Monday, June 30, 2014

Enchanting Himachal – Chamba (an intorduction)

Enchanting Himachal – Chamba (an intorduction)
The spectacular sights of Chamba 
Chamba in the millennium township of Himachal Pradesh as its history can be traced back to more than thousand years.  In order to commemorate this, the Government of Himachal Pradesh erected a Millenium Gate at the Chowgan grounds of Chamba, around this square meadow the township had evolved during the millennium of its existence. Chamba is the temple town of Himachal Pradesh with a plethora to temples, some dating back to 10th Century AD, built in Sikhara style.
Panoramic view of Chamba town
The aerial view of temples of Chamba
Ravi River meanders by Chamba township 
The Millenium Gate at Chowgan in Chamba
Bharmour, anciently known as Brahmpura, was the ancient capital of Chamba, Himachal Pradesh (India) till 920 AD. Bharmour is situated in Budhil and Ravi valley at an altitude of 2195 meters from sea level 65 kms. to the south-east of Chamba.  Bharmour is also popular because of its proximity with Manimahesh Lake, Manimahesh Kailash and Chaurasi (84) ancient temples, which are reflecting the glorious past of this hidden town. Bharmour is also known as the Abode of Shiva as there are numerous temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in and nearby regions The whole region around Bharmour is considered to be under the control of Lord Shiva, hence is also known as the Shiv Bhumi.
Panoramic view of Chamera dam just beyond Chamba
Panoramic view of Bharmour town
             The famous Manimahesh trek starts from the village of Hadsar, which is about 13 Kms. from Bharmour and the picturesque road runs along the beautiful Budhil river (a tributary of Ravi).  The trek of 14 Kms. starts from this point onwards towards Manimahesh.  Beyond Hadsar, one crosses a small bridge across the Budhil River and then traverses along its left side for another 9 Kms. to reach Dharol and now the road has been added another 3 Kms. further ahead and therefrom the 3 Kms. trek to Kugti village & beyond starts.  It is a starting point for many treks, which take the trekkers beyond the snow bound passes into Manali & Ladakh and this traditional trek routes are also used by the local Gaddis (Sheep herders) to take their flock to the higher meadows rich in grass & minerals that provide special quality to the top quality wool being gathered from them.  
View of Budhil River valley from Hadsar
             On the other side of Bharmour lies Holi, which is about 51 Kms. from Bharmour and the road runs alongside the Ravi River and is spectacular site for nature lovers.  This road ends just beyond Nayagraon, about 3 Kms. further where the famous temple of Laake Wali Mata is situated and here the road ends.  The Himachal Government is exploring the idea of building a 3 Kms. long tunnel below the mountains here, which will help connect Chamba with Kangra and reduce the road distance by almost 70 Kms.  As of now, the vehicles have to traverse across the high Jot Pass to cross over the Dhauladhars towards Kangra valley.  The pass is at an altitude of about 2800 meters and about 22 Kms. from Chamba town and is usually closed during the winter months due to heavy snowfall.
View of Ravi River flowing by Holi
            Dalhousie is the most famous tourist destination and hill station of Chamba District of Himachal Pradesh.  Perched at an altitude of 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.  However, due to its proximity to Punjab, especially Gurdaspur etc., the place is for ever jam packed and almost all the homes appear to have been converted into Hotels or makeshift ones during the season and the traffic is a nightmare.  People come without bookings and time you will find them spending nights in their vehicles, it is a catastrophe waiting to happen.  Another destination near Dalhousie is Khajjiar, about 23 Kms. is another over-rated and over crowded destinations where the entire road gets blocked by traffic with the locals enticing them with all kinds of trade, at the cost of the nature of course.
Jot Pass view
Panoramic view of of Khajjiar
The squalor of Dalhousie
            This is the overview of the destination called Chamba, with a lot of scenic beauties hidden in its folds, which I shall be narrating in detail in the coming weeks.
Map of Chamba District of Himachal Pradesh

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