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Manimahesh Lake - Place To See And Things To Do While In Chamba

Visit Chamba: A Town With Heritage Temples and Rivers (2022)

Chamba is a small town in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh and is situated on the banks of the Ravi river where it confluences with the Sal River. Chamba has quite a historical place in addition to being famous for its beauty and being surrounded by hills and lush greenery. As per the historical records, Chamba was inhabited by Kalyan tribes in the 2nd century BC and the entire area was formally ruled by the Maru dynasty. King Raju Maru ruled Chamba Dynasty from around 500 AD from the ancient capital of Bharmour which is located 65 kilometers from the town of Chamba. In 920 AD Raja Sahil Varman shifted the capital from Bharmour to Chamba after his daughter Champavati had made a special request. Chamba is named after the princess Champavati’s name.

The town of Chamba has many temples and palaces owing to its history which are visited by thousands of locals and tourists from around the world every year. The place hosts two popular fairs commonly known as jalsas. One is the “Suhi Mata Mela” and the “Minjar Mela”, which last for several days and people enjoy a few days of music and dancing. Chamba is also very popular for its arts and crafts, particularly its Pahari paintings, which originated in the Chamba district between the 17th and 19th centuries. People love to buy local paintings to decorate their homes and take them as souvenirs for their friends and family back home. The main highlight of this place is the calmness and the natural beauty you will observe here in addition to the heartwarming hospitality offered by the people of this town and the amazing Himachal food you can enjoy here. This small town is famous for its locally produced fruits and fruit products like juices, pickles, jellies, and syrups. Chamba is also very famous for its handicrafts and textiles and people love to buy warm clothes, blankets, and especially woolen caps from Chamba. A detailed guide to planning your next visit to Chamba is given below:

Places To See And Things To Do While In Chamba

  1. Chamera Lake: If you are looking to spend your time in a quiet and quaint place, away from the crowd and hustle-bustle of the city, Chamera Lake is your place to be. Chamera Lake is a manmade reservoir located in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh for the Chamba dam. During monsoon, the flooding of river Ravi causes the Chamera to look like the Arabian Sea. It is a very famous and popular picnic spot and boating location. This beautiful lake is the perfect destination to spend your evening with your friends and family. A small bridge on top of the river is quite famous among tourists and locals both and is also a popular picnic spot. You will also find many couples roaming around the lake in the evening. It is a perfect romantic sport for people looking for quiet. The cool breeze and sound of water in the lake makes the environment even more peaceful and serene. If you do not mind eating street food, you can also enjoy eating local savories from the vendors around the lake. Rest assured the place would not disappoint you in any way. Make sure you visit Chamera lake during your next visit to Chamba.
  2. Manimahesh Lake: Manimahesh Lake which is also known as Dal Lake is situated in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas which is located in the Bharmour subdivision of Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh. It is situated at a height of 4,080 meters above the sea level and is considered equivalent to Lake Mansarovar which is situated in Tibet. The name has a historic meaning and significance. The meaning of Manimahesh is Shiva’s jewels and according to the legend, on a full moon night, one can see the reflection of the jewel called Manimahesh in this magnificent lake. This lake remains closed most of the year as it is covered in snow and there is no way to reach this place when it is covered in snow. To reach the lake, one has to trek for a distance of around 13 km through the hilly meadows and lush greenery which is enough to hypnotize you. This lake is shaped like a saucer and is divided into two main parts. There is one larger part which is called Shiv Katori. It is the bathing place of Lord Shiva and there is a lower part which is called Gauri Kund and it is the bathing place for Goddess Parvati. Manimahesh Lake - Place To See And Things To Do While In ChambaImage Source:
  3. Laxmi Narayan Temple: This temple holds a special place in the heart of both locals and tourists. This temple is visited by many people throughout the year. It is located a little far from the main city and surrounded by hills and forests makes it even more appealing. The Lakshmi Narayan Temple is the oldest and largest temple in Chamba and built in the shape of a Shikhara. You should not miss visiting this beautiful temple if you are in Chamba. It houses six of the most stunning idols of Lord Vishnu and Shiva. The central Vishnu idol is carved out of marble and a sight to behold. People come and spend hours here just admiring the view from this place. Even if you are not very religious, you must visit this place to look at the beautiful hills and forests around and praise the marvel and grandiosity of nature. It is one of the most popular places to visit in Chamba. Make sure you come here during your next visit to Chamba next.
  4. Hariraya Temple: Another magnificent temple in the city of Chamba is Hariraya Temple. You will be bewitched by the beauty, grandiosity of the idols in this temple. Even the façade of this temple is awe-inspiring. The extravagance of the Vishnu idol is one of the things to see and ponder at this place. The idol of Lord Vishnu is pulled by six chariots and is built marvelously. This temple was built in the 11th century and you can not get enough of looking at this idol. Make sure you visit this place n your visit to Chamba.
  5. Akhand Chandi Palace: This beautiful palace overlooks Chaugan, Hariraya Temple, Sui Mata Temple, Rang Mahal, Hari Rai Temple, and Bansi Gopal Temple in Chamba. This elegant white building is an architectural marvel and was built in the 18th century. This palace was constructed during the reign of Raja Umedh Singh as a residential place. The palace has been repetitively reconstructed, maintained, and renovated over all these years by both British and Mughal emperors and you will see the effect of both in this beautiful temple. The palace has a beautiful green roof which distinguishes the regal building from other places in Chamba. The entire palace is divided into three segments and has sloping roofs for the easy shedding of snow during the winter season. You must visit this place on your next visit to Chamba.
  6. Bharmour: Bharmour is a quaint little hill town which is the quiet little secret of the town that is covered with snow and the view from this small village is nothing like any other place in Chamba. This town was earlier called Brahmpura and is situated at a distance of 64 km from Chamba. Other than the magnificent and beautiful scenery and picture-perfect views, the village is also known for its several ancient temples.
  7. Hadsal Waterfall: Hadsal is a small, beautiful village located near Chamba and is generally visited by tourists during Manimahesh Yatra. It is also commonly visited by adventure seekers and travel junkies. It is also a nice and famous picnic spot and you can go there for some time if you want to enjoy the scenic beauty and come back to the base in a few hours.

