Monday, October 3, 2011

Andaman Islands | Nicobar Islands | Andaman Tourism

Andaman Islands | Nicobar Islands

Andaman and Nicobar Islands:

The Andaman Islands are a group of Indian Ocean archipelagic islands in the Bay of Bengal between India to the west and Burma (also known as Myanmar) to the north and east. Most of the islands are part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Union Territory of India while a small number at the north of the archipelago belong to Burma.

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands were shrouded in mystery for centuries because of their inaccessibility. These are the paragon of beauty and present a landscape full with scenic and picturesque extravaganza. These islands shimmer like emeralds in the Bay of Bengal. The dense forest which cover these islands and the innumerable exotic flowers and birds create a highly poetic and romantic atmosphere. "Here the white beaches on the edge of a meandering coastline have palm trees that sway to the rhythm of the Sea. The beat of tribal drums haunt the stillness and technicolour fish steer their way through crystal clear water." This addition of strangeness to beauty which is responsible for creating the infinite romantic impact may be described in the following famous lines of Keats.

"Charmed magic casement opening on the foam Of perilous seas in fair lands forlorn."

The scenic beauty of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, would create a sense of dissatisfaction and the human mind would rebel against "the whole mass of the motley facts of life". He would be guided by an irresistible desire to this paradise on earth, with invincible faith on the philosophy of Wordsworth:

"Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold is full of blessing".

The Andaman & Nicobar are a group of picturesque Islands, big and small, inhabited and uninhabited, a total of 572 islands, islets and rocks lying in the South Eastern Part of the Bay of Bengal.They lie along an arc in long and narrow broken chain, approximately North-South over a distance nearly 800 kms. . It is logical to presume a former land connection form Cape Negris at South part of Burma to Achin Head (Cape Pedro) in Andalas (Sumatra). The flora and fauna of these islands, however, indicate that this land connection if it existed, should have been prior to the development of their present life form.

Geography of Andaman and Nicobar Islands:

The Andaman Archipelago is an oceanic continuation of the Burmese Arakan Yoma range in the North and of the Indonesian Archipelago in the South. It includes some two hundred islands in the Bay of Bengal with the Andaman Sea to the east between the islands and the coast of Burma. North Andaman Island is 285 kilometres (177 mi) south of Burma although a few smaller islands including the three Coco Islands which belong to Burma are further north, while at the southern end of the archipelago the Ten Degree Channel separates the Andamans from the Nicobar Islands to the south. The highest point in the Andamans is Saddle Peak (720 metres (2,360 ft)).

The natural vegetation of the Andamans is tropical forest with mangroves on the coast. Most of the forests are evergreen but there are areas of deciduous forest on North Andaman, Middle Andaman, Baratang and parts of South Andaman Island. The rainforests of the islands are similar in composition to those of the west coast of Burma and are largely unspoilt despite logging and the demands of the fast-growing population driven by immigration from the Indian mainland. There are protected areas on Little Andaman, Narcondam, North Andaman and South Andaman but these are mainly aimed at preserving the coast and the marine wildlife rather than the rainforests. Threats to wildlife come from introduced species including rats, dogs, cats and the elephants of Interview Island and North Andaman.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands Climate:

The climate is typical of tropical islands of similar latitude. It is always warm, but with sea-breezes. Rainfall is irregular, but usually dry during the north-east, and very wet during the south-west, monsoons.

