Rich flourishing hills, crystal- clear lakes, and charming mountains is one’s destination wish. The wish can be fulfilled by visiting a small town Chamba, an attractive hill station in Himachal Pradesh. Settling at the meetings of Ravi and Sal rivers, Chamba is a beautiful town with a vital culture and hilly charm. The beauty of the valley is somehow leftover by modern technologies, which makes the weather more pleasant and the environment more clean and clear. The mountains are covered with snow, during the winter season, which makes it a magical sight to witness. Ample activities, fairs, and festivals here describe the beauty and simplicity of the people living.
Chamba is the place for many temples, renowned for their architecture or spiritual presence. Firstly, Kolian Tribes are the people to settle in Chamba during the initial period, in the 2nd century. Later in the 4th century, the Thakurs and Ranas started to rule this valley. Secondly, King Maru came to Chamba in 6th century A.D. He along with his successors ruled the region for around 300 years. It was Raja Sahil Varman who set the base for the Chamba and named it “Champavati” after his daughter’s name in 920 A.D. Due to the tactic location of Chamba as it is surrounded by mountains and rivers, the Mughals didn’t succeed in defeating this region. Similarly, by the year 1845, Britishers took hold over Chamba and made many changes according to them, and later after India got independence in 1947, Chamba became a part of Himachal Pradesh.
This small town is located at an average altitude of 1,006 meters. Chamba is surrounded by various major cities and town from it’s all side as;
How to reach Chamba?
Chamba is a town that has an excellent road condition and connectivity towards all the major cities without. However, being located in the hilly area, one will have to travel by road from the nearest airport or railway station.
By road – Delhi is one of the most preferred and convenient ways to travel to any place in Himachal Pradesh. Distance from Delhi to Chamba by road is 580 km, taking approximately 10 to 12 hours and the roads in truly good condition. One can follow the below mention route as well;
This is the shortest and convenient route from Delhi to Chamba with no major traffic jams on this route and your drive will certainly be smooth, but you will be charged about Rs. 500 in toll. This may sound like a huge amount but the roads and the views that will be presented in front of you will be worth a while.
One can also travel to Chamba via a private or a public bus that is well connected with many major cities as well as local towns. There are regular state-run buses as well as private Volvo bus service from Delhi to Chamba is also very convenient.
By train – The nearest railway station to Chamba is the Pathankot railway station, which is nearby about 120 km away. Regular and frequent trains are available from major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Jammu, Hatia, etc. On reaching Pathankot, you will have the option to either opt for a taxi or a bus to reach Chamba, which takes about 6 to 7 hours from Pathankot to Chamba.
By air – If one wishes to travel to Chamba via air, all you need to do is to go to the nearest airport at Gaggal in Dharamshala, which is nearly 120 km. However, this is not a major airport but you will get flights to Delhi, being 580km and Chandigarh, being at 350 km from here. If you are traveling from any other place except the above two then you first need to take a flight to any one of the mentioned places and then get a connecting flight to Gaggal airport. On reaching Gaggal airport, one can hire a taxi or get a state-run bus to reach Chamba.
What is Chamba Famous for?
Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary – Located on the way to Dalhousie and Khajjiar, Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary is definitely among your top list for visiting places in Chamba. Spread in an area of about 40 square km, this charming park is well fixed up with trekking trails where one can spot ample bird species like pheasants, Eurasian Jay, and Grey-headed Canary. Get ready to dip your feet in the cold waters of Ravi River, to remove exhaustion which makes the park more attractive among the visitors. While you are exploring the park, you will come across the majestic views of snow-covered Pir Panjal Range, surrounding the sanctuary to make you witness more about the beauty. Timing for visiting the park is 7 AM to 6 PM with INR 250/- per person.
Chamundi Devi Temple – Located among the hills and the River, The Chamundi Devi Temple holds a great significance among locals and visitors. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali and is 300-year old. Its heartwarming surroundings make it one of the places in the top list of visitors who come to visit Chamba. While examining the breath-taking views of the Valley and Himalayas from the temple, you will come across various handicraft medium inside the temple. There is no fee to visit the temple.
