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                                                    Chamba

Nestled on the bank of the river Ravi, Chamba town complete 1000 years of its existence. The town stands on a plateau on the right bank of the Ravi river valley between Dhauladhar and Zanskar ranges south of the inner Himalayas. This town was founded by Raja Sahil Varman in the beginning of 10th Century. In the genealogical rolls of the Chamba Rajas, a reference occurs of place, which was adorned with highly fragrant Champaka trees and guarded by Goddess Champavati.
         The temple was built by Sahil Varman in the honour of his daughter Champavati who is worshipped as a goddess in Chamba. This glorious journey of one thousand years is a rich repository a highly civilized, cultured and developed society which existed in the lap of Himalayas. The unique architect of houses and temples, splendid wood and metal craft, world fame Chamba Rumal and Chappal and of course the exquisite pahari paintings are some salient features of this one thousand years young town. The Chamba town has a number of temples, Palaces and stylised buildings. The striking objects of interest are the old temples which exhibit architectural beauty of design and execution. Laxmi Narayana Temple, which is the main temple of Chamba town, was built by Sahil Varman in the 10th century AD. There are several other temples within the complex.
         The temple of Radha Krishna, Shiva Temple of Chandergupta and Gauri Shankar Temple are among these. The ancient temple of Vajreshwari is believed to be 1000 years old and is dedicated to Devi Vajreshwari-Goddess of lightning. The Sui Mata temple can be divided into three parts which can physically spread apart. The Hari Rai temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and dates back to 11th century. A yet another place of interest in Chamba town is the Bhuri Singh Museum at Chamba which came into existence on 14th September, 1908. It is named after Raja Bhuri Singh who ruled Chamba from 1904 to 1919. Bhuri Singh donated his family collection of paintings to the museum. The embroidered Chamba-Rumals are related in style since their drawings were made by pahari painters though the embroidery was done by the household ladies.
          Reference of Chamba town would be incomplete without the majestic Chaugan. It is the heart and hub centre of all activities in Chamba. Tradition is silent as to its use as a polo ground and the name is etymologically distinct from Chaugan, the Persian name of Polo, being of Sanskrit origin and meaning 'four-sided'. Initially the five Chaugan were a single patch of meadow. To mark the completion of 1000 years of this town, the Government of Himachal Pradesh is celebrating the millennium of this town from 14th to 20th April, 2006 in a most befitting way. The celebrations would provide the people the opportunity to have a first hand knowledge of the rich cultural and historical past of the Chamba town.

 

   

 More Details > TEMPLES OF CHAMBA & BHARMOUR

The mountain ranges running through Chamba from south-east to north-west and forming the watersheds of the great rivers are,-the Outer Himalaya or Dhaula-Dhar, separating the Bias from the Ravi ; the Mid-Himalaya or Pangi Range-the Pir Panjal of geologists-separating the Ravi from the Chinab ; and the Main Himalaya closing in the State to the north and separating the Chinab from the Indus.

Chamba has had the rare good fortune to escape the succe'ssive waves of Muhammadan invasion, which swept away all monuments of old Indian civilization on the plains. The result is that its ancient remains are more abundant and better preserved than in any other part of the Panjab.Sir Alexander Cunningham was the first to draw attention, in 1839, to the ancient remains of Chamba, but it was only in more recent years that the whole wealth of antiquarian and especially epigraphical material has come to light. The inscriptions are found all over the State and are remarkable alike for their number and their variety. Excluding the last two centuries, no fewer than l30 inscriptions have been collected, of which 50 are of the pre-Muhammadan and 80 of the Muhammadan period. The oldest inscriptions are in the Gupta character, of the seventh century.

The Chamba District is situated between north latitude 32 11΄ 30″ and 33 13΄ 6″ and east longitude 7549 and 77 3΄ 30″, with an estimated area of 6528 square Kilometers and is surrounded on all sides by lofty hill ranges. The territory is wholly mountainous with altitude ranging from 2,000 to 21,000 feet.

       Colours of Himachal Photo Gallery

HOW TO GET THERE :  

1. Rail : Connected with Pathankot (80 km) which in turns, is connected with Jammu, Delhi, Culcutta & Mumbai.   

2. Road : Shimla, Delhi, Manali Dharamshala and Jammu.   

3. Air : Gaggal airport 10 km, from Kangra town on Pathankot-Manali highway, Vayudoot operates from Delhi, Shimla and Chandigarh.  

Places of Tourist Interest 

Lakshminarayan Temple  

The Lakshminarayan temple complex is very important from the archaeological point of view. This temple was constructed during the 10th century at the time of king Sahil Verma. In this complex, there are five other main temples namely Radha Krishna, Chandra Sekhara Mahadev, Gaurishankara, Tryambakeshwara and Laxmi Damodara. They are artistically decorated and all have been built in the Nagar style. There are also some other small temples in the complex, there is a galaxy of temples in Chamba which are dedicated to Harirai, Champavati, Bansigopal, Ram Chandra, Bajreshwari, Chamunda, Narisingh and Yogi Charpat Nath etc.   

