Chamba - An unusual winter destination of India

When you desire an extraordinary break from the banal hill station theme, turn your searchlight towards Chamba, a beautiful Himalayan town just 50 km from Dalhousie. Chamba bloomed as the past capital of the Pahari Rajas; it was named after King Sahil Varman’s daughter Champavati. Nowadays it is the quintessential valley town, renowned for its myriad temples, forests and pleasing hill folk.

Chamba is strewn with elaborately sculpted temples lidded by steeples in the shikhara dash. The shrines are devoted to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. The 10th and 11th century temples of Laxmi Narayan and Hari Rai are peculiarly embellished and popular with pilgrims and sightseers alike.

At 915m, Chamba rises above the River Ravi as it rages by, leaving abundant valleys and compact deodar forests in its wake. The forests are flushed with rich wildlife - ibex, marmot and snow leopard haunt the upper reaches above the snow line, and musk deer, brown bear, leopards and wild boar in the lower elevations. Mountain birds such as the partridge and pheasant flit across the valley. Beautiful waterfalls and streams crumble down the mountainside and at every curve, the valley’s beauty seems to grow.

The Chowgan, a huge grassy field, is the centre of town life - the gathering point for all things religious, political and social. The Gandhi gate on the Chowgan’s south-west face was built to commemorate Lord Curzon’s visit to the town in 1900. Other interesting places are the Akhand Chandi Palace, now a museum and the Bhuri Singh Museum that houses a collection of ancient Chamba artefacts and manuscripts.

Many a trek into the Himalayas is launched from Chamba - through Bhaderwah to Kashmir, through the Sach Pass into Pangi Valley and to other peaks in the Dhauladhars, Peerpanjal and Laskar mountains. Bharmaur (65 km), the ancient capital of Chamba, is a popular village that can be accessed by road. The Gaddi tribes lead their goat and sheep to pasture at Bharmaur in summer. While in the area, visit the sacred Manimahesh Lake where thousands have a holy dip around Janamashtami.

Chamba is bound to bowl you over with its scenic beauty, temples and its sense of tranquillity.

Try it , you’ll like it.

Best time to visit Chamba: Summer - April to October - is quite the best time to be here; the weather is pleasant barring the monsoon months of July and August. Summer temperatures range from 8°C at night to 39°C during the day, while winter temperatures drop to freezing - between 10°C and 1°C. Cotton clothes and light woolens are fine for summer, but heavy woolens and snow clothes are required in winter.

How to reach Chamba: Chamba is 580 km from Delhi and120 km from Pathankot, the closest railhead. The nearest large airports are at Jammu and Amritsar, both 245 km away, from where buses, taxis and tourist vehicles are available. Dalhousie is just 50 km away from Chamba. Within Chamba, you can move around in taxis, jeeps, buses and minibuses.

Accommodation in Chamba: Himachal Tourism and Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam have deluxe rooms in town. There are private hotels, motels and guesthouses where you can get low and medium budget accommodation. Tariffs range from Rs 400 upwards. Book in advance, especially during tourist season.

1 comment:

  1. A hill station famous for its natural beauty, charm, cool and calm climate. Shimla has a unique culture and history which no place can place can have.

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