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CHAMBA

Location : 50 kms from Dalhousie
District : Chamba District
Altitude : 926 mt Above Sea Level
Major Highlight : Lakshmi Narayan Temple, Rang Mahal

Chamba Valley in Himachal Pradesh
The Enigmatic Chamba Valley


FACT FILE
To See : Temples, Museum, Church, Palaces, Central Park.
Best Time To Visit : March and June.
Famous Temples : Lakshmi Narayan Temple– Oldest and Largest Temple Complex in Himachal Pradesh, Gauri Shankar Temple, Brajeshwari Devi Temple, Chamunda Devi Temple, Hari Raya Temple, Sui Mata Temple, Chamba Vati Temple
Famous Palaces : Rang Mahal – Houses Handicrafts Centres.
Akhand Chandi Palace – See Paintings Belonging to Riyal Times.
Famous Church : Church of Scotland.
Must See : Collection on Miniatures, Coin Collection and a Silver Elephant in the Bhuri Singh Museum.
Museum Timings : 11 am to 5 pm. Closed on Sunday.
Must Visit : Himachal Tourism Handicrafts Centre – Where You can Shop for Traditional Himachali Handicrafts and Exclusive Traditionally Woven Shawls.
Famous Fairs and Festivals : Sui Mata festival – July – August.
Minjar Fair – A Week Celebration in July.
Suhi Mela (For Women) – March and April.
Other Attractions : Chaugan or Central park, Bhuri Singh Museum, Chaugan – Polo Ground, Village of Sago
Not to be Missed : One Week Sacred Minjar Fair During the Month of July – Enjoy Listening to the Traditional Music Kumjari-Malhar, That is Sung by the Local Artists.
Shop For : Himachal Rumaals, Chamba Chappals, Miniature Paintings, Hand Woven Shawls, Metal Work Items, Stone Artifacts.
Must Carry Home : A Jar of Spicy Chamba Chukh – a Unique Mashed Chillie Pickle.
Where to Eat : In Chaugan there are Dhabas Serving Himachali Dal, Rajma and Chawal.
Staying Options : Laxmi Vilas Heritage Palace, Bagh Resort, Hotel Chandra Mahal Haveli.
Getting Around : Dalhousie – 50 kms, Khajjar – 17 kms, Sago – 20 kms.
Important Distances : Delhi – 623 kms, Chandigarh – 382 kms, Ambala – 427 kms, Pathankot – 127 kms.
Getting There : Air - The Nearest Airport to Chamba is at Gaggal, Located in the Kangra District. Regular and Good Transportation is Easily Available for Chamba.
Rail - The Nearest Railhead for Chamba is at at Pathankot (127 kms) or ChakkiBank (116 kms). They are are Well Connected With Buses and Taxis.
Road - The Road Route to Take is NH 1 to Jallandhar via Ambala and Ludhiana and then NH 1A to Pathankot. From then on take the State Roads to Chambala via Dalhousie and Khajjar.

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Chamba – Kingdom of Clouds

Enjoy Chamba tourism in Himachal Pradesh which is a small town located at an altitude of 926 metres. Chamba is the perfect place for those who want to unwind their hectic schedule and enjoy a peaceful stay in the hills. Chamba is situated amidst the Shivalik hills, in the north western part of Himachal Pradesh. The town lies on River Ravi, in a valley between two mountain ridges. Chamba provides a very vast contrasts to Dalhousie, the colonial resort of rich Lahorians and the British, because of its undisturbed ancient heritage and customs. Chamba is a place where in one moment you will fell like being on a hill top, while the next will take you higher to the clouds. Come to Chamba to feel the transition form real life to a magical one. Chamba is easily accessible due to its proximity at just 50 km from Dalhousie via Khajjiar.

This Rajput capital has temples that form the main highlight, attracting thousands of pilgrims as well as tourist all the year round. The growing town has also extracted its pound of flesh, from the temple that are located in a maze of by lanes. Being one of the most beautiful hill resorts of Himachal, it is an indisputable fact, that the landscape is sure to delight even an ill-favored spectator. Visit this temple hill station during the month of March and June, when the weather is typically highland – cool and pleasant. There are local fairs and festivals that too drive tourists to home this destination – where they get a chance to fuse with the local culture and traditions.