Chamera lake – The picture-perfect beauty of this lake is what makes the Chamba Valley in the top list of the visitors. The lake is formed by the joining of Ravi River and the major source is the bank created above the lake. Apart from the charming views, the lake also provides several adventurer activities like speed boating, which is very popular among the tourists who come to visit the lake and most visitors come for boating in this clear beauty lake. The timing to visit this lake is from 7 AM to 5 PM with no entry fees, but if you wish to have a boat ride in this beautiful lake you will be charged INR 250/-per person.
Bhuri Singh Museum – The museum is dedicated to the ruler of Chamba, Raja Bhuri Singh. Founded in 1908, the museum was originally started as a place to display the paintings made by Raja Bhuri Singh. But now it is home for artifacts like carved doors, frescoes, coins, and many more historical items that signify the culture and tradition of Chamba. Get yourself initiated to the Chaugan heritage by the antique jewelry, royal costumes, and musical instruments of the royal Chamba family. If you are a history lover, you will love to visit this place. The timing to visit this temple is from 10 AM to 5 PM, being Monday closed. The entry fees may range from INR 10 to 50 depending upon the nationality with camera charges of INR 50.
Akhand Chandi Palace –The Akhand Chandi Palace, popularly known as Chamba Palace, was built by Raja Umed Singh in the 18th century. The palace is an essence of richness in the Chamba district. Located at the peak, this antique palace takes Rang Mahal, Laxmi Narayan Temple, and Sui Mata Temple with delight. It is one of the favorite places to see in Chamba by the visitors who live to visit palaces and want to explore the past. The palace has been built up with three sections which form an incomplete square. Few of the sections were constructed later, the reason why you can see a mix of British and Mughal architecture. The timing to visit this palace is from 10 AM to 6 PM with no entry fee.
Things to do in Chamba?
Attending the festivals- Attending the local festivals of the town of Chamba, is one of the best things one can do here. Festivals here signify the historical values and simple living of the people and hence, mirror the ancient spirituality as well as the cultural aspect of the region. The two main festivals one should attend are; Sui Mata Festival and Minjar Festival. Sui Mata Festival is celebrated in the honor of Princess Sui. This festival is celebrated for four days in either March or April month. Similarly, the Minjar festival is celebrated during the maize harvesting i.e., the month of July or August each year.
Trek – Chamba will never disappoint you when it comes to adventurous activities, especially trekking because it is considered home to the trekking trails such as; Chobia pass, Pangi Valley, Manimahesh Range, Kugti Pass, Jalsu Pass, and Baleni Pass. Chamba is a renowned town around the world for some of the excellent trekking trails that keep it unlike. Trekking is, however, considered as one of the best things to do in Chamba. There are professional guides to ensure your safety during the whole activity. But for a proper and comfortable trekking experience, one must carry suitable shoes, warm clothing, snacks, sufficient water, and most important a first-aid kit.
Shopping – Chamba will take your shopping to the next level if someone loves handmade and unique items for sure. From shawl weaving and unique miniature paintings to needle-crafts and wood arts, one will get a variety of things to explore in the markets of this town. Major shopping places are Chaugan Market, Himachal Emporium, Dogra Bazaar, Chamba chappals, miniature paintings, Kangra and Chamba artwork, and Stew pickle ( also known as Chukh ).
What is the Best time to visit Chamba?
Every month is the best time to visit Chamba due to its beauty and environment.
In conclusion, Chamba is blessed with so many centers of attraction in and around that one will need a lot of time to cover but will be worth the time. From rivers to lakes, from temples to palaces and from the museum to wildlife, one will certainly not be disappointed with Chamba. The people, culture, spirituality are the best to witness in such a beautiful hill station. Away from crowd and commercialization, this place is a perfect holiday destination one should visit.