Fauna of Andaman and Nicobar Islands:

The islands are home to a number of endemic species and more that live only here and on the Nicobar Islands to the south. Mammals endemic to the Andaman Islands include three white-toothed shrews: Andaman Spiny Shrew Crocidura hispida, Andaman White-toothed Shrew Crocidura andamanensis, and Jenkins' Shrew Crocidura jenkinsi. Also living on the islands, the Andaman Horseshoe Bat (rhinolophus cognatus), the Andaman Rat (rattus stoicus) and the South Andaman krait (Bungarus andamanensis). Endemic or near endemic birds include a serpent-eagle Spilornis elgini, a crake Rallina canningi, a wood-pigeon Columba palumboides, a cuckoo dove Macropygia rufipennis, a coucal Centropus andamanensis, a Scops Owl Otus balli, a hawk-owl Ninox affinis, the Narcondam Hornbill (Aceros narcondami), a woodpecker Dryocopus hodgei, a drongo Dicrurus andamanensis, a treepie Dendrocitta bayleyi and the White-headed Starling (sturnus erythropygius). The islands also have a number of endemic reptiles, toads and frogs. There is a sanctuary for saltwater crocodiles.

Weather in Langkawi / Andaman Weather:

How to Reach Andaman And Nicobar Islands:

Ship to Andaman:

Regular passenger ship services are available to Port Blair from Chennai, Calcutta and Vishakhapatnam and back. There are three to four sailings every month from Calcutta and Chennai to Port Blair and vice-versa. There is one sailing from Vishakhapatnam in a month. The voyage takes about 50 to 60 hours and the ship normally berths at Port Blair for about two to four days. Further information on schedules and tariffs can be obtained from:

Shipping Corporation of India Ltd.
Apeejay House, 4th Floor, Dinsa Wacha Road, Mumbai – 400 020

Shipping Corporation of India Ltd.
Shipping House, No. 13, Strand Road, Calcutta – 700 001

Shipping Corporation of India Ltd.
Jawahar Building, Rajaji Salai, Chennai – 600 001

The Deputy Director of Shipping Services,
A&N Administration, 6, Rajaji Salai, Chennai – 600 001

The Directorate of Shipping Services
A&N Administration, Phoenix Bay Jetty, Port Blair (For MV Nancowry and MV Swarajdweep)

Shipping Corporation of India Ltd.
Aberdeen Bazar, Port Blair – 744 101

M/s A.V. Bhanojirao and Garuda Pattabhiramayya & Co.
Post Box No. 17, Vishakapatnam (Agent – Shipping Corporation of India Ltd.)

Air Andaman Islands:

Port Blair is connected with Chennai and Calcutta by air. Presently flights are operated by Alliance Air/Indian Airlines and Jet Airways.

Entry Formalities For Foreigners And Indians:


All foreign nationals can stay in the islands for 30 days. This can be extended by another 15 days with permission. They require a permit to stay from the immigration authorities. In addition, permits can also be obtained from: Indian Missions Overseas, Foreigner’s Registration Offices at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Calcutta and the immigration authorities at the airports at Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai.

The places covered by this permit for night halt are: South Andaman Island, Middle Andaman Island and Little Andaman Island (except tribal reserve), Neil Island, Havelock Island, Long Island, Diglipur, Baratang, North Passage and islands in the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park (excluding islands – Boat Hobday, Twin, Tarmugli, Malay and Pluto) Night halt in the Park is with permission only.

For Day Halt:

South Cinque Island, Ross Island, Narcondum Island, Interview Island, Brother Island, Sister Island and Barren Island ( Barren Island can be visited on board vessels only).


Indian nationals need no permit to visit Andamans. However, permits are required to visit Nicobar Islands and other tribal areas, which are given in exceptional cases. Application on a prescribed form may be addressed to the Deputy Commissioner, Andaman District, Port Blair.

