Trip Report for Chamba District of Himachal Pradesh visited in June, 2014

#1 Jul 5th, 2014, 20:57
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#1
TRIP REPORT FOR CHAMBA DISTRICT VISIT IN JUNE 2014

Spectacular views of Chamba district
I had posted a new thread with the heading ‘Tips for visiting Bharmour-Chamba-Dalhousie’ in May, 2014 and I found the response to be dismal as no reliable information could be furnished by any of the forum users. Therefore, I decided to make contribution to this end, although I am not very good at writing reports.

Map of Chamba district

Having read the post of Sadnand Kamath titled ‘Rambling in the Gaddi heartland’ I too decided to undertake a journey to this destination and the lack of information in respect of these destinations, shows that it is actually off the regular beaten track.

Here is the distance chart –
Delhi to Chamba – 580 Kms. (Since this would have taken more than 14 hours of driving time, it would have been difficult for elderly ladies to sit in a Car for this long and therefore, undertook the journey by train);
Delhi to Pathankot – traveled by ‘Dhauladhar Express’ – leaves Old Delhi Railway station at 10.45 at night and reaches Pathankot at 8.20 A.M. Most of the other trains leave earlier but reach Pathankot at odd hours early in the morning;

Pathankot-Chamba-Bharmour – The distance from Pathankot to Chamba is 118 Kms. till the Bharmour turnabout and therefrom Bharmour is another 65 Kms. The road leads through the Jullunder-Dalhouse bypass road in Pathankot and thereafter from Nurpur it moves of the Mandi- Pathankot Highway and subsequently jut beyond Nurpur one takes to the State Highway 28 through Nainikhud, Banikhet etc. and from Chuwari crossing onwards it is State Highway 27 for reaching Chamba and from there on to Bharmour. I had pre-booked a Mahindra Xylo for the entire journey on daily rental basis with the undersigned providing for the fuel. The journey time by dedicated taxi from Pathankot to Bharmour takes about 6-7 hours depending upon the road conditions, whereas the buses take about 10 hours time, as they have many stoppages in between and usually break for lunch in Chamba;

Bharmour to Hadsar – 13 Kms. and further 14 Kms. trek to Manimahesh peak and beyond this lies Kugti and motorable road upto Dharol is another 9 Kms. and jeeps make upto another 3 Kms. ahead wherefrom the 3 Kms. trek for Kugti village starts, if one is interested. I visited just before Dharol;

Bharmour to Holi – 38 Kms. one way, Holi is situated on the right bank of Ravi River, whereas for Bharmour one has to cross the Ravi River towards its left and travel along the Budhil River upto Bharmour & beyond from Khadamukh. One has to traverse back to Khadamukh from Bharmour, a distance of 14 Kms. and from Khadamukh to Holi is 24 Kms. Some treks start from Holi itself, but majority of the treks start 3 kms. ahead of Nayagran from a place called ‘Laake wali mata’ as across the pass lies Kangra/Baijnath;
Bharmour to Chamba – 65 Kms. one way and this town is the capital of the district and a township dating back more than thousand years of its existence;

Chamba to Jot – 22 Kms. one way, Jot is the highest pass perched at an altitude of 2300 meters is fully covered with snow during the winters and being the only access between Chamba & Kangra, traversing the destination becomes difficult proposition;

Chamba to Dalhousie via Khajjiar – 56 Kms. one way (excluding Jot, as the road bifurcates at Gete village, one leads towards Jot pass and the other towards Khajjiar-Dalhousie;
Dalhousie to Pathankot – 80 Kms. distance one way, on way back one traverses back through Banikhet – Nainikhud – Nurpur;

Distance from important Public transport points –
Nearest Railhead from Chamba – Pathankot (Distance 118 Kms.)
Nearest Airport from Chamba – Gaggal airport in Kangra (Distance 170 Kms.)

Details of transportation & hotels –
1) I had hired a Mihindra Xylo for Rs.2200/- per day dry and used diesel for about Rs.3500/- for the entire trip of 08 (Eight days). Tour operator/Driver – Mr. Bhutto 09882603794/09816150469;

2) In Bharmour I stayed at Hotel Bharmour View – here is the link to its website - http://bharmourview.com/hotel-bharmour-view - do not go by the website, below is the actual view of the Hotel and during lean periods do not pre-book as despite having booked almost two months back, the hotel staff had no intimation and we were made to wait and two rooms hastily arranged with some amenities or the other not working in either rooms. During lean season you can go and negotiate and will get decent rooms for Rs.500/- or so that I had booked for Rs.1200/- and without a view. Most of the rooms are without any view, but they provide parking space for your vehicle. However, there are two sprightly little fellows who are ever ready to run an errand for you known as Anoop & Bipan, because of whom the stay was a little comforting. There is another Hotel near the temple known as the Chaurasi Hotel and HPTDC is in process of building its own hotel here in near future. We had food in a little restaurant called ‘SAMAR RESTURANT’, just next to entry gate of Bharmour View Hotel, who has a fantastic cook going by the name of Raju and the owners name is Sh.Rakesh Sharma, who provided us with fresh and tasty food to order;


3) In Chamba, I stayed in HPTDC run Hotel Champak, it is a decent hotel with good rooms and bathrooms etc. The only drawback is that it is situated about 50 meters or so from the main road, but being on a very steep curve, bigger vehicles cannot make it to the spot and the Hotel does not have an in-house Restaurant. However, its vicinity with Hotel Irawati of Chmba another HPTDC run hotel whose restaurant is just awesome, with good quality food;

4) In Dalhousie, I stayed in Hotel Geetanjali a budget hotel run by HPTDC. It has in-house restaurant with freshly prepared food provided, which is an asset. However, it is situated in an archaic British era bungalow which requires urgent repairs and also it does not have a dedicated parking that is a major drawback in town like Dalhousie. However, it is the dedicated services of people like Sh.Rajesh Kumar Chauhan, who takes care of every small & big requirement of the guests that such hotels flourish. Link for HPTDC run hotels in Chamba - http://hptdc.nic.in/cir0303.htm


My travel schedule

Day 1 – Delhi to Pathankot by train;
Day 2 - Pathankot to Bharmour;
Day 3 - Bharmour to Bramhani Mata temple & back/Visit to Chaurasi temple complex & to Hadsar & beyond during late afternoon;
Day 4 – Bharmour to Holi/Nayagran/Laake Wali Mata temple & back;
Day 5 – Bharmour to Chamba. Visited the Chowgan & market during the evening;
Day 6 – Chamba – Visited Chamunda temple & Suhi Mata temple early morning followed by Bhuri Singh Museum & Laxmi-Narayan temple;
Day 7 – Chamba to Dalhousie via Jot & Khajjiar. Evening at Subhash chowk;
Day 8 – Early morning visit to Kalatop Sanctuary and trekking there for 6 Kms. or so and in the evening visited Gandhi chowk and Panchpullah, Subhash Baoli etc. and walked back to the Hotel via Garam sadak & Shubhash chowk;
Day 9 – Return back to Pathankot for boarding train Delhi.

An overview of the destinations

Panoramic view of Chamba town from Chamunda temple
About Chamba - Chamba is an ancient town and a district in the Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh and its history can be traced back to more than a thousand year. Chamba is situated at an altitude of 996 metres above sea level on the banks of River Ravi. The district is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir in the north-west and west, by Ladakh and Lahaul in the north-east and east and by Kangra and Gurdaspur on the south-east and south. From Chamba can be seen the snowy mountain ranges of Pir Panjal, Dauladhar and the Zanskar and therefore is the launching pad for many a treks across the high mountain passes along its borders. Historically, Chamba was ruled by the Maru Dynasty. Chamba is named after a local princess, Champavati.


