Dalhousie Tourism | Dalhousie Hill Stations | Tourist Places Dalhousie | Places to Visit in Dalhousie

Dalhousie Tourism | Dalhousie Hill Stations | Tourist Places Dalhousie | Places to Visit in Dalhousie

Dalhousie is a hill station and popular tourist spot in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, India. Established in 1854 by the British Empire in India as a summer retreat for its troops and bureaucrats, the town was named after Lord Dalhousie who was the British Viceroy in India at that time. In western Himachal Pradesh, the hill station of Dalhousie is full of old world charm and holds lingering echos of the Raj era. It covers an area of 14 sq. km. and is built on five hills - Kathlog, Patreyn, Tehra, Bakrota and Balun. It is named after the British governor General of the 19th century, Lord Dalhousie. The town's average height is 2036 m, and is surrounded by varied vegetation - pines, deodars, oaks and flowering rhododendron. Dalhousie has charming colonial architecture, including some beautiful churches. Its location presents panoramic views of the plains and like a long silver line, the river Ravi twists and turns below Dalhousie. The spectacular snow-covered Dhauladhar mountains are also visible form this enchanting town.

Fast fact sheet of Dalhousie Tourism:


32°32′N 75°59′E


Immense Trekking Opportunities


7,419 (2001)


1,954 metres (6,411 ft)

Best Time to Visit in Dalhousie Hill Stations:

Mid-May To Mid-October

Location of Dalhousie:

Chamba, Himachal Pradesh, India

Climate of Dalhousie Himachal Pradesh:

In winter, the temperature can drop to freezing point when heavy woolens are required. The summer temperature are mild and light woolens / cottons are recommended.

Temperature of Dalhousie Himachal Pradesh:

The maximum temperature of Dalhousie in summers is 30*C and the winter temperature comes down to almost O*C.

Points of Interest at Dalhousie Hill Station:

Dalhousie has many places to visit. A favorite spot for tourists is the area near Alla. It is a potato field and it offers mesmerizing scenic landscape. Another popular spot is the area of Karelanu. It is famous for its precious water which healed a great leader, Subhash Chandra Bose. He was suffering from tuberculosis and he regularly drank the water from the natural spring in Karelanu and was healed.

Weather Forecast of Dalhousie Tourism:

How to Reach Dalhousie Tourism Himachal Pradesh:

By Air:

The nearest airport is at Gaggal (Kangra), 140-km from Dalhousie.

By Rail:

The nearest railhead is Pathankot, which is well connected to Amritsar, Jammu, Delhi and Jalandhar.

By Road:

Onward journey from Pathankot to Chamba and Dalhausie is by road. Punjab and Himachal Roadways run services, as do private operators.

Major Attraction in Dalhousie Tourism:

  • Dainkund Peak
  • Khajjiar
  • Bakrota Hills
  • Village Lohali

Eight Road Junction in Dalhousie Tourism:

At Gandhi Chowk in Dalhousie is a Road junction of eight roads. These roads lead to:
1) Subhash Chowk
2) Panchpula
3) Upper Bakrota
4) Diankund
5) Banikhet via Busstand
6) Khajjiar
7) Sadar Bazar
8) Motitibba

Important Areas of Dalhousie Hill Station:

  • Gandhi Chowk
  • Diankund
  • Bakrota Hills
  • Dalhousie Cantonment
  • Sadar Bazar
  • Tibetan Market
  • Panchpula

Places to Visit in Dalhousie Hill Station Himachal Pradesh:


There are four beautiful churches in Dalhousie. These are St. Andrew's Church and St. Patrick's Church at Balun, St. Francis church at Subhash Chowk and St.John's Church at Gandhi Chowk.

Subhash Baoli:

It was at this enchanting spot surrounded by majestic trees, that Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose spent time in 1937, contemplating and meditating. Commanding a view of the snowcapped mountains, 1.6-km away from the G.P.O. (check spelling) Square, the spring of Subhash Baoli is situated at an altitude of 2,085 metres (6,678 ft.).


This is a picturesque spot where a stream feed a series of pools. A monument has been built here in memory of the freedom fighter, Sardar Ajit Singh.

Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary:

This wild life sanctuary is a home to the 'ghoral' and Himalayan black bear.

Jandhri Ghat:

Around half a kilometre away from the Subhash Baoli, Jandhri Ghat enfolds an elegant palace in the midst of tall pine trees. Chamba's erstwhile rulers governed from here till the advent of Lord Dalhousie. The palace houses a number of shikhar trophies.

Beside the palace, Jandhri Ghat offers heavenly spots for picnicking-gushing streamlets in the midst of fragrant pine-scented breezes. Bakrota Hills and the 'Round' (2085m): Less than 5 km from the town centre, the Bakrota Hills frame a breathtaking view of the further snow-clad peaks. The 'round' is a walling circuit around the hill, very popular with residents.


On the way to Panjpulla, at an altitude of 2,036m. (6,678 ft.), these seven springs are reputed to have great therapeutic value as they contain mica with medicinal properties.

