Places of Interest at
The Chaugan is the heart and hub center of all activity in Chamba. According to Dr. J. Hutchison, “ The town is built on two terraces. On the lower is the Chaugan a fine grassy sward, about a half a mile long by eighty yards broad. 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; Besides being a public promenade and recreation-ground, the Chaugan was utilized for State Darbars and sports”.
large spaces are unique of their vastness in a hill station. Initially the
five Chaugans were a single patch of meadow which was used for purpose
mentioned above. In the 1890 the leveling of chaugan was done. It become a
public promenade and Cricket ground for the British. Annual Minjar Mela is
held in the Chaugan when most of it is converted into a Bazaar. Local people
including men, women and children can be seen promenading in the chaugan
till late night. During summer many families bring food from home to chaugan
and dine in open air. A large number of people can also be seen sleeping
during night in the chaugan. Gaddies with their dears can also be seen
camping on the outsidrats of this beautiful public promenade. Chaugan is
closed for public after Dushera to April to carryout maintenance.
Laxmi Narayan Temple
Laxmi Narayan Temple, which is the main temple of Chamba town was built by Sahil Verman in the 10th century A.D. The temple has been built in the Shikhara style.
The temple consist of Bimana i.e. Shikhara and Garbhgriha with a small antralya. Laxmi Narayan Temple has a Mandapa like structure also. The wooden Chhattries, the wheel roof, atop the temple were in response to the local climatic conditions as a protection against snow-fall.
There are several other temples within this complex. The temple know as Radha Krishan was erected as late as 1825 A.D. by Rani sarda, queen of Raja Jeet Singh. The Shiva temple of Chandergupta was also believed to have been built by Sahil Verman while the construction of Gauri Shankar Temple is ascribed to his son and successor Yugkar Varman.
temple of Lakshmi Narayana continued to be embellished by the Rajas who
succeeded to the throne of Chamba. Raja Balabhadra Verma perched the
metallic image of Garuda on a high pillar at the main gate of the temple.
Raja chhatra Singh placed gilded pinnacles on the temple tops in 1678 as a
reaction against the orders of Aurangzeb to demolish the temple. Later Rajas
also added a shrine or two thus enriching the complex.
This temple is located
behind the City Police Post and Treasury building. As mentioned earlier the
temple was built by Raja Sahil Varman in memory of his daughter Champavati
who is believed to have influenced her father to set-up Chamba at its
present location. The temple is in the Shikhara style with elaborate stone
carving and the wheel roof. The size of this temple is equivalent to the
largest of Laxmi Narayan Temple.
ancient temple is believed to be 1000 years old and is dedicated to Devi
Vajreshwari-Goddess of lightning. The temple is situated on the northern
most corner of the town at the end of Jansali Bazaar. No historical record of
the temple is available. The temple is built in the Shikhara style with
wooden Chhattries and stands on the platform. The Shikhara of the temple is
elaborately carved. There are two other minor temples on either side of the
Sui Mata Temple
This temple can be divided into three parts which can physically spread apart. The temple of Sui Mata is on an elevation of Shah Madar Hill. A steep flight of steps comes down to a small pavilion just above the Saho road. From the Saho road the flight of steps continues down to the main town a little to the east of Chauntra Mohalla. At the end of the flight of steps there is another small pavilion with gargoyles with running water. The flight of stone steps to the aqueduct from the Sarota stream was built by Sarda, the Rani of Raja Jeet Singh (1794-1808). According to the legend when Raja Sahil Varman founded the town and made this aqueduct for water supply to the town the water refused to flow. It was ascribed to supernatural causes. It was prophasised that the spirit of the stream must be propitiated, and the Brahmins, on being consulted replied that the victim must either be the Rani or her son. Another tradition runs that the Raja himself had a dream in which he was directed to offer up his son, where upon the Rani pleaded to be accepted as a substitute. Thus on a appointed day the Rani along with her maidens was buried alive in a grave. The legend goes on to say that when the grave was filled in the water began to flow.
memory of her devotion a small shrine was erected at that spot and mela
called Sui Mata Ka Mela was also appointed to be held annually from 15th of
Chait to the first of Baisakh. This fair is attended by women and children
who in their best attire sing praises of the Rani and offer homage to the
Rani for her singular sacrifice.