 

Chaurasi Temples of Bharmaur

         IMAGE by P r Bali

   The main temples of Lakshmi Devi, Ganesh, Manimahesh and Narsing in Bharmaur are known as the Chaurasi temples. According to a legend, Chaurasi yogis visited Bharmaur during the reign of king Sahil Verma. Pleased with the King's humility and hospitality, the yogis blessed the king with   
ten sons and a daughter Champawati. The temples dating back to the 9th century, are one of the most important early Hindu temples in the Chamba valley. The distance of   65 km    from Chamba    to Bharmaur is covered by hired vehicles Buses ply only during yatra days in September.   
 

THE EARLY WOODEN TEMPLES BHARMOUR     
                                                S M Sethi  
The successive waves of Mohammdan invasions in the past which had rich have of ancient monuments on the plains were swept off the snow clad mountain lorries of Chamba one of the oldest native states of Indian consequently Chamba proved luckier than most of its sister states of the east while Punjabis not abandoning even a fraction of its rich culture of wealth to foreign power. The temples erected by the rajas of Chamba more than thousand years ago continue to remain under worship until the present times and the temple land grants exacted by them on the copper plates enjoy validity under law even today of special mention are the early wooden temples of Bharmour ( Chamba) . Constructed of heavy and fragrant deodar wood; though easily perishable by nature ; the temples have with stood the vagaries of time and now represent the sole and earliest extant specimen of stone earning techniques as applied to 7th century A.D.    
                  The wooden temples are located in the heart of the village compound known as Chaurasi. At this place Raja Sahila Verman (A .D .920) the founder of Chamba had spent the evening of his life in the company of saint Charpat Nath and other eighty four Siddhas. These eighty four siddhas perform austerities and undertook tapes and were custodian to Samadhi lingas which can still he pointed out in the small green and in which also stand almost all the temples of Bharmour and which for this reason is known as CHAURASI.    
                         Right at the centre Chaurasi like a jewel in the crown stands the monumental temple of `Mani Mahesh' in whose sanctum `garbha grihya' a huge monolithic ` Shiva Linga' is enshrined. Though the temple is believed to have been commissioned by Raja Sahila Verman in the 10th cent. A. D. the small entrance door of the shrine indicates the early existence of Linga around which was built later the present as one lithic stone structure. At a little distance away facing the shrine is the brass image of Nandi bull who in conformity with the ancient texts stand in all tours indicating the solidity and stability of dharma ( Varsbh hi bhagwan dharma) and is intent on gazing at the splendor of his master Devavi Kshana tatpara). and is the one with fatty ( pin kapol kaya ) script of 7th century record the name of the patron King Meru Verman and the mats craft man Gugga. The insription goes on to state that the raja erected the temple in the likeness of mount Meru OM PRASADAM MERU SADRISHAM and equipped it with various mandopao Rangshallas and Chaitya dormers of special mention in the compound of Chaurasi, is the people of Lakshma Devi which gives the appearance of a simple wooden hut from a distance it is the sole temple in Bharmour which reveals several features of ancient wooden shrines in its exquisitely carved massive entrance door way and rich ornamentation of the interior in wood. While the mesons all over India had already resorted to dressed store as building material in this remote and secluded valley the craftsmen still dreamt their dreams in wood producing charming and lasting effect.   Once in side the viewer is heed transfixed by the Devi looking straight at him ( Sam ) with serene and detached expression (samya) and when the viewers eyes travel down and  notices the four armed Goddess  standing in warrior like posture (pratya-alidha) with her right foot planted firmly on the head of the killed buffalo demon while with her left hand she catches the buffalo's tail and lift her whole body vertically . Her standing posture corresponds exactly to the description of Devi Mahatamya.    
EVAMUKVA SAMPUTPAYA SARUDHA TAMA MAHASURAM PANEN KRAMYA KANTHE CASUHENAITAM AVADAYAT    
AVADAYAT  
  
  The physiognomy of the Devi confirms to the eanous of ideal beauty as prescribed in the ancient texts her face is broad like a full moon the nose has the high delicately  arched  bridge like a parrots bill her lips are curved like the `sesamum flowers' her brows are arched like fish or willow leaf. Another brass image of Ganesha is cast by the same pair of the artist and the donor Ganesha wears a Gandhara crown and holds his usual attributes. Only his trunk is turned towards the
right instead of the usual left. The missing leg of the image allude to some past invasion which has taken its toll . 