The Catholic Church of St. Francis:

Dalhousie is another hill station with a number of old churches. The Church near the G.P.O looks untouched by time. The Catholic Church of St.Francis, built in 1894.

Bara Pathar:

Set amidst thick forest is the small temple of Bhulwani Mata, in the village of Ahla, on the way to Kalatope. A fair is celebrated in July to venerate the goddess. It is 4 km away from the town.


At an altitude of 2,745 m and 10 km from the town, this tall peak outside town affords a bird's-eye view on a clear day, of the hills, valleys and the river Beas, Ravi and the Chenab threading their silvery way down to the plains.

Weather of Dalhousie Tourism Himachal Pradesh:

Dalhousie experiences winter-like cold climate throughout the year. Heavy rain with thunder showers are experienced during the period from June to September. In May–July it is usually warm in the morning and afternoon but gets cold early in the evening and quite cold at night. The weather becomes very cold during winter and if it rains. Dalhousie also experiences snow during the peak of winter period in December and January. Being a hill station, Dalhousie is famous for its salubrious climate.

History of Dalhousie Hill Station:

Dalhousie is a hill station in Himachal Pradesh. Established in 1854 by the British Empire in India as a summer retreat for its troops and bureaucrats.

It is built on and around five hills. Located on the western edge of the Dhauladhar mountain range of the Himalayas, it is surrounded by snow-capped peaks. Dalhousie is situated between 6,000 and 9,000 feet (2,700 m) above sea level. The best time to visit is in the summer, and the peak tourist season is from May to September. Scottish and Victorian architecture is prevalent in the bungalows and churches in the town.

Dalhousie is a gateway to the ancient Chamba Hill State, now Chamba District of the state of himachal pradesh of India. This hill region is a repository of ancient Hindu culture, art, temples, and handicrafts preserved under the longest-running single dynasty since the mid-6th century. Chamba is the hub of this culture. Bharmour, the ancient capital of this kingdom, is home to the Gaddi and Gujjar tribes and has 84 ancient temples dating from the 7th–10th century AD.


  • 1849 Punjab was annexed to the British Raj after the Second Anglo-Sikh War.
  • 1850 Lt. Col. Napier, Chief Engineer of Punjab was enchanted by the scenic spot in the Chamba state and visualized the project.
  • 1851 Selection of the site was finalized. A spot where the Dainkund Ridge, at the western edge of the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas, breaks into spurs was carved out. Dr. Clemenger of the 49th Native Infantry was in charge of the site development.
  • 1853 Thirteen square miles of land comprising the five hills Kathalagli, Potrein, Terah (Moti Tibba), Bakrota, and Bhangora were acquired by the Government of India from the Raja of the Chamba state. In return, the annual tribute that the Chamba state paid to the British Government was reduced by 2000 rupees. The total tribute at that time was 12,000 rupees per year.
  • 1854 Sir Donald McLeod recommended that the estate be named after Lord Dalhousie, the viceroy of India at that time. Convalescent Depot was constructed at Kathalag. It was made part of the Kangra District in the Punjab state.
  • 1860 Three level malls around Bakrota, Terah, and Potrein hills were laid down. The roads that connect these malls are still the main arteries of the city today.
  • 1863 St. John's church was built at the G.P.O. (Now known as Gandhi Chowk) Reverend John H. Pratt was instrumental in raising money from the Christian community.
  • 1873 Rabindranath Tagore spends time in Dalhousie.
  • 1884 Rudyard Kipling visited Dalhousie.
  • 1894 The St. Francis Church was built at Charing Cross (now known as Subash Chowk)
  • 1903 St. Andrew's Church (AKA The Church of Scotland) was built at Dalhousie Cantt.
  • 1909 St. Patrick's Church was built near the military hospital at Dalhousie Cantt.
  • 1910 Convent of the Sacred Heart, a residential school for girls, was started under the Archdiocese of Lahore.
  • 1915 Sadar Bazar, the main market of Dalhousie, was burnt down by a ferocious fire. The new Sadar Bazar buildings came up, and stone was used instead of wood. These 3-4 storey stone houses with slop?
  • 1920 Electricity was first distributed. A large generator using diesel was built to bring the electricity to the elite town.
  • 1920s-1947 Dalhousie was at its peak as a tourist destination.
  • 1954 Pt. Nehru, then prime minister of India, presided over the centennial celebrations of Dalhousie. He initiated promotion of tourism with the call Let us go to the Himalayas.
  • 1959 Tibet was taken over by China. Dalhousie was picked to host several thousand Tibetan refugees at the insistence of Pt. Nehru. Most of them have left the town. However, they have left their influence in the form of road-side rock sculptures and a Tibetan market near the GPO.
  • 1962 Dalai Lama visited Dalhousie. He visited again in 1988.
  • 1966 During Reorganisation of States, Dalhousie was transferred to the Himachal Pradesh from Punjab.
  • 1990s Dalhousie becomes a favorite shooting spot of Bollywood. Many Hindi films, including 1942: A Love Story, were filmed here.

Shopping in Dalhousie Tourism:

Tibetan handicrafts including pullovers and carpets at Dalhousie. Chamba Slippers, 'Rumals' and Shawls at Chamba town.