Panoramic view of Bharmour town
About Bharmour – Bharmour was anciently known as Brahmpura, which was the ancient capital of Chamba, Himachal Pradesh till 920 AD. Bharmour is situated in Budhil and Ravi valley at an altitude of 2195 meters from sea level 65 Kms. to the south-east of Chamba. Bharmour is popular as it is the launching pad for the famed Manimahesh Lake, Manimahesh Kailash and Chaurasi (84) ancient temples, which are reflecting the glorious past of this hidden town. Bharmour is also known as the Abode of Shiva as there are numerous temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in and nearby regions The whole region around Bharmour is considered to be under the control of Lord Shiva, hence is also known as the Shiv Bhumi. This place besides being an aesthetic and scenic beauty is also spiritual in essence. Bharmour is inhabited by Gaddies (Shepherd) who reside exclusively on the snowy ranges and mountains which divide Chamba from Kangra and Lauhal & Spiti district.


View of Budhil River valley from Hadsar
About Hadsar & beyond – Situated at a distance of 13 Kms. from Bharmour is the nondescript little village of Hadsar. However, during the Manimahesh yatra, an annual pilgrimage undertaken by devout Hindus and disciples of Lord Shiva during the monsoon period, they trek to the famed Manimahesh Kailash (an Abode of Lord Shiva) and perform rituals by undertaking a 14 Kms. trek to the base of the peak. Just after you cross Hadsar Village you can go down to the Budhil River for a closer look and after crossing over the bridge turn towards your right towards Dharol, the last motor head (however, now you can travel another 3 Kms. beyond if you happen to travel in a Jeep or SUV), wherefrom you can trek another 4 odd Kms. to reach Kugti village and treks beyond;


View of Ravi River valley from Holi
About Holi & beyond – In order to reach Holi, you will have to traverse back to Khadamukh and after crossing over the bridge across Ravi River head towards Holi, which is about 38 Kms. from Bharmour and 75 Kms. from Chamba. The region was in news because of intense agitation against the Holi-Bajoli Power project by the women on the region, which had been granted to GMR. While traveling to Holi you cross small nondescript little villages like Greema & Garola, the entire route along the River Ravi is a treat for nature lovers. Beyond Holi at a distance of about 18 Kms. is Nayagran village and beyond it the tail portion of the Chamba-Nayagran State Highway collapsed due to heavy rains and flooding in 2010 and the road ends 3 Kms. beyond Nayagran, where the famed Laake Wali Mata temple is situated on a spur on the ridge, dedicated to a form of Goddess Kali, Bhramari Mata (Bumble Bee form assumed by the Goddess to slay the demon who tormented the people of the valley). Most of the treks start from this point onwards. There is the temple priest cum shopkeeper named Sh.Thakur Chand who informed me that treks across Jalasu Pass to Baijnath in Kangra go across the region and there are beautiful meadows like Channi (8 Kms. from the temple) and Yara Got (12 Kms. form the temple) that make up for mind rejuvenating treks.


View of Jot Pass
About Jot Pass – The vicinity of the place from Chamba (only 22 Kms.) is an added asset for the destination as you can either travel there over the day and return to Chamba or head towards Dalhousie. It is not over crowded and therefore not much commercialization has taken place. Yet perched at an altitude of more than 2300 meters, it offers a 270 degree view of the entire Pir Panjal, Dhauladhar & Zansakar range of mountains.


A view of Dalhousie town
About Dalhousie – It is a typical British era hill station overcrowded like Shimla and filled with vehicles of all shapes and sizes pouring in from Punjab to beat the heat akin to Shimla. Hotels have come up at all nooks and corners of the township without bothering for providing of parking facilities. Dalhousie for me is a disaster waiting to happen. All the sites being advertised like Panch Pulla etc. are all man made commercial spots. It is best avoided during the tourist season, but abounds in avia-fauna. The nearby destination of Khajjiar is like lawns of India Gate with crowds all around and all kinds of commercial activity taking place in the meadows around. In Kalatop, the sanctuary is in dire straits as vehicles are allowed to zip past till the PWD Rest house at break neck speed, without appreciating the requirements of a sanctuary, all for some paltry amount of money. It would be better managed, if only hiking is allowed inside the sanctuary precincts, I enjoyed the hiking for about 4-5 Kms. inside the sanctuary with the help of a guide who charged us Rs.400/- for the tour.

