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Chamba


Geographical diversity, few places in the world are richly endowed as Himachal Pradesh. Low rolling hills, just a couple of hundred meters above sea level, climb on to touch the core of the Himalaya Mountains. Here lie peaks that are several thousand metres high ľand never lose their perennial Snows. Then, past these forbidding heights, lie the visually stunning cold deserts of the Trans Himalaya.

Rivers in deep gorges and placid mountain lakes, thick forests and acres of screen, mountainsides draped with snow, and green Alpine meadows, all form a part of this immense spectrum. And the possibilities for a whole range of adventure activities is also enormous. There are day-hikes by the thousand, and the trek routes follow trails that last a couple of days or can extend over a few weeks. These vary from gentle walks over easy terrain, to grueling expeditions.

Chamba is situated at the height of 996 m. above sea level on the south bank of the Ravi River, the ancient Pahari Capital was founded in 920 A.D. by Raja Sahil Verma, who named it after his favourite daughter Champavati. Chamba valley is noted for it's scenery-touching the fringe of the Shivaliks and having three well-defined snowy ranges, the Dauladhar, constituting the outer Himalayas, the Pir Panjal or the mid Himalayas, and the Zanskar range or the inner Himalayas.

Abundance of natural beauty makes it the ideal holiday retreat in Chamba. The land of mystic serenity, enchanting vistas, refreshing air, lofty mountain passes and slopes, provides ample opportunities to nature lovers. The place and adjoining areas have immense scope of leisure pursuits. The waters, hills, plateaus and the snowline, which can be sighted from any of the buildings and the main square, make a spectacle that can become an inspiration for painters and poets.

Prime Attractions of Chamba

Champawati Temple:
Close to the royal palace at Chamba, there is a stone sikhara temple dedicated to Goddess Champavati. Tradition holds that the town of Chamba was named after her.

Chaurashi Temple:
The main temples of Lakshmi Devi, Ganesh and Manimahesh and Nar Sing in Bharmour are known as Chaurashi temples.

Kalatope Khajjiar Sanctuary:
It's possible to trek 30-km from Dalhousie to Chamba along the eastbound road from Gandhi Chowk. A short but steep ascent leads to the Kalatope wildlife sanctuary, from which one can walk into a pleasant track.

Lakshmi Narayan Temple:
To the north of the palace at Chamba, there is a group of six stone Sikhara temples arranged in a row from north to south. Three of these temples are dedicated to Vishnu and three to Shiva. The northern most is that of the Lakshmi- Narayana the principal temple of Chamba.

Pangi Valley:
Pangi Valley in the upper part of Chamba District is a remote world in itself. This hidden valley located between Pir Panjal and the Greater Himalayan Zanskar ranges is cut off from the rest of the world.

Parbati Valley:
Hemmed in by giant pinnacled mountain peaks, the Parbati valley, twists west from the glaciers and snowfields on the Spiti boader. Picturesque hamlets perch precariously on its sides, amid lush terraces and old growth pine forests.

Rang Mahal:
In Chamba, situated the beautiful Rang Mahal palace, which was built by Raja Umed Singh in the mid 18th century. The palace walls here are lined with exquisite examples of wall paintings in the Punjab Hills style, all of which depict the life and times of Lord Krishna.

Chamba Minjiar Mela:
The Minjiar fair was started in 935 AD when the Raja of Chamba defeated the ruler of "Trigarta", now known as Kangra. On his return, a celebration was held, and he was greeted by people with sherfs of paddy and maze.

Chaugan:
This public promenade situated in the heart of the town is a grassy maidan less than one-kilometre in length and about seventy-five metres wide is a busy local trading centre for villagers from the surrounding hills. Each year Chaugan is the site for the 'Minjar' procession, a fair that lasts a week and comprise of large number of sports and cultural activities.

Gaddis:
The Gaddis are shepherds who move their flocks of sheep from lower pastures in winter to higher ones after snow melt. According to them, "the Dhauladhars are not just a mountain range but like our mother".

Katasan Devi Temple:
Another popular temple of the Chamba district, it is about 30-km from the town near Baira Siul Project. This calm and peaceful spot is ideal for picnic lovers and one can witness a full view of the valley from its premises.

Killar:
Located in the deep narrow gauge of the Chenab River, Killar can be reached through the Sach Pass and is also known as a Trekker's Paradise.

Maharaja's Palace:
This palace belongs to the erstwhile rulers of Chamba and the most outstanding buildings in the town. Of these, Rang Mahal or 'the Painted Palace', with towers on either side, is undoubtedly the most interesting one. There is one room in the building, the walls of which are painted with murals depicting episodes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

Narayana Temple:
The Narayana temple at Udaipur, is situated nearly 5-km below Chamba. There are two other images of white marble, flanking Narayana, which represent Raja Uday Singh and his brother Lachhman Singh.

The Chamba Rumal:
The other craft of Chamba is its unique embroidery style. The Chamba Rumal or handkerchief about 2 to 6 feet in length is an important part of a Chamba bride's trousseau. This handkerchief is also known as 'Kashida'. The embroidery is same on both sides and the threads used are silken and colorful.

Fairs & Festivals - Chamba:
Chamba's annual Suhi Mata Festival, which lasts for four days in early April, commemorates Rani Champavati, the wife of the 10th century Raja Sahil Verma. Only women and children participate in the festival, dancing on the Chowgan before processing with an image of Champavati and banners of the Rajput solar emblem to the Suhi Mata temple. Manjar Fair is a week long festival of singing and dancing at the start of August to celebrate the growth of maize. The Manimahesh Yatra to the sacred tarn of Manimahesh is held immediately after the festival of Janamashtmi. Chrewal, Badronjo or Patroru is a festival of fire and flowers and a time for purification of the fields during the month of August. In same month several places in Chamba celebrates the Gugga fair, which is connected with the worship of 'Gugga', the Nag Devta.

How To Get There - Chamba

By Road: Daily bus service is available for Dalhousie and jeeps on hire are also available but it is relatively expensive.

By Air: The nearest airport is at Gaggal in Kangra valley, 180 km from Chamba. Indian Airlines operates its flights on the Delhi-Dharamsala sector.

By Rail: Chamba town is 122-km from Pathankot, the nearest broad gauge rail head, which is linked by direct trains to Amritsar, Delhi, Bombay and Calcutta. Chamba is well-connected with places in and outside the state.

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