History asserts the Rajput to have been the main rulers of this small hill town since the 6th century AD. Though a multitudinous cultural effect could have been in vogue in Chamba, but over the years the influx of plains people has changed both the topography and ethnographic profile of this ancient Rajput capital.

Chamba Attractions – El Dorado Vale

The inventory of Chamba's riches can be read like a treveller's catalogue. In the shadow of high snow scapes lie green meadows, perfect pastures for nomadic shepherds. Skirting are the verdant slopes of oak and pine, sedgy promenades, flirtatious streams, tranquil lakes – and all of these have fallen to Chamba's lot. Travel to Chamba to see some of the major attractions.

One of the most important attraction of the town will be the Chaugan or Central park. This is a good orientation point from where the sight of the entire town is breathtaking. Then there is the Rang Mahal, which is nothing but impressive. This red colored palace houses the local employment exchange and the Himachal Tourism Handicrafts Centre. Inside this massive structure you can also enjoy shopping for the local handicrafts.

Another not to be missed palace in Chamba will be the Akhand Chandi Palace also called as the Raaj Mahal. This is located near the Lakshmi Narayan Complex and here you should not miss seeing the room that has painted wallpapers and a gold leafed ceiling. Only one room is open for public viewing while it is said that inside the palace there is a room that is locked and its key is with the Raja of Chamba. This concealed room houses a private collection of paintings of the dead rulers.

Want to see some colonial structures in Chamba – then the only place to witness them is the Bhuri Singh Museum, that is spread on two floors and four rooms. Here you will see the vast collection of miniatures unique to the region along with stone slabs, murals, a silver elephant throne, Chamba rumaals, weapons, a coin collection and documents pertaining to the rule of the king. Open from 11 am till 5 pm, this museum is a place that will take you closer to the art and history of the region.

The hub of Chamba is Chaugan, which today is used as a polo ground. Popular as a public promenade and Cricket ground during the British time, today is host of the famous annual fair called Minjar Mela. 20 kms from Chamba, on the right bank of Sal river, is the village of Sago. This green beauty is known for the temple dedicated to moon – crowned god, Shiva. Here you should see the two mammoth idols of the god himself, at the entrance. You should come during the month of August and September, when a 'Mela' is held in the compound of the temple which co occurs with Manimahesh Yatra. There is also a spring water here, which claims to have medicinal values.


Lakshmi Narayan Temple
Famous Pilgrim Site of Lakshmi Narayan Temple in Chamba


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Come to Chamba – with a Prayer on Your Lips

You should come to see the famed temples, stripped off their intricate wool – carved edifices first by the British and then by the archaeological Survey of India. The beauty of these ancient shrines, their iconography and seeming agelessness is enough to make one feel like a lilliputian. Standing proud, the gods seem to stare at you with their lips curved in smiles. You should notice that most of these temples bear erotic panels on the outer walls.

You should begin your pilgrimage hunt with the Lakshmi Narayan Temple complex, that is supposed to be the largest and oldest temple complex in Himachal Pradesh. This complex is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is built in the Shikara style. Other temple within the complex are temples of Radha krishna, Shiva Temple of Chandergupta and Gauri Shankar Temple. Then there is the Gauri Shankar Temple, facing the entrance of the above temple complex. Built during the 11th century, in this temple you should see the iron grills and innumerable pieces of cloth that camouflage the residing idol of the deity.

Brajeshwari Devi Temple, to the north east of Lakshmi Narayan Temple is also an important pilgrim destination. You cannot miss the golden pots and spirals that top the temple. Another interesting temple is the Bansi Gopal Temple, where you should see the number of stone panels.

Then there is the Chamunda Devi Temple, from where the sight of Chamba is magnificent. Notice the intricately carved pillar roofs and beams and try to spot the male and female deities and other figurines on the temple walls, that are very small in size. Next is the Hari Raya Temple whose idol was earlier stole, but however, was restored. This is one of the temple, that inspired the plot of one Bollywood's flick.
Other temple that too are important pilgrim halts are the Sui Mata Temple, that holds the Sui Mata ka Mela every year, while the Chamba Vati Temple has elaborate stone carving and the wheel roof.
To complete the religious entity, Chamba has the Church of Scotland which is a morose looking structure.