Some more photographs

Panoramic view of Khajjiar


Schematic map of Kalatop sanctuary


Panoramic view of Chamera Dam


Ravi River meandering past Chamba town


The famed Bramhani Mata temple in Bharmour


The famed Chaurasi temple of Bharmour


First glimpse of Manimahesh Kailash on way to Bharmour


The famed Laake Wali Mata temple beyond Nayagran, Holi, Chamba, HP
#2 Jul 16th, 2014, 10:23
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#2


Here is the detailed blog - Journey from Pathankot to Bharmour - first of the series - http://ghummakar-biswas.blogspot.in/...g-through.html
#3 Jul 16th, 2014, 11:15
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#3

Thumbs up

excellent T'log with cool snaps.
#4 Jul 16th, 2014, 14:50
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Very informative and good captures!
#5 Jul 22nd, 2014, 18:35
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#5
Thanks SRB. Your trip report is as informative and helpful as your weather updates.
#6 Jul 22nd, 2014, 23:07
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#6
Hello SRB810,

Need to ask you, will I get cabs from outside Pathankot Railway Station to Chamba ?? What will be its approximate cost ?? Sightseeing in Chamba, do we need a car for this ??? And what will be the cost to go to Bharmour from Chamba and cost for a drop to khajjiar from chamba ???

Please reply soon.

Thank you,

Megh
#7 Jul 23rd, 2014, 09:17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudycool View Post Hello SRB810,

Need to ask you, will I get cabs from outside Pathankot Railway Station to Chamba ?? What will be its approximate cost ?? Sightseeing in Chamba, do we need a car for this ??? And what will be the cost to go to Bharmour from Chamba and cost for a drop to khajjiar from chamba ???

Please reply soon.

Thank you,

Megh
1) Yes, you can get a Cab from outside Pathankot Railway station for Chamba;

2) The approximate cost would be in region of 3,000/- to 4,000/- depending upon the vehicle you would like to hire;

3) The approximate time would be around 4-5 hours depending upon the breaks you take in between;

4) There is no need to hire a vehicle for sightseeing in Chamba, as everything is situated in the town itself except Chamunda Devi temple & Suhi Mata temple, which is a 3 Kms. trek or 6 Kms. by Car;

5) Distance from Chamba to Bharmour is about 65 Kms. and taxi cost should be around Rs.2000/- for dropping and about of 1000/- more for a round trip;

6) Chamba to Khajjiar should be around 1500-2000;

Have a safe journey.
#8 Jul 23rd, 2014, 12:33
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Thanks a lot SRB810. One more thing, in Khajjiar, for sight seeing do we need any car ?? Or everything is at a walking distance ?
#9 Aug 8th, 2014, 09:03
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Here is the detailed blog - About Bharmour - second of the series - http://ghummakar-biswas.blogspot.in/...e-of-lord.html
#10 Sep 6th, 2014, 11:34
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Here is a detailed blog of my journey from Bharmour to Hadsar & beyond - third of the series - http://ghummakar-biswas.blogspot.in/...ng-hadsar.html
#11 Nov 16th, 2014, 20:05
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Here is a detailed blog of my journey from Bharmour to Holi & beyond - fourth of the series -
http://ghummakar-biswas.blogspot.in/...ng-temple.html
Last edited by srb810; Nov 17th, 2014 at 09:02..
#12 Nov 16th, 2014, 20:39
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#12
Great places and presentation! Khajjiar to Chamba would be around 20kms and HRC bus takes you there around 5pm.
#13 Nov 19th, 2014, 13:39
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#13
Hello,

If you need a cab call this driver, his name is Monu. My family and I went to chamba, khajjiar, bharmour, mcleodganj from pathankot and back, he gave a wonderful service.

His number is +918968343654
#14 Nov 19th, 2014, 21:30
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#14

Here is a detailed blog of my journey to Chamba town - fifth of the series -
http://ghummakar-biswas.blogspot.in/...ng-temple.html
#15 Nov 20th, 2014, 00:54
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#15
Roy lovely TR and great clicks, thanks for all the info and your effort.

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