The town of Chamba, the district headquarter of Chamba district 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. This town was founded by Raja Sahil Varman when he conquered the lower Rani valley from the petty chiefs called Ranas and Thakurs in the beginning of 10th Century. It seems the original name of the town was Champa as mentioned in Kalhan's Rajtarangani. In the bansauli or genealogical rolls of the Chamba Rajas a reference occurs of place which was adorned with highly fragrant Champaka trees and guarded by Goddess Champavati or more popularly known as Chameshni. The temple was built by Sahil Varman in the honour of his daughter Champavati who is worshipped as a goddess in Chamba. Champavati temple became the family temple of the ruling family.
By Road - Bus and taxi service is available from Chamba to Pathankot, Delhi, Dharamsala , Shimla, Chandigarh and Jammu
By Rail - The nearest rail head is located 120 Kms away at Pathankot
By Air - The nearest airport is 180 Kms away at Kangra
Full of grandeur and tribal majesty is the land locked valley of Pangi, 173 km from Chamba via Sach Pass (4414 m). It is one of the sub-division of Chamba district surrounded by the Peer Panjal & Zanskar ranges. Killar is the sub-divisional headquarter of Pangi Valley. Beyond the reach of tropical monsoon rains, the valley is one of the off-beat challenging tourism destinations in the State. Approach to the Pangi valley is across the high mountain passes like Sach, Chehni and Rohtang Pass. The Valley is remained land locked for about six months due to heavy snow fall.
There are beautiful valleys within Pangi region like Sural, Saichu, Kumar-Parmar, Hundan and Sechu. All these valleys are connected with Zanskar. People of Pangi valley are mainly Hindu with a small population of Buddhist. Some people live in higher reaches of the valley called Bhatoris such as Sural Bhatori, Hundan Bhatori, Parmar Bhatori, Chasak Bhatori and Hilu-Twan. There are number of exciting treks from Pangi valley to Keylong (Lahaul valley), Manali (Kullu) and Kishtwar in Kashmir.
23 kms from Dalhousie by road and 13 kms from Kalatop is the mini Switzerland of India i.e. Khajjiar, at a height of 6400 ft. Hutchison writes, "Khajjiar is a forest glade of great beauty, 6400 feet above sea level". Khajjiar is often referred to as "Gulmarg of Himachal Pradesh". The lush green meadows are surrounded by thick pine and cedar forests. Grazing herds of sheep, goats and other milk cattle presents a perfect pastoral scenery. There is a small lake in the center of the saucer shaped meadow which has in it a floating island. Much of the lake has degenerated into slush because of heavy silting during rains. Still the landscape of Khajjiar is picturesque and a photographer's delight.
A little away from the lake is the temple of Khajji Nag belonging to 12th C. AD. In the mandapa of the temple one can see the images of the Pandavas and the defeated Kaurvas hanging from the roof of the circumambulatory path. The sanctum of the temple has been beautifully carved from wood.
There is a Tourism Hotel and some Tourism cottages at Khajjiar where the tourists can stay. Besides there are two rest houses one each of P.W.D. and Forest Deptt. A couple of private hotels have also come up, which do not match the above places in terms of location and amenities. Bus service to and from Khajjiar is limited and timings change according to local demands. There used to be a golf course in Khajjiar which is not maintained. The best entertainment in Khajjiar is to walk around the lake or to go for long walks in the thick pine forests. Children enjoy this place because of the freedom of movement and the sloppy terrain which permits them to roll down to the lake without getting hurt. Another attraction like any other hill station is horse riding.
On 07-07-1992, Mr. Willy t. Blazer, Vice Counselor and Head of Chancery of Switzerland in India brought Khajjiar on the world tourism map by christening it "Mini Switzerland". He also put a sign board of a yellow Swiss hiking footpath showing Khajjiar's distance from the Swiss capital Berne-6194 kms. Khajjiar is among the 160 locations in the world that bear topographical resemblance with Switzerland. The Counselor also took from Khajjiar a stone which will form part of a stone collage around the Swiss Parliament to remind the visitors of Khajjiar as Mini Switzerland of India.
