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Chamba district,Himachal Pradesh

Chamba is the northwestern district of Himachal Pradesh, in India, with its headquarters in Chamba town. The towns of Dalhousie and Khajjhiar are popular hill stations and vacation spots for the people from the plains of northern India. Chamba is the only district in northern India to preserve a well-documented history from c. 500 AD. Its high mountain ranges have given it a sheltered position and helped in preserving its centuries-old relics and numerous inscriptions. The temples erected by rajas of Chamba more than a thousand years ago continue to be under worship and the land grant-deeds executed on copper plates by them continue to be valid under the law.

Regarding the early history of this region, it is believed that this area was at time inhabited by certain Koliyan tribes which were later subjugated by the Khasas. The Khasas too after a time came under the sway of Audumbaras (2nd century BC). The Audmabaras had republican form of government and worshiped Shiva as their principal deity. From the Gupta period (4th century AD) the Chamba region was under the control of Thakurs and Ranas who considered themselves superior to the low tribes of Kolis and Khasas. With the rise of Gurjara Pratiharas (7th century AD) the Rajput Dynasties came to power. Much information about Himachal’s ancient history is given in epics like the Mahabharata and the Ramayana and other scriptures like the Vedas and the Puranas. The Mahabharata mentions the janapadas (some sort of a kingdom) of Kuluta (Kullu), Trigarta (Kangra), Kulind (Shimla hills and Sirmaur), Yugandhar (Bilaspur and Nalagarh), Gobdika (Chamba) and Audumbar (Pathankot).

The Rig Veda mentions the rivers which flow through Himachal. The text also talks about Shambar, the powerful king of these hills before the advent of the Aryans, and his 99 strong forts in the region between the Beas and the Yamuna rivers. His war with the Aryan chief, Divodas, lasted 12 long years, wherein the latter emerged victorious. The Puranas too, mention Himachal, calling it all sorts of nice names.

One significant happening during the time of the great war of Mahabharata (circa 1400BC) was the founding of the Katoch monarchy of Kangra by King Susharma Chandra. This Susharma Chandra is supposed to have sided with the Kaurava brothers in their war against the Pandavas. Kangra was probably named as Bhim Kot (fort of Bhim) after Bhima, one of the Pandavas.

Economy
In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Chamba one of the country’s 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640).It is one of the two districts in Himachal Pradesh currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).
Languages
Languages include Mandeali.
Interesting places

  • Banikhet
  • Laxmi Narayan Temple : It is the most famous tourist attraction place in Chamba. There are six temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Three temples are dedicated to Lord Vishnu, and another three to Lord Shiva.
    Brajeshwari Devi Temple : This is the temple dedicated to goddess Durga and is famous for the fine carved sculptures. The style which makes the temple different from others is the shikara style and in top there is a wooden amalaka.
    Chamunda Devi Temple : This is one of the famous temples in this quieenee valley, The Chamunda Devi temple is dedicated to goddess Chamunda, the wrathful form of Durga. One can find the fine wood carved ceiling featuring animal and floral motifs. This temple is located in the hilltop and gives a clear view of the Chamba valley .The devotees offer little brass bells to get their wish fulfilled. Footprints of the Goddess is one more thing one can see.
    Sui Mata Temple : The sui mata temple is in between the Chamunda Devi temple and Brajeswari temple. This temple is dedicated to Sui Mata, the local princess of Chamba who sacrifice her life for the people of her kingdom. Colourful paintings on the temple wall depicts the story of SuiMata.
    Gandhi Gate : The Viceroy of British Government Lord Curzon received a warm welcome by a bright orange gateway built in 1900, known as Gandhi gate. It is the main gateway of Chamba.
    Bhuri Singh Museum : The museum houses a vast number of original Pahari art and sculptures. Some notable collections include Basohli and Kangra paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as, a collection of Rumals from the 7th century onward.
    Salooni : 56 km from Chamba is place of great natural beauty.