Hotels & Resorts in Dalhousie Hill Station:

  • The Manimahesh Hotel
  • Hotel Moonga
  • Hotel-Shangri-La
  • Hotel Alps Holiday Resort
  • Spring Dalhousie Hotel
  • Hotel President
  • Peace Channel Resorts
  • Hotel Mount View
  • Hotel Lall Ji, Resorts
  • Hotel Grand View
  • Hotel Dalhousie Heights
  • Hotel Sagrika Resort
  • Hotel Ashiana Regency
  • Snow Valley Resorts

Dalhousie Photos:

Dalhousie Tourism, Dalhousie Hill Stations, Tourist Places Dalhousie, Places to Visit in Dalhousie, Major Attraction in Dalhousie Hill Station, Dalhousie Photos, Hotels and Resorts of Dalhousie and much more

Chamba Tourism | Chamba Hill Station | Tourist Places Chamba

Chamba Tourism | Chamba Hill Station | Tourist Places Chamba

Chamba is an ancient town in the Chamba district in the state of Himachal Pradesh, in northern India. According to the 2001 Indian census, Chamba has a population of 38,312 people.Located at an altitude of 996 metres (3,268 ft) above mean sea level, the town is situated on the banks of the Ravi River (a major tributary of the Trans-Himalayan Indus River), at its confluence with the Sal River.

Though historical records date the history of the Chamba region to the Kolian tribes in the 2nd century BC, the area was formally ruled by the Maru dynasty, starting with the Raju Maru from around 500 AD, ruling from the ancient capital of Bharmour, which is located 75 kilometres (47 mi) from the town of Chamba. In 920, Raja Sahil Varman (or Raja Sahil Verma) shifted the capital of the kingdom to Chamba, following the specific request of his daughter Champavati (Chamba was named after her). From the time of Raju Maru, 67 Rajas of this dynasty have ruled over Chamba until it finally merged with the Indian Union in April 1948, although Chamba was under British suzerainty from 1846 to this time.

The town has a large number of temples and palaces, and hosts two popular jatras (fairs), the "Suhi Mata Mela" and the "Minjar Mela", which last for several days and involve music and dancing. Chamba is also well noted for its arts and crafts, particularly its Pahari paintings, which originated in the Hill Kingdoms of North India between the 17th and 19th century and its handicrafts and textiles.

Fast fact of Chamba Himachal Tourism:


At an altitude of 926m.Chamba is 56 km from Dalhousie via Khajjiar. Distance 600 kms from Delhi.


3,268 ft (996 m)


32°34′12″N 76°7′48″E


Pahari(local language)English ,Hindi and Himachali

Best time to visit in Chamba Hill Station:


Weather Summer in Chamba Hill Station:

38C- 15C Winter: 15C-8C

Temperature(deg C)in Chamba Hill Station:

Summer- Max. 39, Min. 8; Winter- Max. 10, Min. 1.1.

Population (2001):


Best time to Visit in Chamba Hill Station Himachal Pradesh Tourism:

Chamba is one of the beautiful hill resorts in India and can be toured between March and June.

How to Reach at Chamba Himachal Pradesh:

Chamba Nearest Airport And Railway Station:

Chamba Nearest Airport And Railway Station Is Not Yet Directly Connected By Air. The Nearest Airport Is Is Gaggal ( Kangra ) 135 Km. Pathankot 120 Kms And Amritsar 220 Km. Any Kind Of Transportation Is Very Easily Available.Chamba Is Not Yet Directly Connected By Train. The Nearest Broad Gauge Railway Station Is At Pathankot 120 Km. Which Is Linked By Direct Trains To Amritsar, Delhi, Bombay And Calcutta. Regular Bus Service Is Available From Pathankot To Chamba. Any Other Kind Of Transportation Is Easily Available.

By Air:

Air Route To Chamba The Nearest Airport From Chamba Is That Of Pathankot, Located At The Distance Of 120 Kilometer, And Offers Facility For Reaching The Place By Air. Flights Are Easily Available From All The Major Cities, Like Delhi And Chandigarh. Once Dropped At Kangra, Tourists Can Always Board The Buses Running On Regular Basis, On The Chamba-Kangra Route. Taxis Are Also Easily Available.

By Railway:

Train Route To Chamba Is Not Yet Directly Connected By Train. The Nearest Broad Gauge Railway Station Is At Pathankot 120 Km. Which Is Linked By Direct Trains To Amritsar, Delhi, Bombay And Calcutta. Regular Bus Service Is Available From Pathankot To Chamba. Any Other Kind Of Transportation Is Easily Available.

By Road:

How To Reach Chamba By Road The Nearest Bus Station From Chamba Is Located At Chowgan. Bus Service Is Easily Available For Reaching The Place, From Different Destinations Like Delhi, By Road. Generally, The Journey From Chamba To Khajjiar Takes Half And Hours, To Bharmaur Takes Three And A Half Hours, To Takes Dalhousie 3 Hours, To Pathankot Takes 6 Hours And To Dharamshala Takes 10 Hours.