Best Time To Visit Chamba

You can visit Chamba at any time of the year but the best time to visit this slice of heaven is between March and June which are the summer months and the temperature does not drop below subzero degrees. It is a nice time for the tourists to get around and to enjoy the wilderness that is Chamba. October and November are also good months to visit Chamba. During summers I i.e. between March to June, the temperature does not drop below zero degrees at Chamba. The weather is pleasant in summers and is considered the ideal time to spend in the lap of the Himalayas.

Summer in Chamba starts in March and lasts up to May and June and this time is the most visited in the city as the temperature is pleasant compared to other parts of the country where it is brazenly hot.

Winters start in October and last up to February. Winter is the least recommended time to visit Chamba. However, October and November are manageable. Many roads to Chamba are blocked and the temperatures drop below zero degrees which can freeze your soul. Also, many of the places in Chamba are inaccessible during these winter months. At the end of February or at the beginning of March the snow starts melting. You can choose the best time for your visit to this heaven on earth once in a lifetime.

How to Reach Chamba?

Chamba is well connected to the plains and all the nearby major cities. There are several means of transport available to travel to Chamba. You can choose from air travel, trains, buses, or taxis to reach this heavenly town in the lap of the Himalayas.

Air travel to Chamba: The nearest domestic airport to Chamba is Pathankot airport which is approximately 120 km from Chamba. Although this is the closest airport, there are many other airports close to Chamba, and can decide to book your flight depending upon the availability and convenience. Another close airport is Amritsar airport which is around 220 km from Chamba, Kangra Airport which is 172 km from Chamba and Chandigarh airport which is 400 km away from this beautiful town of Chamba. The local airlines like Air India, Jet Airways, Indigo, Spice Jet, and others have direct flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and other cities to Chandigarh Airport. You can hire a taxi from any of these airports to go to Chamba or you can go to and take a bus that operates quite frequently on these routes from the major cities and their bus stations.

Rail travel to Chamba: The Nearest railway station is Pathankot, which is 120 km from Chamba, and it takes around 2.5 hrs. You can take a train from Delhi to Pathankot and then take a bus to reach Pathankot. And then take another bus from Pathankot to Chamba. You can also take a taxi from Pathankot directly to reach Chamba. You will be able to enjoy the stunning views of the Himalayas on your journey all through. It is one of the most scenic routes which will take you between the hills and lush green mountains.

Road travel to Chamba: There is a frequent bus service from Delhi and Chandigarh to Chamba directly. You can a bus from the bus stations in major cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, Shimla, etc. Alternatively, you can hire a taxi to travel to Chamba which will be a little expensive but worth the money as you will be able to enjoy the beautiful view of the beautiful mountains and valleys on your way to Chamba. However, make sure your driver has experience driving in hilly areas as the roads are narrow and it gets a little tricky sometimes. The most common route from Delhi is NH1 to Ambala via Karnal; NH22 to Chamba via Zirakpur, Panchkula, Kalka, and Kandaghat.

Local transport in Chamba

Local transport and commuting within the city is not a problem as it is a major tourist destination. Cabs are readily available. However, it is advisable to not travel during monsoons or snowfall since the roads tend to get slippery. You can take a cab to go around the city and you can book the cab for an entire day.

Shopping in Chamba

Chamba is a shopper’s paradise for all things Himachali. You will find the local art and craft and beautiful artifacts made by local weavers and artifacts in this beautiful town. You can also buy woolen clothes like shawls, stalls, and scarves for yourself and our friends and family back home from Chamba. Some of the famous places for you to shop in Chamba are Himachal Emporium, Rang Mahal, Chaugan, and street markets. The chappals made in Chamba are popular and you would see people buying them. You will get the most famous and scrumptious pickles from the emporium for you to savor and reminisce your Chamba vacation when you eat them at home.

Places to stay in Chamba

Chamba is a famous and very popular tourist destination and a perfect weekend getaway, there are many beautiful and comfortable places to stay here for all budgets. They are many luxurious, mid-range, and budget properties to choose from depending upon your range. Additionally, there are many homestays you can choose from. People who like to stay in hustle-bustle can find decent accommodation at one of the many hotels close to the main town market in Chamba. Make sure you book your accommodation before visiting the place as the possibility of getting accommodation is less when traveling during the peak season.

Things to eat in Chamba

There are many places to eat in Chamba and several cafes serving multi-cuisine food which is scrumptious at all levels. You would love going to these places over and over after tasting the food at these places. Chowgan is a heritage and famous place to enjoy meals in the town. You can enjoy an amazing meal at this café and enjoy a view of the hills while eating your food as is with many other cafes and restaurants in Chamba. Tasty Tibet is a famous Tibetan place where you can enjoy the spicy and scrumptious Tibetan momos and other dishes.

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