The ancient city of Chamba lies on the banks of the River Ravi and has a rich ancient history that dates back to the 2nd Century BC when the region was ruled by the Khasas and the Adumbaras and eventually the Rajput rulers of the Maru dynasty. Despite of being a small town, due its picturesque location between the Himalayas, Chamba is one of the famous tourist spots in Himachal Pradesh. The ancient temples and the various picnic and trek spots make Chamba a definitive place to visit. The best places to visit in Chamba are as follows.
1. Akhand Chandi Palace
Built between 1747 and 1765 by Raja Umedh Singh, the Akhand Chandi Palace was refurbished by Raja Sham Singh with the British help. The building’s architecture is a fine blend between the Mughal and the British style of architecture. The building was later sold to the Himachal Pradesh state government in 1958, who converted the building into a government college and a Library.
2. Champavati Temple
Champavati Temple was built in the memory of princess Champavati by King Sahil Varman around 935 AD. The temple is built in the Shikhara Style and is known for its elaborate stone carvings. The walls and the doorways of the temple are intricately carved and the temple is thus considered among the most exquisitely designed religious monuments in Himachal Pradesh.
3. Lakshmi Narayan Temples
Built in the 10th century by Raja Sahil Varman, the Lakshmi Narayan Temples are few of the major pilgrim spots for the Vaishnavites. The temples are again exemplary of the Shikara style of temple architecture in India. An image of the Garuda, the mount of Lord Vishnu is installed on a pillar outside the temple. The temple roofs are decorated with Gold plated pinnacles that glisten with the sun light.
4. Chamunda Devi Temple
Chamunda Devi Temple was built by Raja Umedh Singh in 1762 and is a wooden temple with a gabled roof. The temple’s architecture is a marvelous cross between the Indian and British styles and is dedicated to Chamunda Devi an incarnation of the Goddess Durga. The temple is elaborately designed with wood carvings and figures of various deities inside the complex.
5. Bhuri Singh Museum
The museum was established in 1908 to honor Raja Bhuri Singh, the king of Chamba. The construction of the museum was proposed by J. Ph. Vogel, an Indologist who wanted the museum to preserve the various ancient inscriptions that contain the history of Chamba. The Bhuri Singh Museum houses a huge number of paintings, manuscripts, antiquities and artifacts and is a must visit.
Being protected by the Mughal invasions due to its strategic location, Chamba was a prosperous capital of the Maru Rajput clan. The place is also famous for its miniature Pahari style paintings which became a staple of the region should also be checked out. The various handicrafts and the distinctive culture of Chamba along with the natural attractions are few things that do not need a special mention due to their significance in the Indian culture.
Other Major Tourist Destinations In Himachal Pradesh: