Chamba is a district located in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It is situated in the western Himalayas and is known for its natural beauty, ancient temples, and traditional handicrafts. The district headquarters is the town of Chamba, which is located on the banks of the Ravi River. Chamba is a popular tourist destination and is particularly well-known for its scenic beauty and its rich cultural heritage.
Chamba town is the district headquarters and a major attraction for tourists visiting the region. It is located on the banks of the Ravi River and is known for its beautiful temples, including the Lakshmi Narayan Temple, Chamba Museum, and the Bhuri Singh Museum. The town also offers scenic views of the surrounding mountains.
Known as the ‘Mini Switzerland of India’, Khajjiar is a small hill station located about 20 kilometers from Chamba town. It is known for its picturesque beauty, with a large meadow surrounded by dense forests and snow-capped mountains. Visitors can enjoy activities like zorbing, paragliding, and horse riding.
Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary:
This wildlife sanctuary is located near Khajjiar and is home to a variety of flora and fauna. Visitors can enjoy nature walks, bird watching, and wildlife spotting.
Bharmour is a small town located about 65 kilometers from Chamba. It is known for its ancient temples, including the Chaurasi Temple complex, which consists of 84 ancient temples. The town is also a base for trekking in the surrounding mountains.
Dalhousie is a popular hill station located about 50 kilometers from Chamba town. It is known for its colonial architecture, including St. Francis Church and St. John’s Church. The town offers scenic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, and visitors can enjoy activities like trekking, camping, and nature walks.
Manimahesh Lake is a high-altitude lake located in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas, at an altitude of 4,080 meters above sea level. It is considered a sacred lake by Hindus and is surrounded by snow-capped mountains. The lake is accessible by a trek from Hadsar, which is located about 80 kilometers from Chamba.
Pangi Valley is a remote and rugged valley located in the upper reaches of the Chenab River. It is known for its natural beauty, with snow-capped peaks, glaciers, and deep gorges. The valley is home to a number of villages inhabited by the Pangwals, a tribe known for their traditional way of life.
Sach Pass is a high-altitude mountain pass located at an elevation of 4,420 meters above sea level. It is located about 127 kilometers from Chamba and connects the Chamba Valley with the Pangi Valley. The pass is known for its scenic beauty and is a popular destination for trekking and adventure sports.
Chamera Lake is an artificial lake located in the Chamba district, created by the Chamera Dam on the Ravi River. The lake offers scenic views of the surrounding mountains and is a popular destination for water sports like boating and fishing.
Hariraya Temple is an ancient temple located in the village of Chhatrari, about 25 kilometers from Chamba town. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is known for its intricate carvings and architecture. The temple is considered a masterpiece of the early medieval period in India.
How to reach
Chamba, Himachal Pradesh can be reached by air, train, and road.
The nearest airport is the Gaggal Airport in Dharamshala, which is about 180 kilometers from Chamba. From the airport, visitors can hire a taxi or take a bus to Chamba.
The nearest railway station is Pathankot, which is about 120 kilometers from Chamba. From the railway station, visitors can take a taxi or a bus to Chamba.
Chamba is well-connected by road to major cities in the region. National Highway 154 connects Chamba to Pathankot, which is the nearest major city. Visitors can take buses or taxis from Pathankot to Chamba. There are also regular bus services from cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, and Shimla to Chamba.
Once in Chamba, visitors can hire a taxi or take a bus to visit the various tourist destinations in the district. Some destinations, like Manimahesh Lake and Pangi Valley, require trekking and may require the services of a local guide.
Where to Eat
Chamba, Himachal Pradesh offers a variety of dining options that cater to different tastes and budgets. Some popular places to eat in Chamba are:
- Chamba Bazaar: The bazaar area in Chamba is known for its street food stalls and local restaurants that serve traditional Himachali cuisine. Visitors can try local dishes like dham, siddu, and chha meat.
- Monal Restaurant: This is a popular restaurant in Chamba town that serves Indian, Chinese, and Continental cuisine. The restaurant offers a rooftop seating area with a view of the surrounding mountains.
- Cafe Ravi View: This is a small cafe located in Chamba town that offers a variety of snacks, desserts, and beverages. The cafe has a balcony seating area that overlooks the Ravi River.
- Chamera Lake Restaurant: This is a restaurant located near the Chamera Lake that serves Indian and Chinese cuisine. The restaurant offers outdoor seating with a view of the lake.
- Royal Treat Restaurant: This is a multi-cuisine restaurant located in the main market area of Chamba. The restaurant serves Indian, Chinese, and Continental cuisine and offers a cozy seating area.
- Dalhousie Delights: This is a restaurant located in the hill station of Dalhousie that serves Indian, Chinese, and Continental cuisine. The restaurant offers a terrace seating area with a view of the surrounding mountains.
- Khajjiar Cafe: This is a small cafe located in the hill station of Khajjiar that serves snacks, tea, and coffee. The cafe has a seating area with a view of the Khajjiar meadow.