Fair and Festivals in Chamba – The Enlightening Cadence

The fairs and festivals of Chamba are as eloquent as the temples. You should come to Chamba during the festive season that will help you get a better insight on the cultural beliefs and lifestyle of the Chamba people. Known locally as 'Jatras', these festivals mark the traditional dance and music along with the rituals. However, the most famous attraction during the festivals are the 'Chela' of the residing deities, who is believed to get possessed by the deity on certain occasions and answers the questions and prayers of the devotees. You should see the Sui Mata festival held in the month of March and April. This is one of the most important festival and is celebrated for four days.

Talking about the fairs, the most celebrated will be Minjar Fair. This week long fair is celebrated during the months of July, with its inception dating back to the 10th century AD. Marking the annual harvest season of Maize, this fair is proclaimed by distribution of Minjar - a silk tassel worn by men and women. During this fair, sports are organised and most part of the town is converted into market where people do merry business during this week. During this festival enjoy basking the Betel leaf and applying ittar, that are considered auspicious.
It comes to an end with a procession to River Ravi where the men and women throw off their silk tassels or Minjars (representing sheaves of maize) into the river. During this festival, you will get a chance to listen to the traditional Kumjari-Malhar, that is sung by the local artists. This fair is regarded as a state festival, and receives huge coverage – making it an inevitable visit for the tourists.

Another important fair in Chamba is the Suhi Mela, which is an exclusive festival for women. Celebrated during the month of March and April, this festival is noted for its religious significance. The site of the festival is itself has a holy shrine that you should not miss.

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Shopping – Look for Chamba ki Cheez

The most promising object of Chamba will be the rumaals and chappals that are fervently promoted by the Himachal Tourism department. You should also lay hands on metal and stone work items that are excellent souvenirs. In Chaughan Market, go to Amichand Dheems, form where you should buy the miniature paintings. For shawls and woolen artifacts in Chamba, go to Handicrafts Centre inside Rang Mahal. However, one item that you should dare not miss is the spicy Chamba Chukh, which is a unique mashed chillie pickle – exclusive of Chamba valley.


Chamba Palace in Himachal Pradesh
Signature of Chamba - Chamba Palace


How to Reach the Chamba Horizon

Chamba is located at a very expedient distance of approximately 52 kms from Dalhousie. If you want to reduce your travel time by almost 6 hours, then take the route via Upper Barkota and Khajjiar road. Due to its highland location, Chamba is not connected to any other city by air. The nearest airport will be at Gaggal that lies in the Kangra district. Regular and good transportation is easily available from Guggal, that will directly connect you to Chamba.

The nearest railhead for Chamba is at at Pathankot (127 kms) or ChakkiBank (116 kms). Both these stations are well-connected to Chamba as well as the other railway stations of India. Easy means of transportation are available from both these railway junctions to Chamba. If you want to enjoy the panorama while choosing the roadways to reach Chamba, then take the national highway number 1 to Jallandhar via Ambala and Ludhiana and then NH 1A to Pathankot. From then on take the state roads to Chambala via Dalhousie and Khajjar.


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Chardham Yatra
Journey Through Goa Cruise

Top 5 Reasons To Visit Chamba


House in Chamba

Come to the Greens of Chamba Valley
Chamba located at an soaring height of 926 metres and a convenient distance of 50 kms from Dalhousie, will be your dream destination this holiday. Come to enjoy beauty amidst the heritage attractions that makes it the one of most suitable town in Himachal Pradesh.


Chamba is All About Temple Attractions
Come to see the Lakshmi Narayan Temple in Chamba, which happens to be the oldest and the largest temple complex in Himachal Pradesh. Other important temples like Chamunda Devi temple, Hari Yara temple and Gauri Shnakar too invites you to come and pay homage to these ancient edifices.


Visit the Attractions of the Kings
You should see the palace attractions of Chamba that are as popular as its temples. You should visit the Rang Mahal, that now serves as a government emporium. Another important mahal (palace) will be the Akhand Chandi Palace where you can see exclusive royal paintings.


Visit Chamba during March & April
Understand the cultural life of Chamba people via Fairs and Festivals during the month of July and August. These festivals that have a mark in the history of this pretty hill station. The most important is the week long Minjar Fair, while other fairs and festivals are Suhi Mela and Sui Mata Festival.


Shop For the Chamba's Souvenir
Go to Chaugan market and then on to Amichand Dheems or Handicrafts Centre in Rang Mahal to buy some exclusive Chambal handicrafts. The most important purchases are rummals, Chamba chappals, miniatures, stone and metal work, and the most important is mashed chillie pickle, Chamba Chukh.


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