Weather Forecast of Chamba Tourism:

Geography and climate of Chamba Tourism:

Chamba is the headquarters of the Chamba district, bordered by Jammu and Kashmir to the north-west and west, the Ladakh area of Jammu and Kashmir and Lahaul and Bara Banghal to the north-east and east, Kangra to the south-east and Gurdaspur district of Punjab to the south. It has an average elevation of 1,006 metres (3,301 ft).

The town, the district and the valley where the town is located, share the name of Chamba. The town of Chamba is located at the junction of Ravi River and its tributary, the Sal River, with the Shah Madar hill forming the backdrop on its eastern side. The Ravi flows in east-west direction forming deep canyons. During the spring and summer months, the levels of the river rise significantly from snow melt and pose a flooding risk. Record levels were experienced in early July 2005, when the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation was forced to shut down the power generation on its 300-MW Chamera Power Station.

Located on the right bank of the Ravi river valley, built on successive flat terraces, the town is bounded topographically by the Dhauladhar and Zanskar ranges, south of the inner Himalayas. Chamba, despite its hill location, is well connected by road to the rest of the state and country, including Shimla, Delhi and Chandigarh along several routes. The nearest broad gauge railway stations are at Chakki Bank and Pathankot, the latter of which is 120 kilometres (75 mi) away by road.

The temperatures in summer vary between 38 °C (100 °F) and 15 °C (59 °F) and in winter: 15 °C (59 °F) and 0 °C (32 °F). The maximum temperature recorded in summer is 39 °C (102 °F) and the minimum temperature in winter is −1 °C (30 °F). Climatically March to June is said to be the best period to visit Chamba, which is a well known hill station. The average annual rainfall in the town is 785.84 millimetres (30.939 in).

Famous places in Chamba:

Khajjiar – Mini Switzerland

Trekking at Chamba Valley Himachal Praedsh:

Chamba valley is famous for trekking as it has three well-definned snow ranges Laskar, Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal.

Place to Visit in Chamba Tourism:

Champavati Temple:

This temple was built by Raja Sahil Varman in memory of his daughter Champavati. The temple, located near the Police Post and the Treasury building, is built in the Shikhara style, with intricate stone carvings. It has a wheel roof and is large as the Laxmi Narayan Temple. An idol of the goddess Mahishasuramardini (Durga) is worshipped in the temple. The walls of the temple are full of exquisite stone sculptures. On account of its historical and archeological importance, the temple is maintained by the Archeological Survey of India.

Lakshmi Narayan Temples:

The Lakshmi Narayan temples complex, devoted to the Vaishnavite sect, includes the main Lakshmi Narayan temple, built in the 10th century by Raja Sahil Verman. It has been built to suit the local climatic conditions with wooden chatries and has a shikara, and a sanctum sanctorum (Garbhagriha), with an antarala and a mantapa. A metallic image of Garuda, the vahana (mount) of Vishnu is installed on the dwajastamba pillar at the main gate of the temple. In 1678, Raja Chhatra Singh adorned the temple roof with gold plated pinnacles, as a riposte to Auranagzeb, who had ordered demolition of this temple.

Chamunda Devi Temple:

Chamunda Devi Temple is located in a prominent position on the spur of Shah Madar range of hills, opposite to the Chamba town. It was built by Raja Umed Singh, and was completed in 1762. It is the only wooden temple with gabled roof (single storied) in Chamba, while all others in the town are built from stone in the north Indian Nagara architectural style.

In the past, the temple was accessed through a stone paved steep path laid with 378 steps, but it is now approached by a 3 kilometres (9,800 ft) motorable road. The temple, a trabeated structure, is built on a high raised plinth, buttressed on all four sides, and has a rectangular layout on the outside. It exterior measures 9.22 metres (30.2 ft) x 6 metres (20 ft), the inner square sanctum measures 3.55 metres (11.6 ft) x 3.55 metres (11.6 ft) and has a parikrama path (circumambulatory path) of 1.67 metres (5.5 ft) around the perimeter.

There is a mandap in the foreground of the temple of 5.1 metres (17 ft) x 6 metres (20 ft) size with an agni-kund or fire pit in the centre and a gable roof covered with slates. The mandapa has carvings in wood in its multi paneled ceiling with reliefs of human figures on the pillars and brackets. Votive bells are provided in the mandap entrance and it has a Nagari inscription, which records it as the offering from Pandit Vidhadhara to the goddess Chamunda deified in the temple on April 2, 1762, the date when the temple was consecrated.

Akhand Chandi Palace:

The Akhand Chandi Palace, noted for its distinct green roof, was built by Raja Umed Singh between 1747 and 1765 and used as his residence. Later, Raja Sham Singh refurbished it with the assistance of British engineers. In 1879, the Darbar Hall (also named 'Marshal Hall' after the builder) was built. Raja Bhuri Singh added the Zenana Mahal (residence of Royal ladies). The building was exemplary of the fusion of Mughal and British architectural influences. In 1958, the Royal family of Chamba sold the palace to the Government of Himachal Pradesh, who in turn converted it in to a Government College and District Library. Maintenance of the attractive palace, however, which has painted walls and glass work and intricate woodwork, has not been satisfactory, due to the lack of funds allocated to refurbish it. The palace provides scenic views of the Chaugan, Laxmi Narayana Temple, Sui Mata, Chamunda Devi Temple, Rang Mehal, Hari Rai Temple and Bansi Gopal Temple.