Chamunda Devi Temple
This temple is located on the spur of the Shah Madar Hill overlooking the town to its south east. The temple stands on a raised platform. The temple has artistic carvings on its lintel, pillars and the ceiling. Behind the main temple is a small shrine of Lord Shiva in the Shikhara style. There is another platform in front of this temple where two very old peepul trees provide shelter to the visitors. From this platform a bird's eye view of most of the land marks in the town including Chaugan, Circuit House, most of the temples and river Ravi can be had. The temple is being looked after by Archaeological Survey of India.
temple can be approached by road from Chamba (3 kms). It lies on the right
hand side of the Chamba-Jhamwar road. School going children and pilgrims
prefer to take the flight of steps from Sapri to this temple. There steps
were got constructed by Raja Raj Singh (1764-1794 AD).
Hari Rai Temple
This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and dates back to 11th century. It was probably built by Salabahana. This temple lies in the north-west corner of the main Chaugan, which had became the official entrance to the town by the end of 19th C. A steep path leads to the old Shitla bridge, which was constructed in the year 1894. The temple is built in Shikhara style and stands on a stone platform. The Shikhara of the temple is finely carved. This is one of the major old temples, which is away from the old township and the only one near the Chaugan.
Much of this temple is hidden behind some unimaginative structures of the British period behind the Gandhi Gate and the Fire Station Building. The Gandhi Gate was built in the year 1900 to welcome Lord Curzon, Viceroy. It is the only structure that has been coated with saffron colour and stands out because of its prominent colour.
temple enshrines a marvellous bronze image of Lord Vishnu in the form of
Chaturmurti. The temple of Hari Rai is believed to be of great antiquity and
legend affirms that the Ravi once flowed in a shallow stream across the
Chaugan and the temple had to be approached by stepping.
Akhand Chandi Palace
of this residential building of the Chamba family was started by Raja Umed
Singh sometimes between 1748-1764 AD. The place was rebuilt and renovated
during the reign of Raja Sham Singh with the help of British engineers. The
Darbar Hall (Marshal Hall) was built in 1879 by Capt. Marshal and the Zanana
Mehal was added in the reign of Raja Bhuri Singh. The subsequent additions
and alterations clearly betray the Mughal and the British influence. In 1958
the Palace building was sold by the descendants of the royal family to the
Himachal Government. The latter handed it over to the Education Department
for the purpose of starting a Government College and District Library. The
beautiful structure of the palace with its painted walls and glass work,
ceiling, intricate woodwork are fast deteriorating, since sufficient funds
are not available for the maintenance of this monument. The palace has a
commanding view of the Chaugan, Laxmi Narayana Temple, Sui Mata, Chamunda
Devi Temple, Rang Mehal, Hari Rai Temple and Bansi Gopal Temple.
One of the largest
monuments, Rang Mahal is located in Surara Mohalla. The foundation of Rang
Mahal was laid by Raja Umed Sing (1748-1764). The super structure of
RangMahal, which is in brick belongs to a later date with its southern
portion built around 1860 by Raj Sri Singh. The architecture of Rang Mahal
is an amalgam of Mughal and British styles. This palace was the residence
for a branch of the ruling family. Its fort like looks justify its use as
royal granary and treasury which is on its western side. Once the palace
must have hummed with activity of busy servant and the frolics of the royal
blood but now under the aegis of Handicrafts Department of the State
Government, most of the rooms of this palace are being used as work-shops
for making shoes, chapples and rumals. A number of decorative and colorful
wall painting have been removed and taken to National Museum of Delhi. Some
of the wall paintings and richly painted doors of the palace can be seen
preserved in the Bhuri Singh Museum of Chamba.
Bhuri Singh Museum
Bhuri Singh Museum at Chamba opened formally on 14-09-1908, 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 idea to open a public museum came from J. Ph. Vogel, an eminent Indologist who was serving A.S.I. and who through an intensive exploration had discovered, read and analyzed old inscriptions dispersed far and wide in the territory of Chamba state. These inscriptions mostly in Sarda script shed important light on the mediaeval history of Chamba. The parasites of Sarahan, Devi-ri-kothi and mul Kihar are now preserved in the museum.
of Bhagwat Purana and Ramayana in peculiar style are inspired by Basohli
idiom of painting whereas Krishna, Sudama, Rukmini vivah and Usha-Anirudh
and portraits in prime Guler-Kangra style were executed by the artists who
were patronized by the Chamba rulers. 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.
