Chamba Tourism | Chamba Hill Station | Tourist Places Chamba
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:
Location:At an altitude of 926m.Chamba is 56 km from Dalhousie via Khajjiar. Distance 600 kms from Delhi.
Elevation:3,268 ft (996 m)
Languages:Pahari(local language)English ,Hindi and Himachali
Best time to visit in Chamba Hill Station:March-June
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
Chamunda Devi Temple:
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:
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.
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:
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.
Church of Scotland:
Monuments built prior to 1846:
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:
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:
Handicrafts and Musical Instruments in Chamba:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.