
Climatic condition here depends on the season and can vary from Hot (up to 36 degrees) in summer and fall down to -4 to -10 degrees in winter. This variation is because of the altitude and micro-climatic systems. In generally talking temperature here is very pleasant with well defined seasons. In this place winters starts from December and lasts up to February. Month of March and April are cool and snowfall only occurs on the high altitude peaks around Chamba. Temperature here gradually starts to increase up to July till Monsoon reaches here. Monsoon lasts till September and then temperature again starts to fall in October and November.
Best time to visit Chamba:
Chamba is being visited by tourist whole year around but best time to visit Chamba is in the month of November to March when land is covered with snow. At this time it appears to be a paradise on earth. During this time winter adventure sports can also be enjoyed here. During this time trekking is enjoyed most.
How to reach Chamba?
Nearest famous location to Chamba is Dalhousie, which is approximately 52 Km from here. However if the alternate route of upper Barkota and Khajjiar road is thaken the distance get reduced to approximately 45 Km. Chamba is well connected by road to places like Chandigarh, Delhi, Shimla, Pathankot, Dharamshala, Jammu and other important cities of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.
Places to visit near Chamba
1) Akhand Chandi Palace:
This is a residential building located at the distance of 1 Km from the Chamba town. Construction of this masterpiece was started in 1748 (between 1748 and 1764) by the ruler of Chamba at that time, Raja Umed Chand. This place was rebuilt with new technology by Raja Sham Singh by taking the help of British Engineers. In the year 1879 The Darbar Hall also called as The Marshall Hall, was built by Captain Marshall and in the same year Raja Bhuri Singh added Zanana Mehel to it. Additions made later on to this mega structure clearly show the influence of the Mughal Empire and British Empire at that time. Later on in the year 1958, this place was sold by the descendants of the royal family to Himachal Pradesh Govt. Later on this place was handed to the Education Department and then Govt. College and District Library was started here. From this Palace other beautiful places like Chamunda Temple, Laxmi Narayan Temple, Sui Mata Temple, Chaugan, Ranga Mehal and Hari Rai Temple.
2) Pangi Valley:
Valley of Pangi is situated at the distance of 173 Km from the Chamba town. On the way Sach Pass comes which is a very beautiful place at an altitude of 4414 meters. It is surrounded by the Peer Panjal and Zanskar Ranges. This a sub division having its headquarter at Killar. The natives of this place are known as Pangwals and Bhotis. Culture of this place is kept rich people by the natives and had a very sweet folk music and dance of their own. Way to reach this place is through either of the 3 passes, Sach Pass, Rohtang Pass or Chehni Pass. This place is unapproachable in six month of the year because of the heavy snowfall in this part of Chamba. There are few trekking routs from this place which are very challenging and full of adventure, they include Pangi Valley to Keylong (Lahaul region), to Manali in Kullu Valley and Kishtwar in the Kashmir region. Best time to visit this place is between May and October.
Khajjiar is situated at an altitude of 6400 Ft above the sea level. It is a very beautiful place and is known as the "Mini Switzerland of India" and "Gulmarg of Himachal Pradesh". By road it is approximately 23 Km from Dalhousie and about 13 Km from the Kalatop. It is wonderful place surrounded by the thick Cedar and Pine all around. Grazing herds of sheep and goats can be seen all around and it adds to the beauty of this place. There is a small lake here between which is a small Island. Nearby this lake is the temple of Khajji Nag. This temple has a long history and is thought to be built in 12th Century AD. Inside the temple one can see the images of well known Pandavas and Kauravas (who were defeated) hanging from the roof. Wood used has been carved and given impressive shapes and design.
On 07/07/1992, this place was brought into light by Mr. Willy t. Blazer (Vice Counselor and Head of Chancery of Switzerland in India) when he referred this place as "Mini Switzerland". He also placed there a board which shows the distance of Khajjiar from the capital of Switzerland, Berne-6194 Km. This is one of the 160 location of the world that resemble Switzerland topographically.