Brajeshwari Devi Temple:

This is the temple dedicated to goddess Durga and is famous for the fine carved sculptures.The style which makes the temple different from others is the shikara style and in top there is a wooden amalaka.

Gandhi Gate:

The Viceroy of British Government Lord Curzon had got a warm welcome by a bright orange gateway built in 1900. It is the main gatway of Chamba.

Bhuri Singh Museum:

The Bhuri Singh Museum at Chamba was established on September 14, 1908 in honour of the raja at the time, Raja Bhuri Singh, who ruled Chamba from 1904 to 1919. J. Ph. Vogel, an eminent indologist, and expert on the history of Chamba state, proposed the museum to preserve a number of valuable inscriptions, mostly in Sarda script, which contained some rare information about the medieval history of Chamba; the parasites of Sarahan, Devi-ri-kothi and mul Kihar are still preserved in the museum. Bhuri Singh donated his family collection of paintings to the museum, including royal portraits which ranged from Basohli to Guler-Kangra in style, and embroidered Pahari miniatures. Numerous artifacts, important to the heritage of Chamba were added, including coins, hill jewelry and royal and tradiitional costumes, arms and armour, musical instruments and other items. The current museum was built in 1975 in concrete.

Sui Mata Temple:

The sui mata temple is in between the Chamunda Devi temple and Brajeswari temple.This temple is dedicated to Sui Mata, the local princess of Chamba who sacrifice her life for the people of her kingdom.Colourful paintings on the temple wall depicts the story of SuiMata.


The Chaugan (a Sanskrit word meaning: “four sided”) is the nucleus of all activity in Chamba, surrounded by impressive administrative buildings and a shopping arcade built during the British period, with the old Akhand Chandi palace standing nearby. It has a terraced grass green, and is exceptionally large for a hill station, measuring 800 metres (2,600 ft) length and 80 metres (260 ft) width. In 1890, the British converted five small chaugans into a single chaugan for use as an esplanade and sports complex, and today it is commonly used for cricket matches, picnics and promenades during the mid summer months. During the annual ‘Minjar Mela’ fair, the entire ground becomes a flea market. After the Dussera festival, the grounds are closed to the public until April, for maintenance purposes.

Church of Scotland:

The Church of Scotland, a Presbyterian Church, known as 'St. Andrew’s Church', was established by the first missionary in Chamba, the Reverend William Ferqueen, who served there between 1863 and 1873. The foundation stone for building the new church was laid by the Raja of Chamba on 17 February 1899, in the presence of the Scottish reverend Dr. M’Clymont who had come from Scotland. The Raja had contributed a generous grant to build the church and ensured that it was exquisitely built in fine stone masonry. The walls are supported by buttresses, and lancer arch windows provide the light and ventilation. Several schools are run by the Mission located within the church precincts.

Monuments built prior to 1846:

Buildings in Chamba were traditionally constructed using local materials. Buildings were made out of dry stone masonry, with the walls and floors of the older houses plastered with a concoction of clay and cow-dung. Thick wooden beams were used to support the walls, paying attention to durability and to withstand earthquakes, and wooden cantilever construction was often used to support the verandas. The staircases and doors were made from wood, with the doors often decorated in religious reliefs and flanked by two lamps to light it at night. Before the arrival of the British, who introduced slate roofs to Chamba, roofs were covered with planks, coated in clay. Few of these houses remiain today, although a number still have wood-clay roofs in villages in the suburbs.

The old heritage monuments, which comprise of palaces and temples are located in the old town (east of the Chaugans), on the lower slopes of Shah Madar hill. They were built in the lower valley where the two rivers and steep thickly forested hillsides provided a strong defense. Located here is the 10th century Champavati Temple, said to have marked the birth of the town, the Lakshmi Narayan group of temples (built from 10th-19th century), the 10th century Sita Ram Temple, Bansi Gopal temple, Kharura Mohalla and Hari Rai temple, the 11th century Sui Mata Temple and Chamunda Devi Temple, and the Akhand Chandi palace, overlooking the Chaugan, which has since been converted in to a college. Additions were made to the palace in the form of the Zenana Mahal and the Rang Mahal in the 18th century. The temples built in Chamba demonstrate a strong Kashmiri influence with their stone temple architecture and temple iconography. Given their age however, only their unicellular layout with fluted pillars has been retained.

Monuments built after 1846:

In the second half of the nineteenth century, the British administration drew up an urban plan for the development of Chamba. They laid emphasis on the building of civic buildings around the Chaugan to conceal the unorthodox structural layout of the residential complexes. The western oriented development programme grew particularly active after the arrival of Major Blair Reid in January 1863, during the reign of Raja Shri Singh. The next fourteen years in particular, until his retirement in March 1877, were characterised by large scale building projects in Chamba, with Reid fully revising the administrative and revenue departments of Chamba and reorganizing the state machinery to make development more efficient.

