Chamera Lake Chamba , Himachal Pradesh
Occupying the northwestern portion of the state of Himachal Pradesh,
the town of Chamba stands on a plateau on the right bank of the river
Ravi valley. The valley itself, is located between the mighty
Dhauladhar and Zanskar range in the south of inner Himalayas. The town
of Chamba, which also happens to be the headquarters of the district
by the same name was founded by Raja Sahil Verman in the 10th century
AD. It was named after his daughter Champavati who is considered the
patron deity of the place.
For tourists, Chamba holds immense scope, mainly in form of temples and festivals. Apart from these, the art work of Chamba like its exquisite miniatures and handicrafts are also famous. The best time for tourists to visit Chamba is between the months of March and June.
This temple is dedicated to the patron deity of the Chamba town, Goddess Champavati. It was built by her own father, king Sahil Verman. The architecture of the temple follows the shikhara style. There are exquisite stone carvings as well as the wheel roof. As far as the size of the temple goes, it can compare with the famous Laxmi Narayan temple of the town.
This is another temple in Chamba which is built in Shikhara style. It is dedicated to Devi Vajreshwari or the goddess of lightening. In the absence of any historical records, it is difficult to ascertain the actual year of construction. However, people believe that the temple is around 1000 years old. Two other minor temples also stand closeby to this main temple.
Chamunda Devi Temple
The temple, dedicated to the wrathful form of Goddess Durga, is situated atop the Shah Madar hill. A small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva also stands right behind the main Chamunda temple. Infront of the temple, there are two old peepul tree standing on a platform. These trees have been providing shelter to the incoming visitors for long. Moreover, from this platform, you can also catch fantastic views of other temples and landmarks of the town. Because of this reason, the temple is also a pretty well known picnic spot of the town. Currently, the temple is under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India.
Sui Mata Temple
The temple is dedicated to the sacrifice of a rani who laid down her life to ensure that Chamba did not go waterless. The temple is located on Shah Madar Hill. There is also a fair organised every year from 15th of the Chait to the first of Baisakhi. The fair is specially important for the women and children. They sing devotional songs in praise of the rani extolling her supreme sacrifice for the betterment of the people.
This gate was constructed to welcome Lord Curzon in the year 1900. He was then, the viceroy of the British Government. The gate instantly catches attention due to its saffron colour.
Hari Har Temple
This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and has a beautiful bronze image of the lord in its interiors. The construction of the temple, dating back to the 11th century, is credited to Salbahana. The temple itself is constructed in the shikhara style, like most of the other temples in Chamba. Standing on an elevated platform, it is the only temple that is close to Chaugan.
A grassy land, 805 m in length and 73 m in width, is the principal centre of social and cultural activities. Apart from being the venue for the annual Minjar mela, Chaugan is also used by Gaddi tribals for camping, and the local people for taking a walk. From Dussehra till April, Chaugan is closed for visitors. This is because of the maintenance work that is carried out during this period.
Akhand Chandi Palace
This palace was constructed as a royal residential palace by Raja Umed Singh in the middle of the 18th century. Later renovation and reconstruction work were carried out by Raja Sham Singh, Capt Marshal and Raja Bhuri Singh. Still later, the palace was sold to the Himachal government. Today, it offers some spectacular views of the Chaugan, Laxmi Narayan temple, Sui Mata Temple and other prominent attractions of the town.
Bhuri Singh Museum
The museum, named after Raja Bhuri Singh, was formally inaugurated on the 14th of September in the year 1908. Bhuri Singh himself gave his family collection of paintings to the museum. Apart from the paintings, other items on display are the the embroidered Chamba rumaals, coins, hill jewellery and costumes- both traditional and royal, arms and armour, musical instruments and various decorative objects. The museum is opened from 10 in the morning to 5 in the evening all through the week except Mondays and gazeted holidays.
Fairs & Festivals
Highly popular amongst the locals is the annual Minjar mela which is
oraganised on the second Sunday of the Shravana month. The fair
commences with the distribution of minjar or the silk tassel which is
symbolic of the paddy and maize grown at this time of the year. A flag
is hoisted in the Chowgan which is followed by a week long cultural
and social programmes. Business carries on simultaneously.
At the end of the week, a colourful procession is taken out from the Akhand Chandi Palace for the venue near the Police Line Nalhora. The chief guest at the occasion throws a coconut, a rupee, a seasonal fruit and a minjar tied in a red piece of cloth into the river water. In the erstwhile era, this ceremony was performed by the king. Coming back to the present, this ceremony is followed by common people throwing their minjar into the water as well. Thereafter some traditional song are sung. Betal leaves as well as ittra are offered to guests as a mark of respect.
Adventure Activities & Sports
Chamba offers many exciting treks over the Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal
ranges. The region situated between Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal is
called the Chamba valley while the area lying between the Great
Himalayan Range and Pir Panjal comprises Pangi, Lahaul and Spiti
Some of the treks from Chamba are to Killar over Sach pass, and then to Kishtwar in Jammu and Kashmir or to Manaii via Udaipur in Lahaul; Bharmaur to Triloknath/Udaipur over Kalicho pass (4803m); to Udaipur over Chobia pass (4966m), to Manaii over Kugti pass (5040 m) and to Manimahesh lake (4172 m). Duration of these treks which are operational from June to October is 5 to 8 days. Chamba is also a base for (out and back) one-or-two day delightful treks. These are to Jhamuar, Kandi-Bassu and to Khajjiar.
The nearest airport is at Gaggal (Kangra) 180 km from Chamba and 140 km from Dalhousie.
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 52 km away from Dalhousie. Bus run Chamba to Pathankot, Delhi, Dharamsala, Shimla, Chandigarh, Jammu and most of the Punjab cities along the national highway.