Dos & Don'ts in Andaman and Nicobar Islands:


  • Contact Tourist Information Centres / Tourist Police personnel for any assistance required.
  • Treat the National Parks as they are sanctum sanctorum of our precious natural heritage.
  • Obtain permits from the Chief Wildlife Warden for those having interest in photography/ videography/ investigation inside a sanctuary or a Marine National Park .
  • Make use of the service of authorized tourist guides.
  • While driving, follow the traffic rules, keep left. Carry legal documents like driving licence, permit, passport etc.
  • Consult life guards before entering the sea.
  • Swim in safe areas only.
  • Learn more about reefs, other marine life and tropical forest. This will make your visit more enjoyable.
  • Help us to keep the beaches and the environment clean.
  • Dispose off the garbage and plastics at proper places/dustbins.
  • Take care of the coral reef, not just for yourself, but also for all who follow.
  • Give your valuable comments and observations for ensuring better management of the tourist places/attractions.
  • Take back only photos and sweet memories, leave only footprints and ripples.
  • Encourage efforts to save coral reefs and tropical forests.
  • Obtain a transit pass from the Deputy Conservator of Forests, Wildlife Division, Port Blair ,to transport any wild animal/trophy/article etc. outside the islands.
  • Foreign nationals are requested to obtain the required permit before entering /soon after landing on the islands.
  • Avail the services of authorized scuba dive centres only.
  • Avail the service of Scuba Dive Instructors having certification of international professional organizations like PADI, CMAS, NAUI, BSAC or SSI for safe diving experience.
  • Your concern for nature conservation is highly appreciated. Please inform local authorities/staff positioned in protected areas if you notice any undesirable activity.


  • Foreign nationals may not enter the islands without permit.
  • Do not enter the National Parks without permission.
  • Do not take pictures of the airport, government dockyard, defence establishments, naval wharf, Dhanikari Dam and Chatham Saw Mill.
  • Do not collect, destroy or remove any living or dead animal/plant.
  • Do not collect dead coral or touch/break live coral. Please do not stand on the coral reef while snorkeling/Scuba diving.
  • Do not take video or film without permit, wherever such permits are required.
  • Do not take video, film or photographs inside Tribal Reserve areas or of the indigenous tribes.
  • Do not carry sea fans and seashells unless specific permits are obtained from the Fisheries Department.
  • Do not throw garbage and plastics in public places, beaches and into the sea.
  • Do not swim after consuming liquor.
  • Do not swim in unsafe waters during monsoon.
  • Nudity on beaches and public places is forbidden.
  • Do not Light fire in Protected Areas as it not only destroys forests but also damages wildlife habitat.
  • Person who commits breach of any of the conditions of the Wildlife protections shall be punishable by law.

Places to Visit in Andaman Islands:

Andaman Beach:

Jolly Buoy :

Jolly Buoy island is the part of Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park and offers wide Sand Bar with a canopy of hanging branches of dense bushes, breathtaking view of Exotic and Colourful Corals and Underwater Marine Life. It is an ideal place for snorkeling , sea bathing and basking on the sun kissed beach and Scuba Diving. Jolly Buoy Island virtually beckons with its irresistible charm and splendor. It’s a no man’s land and tourists can stay sometime over there and return back. Jolly Buoy island is 50 Km away from Port Blair and accessible by boat.

Cinque Island:

The lure of underwater coral gardens and unspoiled beaches specially a sand bar joining two islands are irresistible. Super place for SCUBA diving, swimming, fishing and Camping.

Red Skin Island:

Another island in Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park has a nice beach and offers spectacular view of corals and marine life.

Havelock Island:

About 38 Kms. from Port Blair, this island provides idyllic resort in the lap of virgin beach and unpolluted environment. Camping facility is available near Radhanagar beach. A guesthouse of Tourism Department "Dolphin Resort" is available for the tourists.

Barren Island:

At a distance of about 135 Kms. from Port Blair is the land of volcano, Barren Island, the only active volcano in India. The Island, about 3 Kms. has a big crater of the volcano, rising abruptly from the sea, about 1/2 Km. from the shore and is about 150 fathoms deep. Can be visited on board vessels.

Ross Island:

Once the seat of British power and capital of these Islands, it stands now as a ruin of the bygone days with the old structure almost in debris. A small museum named 'Smritika' holds photographs and the other antiques of the Britishers relevant to these islands.