Besides these major items of collections, there are coins, hill jewelry and costumes- both traditional and royal, arms and armour, musical instruments and various decorative objects.
The old museum building which merged well with the landscape of Chamba was pulled down and the present concrete monolith was inaugurated in 1975. The museum remains open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM throughout the year except on Monday and other gazetted holidays.
the hundred years old this Church was founded by a mission of Church of
Scotland. This Church is remarkable for its fine stone work and buttress and
lancer arch windows. The Church was founded by its first missionary the Rev.
William Ferqueen in Chamba from 1863 to 1873.
Art Garden / Minjar Camping Site
proposed site is located at the entrance of the entrance of the town on the
bed of Ravi river.
This site has been built by the Department of tourism by making 3 lawns
which has been covered with green grass
and a good place for picnic also. Presently wall statue are being build on
wells to depth the culture of Chamba which
has recently been appreciated by the Minister of Tourism during his recent
visit to Chamba from Tourism angle.
There is a proposal to provide Restaurant facility in the vicinity. The site
is approachable by road. One can have a charming view of the Ravi river
flowing from the site. Particularly in the evening time during summer
Rock Garden At Devi Dehra
site is located on main road from Banikhet to Chamba at a distance of 10 kms
from Banikhet. It is just near the Devi Dehhra temple and is located on both
sides of the main road. In one site the Tourism Department have built 3
grasses lawns for use of the tourists. On other site there is a proposal to
built a Café to the tune of Rs. 31 lakhs approximately to provide seating
facilities to the tourists on way to Chamera reservoir and Chamba town.
Besides this small picnic spots with green grass have been built up for use
of the tourists. Not only this a small water fall by diverting a water kul
has been constructed to attract more and more tourists. It has been noticed
that the passing tourists are enjoying these picnic spot and water falls.
With the passage of time the spot will become one of the picnic spot on way
from Banikhet to Chamba and Chamera enable the tourists to stop over for at least
a day. Thus after its completion the stay of tourists is expected to
be extended by another one day, in Chamba Division.
and the Famous Majar of Sai Jamal Shah
a small village located on Chamba-Tissa road at a distance of 10 kilometers from Chamba town. The village has gained significance owing to the location
of majar of Sufi faquir called Sai Jamaal shah which is venerated with great
religious fervor by both Hindus and Muslims. The majar comprises of four
square brick pillars over which rests a slate conical roof with gables at
each side. Every Thursday the people from
Chamba and from places outside Chamba throng to this place to offer
their prayers. A chadar is laid on the majar or floral tributes paid by the
Dayanand Math based on the principals of Arya Samaj is functioning in
Chamba since 1970. Situated in once abandoned place called Julhakri,
Math was founded by Swami Sarvanand Maharaja of Punjab. The rems of the math
were later handed over by Sarvanand Maharaja to his brilliant disciple Swami
Math has since turned out to be a great religious centre. People from far
and wide visit the place for their spiritual gratification. Swami
Sumedhanand besides being a spiritual giant is a good administrator and the
Math is progressing in its aim by leaps and bounds. The Math has to its
credit, a Sanskrit college, a school called Adarash Bal Vidyalaya, an
Ayurvedic Pharmacy and a Vedic library.
Jot (Chowari Pass)
jot is located almost midway between Chamba and Chowari. On one side of
Chowari road is nature's wonder Khajjiar and on the other is Kainthli Dhar
full of deoder and kail trees. Its altitude from main sea level is 8000
feet. It snows heavily in winter but it is quite pleasant in summer. The
blossoming rhododendron fill the place with beatitude in April-May. The
Gujjars/Gaddis generally use this route while migrating to and from plains.
The nature seems to be at its best. Apart from sightseeing the place is idel
for treeking. A beautiful view of sun set is obtained from this place. It is
a shortest route from Pathankot to Chamba. The place is located at a
distance of 18 kilometres from chowari and Chamba respectively.
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