Himachal Pradesh Chamba Hill Station
Chamba is an old town located of the district of Chamba of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It lies at a height of 996 m above the sea level, and the town is located at the embankments of River Ravi.
The history of Chamba dates back to the tribes of Kolian of the 2nd century BC and this area is believed to be initially ruled by the dynasty of Maru. Raja Sahil Varman of 1920 shifted his kingdom’s capital to Chamba as per the request made by Champavati, his daughter and hence the name Chamba was coined after her. The town of Chamba was also rules by British before independence and the British influence can be seen till date.
Chamba consists of several palaces and temples and hosts two famous fairs i.e. jatras, the “Minjar Mela” and the “Suhi Mata Mela" lasting for a number of days and has dance and music adding glamour to it. People of Chamba are also popular for their crafts and arts and basically for Pahari paintings which have their origin of the17th and 19th century.
The district of Chamba is headquartered at Chamba, and has been surrounded by Jammu and Kashmir of the north-western direction while Ladakh, Bara Banghal, Lahaul lie of the north-eastern direction. Its average elevation is 1,006 m.
The best time for visiting Chamba is from the month of March to June. The temperature of summer varies from 38 °C- 15 °C while of winter, it varies from 15 °C to 0 °C. The highest temperature of summer reaches to 39 °C while the lowest recorded of winters is −1 °C. Chamba is a famous hill station and the average rainfall found annually here is 785.84 mm.
According to 2001 census, Chamba has a male population constituting to 52% of total population while females contribute to 48%. The literacy rate here is 81%, which is above than the national average of 59.5%. The major languages spoken here are local Pahari, Himachali and Hindi as well.
Besides the urban area, there are two tribes found of Chamba namely, Gaddis and Gujjars.The Gujjars are basically nomads who hailed to Chamba from Kashmir while Gaddis are the ones belonging to Brahmans, Thakkurs, Rajputs, Rathis as well as Khatris forming the majority.
Cityscape and Landmarks
The layout of the city is divided into two zones; called as the 'Old Town’, before the British gave their architecture as well as the British period of contemporary bridges, monuments and buildings.
Festivals and Fairs Held of Chamba
There are two fairs or melas organized here called as Jatras, which are popularly known by the names “Minjar Mela” and "Suhi Mata Mela". There is an interesting and notable event when the ‘chela’ or a deity’s subordinate is being worshipped and he goes into a trance to answer the prayers and queries of the devotees.
A significant festival organized of Chamba is called as "Suhi Mata Mela". It takes place once of a year of the months of March to April for four days commemorating the sacrifice done by the Chamba queen with her life for bringing water to the town. as per the legends the queen dreamt that water could only be accessed there if either the queen’s life or his son’s life is being sacrificed, so she took a decision to sacrifice her own life. For commemorating this event, children and women participate actively of this event.
Another festival popular of Chamba is "Minjar Mela", organized on the 2nd Sunday of the month of Shravana, i.e. August as per the Gregorian calendar. It marks the victory of the king of Chamba over Trigarta, also known as Kangra of 935 AD. They also celebrate the growth of maize and paddy crops grown during this month of the year.