Orderly new building complexes with "simple visual discipline with white plastered walls, lancer arch windows, cornices, sloping sheet roofs, wooden eaves and deep verandahs were planned and built". Road communications were dramatically improved, with the approach road to the town being diverted, to provide a way for vehicular traffic to enter from the western end of the chaugan. A cabled suspension bridge was built across the Ravi River in the lower outskirts of the town, and many important public welfare projects were started, and well as many temples, gates, gardens and churches between 1863 and 1910. Notable works built during the colonial period include the temples in the Jansali Bazar, Gandhi Gate (Curzon Gate), Shiva Temple, the Chaugans, the Police Lines, the Church of Scotland, the Shyam Singh Hospital (built in 1891), Chamba Library, the Post Office building, Bhuri Singh Museum, the State Forces barracks, and the administrative buildings of the British period. Today, architectural materials have evolved considerably since ancient times and reinforced concrete structures are rapidly changing the skyline of the town

Art and Culture of Chamba, Himachal Pradesh:

Chamba Miniature Paintings:

Chamba is noted for its miniature Pahari paintings, where Basohli style of Pahari paintings took roots with Nikku, the artist of Basohli migrating from Guler to Chamba in the eighteenth century. Raja Udai Singh and Raja Jai Singh patronized this school of painting. During the reign of Raja Charhat Singh, folk art developed and had a lasting influence on local artists. The paintings of Chamba encompass both miniatures and murals and the Mughal influence is clearly discerned in these paintings. Distinguished artists of Chamba who have painted in this art form include Lehru, Durga and Miyan Jara Singh. The paintings were generally painted with Hindu religious themes, particularly the legends of Hindu mythology such as Radha Krishna, Shiva-Parvati, Rama Darbar, Yashoda and Krishna, Gopis, love scenes, deer, birds and women, Daya Saptashati and Krishna - Sudama. Romantic ambiance of the monsoon season in Chamba has also been painted by the artists of Pahari miniature art, in various moods and styles in Basholi colours. They are displayed in the museums at Chamba and also at Shimla and Dharamsala.

Handicrafts and Musical Instruments in Chamba:

Chamba is an important centre for the making of traditional handicrafts, and the town has numerous small workshops maintained by the artisans. Many of the items produced are exquisite and lavish, testament to the towns' aristocratic heritage.

Casting metalware in Chamba is an ancient tradition, dating back to the Bronze Age period, with items typically made out of copper or brass, and also iron, especially in the traditional making of implements and weapons by blacksmiths. Of particular note in this trade are the large plaques with reliefs, commonly used for wall decoration. The temple cupolas in Chamba district are often furnished with copper and brass items made in Chamba and often the golden kalasha or vessel crowning them is produced here.

Chamba has its own unique traditional system of men’s and women’s foot wares. The foot wares were originally made from locally produced leather but is today transported to Chamba from the south of India. Women's foot wares are embroidered as are the "vegetarian" foot wares which are purposefully made without leather for use in places where leather is prohibited for religious reasons. Handkerchiefs and shawls are also made in abundance in Chamba. Traditionally handspun, they are designed in such a way as to make both sides of the cloth look identical, and are beautifully embroidered. Chamba shawls are woven on hand looms in wool and typically have a bright border in a traditional design. A similar woven design is used for making caps.

Traditional jewellery is made in gold and silver in Chamba as its pottery, typically kitchenware, utensils and earthen pots. Given Chamba's history of new immigration from other parts of the country and Tibet, a variety of influences can be seen in the pieces of jewellery that are produced in Chamba. Chamba is also noted for its wood carvings, which, like the metalware is often used for iconography in temples, such as Chamunda Devi. A “Nagara”, a form of kettle drum is produced in Chamba as are cymbals, bells and "Singa” or "Ransinga" (horns) produced in both straight and curved styles. Other instruments include Shankh, Nad, Beiunsuli, Saihna, Nag Pheni, Thali Ghada, Bhana, Karnal, Pohol, Dhons, Kahal, Kansi, Hasat Ghanta and Drugg.

Festivals, Fairs and Dances in Chamba:

Two melas or fairs, also known as Jatras, are of particular note in Chamba; "Suhi Mata Mela" and "Minjar Mela". A notable event of such fairs is when the ‘chela’. a subordinate of the deity who is being worshipped goes into a trance and answers the queries and prayers of the devotees.

An important festival held in Chamba is known as the "Suhi Mata Mela". It is held annually in March–April for four days to commemorate the sacrifice made by the queen of Chamba with her life, to bring water to the town. The legend associated with this festival and the Sui Mata temple, built in memory of the queen (wife of Raja Sahil Varman), relates to the sacrifice she made to fulfill a prophesy in a dream, which said that water from the Sarota stream could only be accessed through an aqueduct if the queen or her son was sacrificed. Rather than kill her own son she sacrificed her own life for the town. To commemorate this event, women and children take a lead role in the festival. An image of Champavati, with banners of the Rajput solar emblem, are taken by them in a procession, dancing and singing, through the Chaugan to the Suhi Mata temple.

