Described as “a jewel of the Himalayas”, Chamba is 50km from Dalhousie. 920 metres above sea level, steeped in legends and guarded by rich forests, Chamba is named after a beautiful princess – Champavati. The views down over the terraced fileds are spectacular, with tiny villages clinging to the sheer slopes of the valley.Chamba valley is noted for the magnificence of it's scenery-touching the fringe of the Shivaliks and having three well-defined snowy ranges, the Dauladhar, constituting the outer Himalayas, the Pir Panjal or the mid Himalayas, and the Zanskar range or the inner Himalayas.
The valley is renowned for its Shikara temples. The Lakshmi Narayan temple (houses six temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu). Manimahesh, Harirai, Bajreshwari Devi temple dedicated to Brajeshwari, it conforms to the shikara style and is topped by a wooden amalaka), Sui Mata Temple (Colourful paintings around the walls of the temple tell the story of Sui, a Chamba princess who sacrificed her life for the inhabitants of Chamba), etc. are excellent examples of temple architecture. These temples draw a number of devotees who come to this beautiful town on a pilgrimage. Chamba is also famous for its traditional craft, executed by its women for over a 1000 years. One can also find the irresistible, elaborately decorated, Chamba shawls here. Exquisite examples of needle painting, the rumals of Chamba have long been famous—for their unusual beauty, and as symbols and omens of goodwill. The highly distinctive Chamba rumals have gone through an interesting period of evolution. In addition to its rumals, Chamba is also known for the design and quality of its leather chappals (flat, open shoes) and belts.
45 km from Shimla, Chail is worth a divrsion or an overnight stop. Popular with birdwatchers Chail was a hamlet till the Maharaja of Patiala, Maharaja Rajinder Singh, built the Chail Palace here in 1900 to serve as a royal resort. When his son Bhupinder Singh, Maharaja of Patiala, was expelled from Shimla, he decided to create a summer capital to rival that of the British, Shimla.Chail also provides good opportunities for fishing and trekking and boasts of the world's highest cricket pitch and polo ground.
The old palace on Rajgarh Hill with its elaborate furnishings, comfortable log huts and cottages, dense forests and serene walks, sprawling lawns, children's park, lover's hill and sport facilities make a visit to Chail memorable.
Founded in 1855, Dharamshla has one of the most spectacular settings for a Hill station. It is the headquarters of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader. Superb views over the Kangra Valley and Shiwaliks, and of the great granite mountains that almost overhang the town. It was one of the 80 hill stations established by the British. The colourful temples and gompas which reflect the culture of Tibet are added attractions for the tourists. Dharamsala over looks the plains and is surrounded by dense pine trees and Deodar forests. A nearby snowline with numerous streams and cool healthy atmosphere makes the surroundings very attractive. The colourful temple and Gompas, which reflect the culture of Tibet, adds attraction for the visitors.
Set against the backdrop of the dramatic Dhauladhar mountains, Dharamsala is perched on the high slopes in the upper reaches of Kangra Valley . The town is divided into two distinct and widely separated sections, Upper and Lower Dharamsala, which differ almost a thousand metres in height.
Today, Dharamsala has become the synonymous to the Tibetan government in exile. Even if the Tibetan community dominates the town, still it has retained the colonial lifestyle and British fervour. The charming church of St. John in the wilderness is situated here and this was the final resting place of Lord Elgin, a British Viceroy of India in the 19th Century. Numerous ancient temples like Jwalamukhi, Brijeshwari and Chamunda also lie on the plains below Dharamsala.
PalampurA pleasant little town surrounded by tea plantations, Palampur is 30m south-east of Dharamshala and stands at 1260m. Set on the rising slopes of Kangra Valley before they merge with the Dauladhar ranges. The town has derived its name from the local word "pulum', meaning lots of water. Palampur was a part of the local Sikh kingdom and later on came under the British rule.
Palampur also known for its colonial architecture and temples. One can enjoy the scenic beauty of the Dhauladhar range and the slopes of the Kangra valley from Palampur. Palampur and places around it are popular for adventure sports like hang-gliding and trekking. Behind this town stands the high ranges of Dhauladhar Mountains, whose peaks remain, covered for most part of the year. This hill station is not only known for its numerous tea gardens and paddy fields but it also known for its colonial architecture and temples.
Lies 18km almost directly south of Dharamsala, but one time it was a place of considerable importance. The Kangra valley is one of the most picturesque valley of lower Himalayas. The valley, sheltered by the sublime Dhauladhar range, is green and luxuriant. Tropical mangoes and plantains jostle with temperate cherries, crab apples, medlars, and rambling roses. Carefully terraced fields, irrigated by streams descending from perennial snows, present a picture of loveliness and repose which cannot be seen elsewhere in India.
The history of Kangra valley dates back to the Vedic times more than 3500 yrs. ago. The area was exposed to successive invasions, the last being the British domination over the princes of the hill states. Despite the onslaughts and political upheavals, the arts and crafts of the region continued to develop and found lyrical expressions. Crafts like the exquisitely designed shawls and miniature paintings of this region are internationally appreciated
BillingSheltered by the mountains and surrounded by tea gardens, Bir a small village with a Tibetan Colony and monasteries in Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh; serves asmountains and surrounded by tea gardens, Bir a small village with a Tibetan Colony and monasteries in Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh; serves as a landing ground and a base for Hang and Para gliders. Their launching (take-off) destination 'Billing', is a little meadow at 2,400m (8500 ft) on the Dhauladhar ranges, 14-km up from Bir. Read More
Shimla | Chail | Dalhousie | Kasauli | Kullu | Dharamshala | Chamba | Manali |