There is no dearth of places in India that reflect the rich historical heritage of the country and dynasties that have ruled over its various regions. Chamba is one such place in this country that has already emerged into a delightful travel destination for not only the history buffs but even those who seek solace amidst natural wonders. That is why this place has enough to offer to travelers throughout the year.
Which Time of the Year Should You Plan Your Visit?
The perfect time to visit this serene ancient town in Himachal Pradesh is from March to June. It is the time when moderate weather condition gives you the amazing chance to explore this place. Besides, it is also advised not to plan a trip to Chamba during the monsoons due to heavy rains. Apart from that, snow lovers can stop by this destination in December when the town experiences heart-melting snowfall.
15 Things To Do In Chamba
We have listed down 15 activities that one must do while exploring Chamba for a worthwhile trip that will remain memorable for a lifetime.
1. Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary
This wildlife sanctuary is a heavenly abode for species like deer, Himalayan Black Marten, jackal, langur, Himalayan leopards, grey-headed canary, blackbird, Eurasian jay, and so on. Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary is known for its exotic landscapes and also thick foliage of deodar, fir trees, spruce, etc. that leave the visitors all mesmerized and amazed. It has been made like a mini jungle and is surely a paradise for wildlife lovers. You must keep this wildlife in your itinerary if you have an inclination towards the wonders of nature.
When to visit: March to May or September onwards are the best months to visit the sanctuary
Activities: Trekking, camping, nature walks, wildlife sightseeing, bird watching and picnic amongst others
Don’t Miss: It is highly recommended to book your stays at the forest guesthouse situated in the premises of the sanctuary to truly have an adventurous experience
When it comes to the adventurous activities, especially trekking, Chamba does not disappoint you because it is home to the trekking trails which are suitable not only for the experienced trekkers but also for beginners. Chamba is a renowned town in the country for some of the excellent trekking trails that keep it apart from the rest.
Popular Trekking Trails: Chobia pass, Pangi Valley, Manimahesh Range, Kugti Pass, Jalsu Pass and Baleni Pass to name a few.
Tips: For a convenient trekking experience, you must carry suitable shoes, comfortable and warm clothing, snacks, sufficient water, and a first-aid kit
3. Bhuri Singh Museum
Dedicated to the memory of Raja Bhuri (the erstwhile ruler of Chamba), this museum exhibits the miniature paintings from Basholia, Kangra, and Chamba Schools. Besides that, you’ll also get to see various musical instruments, armours, traditional costumes, jewellery, and many other artefacts that reflect the cultural aspects of the ancient Chamba.
When to visit: Throughout the year and any day of the week, from 10 AM to 5 PM, except for Mondays. It remains closed during the gazetted holidays
Ticket Fees: For Indians, the cost is INR 40/- while the Foreigners have to pay INR 100/-.
Note: For the camera, you will have to pay an extra charge of INR 50/- (For Indians) or INR 100/- (For Foreigners)
4. Boat Ride
A thing that you must not miss at all in Chamba is taking a boat ride while you visit many beautiful places here such as Chamera Lake, Chamera Dam, and Panch Pulla etc. These spots are known for their pristine waters as well as the enthralling surroundings. Therefore, make sure to go for a boat ride for a wonderful memory.
Tips: Book your boat ride well in advance and always follow the instructions and safety precautions shared by the respective authorities
Are you a shopaholic who loves handcrafted and traditional items? If yes, then Chamba will turn out to be a shopping haven for you to buy as many souvenirs as you can. From beautiful shawl weaving and unique miniature paintings to needlecrafts and wood arts, you will get an opportunity to explore a variety of items in the markets of this town.
Major Shopping Spots: Chaugan Market, Himachal Emporium (Rang Mahal) and Dogra Bazaar
Don’t Miss: Chamba chappals, miniature paintings, Kangra and Chamba artwork, Stew pickle
Camping trips are perfect for all the wild and adventure spirited travellers. So, whenever you opt Chamba as your camping destination, you will also be able to experience nature’s charm. Camping in Chamba with your friends would be a fun experience, as you all will get a fair chance to stargaze, get closer to nature, and have a fun experience around bonfire together.