Viper Island:

The Britishers used to harbour convicts here. The first jail was constructed here which was abandoned after the construction of Cellular Jail. It has a gallows atop a hillock, where condemned prisoners were hanged. Sher Ali, who killed Lord Mayo, the Viceroy of India in 1872, was also hanged here.

Chatham Island:

It has a Saw Mill lying on the tiny island connected by a bridge over a stretch of sea-water. This Saw Mill is one of the biggest and oldest in Asia. The main mainland -Island harbour is also here. The other harbour is Haddo, which is nearby.

Monuments in Andaman Nicobar Islands:

Cellular Jail:

Cellular Jail, located at Port Blair, stood mute witness to the tortures meted out to the freedom fighters, who were incarcerated in this Jail. The Jail, completed in the year 1906 acquired the name, ‘cellular’ because it is entirely made up of individual cells for the solitary confinement of the prisoners. It originally was a seven pronged, puce-coloured building with central tower acting as its fulcrum and a massive structure comprising honeycomb like corridors. The building was subsequently damaged and presently three out of the seven prongs are intact. The Jail, now a place of pilgrimage for all freedom loving people, has been declared a National Memorial.

The penal settlement established in Andamans by the British after the First War of Independence in 1857 was the beginning of the agonising story of freedom fighters in the massive and awful jails at Viper Island followed by the Cellular Jail. The patriots who raised their voice against the British Raj were sent to this Jail, where many perished. Netaji Subash Chandra Bose hoisted the tri-colour flag to proclaim Independence on 30th December 1943 at a place near this Jail.

This three-storeyed prison, constructed by Britishers in 1906, is a pilgrimage destination for freedom fighters. This colossal edifice has mutely witnessed the most treacherous of inhumane atrocities borne by the convicts, who were mostly freedom fighters. Now dedicated to the nation as a National Memorial.

The saga of the heroic freedom struggle is brought alive in a moving Son-et-Lumiere, shown daily inside the jail compound at 6.00 PM (Hindi) and 7.15 PM (English). Also there is a Museum, an Art gallery, and a Photo gallery, which are open on all days except Monday from 9.00 AM to 12 Noon and 2.00 PM to 5.00 PM.

Ross Island:

Ross Island, the erstwhile capital of Port Blair during the British regime, is a tiny island standing as guard to Port Blair harbour. The island presently houses the ruins of old buildings like Ballroom, Chief Commissioner’s House, Govt. House, Church, Hospital, Bakery, Press, Swimming Pool and Troop Barracks, all in dilapidated condition, reminiscent of the old British regime.

Ever since Dr. James Pattison Walker arrived in Port Blair aboard the East India Company’s steam frigate ‘Senuramis’ on 10th March 1858, this island remained under British occupation till 1942. From 1942 to 1945, the island was under the occupation of Japanese. However, the allies reoccupied the island in 1945 and later abandoned it.

During British occupation, this island was the seat of power of the Britishers. It was developed into self-equipped township with all facilities required for a civilized colony. Dr. Walker, Chairman of the Andaman Committee, established the infamous and the dreaded Penal Settlement with 200 convicts. The Britishers even persuaded the aborigines to come and live in some huts at Ross Island and even established an Andaman Home for them in 1863. Later on the services of these Andamanese were used to catch the escaping convicts from Ross Island.

The island with historical background and preservable ruins is spread along an area of 0.6 sq. kms. With the ruins and also with the historical background, the Island has gained a lot of popularity among the tourists.

Ross island is open for the tourists to visit during day time as the boat services are available from the Phoenix Bay jetty at 8.30 AM, 10.30 AM, and 12.30 PM. Navy has established a museum on the Island Known as ‘Smritika’ depicting the history of the Island.

