Destinations Covered: Chamera Lake – Laxmi Narayan Temple – Rang Mahal – Vajreshwari Temple – Akhand Chandi Palace
Chamba Tour Duration: 04 Day / 05 Nights
The beautiful Chamba town in the state of Himachal Pradesh is situated on the banks of River Ravi. Chamba presents virgin mountain lands with pristine forest-covered extended valleys.Chamba is a dream destination for mountain and nature lovers. The pleasant climatic conditions all around the year, especially the cool temperatures during the scorching summer months of the North Indian Plains make Chamba an attractive tourist spot. The varied and colourful flora and fauna along with the majestic Himalayas at the background add to the natural beauty. Chamba has the blessings of beautiful lakes, fascinating wildlife sanctuaries and popular shrines to offer each tourist what he/she dreams of. Chamba is also noted for exquisite art and crafts. The Pahari paintings do deserve a mention.
How to reach
By Road: The Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HPTDC) buses runs long distances throughout the state and cover all near and far areas around such as Shimla, Solan, Kangra, Dharamshala and Pathankot. Buses also run from all major adjoining states of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and also Chandigarh. Private operators have plenty of buses running frequently and provide a comfortable mode of commutation.
By Rail: The nearest railway station to Chamba is Pathankot, which is around 120 km from the main town of Chamba. Regular trains connect Pathankot to the capital city and other major cities.
By Air: The nearest airport that Chamba has is also the air base of Pathankot, which is again 120 km from Chamba town. Other airports within a range of fair distance are Kangra about 172 km away, Amritsar approximately 220 km away and Chandigarh about 400 km away.
Places to visit
Champavati Temple: The Champavati Temple was built by Raja Sahil Varman and is dedicated to his daughter Champavati. The temple has a unique architectural featurewith its Shikhara style design and intricate stone carvings. It has a roof in the design of a wheel and it is dedicated to Goddess Durga or Mahisasurmardini. The walls of the temple are full of exquisite stone sculptures. The temple has immense historical and archaeological importance and is under the maintenance of the Archaeological Survey of India. This temple is located in the heart of the city and is a significant pilgrim destination for Hindus.
Chamera Lake: Chamera Lake is Nature’s wonder of the wonderful combination of beauty and tranquillity. The dam across the lake adds to the beauty and attraction. Every monsoon with plentiful rains the lake looks like a transparent globe of huge sea-like water body. Enjoy a refreshing boat ride across the cool waters of the lake.The cool clean nip in the air, the conifer covered hill slopes and the widespread valley beauty are mesmerizing.
Bhuri Singh Museum: This museum was built back in the year 1975. This is an excellent place that showcases the art and culture of Chamba. Among the items of interest that draws curious visitors are historical weapons of war, royal dresses of the ancient kings, incredible Kangra painting and a substantive coin collection.
Chamunda Mata Temple: This is a famous Hindu temple that commands an amazing view of the Chamba Valley all around. It is located on Shah Madder range of hills and cosily set on the banks of River Baner and is just 15 km from the famous tourist destination of Dharamshala. This temple, built by Raja Umed Singh in 1762, can be accessed by a flight of 378 steps and alternatively by a road built recently. It offers a spellbinding view of the picturesque township spread below.
Manimahesh Kailash Peak Chamba: This peak is also popularly known as Chamba Kailash. It overlooks a beautiful mountain lake named Manimahesh Lake. This peak is believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva. The Manimahesh Lake, at the base of the Kailash peak is a popular tourist destination of the people of Himachal Pradesh, who come here to take bath in the Holy waters of the lake that is blessed by the Goddess Kali and protected by Lord Shiva. The fifteenth day after the famous Janamashtami festival of the Hindus sees a huge crowd.