Major Camping Sites in Chamba: Dalhousie, Manimahesh Lake, Camp X Terra
Highlights: Clear skies, starry nights, scenic beauty, and pleasant weather
7. Explore Temples
Those of you who want to embark on a journey to undergo a spiritually enlightening experience should visit the traditionally built temples in Chamba. Most temples have the shikhara architecture here and are dedicated to Lord Shiva or Lord Vishnu deities. The temples in Chamba are not only known for their religious significance but will also take you back in time with their awe-striking, ancient architecture.
Temples To Visit: Laxmi Narayan Temple, Surara Temples, Chamunda Devi Temple, Harirai Temple, Sitaram Temple and Champavati Temple are selected few that you should visit
8. River Rafting
There is a different thrill in getting yourself all worked up amid the gushing waters, crashing into the rocky banks! River Ravi and its tributaries in Chamba are known for various white water river rafting activities that are ideal for those seeking an adventurous experience in this town. During the wintertime and monsoon months (depending on the rainfall intensity), this sport is shut down for safety reasons.
Difficulty level: River rafting in Chamba can be tried out not only by the professional swimmers but also novices and even non-swimmers
9. Kayaking And Canoeing
Not just white water river rafting, but the river Ravi and its tributaries are also ideal for other water-sports activities such as kayaking and canoeing in Chamba. These are extremely peaceful and relaxing water sports through which you get a chance to enjoy the breathtaking views while you row at your own pace.
Tips: Always wear your life-jacket, especially if you are a non-swimmer and take the help of the professional instructor as and when required
10. Picnicking At Central Park
Chamba Central Park, also known as the Minjri Garden, overlooks the river Ravi and boasts of its mesmerizingly vibrant flora. What makes it unique is that it has a playground in the park itself where children can spend fun time. The park is the perfect location to view the sunsets and starry night skies and therefore a large number of visitors can be seen here.
Suggested Read: 7 Hostels In Himachal Pradesh That Are Every Backpacker’s Haven
11. Attend The Local Festivals
There’s a lot in store for you in the local festivals of the town of Chamba. Such local festivals symbolize the historical values of this region and therefore reflect the ancient spirits as well as cultural aspects of Chamba. The two festivals in which you must participate are – Sui Mata Festival and Minjar Festival. Sui Mata Festival is celebrated in the honour of Princess Sui for around four days in either March or April. Minjar is celebrated during the maize harvesting season (July or August) each year.
12. Try The Local Cuisine
A trip to any place would remain incomplete if you don’t try out the local cuisine. Many of the food outlets as well as roadside stalls in Chamba are worth eating at. You must visit the various dhabas in Chaugan market area. Apart from that, Ravi View, Khattir Restaurant, and Jagan Restaurant are some of the places you should visit for enjoying the unique varieties of recipes from the region’s special cuisine here.
Cuisines: Punjabi, Chinese, and Tibetan
Tips: The local dish called ‘madra’ made from chickpeas and yoghurt is worth a shot
13. Mountain Biking At Sach Pass
Those of you who are daring and love the thrill of biking and can opt for biking adventure across the Sach Pass. The snow-capped mountains along with the rocky landscapes of the Pass make it a perfect destination for mountain biking. You can either take your bikes or rent one at reasonable rates.
14. Visit Khajjiar Lake
To add the best of the best collection of photos to your travel album, you must stop by the Khajjiar Lake. The lush green meadows, pasture lands, dense pine trees, high mountains surrounding the area, gigantic deodar trees and spectacular view of the Mount Kailash from this lake, makes it an ideal place for photography.
15. Wild Safari In Tundah Wildlife Sanctuary
Rich in flora and fauna, the Tundah Wildlife Sanctuary is a good place to go for wild safari. The sanctuary boasts of the species such as jackal, barking deer, Indian Bush rate, common giant flying squirrel, rhesus macaque, Himalayan shrew, Himalayan fox, musk deer, and so on.
How To Reach
This place is easily reachable via train, plane, and road. The trains service is quite frequent from the major Indian cities to Pathankot station which happens to be the nearest railway station from Chamba, at a distance of 186 kilometers. Even flights are available at Gaggal Airport in Dharamshala. One can then hire private cars, taxis, or choose a bus travel to reach the town conveniently.
Above list is not an exhaustive one, as there’s an endless number of things to do in Chamba. This is why the town will never fail to surprise you when it comes to trying out different activities. Whether you are an adventurous person looking for some thrill in life or a solo traveller in search of tranquillity, Chamba should definitely be on your list when planning a trip to Himachal Pradesh.