Viper Island:

The tiny, serene, beautiful island of Viper witnessed the untold sufferings the freedom fighters had to undergo. Dangerous convicts found guilty of violating the rules of the Penal Settlement, were put in fetters and were forced to work with their fetters on in this island. Freedom fighters like Nanigopal and Nandlal Pulindas, who had resorted to hunger strike at the Cellular Jail, were imprisoned at Viper Island. The jail at Viper, where prisoners deported from the mainland were confined, was built by the British under the supervision of Major Fort. Work on the prison was started in 1867. Owing to the working conditions, the jail earned the notorious name Viper Chain Gang Jail.

The island derives its name from the vessel ‘Viper’ in which Lt. Archibald Blair came to the islands in 1768 with the purpose of establishing a Penal Settlement. The vessel, it is believed, met with an accident and its wreckage was abandoned near the island.

Gallows built on top of a hillock, visible to all prisoners in the island, signified death. Sher Ali, the Pathan, guilty of murdering Lord Mayo, was condemned to death and hanged at Viper Island.

The Harbour cruise, available daily from Phoenix Bay Jetty (at 3 PM), provides a panoramic view of different points around the harbour and includes a trip to Viper Island.

Museums in Andaman:

National Memorial:

This three-storeyed prison, constructed by Britishers in 1906, is a pilgrimage destination for freedom fighters. This colossal edifice has mutely witnessed the most treacherous of inhumane atrocities borne by the convicts, who were mostly freedom fighters. Now dedicated to the nation as a National Memorial.

Anthropological Museum:

This museum at Phoenix Bay (Bus stand – Delanipur road) depicts the life of the Paleolithic Islanders. It also houses the models of the aborigines and their tools. Closed on Mondays and holidays.

Fisheries Museum :

Situated near Andaman Water Sports Complex, it exhibits species of marine life peculiar to the islands and found in the Indo-Pacific and the Bay of Bengal. Closed on Mondays and holidays.

Samudrika (Naval Marine Museum):

Situated opposite to Andaman Teal House, Delanipur this museum is meant to create awareness on various aspects of oceanic environment. A good collection of shells, corals and a few species of colourful fishes found in these islands are on display.

Zoological Survey of India Museum:

Situated near to Andaman Teal House, this museum and research library exhibit a good variety of sponges, corals, butterflies, centipedes etc., Open on all working days.

Forest Museum :

Situated at Haddo (near to the Zoo), this museum offers an insight into forest activities through scale models and displays decorative pieces made of famous woods like Padauk, Marble, Peauma, Gurjan, Satin Wood, etc., Open on all working days.

Places to Visit in Andaman:

Neil Island (36 kms. from Port Blair) :

This beautiful island with lush green forest and sandy beaches is the vegetable bowl of Andamans. Connected by boat from Port Blair four days a week, it provides an ideal holiday for eco-friendly tourists. Hawabill Nest guesthouse of the Directorate of Tourism is situated here (Tel: 82630). One can feel the sincerity and serenity of village life here. Beautiful beaches at Laxmanpur, Bharatpur, Sitapur and the bridge formation on the sea-shore (Howra bridge) are the attractions.

Long Island (82 kms. from Port Blair):

Connected by boat four times a week from Phoenix Bay Jetty, this island offers an excellent sandy beach at Lalaji Bay, unpolluted environment and evergreen forests. The sea around the island is frequented by dolphin convoys. Lalaji bay, 6 kms. away from the boat jetty, is accessible by 15 minutes journey in dinghies or trekking through the forest. Directorate of Tourism offers island camping during season.

Rangat (170 kms. by road and 90 kms. by sea):

One can enjoy the quiet village life and solitude of virgin nature here. You can also breathe unpolluted air, a rare commodity for the city dweller. Cutbert Bay beach (20 kms. away from Rangat bazar/jetty) is a turtle nesting ground. One can view the nesting of turtles during December – February season. Hawksbill Nest, guest house of the Directorate of Tourism, is near to the Cutbert bay beach and Turtle sanctuary. Panchavati waterfall and Amkunj beach are on the way to Cutbert bay. One can go to Mayabunder and Diglipur from here.