             The visit to Chaurasi will be deemed incomplete without paying homage to the deity Narsimha whose modest shrine finds place in one corner of Chaurasi. The temple had suffered a serious damage in the earth quake of 1905. In this temple of Narsimha the life size brass image shown seated on a high pedestal in European fashion. The awe inspiring deity true to his attributes has rolling eyes, flaming mouth and seems quite ready to pounce upon and tear apart the belly of Hariva Kashyp whose image finds no depiction in metal but is left to the imagination of the viewers.   

Chattrari temple :   

Though mostly rebuilt, this temple dedicated to Shakti, houses a sanctuary and a colonnade that preserve early examples of carved wood work. The sculptures suggest post-Gupta influence from central India. Cedar columns are fashioned with pot and foliage motifs . Enshrined within the sanctuary is a large 8th century brass image of Shakti; the goddess is richly adorned with jewels and a crown. There are also attendant figurines and a brass image of Shiva  .

MANI MAHESH LAKE (4170 m.) : 

This sacred lake is situated at the base of Mani Mahesh Kailash Peak (5656m.) and is one of the highest lakes in Himachal Pradesh . It is a place of great pilgrimage and thousands of devotees pay their homage and take a dip here especially in the month of August-September when a `Chhari Yatra' is held. The Mani Mahesh shikara style temple is one of the most ancient and beautiful shrines in Himachal Pradesh. 

Chamba  Rumal   

Chamba embroidery of Himachal Pradesh manifests the skilled use of double satin stitch on the body and the stem stitch on the outlines in the polycoloured silk thread. Popularly known as the Chamba rumals, this embroidery was practiced earlier in the Chamba, Bilaspur, Nurpur, Kangra, Basholi regions of Himachal Pradesh. With the concentration of embroiderers around Chamba, the designs depict the narratives of the Krishna legends and other themes in double satin stitch. This gives the unique mirror image patterns on both the sides. The rumals are not only noted for their rich aesthetic effect but also for significance of the subject matter.  

Life to a dying art :- The creations came to be termed as rumals or scarves, as they were mainly produced in a square format.           Read more

DALHOUSIE 

DALHOUSIE As is its name indicates has been named after its founder Viceroy Lord Dalhosie . Situated at 2039 mts. in the outer slopes of Dhauladhar range with its natural beauty and quiet surroundings is the best holiday resort. It comprises of 5 Hills namely Balun, Kathlog, Potreyn, Tehra and Bakrota with heights ranging between 1525 mts. to 2378 mts. It has many level and interesting walks amongst dense forest. It is also interesting to see the Chenab, Ravi and Beas rivers on a clear day from Dain Kund, Kalatop, Panjpulla and Khajjiar are the other places worth visiting. Kalatop is known for its wild life sanctuary and Satdhara is famous for its seven water springs. 

Hotels In Dalhousie

 Some other interesting places and towns in this area are:  

(1) Khajjiar,(2)Chamba,(3) Bharmour and(4)ManiMahesh Holy Lake, Their brief account is given hereunder as they are connected with trekking routes of this region. 

(1) KHAJJIAR (1951m) :

                           KHAJJIAR   Image by P r Bali
 It is one of the most scenic saucer shaped plateau and is surrounded by dense pine and deodar forests. Its beauty has further been enhanced by a small lake in the centre with a floating Island and a temple of Khajjiar deity. There is plenty of wild life in the forest and the area has been brought under Wild Life Sanctuary, There is a 9 hole Golf ground here but is no more in regular use. The lake has been taken up for improvement. It is known as the Gulmarg of Himachal Pradesh. Tourism accommodation is available for stay.
 
 BHARMOUR(2195m.)  It remains the Capital of erstwhile Chamba state during 7th Century and still retains the ruins of old castles & 84 Shivlingam temples. Situated 64 km away from Chamba, is known as the homeland of Gaddi( Shepherds) Tribe, who are semi-nomadic and spend the summer on the Himalayan pastures, grazing their sheep and goats. This place can also be used as base camp for short trekking routes. A sub division of Mountaineering and Allied Sports Institute is also working here, which organizes trekking  Mountaineering programme and provides necessary assistance and guidance to the trekkers and mountaineers.   
KALATOP KHAJJIAR SANCTUARY:  

This sanctuary area with its well laid out trekking jungle trails both at Kalatop and Khajjiar is a tourist paradise. Dense Deodar and Fir forests are places of solitude very close to Dalhousie town. Visitors should look for pheasants and Serow in these forests but should be beware of Black bear which can be encountered often in the area    

          Chamba Links 

            Chamba Information Resource

What Links here

Temples of Bharmaur  Temple at Saho. Architecture of Hill Temples  
Oldest Devi temples     Shakti Temple Chhatrarhi Chamunda temple Devi Kothi
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Gauri Temple

Harirai Temple

Laxmi Naryan

 Laxna Temple Bharmour

  

  Ravi View

Shiv Temple Mai ka bag

     Saho Temple

On the way to Bharmour

 

 Laxmi Narayan Temple