Resplendent with historically and architecturally important buildings. Chamba town in its temples and palaces preserves much of its rich medieval past. Perched on a plateau overhanging the river Ravi, the town is named after Champavati, a daughter of Raja Sahil Varma of the Bharmour royal house who shifted his capital here in 920 AD. Isolated by high mountains in its beautiful valley, Chamba over the centuries was allowed to develop its own style of 'Pahari' art and architecture. Much of this heritage has been preserved and Chamba, known for the splendour of its temples and handicrafts, is replete with the artistic masterpieces. Chamba is also well noted for its arts and crafts, particularly its Pahari paintings, which originated in the Hill Kingdoms of North India between the 17th and 19th century and its handicrafts and textiles.
Chamba is an ancient town in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. Located at an altitude of 996 metres (3,268 ft) above mean sea level, the town is situated on the banks of the Ravi River, at its confluence with the Sal River. The town has a large number of temples and palaces, and hosts two popular jatras (fairs), the "Suhi Mata Mela" and the "Minjar Mela", which last for several days and involve music and dancing. Still intact a fine group of six ancient shikhara style stone temples (dating back to 8th Century) are dedicated to lord Shiva, Vishnu and Other Deities. Among them the richly carved Lakshmi-Narayan temple is the oldest Structure. Other Evidence of Chamba’s heritage can be seen in the famous paintings from the Kangra, Basholi and Chamba schools at the Bhuri Singh Museum, as well in the murals and the other artifacts at the Rang Mahal Palace.
Chaugan, the grassy meadow at the heart of the town, is also the center of its cultural activities. In July/August of each year, the Minjar fair is held here. Valley Gods and Goddess in their majestic palanquins to pay homage to lord Raghuvira, the presiding deity of the valley. During the week long harvest fair, the ground comes alive as villagers in colorful dresses celebrate with sport, song, dance and music. The Hari Rai temple near the Chaugan (Dating Back to the 11th century) known for the four armed bronze statue of Lord Vishnu (Chaturmurthi) is a masterpiece in metal craft. Overlooking the town a little distance away, the temple of goddess Chamunda Devi has some of the finest wood carvings that adorn its exterior and interiors.
Chamba is the headquarters of the Chamba district, bordered by Jammu and Kashmir to the north-west and west, the Ladakh area of Jammu and Kashmir and Lahaul and Bara Banghal to the north-east and east, Kangra to the south-east and Gurdaspur district of Punjab to the south. It has an average elevation of 1,006 metres (3,301 ft). The town, the district and the valley where the town is located, share the name of Chamba. The town of Chamba is located at the junction of Ravi River and its tributary, the Sal River, with the Shah Madar hill forming the backdrop on its eastern side.The Ravi flows in east-west direction forming deep canyons. During the spring and summer months, the levels of the river rise significantly from snow melt and pose a flooding risk. Record levels were experienced in earlier years, when the NHPC (National Hydroelectric Power Corporation) was forced to shut down the power generation on its 300-MW Chamera Power Station. Located on the right bank of the Ravi river valley, built on successive flat terraces, the town is bounded topographically by the Dhauladhar and Zanskar ranges, south of the inner Himalayas. Chamba, despite its hill location, is well connected by road to the rest of the state and country, including Shimla, Delhi and Chandigarh along several routes. The nearest broad gauge railway stations are at Chakki Bank (around 5km from Pathankot) and Pathankot.
Chamba is 122 kms from Pathankot - (the nearest railhead), 378 Kms from Shimla and 56 Kms from Dalhousie.
Chamba town is not very big so walking around the town is the best option. There are temples all around town and up on the hill-locks. The Chowgan is the most important part of the town with lush green grass.