States of India
Altitude : 996 m.
Temperature : Between 36 C in summer and 0 C in winter
Best Season : Throughout the year
Clothing : (Summers/Winter) Light Woollens/Warm Woollens STD Code: 018992
In the higher reaches of the Ravi Valley, just 56 km from Dalhousie, Chamba is perched on a little plateau about 100 m above the river. The capital of an ancient kingdom, Chamba was founded in 920 AD by Raja Sahil Varma who named it after his favorite daughter Champavati. Isolated in this valley by the high ranges, Chamba developed its own style of architecture and art. Much of this heritage has been preserved and Chamba is known for the elegance of its temples and for its exquisite miniatures and handicrafts.
Places to See
In a group are six ancient temples carved in stone, with tall vimanas. Dedicated to both Shiva and Vishnu, they were built around the 8th century AD. The Lakshminarayan Temple, the oldest in this group, is richly ornamented.
Bhuri Singh Museum
On display is a collection of fine miniatures from the Kangra, Basholi and Chamba schools of painting. There are also murals and paintings from the Rang Mahal Palace which was damaged by fire.
A large grassy meadow forms the heart of the town and the centre of all its cultural activities. Each year, the colourful Minjar Mela celebrating the harvest is held here.
Hari Rai Temple
This 11th century temple located near the Chaugan, has an exquisite bronze image of the Chaturmurti - the four armed Vishnu, enshrined in the sanctum.
Chamunda Devi Temple
Just 1 km from the Chaugan is a temple overlooking the river, Dedicated to the goddess Chamunda Devi, the temple is embellished with fine wood carving.
Around Chamba :
Katasan Devi Temple
A popular place of pilgrimage, the temple has a beautiful view of the Chamba Valley. (30 km)
Lovely landscaped gardens, a sheep breeding centre and apiary make Sarol an interesting place for picnics. (11 km)
Located amid dense forests, Jhamwar is noted for its apple orchards. (10 km)
Situated on a high plateau on the banks of the River Sal, Saho is famous for the temple to Chandrashekhar - Lord Shiva, with his moon crown. (20 km)
Salooni (1,829 m)
Another place with breath-taking views of the snow-capped ranges. (56 km)
Hidden Treasures of Chamba District :
Bharmaur (2,195 m)
Surrounded by alpine pastures, this is the summer home of the nomadic Gaddis. At a distance of 69 Km from Chamba town, Bharmaur, once known as Brahmpur, was between the 6th and 10th centuries, the capital of the princely state of Chamba. It is renowned for its cluster of temples-collectively known as the 'Chaurasi'.
Though of varying architectural design, these temples are noted for their fine workmanship.
Legend has it that in the 10th century, 84 holy men visited Bharmmaur, They blessed the ruler Raja Sahil Varma with ten sons and a daughter whom the town of Chamba is said to be named. And while some shrines were already in existence, the Raja had the remainder built to commemorate their sojourn. These include the Lakshmi Devi Temple, the Ganesh Temple and the Narsingh Temple. Installed in the sanctum of the Lakshmi Devi Temple is an exquisite brass image of the goddess, over a metre high.
From Bharmnaur, the Kugti and the Chobia passes and the trek routes they offer can be approached. Other interesting places at hand are the temple of Bani Mata and picturesque Khundel.
There are Forest and PWD rest houses in Bharmaur.
Linked by road Chamba which is 65 Km away.
Sacred to Lord Shiva and his divine consort Parvati, the lake of Manimahesh is 35 Km from Bharmaur. Past Gaddi villages and wide meadows that give way to bare rock and snow fields, this tarn is a three day trek from Bharmaur-via Hadsarand Dhanchha. The deep blue waters of the lake, rest at the feet of the Manimahesh Kailash Peak-which is one of the mythological abodes of Lord Shiva.
Accessible from Bharmaur, 35 Km away - a fairly arduous trek.
Bhandal Valley (1,730 m)
The beautiful Bhandal Valley with its wealth of wildlife is at the western extremity of Himachal Pradesh. Approachable from Chamba, it is the base for a trek route that connects Chamba to the Kishtwar region of Jammu and Kashmir over the Dagni Dhar.