Another popular festival held in Chamba is the "Minjar Mela", held on the second Sunday of the Shravana month, corresponding to the month of August in the Gregorian calendar. It marks the triumph of the Raja of Chamba over the ruler of Trigarta (now called as Kangra), in 935 AD and also celebrates the paddy and maize crops grown at this time of the year. The festival commences with offerings of 'minjar', consisting of a bunch of paddy plant and golden silk wrapped in red fabric. The offerings also include a rupee, a seasonal fruit, and a coconut. This occasion is also celebrated with a flag hoisting ceremony at the Chaugan that initiates a week of cultural and social programmes. The image of the deity, Lord Raghuvira, and more than 200 other deities, are taken in a procession, in a chariot pulled by ropes. Folk dances and music performances known as 'Kunjari Malhar' are part of the festivities. On the last day of the festival, a parade is held from the Akhand Chandi Palace to Ravi River, where offerings are made to the river. This commemorates an event in which Raja Sahil Verman changed the course of the river, to make the Hari Rai temple accessible to all devotees.

Chamba and the surrounding district have many local customs in dancing, illustrating the differences in geographical, anthropological and social cultures and religious beliefs in the area. A solo dance or a dance of two people such as the Pharati or Khad-dumbi is commonly performed during the Nuwala ceremony and other important occasions, such as marriages etc. and the Dangri and Sikri are said to be of note. Notable male dances include the Gaddi and Gujjar dances, Dandaras, Nat, Ghorda, Nachan, Dharumsde, the Khad-dumbi and the Chhinjhati. Notable female dances include the Ghurei, Dangi and Kikli, whilst dances such as the Shain, Dhamal, Sohal, Sal Kukdi Nachan, Ratege and Til-Chauti are performed by both sexes. Several forms of masked dance are also performed in Chamba, such as the Chhatradhi Jatar.

Costumes in Chamba:

Ancient people of Chamba were known to have worn a fine woolen blanket or chadar around the waist, to keep warm in the cold climate. It was often tied or girdled with a band or patka, as evidenced by some archaeological discoveries in the area depicting this fashion. The Gaddi people have traditionally worn white embroidered caps and loose-fitting white woolen garments known as a chola, tied around the waist with a black wool rope. A local custom in Chamba was to give the Jogi of the Natha sect a cotton maikhal sheet to wear over the head during the Nuwala ceremony to honour Lord Siva. Chamba and the surrounding district have been well documented as being a producer of fine cloth and embroidered dresses for centuries.

Given the history of migrants arriving in Chamba from across Kashmir and Tibet over the centuries, today Chamba has a variety of traditional dresses, defined by the region to which they belong. The most traditional dress worn by Hindu women, on special occasions, is the pashwaj. Pashwaj is a gown with a short bodice (blouse) covering up to the waist. A shirt is worn, below which the dress falls in many folds, nearly touching the ground. The typical casual dress though, however, is a pairahan, with a chadar or dupatta (stoll) worn over the head. The lower half of the body is covered by a pyjama, known as a suthan.

Muslim women also generally wear similar dresses as the Hindu women. However, the one difference is that the tunic they wear is considerably shorter, just touching the knee. They don a small vest called a angi, worn beneath the bodice. A small shirt or kurta is also common. Hindu men wear an angrakha, long tunic that touches the knees. A cloth waist-band and tight fitting pajama and a small pagri (top hat) worn on top of the head completes their ensemble.

Demographics of Chamba Hill Station:

As of 2001 India census, Chamba had a population of 20,312. Males constituted 52% of the population and females 48%. Chamba has an average literacy rate of 81%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with a male literacy of 85% and female literacy of 77%. The main languages are Hindi, the local language of Pahari, and Himachali is also spoken by some inhabitants.

Away from the urban centre, the tribal people of Chamba are divided into two major groups; the Gujjars and the Gaddis. The Gujjars, mainly nomads, came to Chamba across the state border from Kashmir along the trade routes. They belong to nomadic herdsmen of the Islamic community, and travel to lowland Punjab in the autumn with their livestock to avoid the harsh winter of the Chamba hills. Their features are middle-eastern and have a distinct language and culture aloof from the main town.

The Gaddis comprise several ethnic groups; namely the Brahmans, Rajputs, Thakkurs, Rathis and the Khatris, who form the majority. They are agricultural peoples, and the name "Gaddi" means "shepherd". They mainly inhabit an area of the Chamba district in the Dhaula Dhar mountains, known as Brahmaur Wazarat or "Gadaran", located between Chamba and Kangra. "Gadar" means sheep, so their land is informally referred to as "Gadaran", literally meaning "sheep country". They are believed to have come to Chamba in the 10th century, although an influx of Gaddi people migrated to Chamba from Lahore in the 18th century, during the Mughal Empire. They are said to practice animism combined with the worship of Lord Siva.