Twenty kms from Chamba is the village of Saho on the right bank of Sal river. The village is situated on a high plateau of great beauty. Saho is famous for its temple dedicated to Lord Chandra Shekhra i.e. the moon-crowned God, Shiva. The temple is hidden behind the locality in a tree grove. Two magnificent images of Shiva can be seen at the entrance and a huge Shivaling is enshrined in the sanctum. Facing the temple is a life size Nandi bull carved with fine details.
According to Sarahan Prasasti, "The temple was constructed by Stayaki, a local Rana in order to establish friendship between his wife Somprabha and the daughter Parvati". It is believed that the temple belongs to a period earlier than transfer of seat of power from Bharmour to Chamba in 10th century. In the month of August/ September a mela is held in the compound of the temple. This mela coincides with Manimahesh Yatra.
During summer Saho wears a golden mantle of wheat crop and in August/September the fields are lush green with paddy crop. The spring water of Saho is supposed to have medicinal value. There is a Forest Rest House at Saho.
Bhuri Singh Museum
Bhuri Singh Museum at Chamba opened formally on 14-09-1908, it is named after Raja Bhuri Singh who ruled Chamba from 1904 to 1919. Bhuri Singh donated his family collection of paintings to the museum. The idea to open a public museum came from J. Ph. Vogel, an eminent Indologist who was serving A.S.I. and who through an intensive exploration had discovered, read and analyzed old inscriptions dispersed far and wide in the territory of Chamba state. These inscriptions mostly in Sarda script shed important light on the mediaeval history of Chamba. The prasastis of Sarahan, Devi-ri-kothi and mul Kihar are now preserved in the museum.
Paintings of Bhagwat Purana and Ramayana in peculiar style are inspired by Basohli idiom of painting whereas Krishna, Sudama, Rukmini vivah and Usha-Anirudh and portraits in prime Guler-Kangra style were executed by the artists who were patronized by the Chamba rulers. The embroidered Chamba-Rumals are related in style since their drawings were made by pahari painters though the embroidery was done by the household ladies.
Besides these major items of collections, there are coins, hill jewelry and costumes- both traditional and royal, arms and armour, musical instruments and various decorative objects.
The old museum building which merged well with the landscape of Chamba was pulled down and the present concrete monolith was inaugurated in 1975. The museum remains open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM throughout the year except on Monday and other gazetted holidays.
Places to visit
|Akhand Chandi Palace||1|
|Bhuri Singh Museum||0|
|Chamunda Devi Temple||3|
|Hari Rai Temple||0|
|Kilar (Pangi Valley HQ)||173|
|Laxmi Narayan Temple||0|
|Sui Mata Temple||2|
1. Enjoy River Rafting in River Ravi
2. Enjoy Snow Fall Pangi Valley
3. Witness the great beauty of “Gulmarg of Himachal” and “Mini
Switzerland” at Khajjiar
4. Forest Camping at Saho
Chamba has accommodation to suit most types of budgets and tastes.
HPTDC guest houses provide a comfortable stay at reasonable prices. Details are available from local tourist offices
Local buses operate regularly. Taxis are also available.
Minjar fair -
Minjar is the most popular fair of Chamba which is attended by a large number of people from every nook and corner of the district. This mela is held on the second Sunday of the Shravana month (i.e. Between last week of July to first week of August). The fair is announced by distribution of Minjar which is a silk tassel worn on some parts of the dress by men and women alike. This tassel symbolises the shoots of paddy and maize which make their appearance around this time of the year. The week long International fair begins when the Minjar flag is hoisted in historical Chowgan. The town of Chamba wears a colourful look with every person turning out in best attire. Most part of the Chowgan is converted into markets and people do brisk business during this week. Sports and cultural programs are organised. Earlier the Raja and now the chief guest throws a coconut, a rupee, a seasonal fruit and a Minjar tied in a red piece of cloth - Lohan - as offering to the river. This is followed by all the people throwing their Minjars into the river. Traditional Kumjari-Malhar is sung by the local artists.
Undoubtedly Chamba is at its very best during this International fair that generally falls in the month of July/ August.
|Tourist Information Centre, Shimla||0177-2654589, 2654589, 2832498|
|Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Shimla||0177-2625924, 2625864, 2625511|
|HPTDC's Marketing Office, Shimla||0177-2652561/2658302|
Temperature: The maximum temperature in Chamba town in summers is 38°C and the minimum in winter is 0°C.
Season: The best tourist season to visit Chamba is round the year.