One step towards Chamba (Himachal Pradesh) is enough to capture your heart for a lifetime. At every moment, in every step, in every way, Himachal is truly ‘Unforgettable Himachal’. The mountains were bathed in the glory of the rising Sun and everything looked “KAZZAM” (magic). The trees were so high that they seemed to be receiving messages straight from the heavens. The silence of the forest, the echo of the trees, The murmuring sound of the wind blows, round and around and look to the sky, Through the tall deodars, I saw the clouds float by. The clouds are like angels come out to play with me.
We had left the scorching heat of the plains far behind and felt like wearing woolen and warm clothes. It was like heaven all around in Chamba with greenry, the clouds passed by me and invited me to dance with them. The place giving me space to feel inside me, made me recite poems. The Ravi River flows through this district & the sound of the water flowing helped me count my heart beats. I felt ecstatic listening to those beautiful compositions created by flowing water.
It was simply unbelievable that I inhabited the same land, I felt like being somewhere else; I don’t which planet; I had landed on. The word “mitti” would get me the smell of earth, fresh and damp after a drizzle, and “aakash”, “cloud”, “hawa”, “hills” and such other sweet words would light up my world. All the romance in the heart which was developing inside me found full expression and made me remember the Hindi movie song “parbat ke peeche Chambay da gaon, gaon mein do premi rehte the…”
At night, the place was fully lit with moon light. I could see the moon smiling and I joined in the smile. There is unbroken quietness in the mountains at night; the million stars are like dancing lights, I just choose one and it is mine …I leave the rest For poets and philosophers. Suddenly I heard yell, Hush!!! Don’t wanna miss His words! God yells out I am here, I love you, look at what I have created for you”. If there is so much beauty here, what will heaven be like? It will be wonderful. It is the time that I realize how much God loves us. That’s why Chamba is best known for its temples, Mughal-Rajput art and unique architecture.
Chamba was founded at the instance of the ruler, “Sahil Varman’s” daughter, Chameshni. A variation says that the place name comes from the “Champaka” flowers. Chameshni, is worshiped in Chamba as goddess.
Chamba the land of lord Shiva is famous for its untouched natural beauty. The district has Dalhousie, Khajjiar, Chamba Town, Pangi and Bharamour as main tourist destinations. Pleasing climate of the place is another factor why Chamba is one among the popular tourist destinations in the whole of India. There is so much beauty all around me to see, touch, and hear. Nature is so miraculous because it is always changing. No matter how many times you look at something, it is always different.
Lakshmi Narayan Temple
It is the main temple of Chamba. It was built in 10th century by Raja Sahil Verman. It is built in “Shikara” style. The six temples in the Laxmi Narayan Temple complex are arranged from north to south and are dedicated to either Shiva or Vishnu. The legend of the temple states that Raja Sahil Verma, who constructed this temple, sent nine of his sons to the Vindhyas Mountains to get marble which was suitable for the construction of the Vishnu idol.
Minjar Mela is celebrated in the Chamba valley of Himachal Pradesh in India, as a souvenir of the victory of the King of Chamba over the ruler of Kangra, in 935 AD. The history about this fair is that when The King returned, people greeted him with shafts of paddy and maize, as a gift symbolizing prosperity and happiness. Minjar Mela is organized in August every year to thank God and ask for his blessings for a good yield. The fair runs for a week and its main highlights are folk singing and dancing which show the cultural heritage. The offerings include a rupee, a seasonal fruit, a coconut, and a ‘Minjar’, made up of shafts of paddy wrapped in red and golden silk fabric.
Pangi is one of the tribal places in Himachal where we can see the Raw beauty of nature as well people. Nature has gifted the valley with a variety of flora & Fauna. The valley is characterized by grassy slopes and rich forests that contain cedar and pine trees.
The woolen shawls of the area are well known for their simple authenticity and patterns.
Khajjiar is a lovely and attractive place to watch and enjoy in Himachal. One of the most scenic places in Himachal, Kahjiar holds you spellbound by its meadows surrounded by forests all Around and its quaint lake in the middle with its floating island. Photographers here are bound to have you photographed in Chambyali dress. There is plenty of wild life in the forest and the area has been brought under wild life sanctuary. This is like a magical paradise. A temple dedicated to Khajjinag is also located there. Khajjiar is also called “Mini Switzerland” of India.
Dalhousie is charm of the Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh. Absolute covered with soft grass carpet views of the plains, long silver line of mountain, the river Ravi twisting and turning below Dalhousie, give it its abundant charm. The spectacular snow-covered Dhauladhar Mountains are also visible from this enchanting town.
This is the land of legendary Gaddies, i.e. Bharmaur. Bharmour once called Brahmpur was the ancient capital of Chamba state for more than four hundred years. This place is famous for its old temples and for its nature beauty. The scenic view of this place drive anyone crazy because of its spruceness (grayish green to dark greenish black). The whole place once used to be called as Shiva Bhumi since it was place where people worshipped Lord Shiva once. Due to the earth quake, this place now became deserted but still it is the most attracted tourist destination; be it for its solitariness (loneliness) or for its scenic beauty.
One of the most important pilgrimage spots in Himachal Pradesh. Every year, on the eighth day of the half moon in the month of ‘Bhadon, “August” a fair is held at the lake, which attracts thousands of pilgrims, who assemble here to take a dip in the holy water. Lord Shiva is the presiding deity of this fair / yatra. He is believed to reside at Mount Kailash. A rock formation in the shape of a ‘Shivling’ on Kailash is considered to be the manifestation of Lord Shiva. The local people call the snowfield at the base of the mountain Shiva’s Chaugan (Garden).
According to the popular belief, the Lord is said to sport here with his consort Parvati. Mount Kailash is considered as invincible. No one has so far been able to scale this peak despite the fact that much taller peaks, including Mount Everest have been conquered many times. One story goes that once a ‘Gaddi’ (the shepherd) tried to climb the mountain along with his herd of sheep. He is believed to have been turned into stone along with his sheep. There is yet another legend according to which a snake also attempted to climb this peak but failed and was turned into stone. It is also believed that the devotees can have a view of the Kailash peak only if the Lord is pleased. Bad weather, when the peak is hidden behind clouds, is a sign of the Shiva’s displeasure.
About one and half kilometer short of Manimahesh Lake fall two important water bodies called Gauri Kund and Shiva Krotri. As per popular belief Gauri and Shiva bathe in these two lakes respectively. The women pilgrims take holy dip in Gauri Kund and the men pilgrims in Shiva Krotri before proceeding to Manimahesh Lake. The lake and its surroundings present a majestic view. The quiet waters of the lake carry the reflection of snow capped peaks.
My days in and around Chamba passed so fast that we forgot that I had to go back, and the reminder of the manager of the hotel that my booking days were over, was a rather rude jolt to reality like woken up from a dreamful slumber. As I drove back to Delhi, I promised myself to visit this place again to imbibe more at this fount of nature.
(Photo courtesy: Nikhil Chandra)