Sui Mata Temple: Sui Mata Temple was built in the honour of the sacrifice of Queen Sui who was the wife of King Sahil Varman. It is situated in the Saho village of Chamba. The walls of the temple have exquisite paintings depicting the life of Queen Sui. The temple is also famous for holding annual fairs that starts on 15th March and continues till the first of April. People, especially married women and girls come to this temple to offer prayers to the great queen. This temple offer glimpses of the unique traditions and culture of Chamba.
Laxmi Narayan Temple: This famous and very popular temple was built in the 10th century by Raja Sahil Verman. The Laxmi Narayana Temple is the main shrine in Chamba and is beautifully protected by wooden umbrellas built along with a shell roof at the top against snowfall. It has an idol of Garuda, known for being the mount of Lord Vishnu. This temple is a brilliant example of the rich legacy of history and is an architectural marvel. The temple complex has six temples built in a row from north to south and these are all dedicated to Lord Shiva, Radha Krishna, Gauri Shankar and Lord Vishnu.
Rang Mahal: Rang Mahal was founded by Raja Umed Singh in the 18th century. This is a perfect example of the fusion of the British and Mughal style of architecture. It has surrounding high walls similar to fort walls. The western part of the building was used as a royal treasury and its southern part was later on added by Raj Sri Singh in the year 1860. The walls showcase beautiful paintings showcasing the rich history of Chamba.
Vajreshwari Temple: This temple is dedicated to Devi Vajreshwari and is an astonishing 10,000 years old. It replicates Shikhara-style architecture and is also called Bajreshwari Temple. This temple is located in the busy hub of Jansali Bazaar area of Chamba. It has beautiful carvings and delicate stonework. The pillars have carvings of Hindu deities and 18 short inscriptions on the outer walls and pillars.
Akhand Chandi Palace Chamba: This palace was built by Raja Umedh Singh in the period between 1747 and 1765. It is a work of art and represents the architecture of that period. This temple is situated close to the other favourite tourist spots such as the Sui Mata Temple, Chamunda Devi Temple, Rang Mahal, Bansi Gopal Temple and Laxmi Narayan Temple. It was later renovated by Raja Sham Singh. In the year 1958, the royal family of Chamba sold off the palace to the Government of Himachal Pradesh and it got converted to a Government College and also a District Library.
Things to do
- Visit the famous Champavati Temple or the Vajreshwari Temple or even the Laxmi Narayan Temple, Sui Mata Temple and Chamunda Mata Templefor a wonderful religious experience.
Get intrigued at the Buri Singh Museum
Peep into the enthralling royalty of Akhand Chandi Palace Chamba and the Rang Mahal
Have a glimpse of pure nature steeped in unparalleled beauty at the Manimahesh Kailash Peak Chamba or the Chamera Lake
Where to stay (Best 5 Hotels)
Classic Hill Top Hotel: This property is located near the city square on the Mussorie Road and is an ideal location to stop and relax. It has nice and cosy rooms.It is located on the hilltop and the resort is well maintained. It also offers lounges to chill out and relax, play area for kids, a rejuvenating spa, gym to work out and a lawn in front of rooms on ground floor to relax. Also get the facilities of a swimming pool and play a game of pool, table tennis or choose to opt for a guided trekking expedition.
Camp Little Jaguar: This property is unique and beautiful. It is definitely better than the other nearby camping spots on account of its location and the overwhelming view of the surrounding hills and valleys that it offers. It is located on the Chamba-Mussorie Road close to Kanatal, which is a beautiful and untouched hill station away from the madding crowd. The staffis very friendly and supportive and has a heart-warming hospitality. It is a must stay camp to have the memories of a lifetime. The sunset and the evening bonfire etch beautiful memories.
Tehri Club and Resorts: This property commands greenery all around and fantastic views. The food is lip-smacking and services are warm and hospitable. The hotel scores very well on cleanliness, services and located that are the primary requisites to make any hotel a favourite among tourists. It is located about 4 km from the main Chamba town. The activities like table tennis, pool, badminton and swing for children can keep the guests busy and relaxing. It is a very good choice for a family visit.
Aroma Palace: This property is located almost at the city centre and is a decent hotel to stay. It is clean and provides good views. Room services are prompt and hospitality is benign. The food served is tasty and the general ambience makes for a pleasant stay. The rooms are big and spacious and this property is ideal for a family vacation.
Hotel City Heart: This hotel has both AC and non-AC rooms to suit all budget and needs. The meals offered are very tasty and the hotel also offers excellent views. This is a nice and clean hotel and is sure to provide some memorable moments spent in Chamba with family or friends.
How to go around
The best and the most convenient way to travel around in Chamba is via taxis. Taxis serve as the primary mode of travel for tourists who visit Chamba from far and near. Taxis usually charge a fixed rate for travelling between particular destinations. But rates are always negotiable except maybe in the peak tourist season. Buses are also available in plenty to travel within the district.
Fests & Fairs
Chamba town is known for housing numerous temples and palaces. It hosts two popular fairs, the Suhi Mata Mela and the Minjar Mela. These fairs are celebrated continuously for quite a few days with the accompaniment of music and dancing. The Chaugan in Chamba is famous for being the destination where fairs are held. Chamba experiences the Basohli effect, where two melas or fairs are held. Some notable rituals of these fairs are the events in which an appointed subordinate of the deity being worshipped goes into a trance and replies to the queries and curiosities of the devotees.
The Sui Mata Fair, also known as Suhi Mata Mela, is held annually in the months of March to April for four long days to commemorate the magnificent sacrifice made by the queen of Chamba with her life to bring water to the town. The sacrifice is legendary that demanded the life of the Queen Shui or her son to fulfil a prophecy in a dream. Instead of sacrificing her son she gave up her own life and became immortal through the said sacrifice. This brought water to the kingdom from the Sarota stream.
The second most important and popular festival celebrated by the people of Chamba is the Minjar Mela. This fair is held on the second Sunday of the Sravana month and is a mark of the triumph of the Raja of Chamba. It also celebrates the paddy and maize crops grown during this time of the year and starts off with offerings of minjar, which is nothing but a bunch of paddy plant and golden silk wrapped in red fabric.The other attractive offerings are rupee, seasonal fruit and coconut. It also hoists the national flag at the Chaugan and begins a week-long cultural and social programme. Lord Raghuvira along with a multitude of 200 other deities is carried in a procession. The chariot is pulled by ropes with the accompaniment of lively folk dances and music performances known as Kunjari Malhar. The last day of the festival sees a wonderful parade from the Akhand Chandi Palace to Ravi River. People pray with offerings to the river to celebrate the incident of Raja Sahil Verman changing the course of the river in order to make the Hari Rai temple better accessible to all devotees.
The livelylocal customs involve dancing that represents the differences in geographical, anthropological and social associations and religious beliefs of the people of Chamba. There is one very popular solo dance or a dance of two people such as the Pharati or Khad-dumbi. These dances are performed during the Nuwala ceremony and in marriages and other major occasions. The Dangri and Sikri are graceful dances by men that include the Gaddi and Gujjar dances, Dandaras, Nat, Ghorda, Nachan, Dharumsde, the Khad-dumbi and the Chhinjhati. Popular female dances include the Ghurei, Dangi and Kikli. And some are performed both by men and women alikesuch as Shain, Dhamal, Sohal, Sal Kukdi Nachan, Ratege and Til-Chauti. Masked dance such as the Chhatradhi Jatar are also very popular.
A huge and popular fair is held every year at this Manimahesh Lake that is situated at the base of Mountain Manimahesh Peak of Chamba in the month of August or September. It is a famous religious haunt for the people of Chamba and around.
The summer season of Chamba extends from the middle of April till the end of June. Summers see a pleasant climate. The weather is warm at day time with cool and pleasing nights. The summer temperature might rise to 38°C.