History of Chamba:

Early history:

Chamba has an ancient history, which is inseparable from that of the surrounding district of Chamba. The earliest rulers were Kolian tribes. In the 2nd century BC the Khasas and Audumbaras were in power in the region. In the 4th century AD during the Gupta period, the Thakurs and Ranas ruled. From the 7th century, the Gurjara Pratiharas or the Rajput dynasty came into power.

The recorded history of the Rajput rulers is traced to an eminent individual named Maru who is said to have moved to northwest India from Kalpagrama, around 500 AD. He founded his capital in the Budhal river valley at a place called Brahmaputra, which later became known as Bharmour or Bhramaur, which is situated 75 kilometres (47 mi) to the east of the present day Chamba town. For three hundred years, kings of Rajput Dynasty ruled from their capital in Bharmour.

However, in 920, Raja Sahil Varman (or Raja Sahila Verma), King of Bharmour, shifted his capital from Bharmour to a more centrally located plateau in the lower Ravi valley, and named the city Champavati, after his daughter. There is some variation in the story to how exactly this transition came about in the historical records of Chamba. One version tells how Varman, who, after being childless for a significant period, was blessed with ten sons and a daughter, named "Champavati". It was Champavati who urged her father to build a new capital town in the valley. However, obstacles stood in the way to relocating his capital, given that the king had previously granted the land in the modern Chamba vicinity to the Kanwan Brahmins. A solution was found in the form of offering a gift of eight copper coins called chaklis on the occasion of every marriage that took place in the Brahmin family, if they would agree to surrender their land to pave the way for the new capital. With the land thus obtained, the new capital was built and named as Champa after Chamapavati, the King’s daughter, which, over the years, was simply shortened to "Chamba'.

A variation of this origin of Chamba is that it originated as a hermitage where Champavati, a devout Hindu, used to frequent. The king, being suspicious of his daughter's fidelity, one day investigated and followed her to the hermitage, but surprisingly he found neither his daughter nor the hermit there. Suddenly he was said to have heard a voice which informed him that his suspicions were ill founded, admonishing him and informing him that his daughter had been taken away from him permanently as a punishment of his lack of trust in her morals. The King, fully chastened, sought redemption for his sin by expanding the hermitage into a temple, named in his daughter’s honour and built a city around the temple. Today this temple, called the Champavati Temple, belongs to the Royal family and the King’s daughter is venerated as a goddess. Every year, since 935, the Minjar festival or fair has been held. It lasts for 21 days, coinciding with the first day of Baisakhi.

Since Raja Sahil Varman, the dynasty ruled, without successful invasion for around a millennium until the British gained power. The isolation of the town and its rugged hilly terrain is believed to have been a contributing factor to this unusual state of security. Later, Mughal emperors Akbar and Aurangzeb did attempt to annex Chamba but were unsuccessful in subjugating this territory into their kingdoms. Raja Prithvi Singh (1641-1664 AD), who was on amiable terms with Emperor Shahjahan was instrumental in introducing the court life styles of the Mughals. He also introduced Mughal-Rajput art and architecture in Chamba and the Mughal influence in the 17th and 18th centuries can be seen in modern Chamba today in the artwork and construction, and the exquisite tastes in its handicrafts.

Modern history:

By the late 18th century, the Sikhs under Maharaja Ranjit Singh controlled the region and had even placed a garrison at Chamba, forced the hill states to pay tribute to them. Ranjit Singh deposed the hill princes, including the more powerful Kangra ruler, Sansar Chand Katoch, but spared Chamba, given that the Wazir Nathu of Chamba had been important as an ambassador in negotiations with Katoch in 1809 and had saved his life in 1817 by succumbing his horse to King Singh to escape during a winter campaign in Kashmir. After Ranjit Singh’s death, Chamba became unprotected and was drawn into the vortex of the disintegration of the Sikh Kingdom.

In 1845, the Sikh army invaded the British territory. The result was disastrous, with the British defeating the army, leaving Chamba in a poor position. Wazir Bagha of Chamba was important in negotiations in its aftermath, and the Rajas of Chamba, upon on the advice of Bagha, agreed to the British suzerainty as part of Jammu and Kashmir in favour of an annuity of Rs 12,000. The Treaty of Lahore was signed in 1846, in which the Rajas agreed to ceding the territory of Chamba district. From then on, relations with the British were cordial, and the all of the Rajas of Chamba under the British rule, Sri Singh, Gopal Singh, Sham Singh, Bhuri Singh, Ram Singh and Laxman Singh were on good terms with the British army officers.

Many progressive reforms and developments were made in Chamba under the British. In 1863, the first Post office was established in Chamba and a daily mail service and a primary school. In December, 1866, a hospital was opened by Doctor Elmslie of the Kashmir Medical Mission. In the late 1860s two new roads to Dalhousie via Kolri and Khajiar were built. Gopal Singh, who ruled from 1870 to 1873, after abdicating, was responsible for building the grand Jandarighat Palace as his summer residence.

Subsequent to India becoming an independent nation in August 1947, the princely state of Chamba finally merged with India on April 15, 1948 along with the other princedoms of Mandi-Suket, Sirmour and all of those in the Shimla hills.

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