Mayabunder (242 kms. by road/136 kms. by sea):

Situated in the northern part of Middle Andaman, Mayabunder offers excellent scenic beauty and beautiful beaches. Inhabited by the settlers from Burma, East Pakistan and ex-convicts, Mayabunder has a distinct culture. Beach at Avis Island (30 minutes boat journey from Mayabunder), Karmatang beach (13 kms.) and mangrove lined creeks are the attractions. Karmatang beach is also a turtle nesting ground. One can view nesting of turtles during December-February season. Swiftlet Nest guest house of the Directorate of Tourism (Tel: 73495) is very near to the Karmatang beach. One can go to Kalighat (for Diglipur) by boat from here.

Diglipur (290 kms by road/180 kms. by sea):

Situated in North Andaman Island, Diglipur provides a rare experience for eco-friendly tourists. It is famous for its oranges, rice and marine life. Saddle Peak, 732 metres, the highest point in the islands is nearby. Kalpong, the only river of Andaman flows from here. The first hydroelectric project of the islands is coming upon this river. One who comes by road from Port Blair has to take a boat from Mayabunder to Kalighat and from there journey by road to Diglipur (25 kms.), and from there to Kalipur (18 kms.) for viewing, Kalipur and Lamiya bay beaches. Directorate of Tourism provides comfortable accommodation at Turtle Resort, Kalipur. The Water Sports Centre is near by. Those who want to go for trekking to Saddle Peak can collect trekking equipments on hire from Turtle Resort and start trekking from Kalipur. Ram Nagar beach (15 kms. away from Kalighat) is famous for Turtle nesting during December – February season. One who comes by boat from Port Blair will reach Aerial bay jetty, which is very near to places like Diglipur and Kalipur.

Ross and Smith, the twin islands joined by a bewitching sand bar, is 30 minutes away from Aerial bay jetty or Kalipur water sports centre. Directorate of Tourism offers island camping at Smith island during the tourist season. One can feel the innocent beauty of village life everywhere in Diglipur. One who prefers to be away from the hustle and humdrum of urban life must come here to enjoy unhurried holidays. Saddle peak is popular for trekking/nature trail through the evergreen rain forest. Kalighat is connected by daily two boat services from Mayabunder. Port Blair – Diglipur (Aerial bay jetty) boat services are available twice a week.

Little Andaman Island (120 kms. by sea):

This island has a beautiful beach at Butler Bay, a waterfall and plantation of oil palms. Apart from this there are several sandy beaches all along the coastline of the island. The break water at Hut Bay offers an excellent view to the tourists. Little Andaman is the vegetable bowl for the Nicobar group of islands. The Onge tribals live in this island, so do Nicobarese apart from settlers from erstwhile East Pakistan and other places. However entry to tribal areas is restricted. Journey 8 hrs. by sea from Port Blair towards south.

Places to visit in Nicobar:

Comprising of 28 Islands, with an area of 1,841 sq.Kms. the Nicobar Islands are separated from Andamans by the Ten Degree Channel.. The Nicobars abound in coconut-palm, casuarina and pandanus. Great and Little Nicobar have the Giant Robber Crab, Monkeys with long tail, Nicobarese Pigeons in plenty. Megapode, a rare bird is found in Great Nicobar. The southernmost tip of India is not Kanyakumari as has till recently been considered, it is INDIRA POINT in Great Nicobar Island. Nicobar group is out of bounds for foreigners at present. Indians may be given permission in exceptional cases on application.

Car Nicobar: (Area 126.9 sq. km., Distance 270 kms. by sea):

A rustling fan, Car Nicobar is the headquarters of Nicobar District. It is a flat fertile island covered with cluster of coconut palms and enchanting beaches with a roaring sea all around. The Nicobari huts, built on stilts having entrance through floor with a wooden, ladder, are unique to this island. 16 hrs. journey by sea from Port Blair.