The route begins along the right bank of the River Ravi, goes past Pukhri, down to the Siyul stream, then rises to Salooni on the Prithvi Jor ridge to finally arrive above the valley. From Bhandal via Langhera one reaches Kishtwar. The highest point on the track is the Padri Gali at 3,049 m.
Linked to Salooni (22 Km) in the Chamba Valley by road. Accessible from Chamba.
Pangi valley (2,438 m and above)
Locked between the Greater Himalayan and the Pir Panjal ranges, the wild and beautiful Pangi Valley is s137 Km from Chamba. Its sub divsional headquarters at Killar is located in the deep and narrow gorge of the River Chandrabhaga (Chenab). The foaming river, the high crags of the gorge and the difficult terrian are a challenge for intrepid trekkers.
The Sach Pass (4,428m) opens the way to several trek routes. Thick forests the habitat of varried wildlife surround the Pangi Valley and the numerous side valleys-Saichu, Hunan, Sural Nallah, that are also endowed with remarkable natural beauty. The temple of Mindhal Basan Devi in Pangi is an important shrine. Appropriately, the people of Pangi are as attractive as the tract they inhabit.
137 Km from Chamba. The most convenient route for trekking into the valley is through the Sach Pass. (4,428m.)
Inner and Outer Seraj
The Jalori and Bashleo passes stand as markers between the Inner and Outer Seraj regions of Kullu. Outer Seraj faces Shimla district and reaches out to touch the River Sultej and Inner Seraj turns towards Kullu. Ani near the Sutlej provides the access point to Outer Seraj from Shimla.
Some of the beautiful unspoilt spots in this area include Khang, a wide meadow surrounded by thick forest and Takrasi and Paneo which have fine rest houses. Within Outer Seraj is Nirmand, the largest village in Himachal.
Closely allied with the legend of Lord Parasurama, one of the avatars of Lord Vishnu, Nirmand is known for its exquisite wood and stone temples. The 5,155m, Shrikahand Mahadwev Peak is a part of Outer Seraj. Beyond the Jalori Pass the scenic splendour of the Inner Seraj area unflods. This area has a variety of trek routes.
Accesssible from Kullu and Shimla by road.
Jalori Pass (3,134m)
The Jalori Pass which links Inner and Outer Seraj is 76 Km from Kullu. Its crest offers panoramic views of the area. The new pass is a man-made one and was carved out of the mountain range in the early part of the mountain range in the early part of the present century. This is about 150m lower than the old Jalori Pass.
Surrounderd by majestic forests, this areas is home to the Himalayan brown bear and certain varieties of pheasant-including the monal and tragopan. The Shingar Rishi Temple is close-by, and 5 Km from the Pass is the jewel like Seolsar Lake.
Jalori Pass is accessible by road from Shimla and Kullu.
Shoja in Inner Seraj is close to the Jalori Pass. A charming unspoilt location of exceptional beauty overlooking lush meadows and tall snow-capped ranges, Shoja is 69 Km from Kullu via Aut.
The Raghupur Fort and Dugha Thatch, a lovely grassy meadow very close to Shoja, are worth visiting.
Shoja is accessible by road from Shimla and Kullu.
Aut on the Mandi - Manali highway is the entry point to the Kullu Valley where the road enters the Mandi - Largi gorge. Aut, the entire reservoir of the Pandoh Dam and Largi are excellent for angling. The rapids between Shamshi and Aut are splendid for river running. There are rest houses at Aut and Largi.
Easily accessible as it is on the National Highway from Mandi to Manali.
Joginder Nagar(1,220 m)
In 1925, the enterprising Raja Joginder Sen of Mandi created an elaborate hydel power scheme near the village of Sukrahatti - which was then renamed Joginder Nagar after him. After tunnelling and piping the water over several kilometres from the River Uhl to Joginder Nagar, the power house, Gumma and the haulage trolley.
Joginder Nagar is the last stop of the little toy train that runs from Pathankot on the main broad gauge line, through the district of Kangra. Accessible by road from both Palampur and Mandi as it is on the National Highway form Mandi.
Getting There & Away
Air : The nearest airport is Kangra 180 Km away
Rail: The nearest narrow gauge railhead is Pathankot, 122 Km.
Road : Well connected by road.