Kalatop is also very beautiful place. In order to experience the natural beauty of this place at its best, three days walk from Dalhousie to Kalatop is preferred. It is a challenging track and requires good health and courage to do so. It is situated at an altitude of 8000 Ft and is 10 Km from GPO. On to the right of the Kalatop is the Lakkarmandi (altitude 8600 Ft). This place is the home for the local Dhongri families whose main profession is making charcoal. At this place is a Wildlife Barrier that checks the entry of the vehicle to the Kalatop which is 3 Km from Lakkarmandi. This place is idle for spending holydays and best for the Honeymooners.
5) Bhuri Singh Museum:
This Museum was opened on 14-09-1908 at Chamba. It is named after the former King of Chamba, Raja Bhuri Singh who ruled Chamba between 1904 and 1919. He donated his family collection and paintings to this Museum. The parastis of Sarahan, Devi-ri-Kothi and mul kihar are one of the attractions of the museum and are preserved here.
Here paintings of the Bhagwat Purana and Ramayana are preserved which includes the paintings of the Vishnu, Sudama, Rukhmani vivah and Usha-Anirudh. In addition to above there is also a collection of coins, old jewelry and costumes which includes both traditional and royal costumes, arms, armor, musical instruments, objects for decoration purpose etc. This Museum is opened from 10 am to 5 pm on all days except Sunday and holidays.
This is a place of the Lord Shiva. Every year in the month of August, Manimahesh Yatra is organized in which thousands of people show their love towards Lord Shiva. This yatra starts from the Laxmi-Narayan Temple at Chamba. A sacred lake is located here, and is one of the chief tirthas of Chamba. This lake is at the bottom of the Manimahesh Kailesh and is at an altitude of 13500 Ft from the sea level. Manimahesh Kailash itself stands 18,564 Ft above the sea level. At this lake all the pilgrims take a holy dip, it is 92 Km away from Chamba town and just 27 Km from Bharmour. Other place which comes in the while going to Manimahesh are Bander Ghati, Gauri Kund, Shiv Kalotri and Ganesh Ghati. All of these are holy places. Pilgrimage to Manimahesh is considered sacred as is the yatra of Amarnath, Badrinath and Rameshwarm. Every year when mela is organized, at that time Bhandaras are organized for the benefit of pilgrims.
There are 84 ancient temples at the place known as Chaurasi (In Hindi means 84). These temples were built in 9th century and are the most important Hindu Temples in the Chamba. According to ancient legend, Bharmaur was the capital city of the king Sahil Varma. During his ruling over Chamba, 84 (Chaurasi) saints visited Bharmaur. They were pleased with the humility and hospitality of the king and they blessed him with 10 sons and 1 daughter named Champavati. This place is the main centre of all activities of Bharmaur. It is surrounded by the beautiful mountains. Main among the 84 temples is Lakshmi, Ganesh, Manimahesh and Narsingh temple.
8) Lakshmi-Narayan Temple:
This temple is built in the Shikhara style. This temple was built by King Sahil Varman Iin the 10th Century AD. This is the main Temple of Chamba. Temple also consists of Bimana and Garbh Griha. Its wooden chattaries and shape of the roof is in response to the local Climate and serves as a protection against heavy snowfall. Within the complex there are many more temples. Important among these are Radha Krishna, Shiv Temple and Gauri Shankar Temple. Metallic image of the King of the birds, Garuda, was placed on the main entry gate by the King Balabhadra later on.
Distance of important places from Chamba:
1) Akhand Chandi Palace- 01 Km
2) Bharmour- 65 Km
3) Chamunda Devi Temple- 03 Km
4) Kilar- 173 Km
5) Manimahesh Lake- 92 Km
6) Rang Mahal- 01 Km
7) Saho- 20 Km
8) Sui Mata Temple- 02 Km
9) Chhatarari- 45 Km
10) Hari Rai Temple- 00 Km
This is a dream place which is full of natural beauty. Come to enjoy your holidays and you will definitely have a wonderful experience which will last for life-time.
Congrats on a very well written article. I seem to have fallen in love with this place after just reading your article and also after checking out some pictures available on the internet.Himachal Pradesh seems to possess many such hidden gems for tourists to explore. I hope to visit this place some time soon. Thanks for sharing the information.
Thank you, We definately expect you here soon. You can also check out some other posts of mine on the tourist attraction of Himachal Pradesh. You will definately love this place.