Katchal (425 kms. by sea):

Katchal is a tiny island in the Nicobar group. It was this island, which heralded the new millennium with the first sunrise on 1st January 2000. This island has beautiful beaches at East bay, Jhula and West bay.

Great Nicobar (540 kms. by sea):

The southern end of the Nicobars, this island has Indira Point (formerly Pygmallion Point) the southern most tip of India. The beach near Galathia is the nesting ground for Gaint Leather Back Turtles. This island also has biosphere reserve area. 50-60 hrs. journey by sea from Port Blair.

Places of Interest in and around Port Blair:

Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park:

The Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park at Wandoor is at a distance of 29 Kms. from Port Blair covering an area of 281.5 Sq.Kms. This Marine Park made-up of open sea, creeks and 15 small and large islands, is one of the best found anywhere in the world. Viewing of rare corals and underwater marine life through glass bottom boats,SCUBA diving and Snorkelling are a lifetime experience for anyone.

Gandhi Park:

This beautiful park at Port Blair has facilities like amusement rides, safe water sports, nature trail around the lake, garden, restaurant and historic remains like Japanese Temple as well as a bunker. The erstwhile Dilthaman tank, which was the only source of drinking water to Port Blair, and the area around it has been developed into Gandhi Park in an unbelievably short time of 13 days.

Sippighat Farm (14 kms.):

Sprawling over an area of 80 acres is a Government farm. Research & Development programmes for cultivation of spices like cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, coconut and pepper are conducted here. Research and Demonstration farm of the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) is nearby.

Chidiya Tapu (25 kms. from Port Blair):

Chidiya Tapu is the southern most tip of South Andaman. The lush green mangroves, forest cover with numerous chirping birds and the Sylvan Sands and Munda pahar beaches make it an ideal picnic site. The forest guesthouse situated on top of a hillock provides a fabulous view of isolated islands, submerged corals and the breath-taking sunset. Conducted tours are available from Andaman Teal House, Port Blair.

Collinpur (36 kms. from Port Blair):

Situated near to Tirur, this place has a beautiful sandy beach with shallow water. Suitable for swimming, sun basking and viewing sunset.

Madhuban (75 kms. by road/20 kms. by ferry and road from Port Blair):

This place is a trekking area, north east of South Andaman. Exotic endemic birds, animals, butterflies, and elephant lumbering are the most interesting part of the trek.

Mount Harriet (55 km, by road/15 km by ferry and road from Port Blair):

The summer headquarters of the Chief Commissioner during British Raj, this place is an ideal for a nice and fascinating over view of the outer islands and the sea. It is the highest peak in the South Andamans (365 metres high). One can trek upto Madhuban through a nature trail and can find rare endemic birds, animals and butterflies. Conducted tours to Mt. Harriet are available from Andaman Teal House.

Mini Zoo:

Mini Zoo Situated at Haddo (Delanipur - Chatham road), it houses some of the rare species of endemic birds and animals found in these islands.

history of Andaman and Nicobar Islands:

The name "Andaman" first appears in the work of Arab geographers of the ninth century (Soleyman in 851), though it is uncertain whether ancient geographers like Ptolemy also knew of the Andamans but referred to them by a different name. They were also described as being inhabited by fierce cannibalistic tribes by the Persian navigator Buzurg ibn Shahriyar of Ramhormuz in his tenth century book Ajaib al-Hind (The wonders of India), in which he also mentioned an island he called Andaman al-Kabir (Great Andaman). During the Chola Dynasty period in South India (800-1200AD), which ruled an empire encompassing southeastern peninsular India, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Maldives, and large parts of current day Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia, the island group was referred to as Timaittivu (or impure islands). Marco Polo briefly mentions the Andamans (calling them by the name "Angamanain"), though it is uncertain whether he visited the islands, or whether he met the natives if he did, as he describes them as having heads like dogs. His remark about their features may be the second-hand account of a local resident or fellow traveler, which is a frequent cause for certain exaggerated descriptions in Marco Polo's travels. Another Italian traveler, Niccolò de' Conti (c. 1440), mentioned the islands and said that the name means "Island of Gold". A theory that became prevalent in the late nineteenth century, and has since gained momentum, is that the name of the islands derives from the Sanskrit language, by way of Malay, and refers to the deity, Hanuman. In the Age of Exploration, travelers often noted the "ferocious hostility" of the Andamanese.

