Chamba

It's a beautiful, if somewhat hair-raising 56 km trip from Dalhousie to Chamba via Khajjiar. The views down over the terraced fields are spectacular, with tiny villages clinging to the sheer slopes of the valley. Chamba lies in a valley at an altitude of 926 m quite a bit lower than Dalhousie, so it's warmer in the summer. Perched on a ledge flanking the Ravi River, it has often been compared to a medieval Italian village and is famed for its ancient temple. For 1000 prior to independence, Chamba was the headquarters of a district of the same name, and was ruled by a single dynasty of Maharajas. The town was founded by Raja Sahil Varman, who shifted the capital here from Brahmaur and named it after his daughter, Champavati.

Chamba has a grassy promenade known as the Chowgan, which is the focus for the Minjar and Sui Mata festivals.

Places to see

Lakshmi Narayan Temple
Regarded as the oldest as well as the largest one in Chamba, Himachal Pradesh, the Laxmi Narayan Temple attracts a whole lot of visitors. The six temples in the Laxmi Narayan Temple complex are arranged from north to south and are dedicated to either Shiva or Vishnu. There are also some other temples housed in the complex which together make it extremely attractive. These other shrines include the temple of Radha Krishna, Shiva Temple of Chandergupta and Gauri Shankar Temple.

Though built in the 10th century, the Laxmi Narayan Temple continued to be decorated by rajas who occupied the throne of Chamba afterwards. For example Raja Balabhadra Verma added the metallic image of Garuda on a high pillar at the main gate of the temple while Raja Chhatra Singh contributed the gilded pinnacles on the temple tops. The latter was done as a protest against the orders of Aurangzeb to destroy the temple.

Bajreshwari Temple
Just outside the town of Kangra is the temple dedicated to Bajreshwari Devi. Known once for its legendary wealth this temple was raided by various invaders from the north. Destroyed completely in 1905 by an earthquake, it was rebuilt in 1920 and continues to be a busy place of pilgrimage.

Chamunda devi temple
Chamunda Devi Temple is located in Dharamshala (Kangra). It is an enchanting spot with glorious views of the mountains, the Baner Khud, Pathiar and Lahla forest.

Sui Mata Temple
Sui Mata temple is located between the Brijeshwari and Chamunda Devi temple. The temple is dedicated to the local princes Sui Mata who sacrificed her life for the people of chamba. The vibrant paintings on the walls of the temple depict the life story of Sui Mata.Harirai Temple.Brahmaur

Sai Baba Temple: Maharaja Bhupinder Singh had originally intended this to be the site of his palace, and had even started building it, but as is believed, a `sidh', saintly person appeared in the Maharaja's dream, and declared that this was the place where he had meditated. As a result, Bhupinder Singh shifted his venue and built a temple on the spot.

Cricket Ground: Built in 1893, after levelling a hilltop, this cricket pitch at 2444 m is the world's highest cricket and polo ground.

Wildlife Sanctuary: Ghoral, kakkar, sambhar, red jungle fowl, and khalij, cheer pheasants are some of the inhabitants of the Chail wildlife sanctuary.

Kufri: A long and enjoyable drive through lush forests and quaint villages takes one to the small but thoroughly popular hill station of Kufri. Its main attractions are the Himalayan Nature Park, and the exciting trek and horse rides that leads to the divine Mahasu peak.

Sadhupul: Halfway between Kandaghat and Chail is the tiny village of Sadhupul, and the bridge over the Ashwani stream, a popular picnic - spot.
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