Where to Stay
Chamba, Himachal Pradesh offers a variety of accommodation options that cater to different budgets and preferences. Some popular places to stay in Chamba are:
- Hotel Aroma Palace: This is a budget hotel located in Chamba town that offers comfortable rooms with basic amenities like TV and Wi-Fi.
- Classic Hill Top Resort: This is a mid-range resort located on a hilltop near Chamba town that offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. The resort has well-appointed rooms and a range of facilities like a restaurant, a bar, and a spa.
- Panchavati Homestay: This is a homestay located in the village of Khajjiar, about 20 kilometers from Chamba town. The homestay offers comfortable rooms with traditional decor and home-cooked meals.
- Iravati Resort: This is a luxury resort located on the banks of the Ravi River, about 20 kilometers from Chamba town. The resort offers well-appointed rooms and villas with modern amenities like a swimming pool, a spa, and a restaurant.
- Himalayan Resort: This is a mid-range resort located in the hill station of Dalhousie, about 50 kilometers from Chamba town. The resort offers comfortable rooms with modern amenities like a restaurant, a bar, and a spa.
- Hotel Mini Swiss: This is a luxury hotel located in the hill station of Khajjiar, about 20 kilometers from Chamba town. The hotel offers well-appointed rooms and suites with modern amenities like a swimming pool, a spa, and a restaurant.
- Shining Star Resort: This is a mid-range resort located on the banks of the Ravi River, about 15 kilometers from Chamba town. The resort offers comfortable rooms and cottages with modern amenities like a restaurant and a bar.
Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Chamba, Himachal Pradesh:
What is the best time to visit ?
The best time to visit Chamba is from March to June and from September to November, when the weather is pleasant and the skies are clear. The monsoon season from July to August can be unpredictable and may cause landslides.
What are the popular tourist destinations ?
Some popular tourist destinations in Chamba are Chamera Lake, Bhuri Singh Museum, Laxmi Narayan Temple, Manimahesh Lake, Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary, and Pangi Valley.
Is it safe to travel to Chamba?
Chamba is a relatively safe place to travel to, but visitors should take basic precautions like avoiding isolated areas and taking care of their belongings. It’s also advisable to check weather and road conditions before traveling, especially during the monsoon season.
What kind of accommodation options are available?
Chamba offers a range of accommodation options, including budget hotels, mid-range resorts, luxury hotels, and homestays. Visitors can choose an option that suits their budget and preferences.
How can I reach?
Chamba can be reached by air, train, and road. The nearest airport is Gaggal Airport in Dharamshala, the nearest railway station is Pathankot, and the town is well-connected by road to major cities in the region.
What kind of cuisine is available in Chamba?
Offers a variety of cuisine options, including traditional Himachali cuisine, Indian, Chinese, and Continental cuisine. Visitors can try local dishes like dham, siddu, and chha meat at local restaurants and street food stalls.
What to See and Do
Easily the main attraction of Chamba, the chaugan is a large grassy field used for sports, festivals, picnics and evening strolls. British occupants used it as a polo and cricket ground. Today, you can always find someone, from kids to adults, no matter what time of day, enjoying the great expanse located next to the heart of Chamba.
Hari Rai Temple
A visit to Hari Rai Temple takes tourists past the fire brigade, the chaugan, and finally to the eyesore called Gandhi Gate. Ravi River, which is believed to have once flowed as high as the base of the temple, is just a short walk away down a steep hill.
Chamunda Devi Temple
With commanding views of the city and mountainous vista, this temple was only accessible by steps many years ago. Sunrise and sunset are terrific times to enjoy worship.
Laxmi Narayan Temple
Shikhara style temples dating back to the 10th Century, 6 in total, will captivate those who visit. Hand-carved stone stacked directly above inner shrines is capped by wooden umbrellas for a unique architectural style only seen in northern Himachal Pradesh.
You’ll only need 10 minutes or less to experience what’s left of Chamba’s only Christian church. Scottish architecture clashes with neighboring homes and businesses, a homage to the Church of Scotland which occupied this building for decades.
Bhuri Singh Museum
A little pre-visit reading will greatly enhance what museum guests see inside Bhuri Singh Museum. Two floors of local and regional treasures from paintings, weapons, to clothing, are displayed behind glass cases. Although the staff doesn’t speak much English, nearly every sign is written for Hindi and English readers. The real treasures are old photographs depicting Chamba in it’s earlier years when the town oozed charm and character.
Crumbling walls shadowed by overgrown trees aren’t the best reasons to pay a visit to what was once the royal residence of Chamba. What is worth taking note are the local artisans who occupy the former palace rooms. Painters, weavers, and carvers work in relative silence as visitors shop below from a handful of shops equally as run down as the palace.
Chamba’s marketplace is a hodge-podge of the daily basics of vegetables and plastic cups set against modern electronics. An endless stream of people watching is worth a sit wherever you can find a free space. Stroll through the hillside alleys for a look inside smaller shops next to residential homes and offices.