Chamba, a hill station with temples, palaces and monuments

Chamba, a location embraced by high-ceilinged hill ranges, is located in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India at an elevation varying between 2,000 and 21,000 feet above the sea level and across an area of 6,528 sq. km.

The boundaries: This gorgeous summer holiday site of India is bounded by the Lahaul (East), Ladak area (North-East), Jammu and Kashmir (North-West), the Bara Bangal of Himachal Pradesh (South-East), Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh and the Gurdaspur district of Punjab bordering the southern region.

Since Chamba has come across the region of a variety of rulers from various religions, places and cultures, its full of multi faceted activities from all such backgrounds. This place is blessed with sanctified temples that have been constructed with exceptional architectural craftsmanship, by the rulers of Chamba. 

An overview on the History: This is the only state in north India that holds a perfect history from 500 AD, when Maru, a notorious hero had discovered the river Brahmaputra. The majestic town of Chamba is situated in the valley of Budhal river and 75kms to the east of Bharmour. A few centuries later, King Sahilla Varma subjugated the partitions (Ranas) and segmented them into 5 zones (Mandals, later renamed as Wizarats and then as Tehsils) viz., Chamba, Bhattiyat, Bharmour, Pangi and Churah.

Charismatic Tourist Locations: Chaugan is the centre of all activities in Chamba. The lower Chaugan (bazaar) is a fine grassy sward that spreads across ½ a mile and 80 yards broad.

Other attractive locations here are the Akhand Chandi Palace, the Rang Mahal, the Buri Singh Museum, the Art garden, the Minjar Camping Site, the Rock garden at Devi Dehr, the Rajpura, the Majar of Sai Jamal Shah, the Dayanand Mutt, the Chowari Jot and numerous sacred temples.

This majestic holiday destination of India, has many temples that attract the tourists with their architectural beauty viz., the Lakshmi Narayan temple, the Champavati temple, the Vajreshwari temple, the Sui Mata temple, the Chamunda Devi temple and the Hari Rai temple and have been built in the Shikhara style.

This summer holiday town is prominent for its Lakshmi Narayan Temple (10th Century), built by Sahil Verman. This sacred temple holds the structure of a Mandapa, topped by the wheel roof and wooden umbrellas erected on its platform, protecting the temple from extreme climatic conditions.

Within this complex, temples for Radha Krishnan (built by Rani Sarda in 1825), the Shiva temple (Chandragupta), the Gauri Shankar temple (Sahil Verman for his son Yugkar Varman) have been erected later.

Behind the Treasury building and the City Police Post, lies the majestic Champavati temple built by Raja Sahil Varman in memory of his daughter Champavati. Stone carvings and wheel roof decorate the temple.

A 1000 year old primordial Vajreshwari temple is dedicated to the Goddess of lightning, Vajreshwari. This antique treasure’s roof is enriched with intricate carvings.

The Sui Mata Temple situated in Shah Madar Hill is segmented into three. On the foot of this valley, there is a channel of running water. It is said that Sahilla Varma’s wife had voluntarily sacrificed herself to bring this running channel of water nourishing this beautiful town. In her memory, a small temple has been built and the Sui Mata Ka Mela is conducted every year.

On a raised platform of the Shah Mandir Hills is located the majestic Chamunda Devi temple with exceptional carvings all around the structure. Behind this, a small temple to Lord Shiva is situated. This location offers a spine-tingling view of Chamba.

The Hari Rai temple (north-west of Chaugan) has a bronze idol of Lord Vishnu, Chaturmurthi, existing since the 11th century. It is on a stone platform. The Gandhi Gate here (1900 AD) is the only structure that has been colored with saffron.

A Residential structure, the Akhand Chandi Palace (18th Century) has a Marshal Hall and Zanana Mehal with intricate wood work along with artistic designs on the glass panes. It was sold to the Himachal Government in 1958. This artistic palace offers a splendid view of all the temples.

One of the grandiose monuments in the Surara Mohalla is the Rang Mahal (18th Century) built in Mughal and British styles of architecture. Exhibitions of wonderful paintings and other artistic works are conducted every year.

The Bhuri singh Museum (1975) got its name after Raja Bhuri Singh. This Museum exhibits the Devi ki kothi, Sarahan and the Mul kihar, the Bhagwat purana and Ramayana paintings (Guler-Kangra style), the coins, costumes (traditional and royal), arms, musical instruments, hill ornaments and a variety of decorative products.

The church of Scotland is over 100 years old and is eminent for its stone work and window arts. The art garden is situated on the banks of river Ravi. This site was built by the Tourism department comprising 3 lawns wrapped with beautiful greenery. Located near Devi Dehra is the Rock Garden.