Monsoon in Chamba begins in the month of June and continues till mid-September. The weather remains misty and cloudy. The valley appears sparklingly beautiful with freshly drenched leaves glistening under the bright sunshine.
Winter season in Chamba is cold and the temperature drop to below freezing point. Chilly winds blow during the winter months of December till February. Occasional snowfall is common. The minimum recordedwinter temperature is 0°C and maximum is 15°C.
Chamba Itinerary (4D/3N)
Day 1Chamera Lake
Arrival at Chamba at Dalhousie and warm welcome by our representative. You shall be escorted to the hotel/resort of your choice. After you take in a lavish meal and relaxation in your appointed room proceed for the day trip to Chamera Lake, Bhuri Singh Museum and Chamunda Mata Temple.
- Spend a lovely day on the water front of the magnificent Chamera Lake that is contained by a dam and surrounded by majestic mountains and deep woods of pine and cedar. The lake provides ample opportunities for thrilling water sports such as rowing, boating, sailing, canoeing and kayaking.
- Curious travellers find great interest in Bhuri Singh Museum as they glance through the weapons of war, traditional dresses of ancient kings and queens and other items belonging to royalty.
Visit the deeply religious abode of Chamunda Mata Temple, which is a famous Hindu shrine. Also enjoy the stupendous natural beauty of the valley spread all around. The breath-taking view of the lazy township spread below is immensely enjoyable.
After returning to the hotel, have a delightful dinner and some intimate moments in the relaxed atmosphere of the hotel. Retire to your rooms for an overnight peaceful stay at the calm and quiet Chamba Valley.
Day 2 Laxmi Narayan Temple, Rang Mahal and Vajreshwari Temple
Wake up early to enjoy nature walk and explore the property. Watch the rosy sunset amidst the gorgeous Himalayas. After a sumptuous breakfast, proceed for pleasure hunt in the wide valleys of Chamba under the able guidance of our representative.
- Day2 will begin in a profound religious note with a visit to the famous Laxmi Narayan Temple. Chamba is a land of infinite famous shrines and the Laxmi Narayana Temple is one of the most important among them. It has a unique architecture and is evokes wonder among the devotees.
Next destination is Rang Mahal, which was founded by Raja Umed Singh in the 18th century. This is another beautiful temple with unique architecture.
The last but not the least stop for the day would be the famous Vajreshwari Temple, which is dedicated to Devi Vajreshwari. It is a wonder to witness 10,000 years old structure with exquisite carvings and intricate stonework.
After the day’s fun and picturesque travel, return to the hotel in Chamba/Dalhousie for an overnight stay. Candle light dinners and special room decoration can be arranged for couples or families or even for children on request.
Day 3 AkhandChandi Palace and relaxation, photography and shopping
Start of your Day 3 in a frenzy and prepare for a visit to some extraordinary tourists haunts and grab some local flavour.
- Visit the famousAkhandChandi Palace of Chamba built by Raja Umedh Singh and breathe astonishment in the perfection and superiority of architecture and designing of that period. This temple is situated short distance from the other favourite tourist spots such as the Sui Mata Temple, Chamunda Devi Temple, Rang Mahal, BansiGopal Temple and Laxmi Narayan Temple. So all the temples can be covered together in one day, if someone wishes.
Pick the rest of day for relaxing and enjoying the beauty of nature. Perch yourself on some serene viewpoint and indulge in photography. Catch the mountain sunset from a vantage point. Go to the local market to enjoy some shipping. Breathe in peace and solitude. Visit the local market for buying local specialities, handicrafts, trinkets, mementos and other knick-knacks.
Reach back the hotel for a stay for the last night before leaving for home and get back to daily grit and grind.
Day 4 Departure from Chamba
Time to leave the mountain paradise of elusive Chamba with all its lovely mountains, quaint hamlets and extensive valleys, verdant greenery and dense forests! Our representative shall bid farewell for your final lap back home.