The Maratha admiral Kanhoji Angre used the Andamans as a base and "fought the British off these islands until his death in 1729."

British Occupation and Penal Colony:

In 1789 the government of Bengal established a naval base and penal colony on Chatham Island in the southeast bay of Great Andaman. The settlement is now known as Port Blair (after the Bombay Marine lieutenant Archibald Blair who founded it). After two years, the colony was moved to the northeast part of Great Andaman and was named Port Cornwallis after Admiral William Cornwallis. However, there was much disease and death in the penal colony and the government ceased operating it in May 1796.

In 1824 Port Cornwallis was the rendezvous of the fleet carrying the army to the First Burmese War. In the 1830s and 1840s, shipwrecked crews who landed on the Andamans were often attacked and killed by the natives, alarming the British government. In 1855, the government proposed another settlement on the islands, including a convict establishment, but the Indian Rebellion of 1857 forced a delay in its construction. However, since the rebellion gave the British so many prisoners, it made the new Andaman settlement and prison an urgent necessity. Construction began in November 1857 at Port Blair using inmates' labor, avoiding the vicinity of a salt swamp that seemed to have been the source of many of the earlier problems at Port Cornwallis.

In 1867, the ship Nineveh wrecked on the reef of North Sentinel Island. The 86 survivors reached the beach in the ship's boats. On the 3rd day, they were attacked with iron-tipped spears by naked islanders. One person from the ship escaped in a boat.

For some time sickness and mortality were high, but swamp reclamation and extensive forest clearance continued. The Andaman colony acquired notoriety following the murder of the Viceroy Richard Southwell Bourke, 6th Earl of Mayo on a visit to the settlement (8 February 1872) by a Muslim convict, a Pathan from Afghanistan, Sher Ali. In the same year the two island groups, Andaman and Nicobar, were united under a chief commissioner residing at Port Blair.

Japanese occupation:

The Andaman islands were later occupied by Japan during World War II. The islands were nominally put under the authority of the Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind (Provisional Government of Free India) headed by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Netaji visited the islands during the war, and renamed them as Shaheed (Martyr) & Swaraj (Self-rule). On December 30, 1943 during the Japanese occupation, Subhas Chandra Bose, who was controversially allied with the Japanese, first raised the flag of Indian independence. General Loganathan, of the Indian National Army, was Governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which had been annexed to the Provisional Government. Before leaving the islands, the Japanese rounded up and executed 750 civilians. After the end of the war they briefly returned to British control, before becoming part of the newly independent state of India.

At the close of the Second World War the British government announced its intention to abolish the penal settlement. The government proposed to employ former inmates in an initiative to develop the island's fisheries, timber, and agricultural resources. In exchange inmates would be granted return passage to the Indian mainland, or the right to settle on the islands. The penal colony was eventually closed on August 15, 1947 when India gained its independence. It has since served as a museum to the independence movement.

Recent history:

In 1974, a film crew and anthropologist Trilokinath Pandit attempted friendly contact by leaving a tethered pig, some pots and pans, some fruit and toys on the beach at North Sentinel Island. One of the islanders shot the film director in the thigh with an arrow. The following year, European visitors were repulsed with arrows.

On August 2, 1981, the ship Primrose grounded on the North Sentinel Island reef. A few days later, crewmen on the immobile vessel observed small black men were carrying spears and arrows and building boats on the beach. The captain of the Primrose radioed for an urgent airdrop of firearms so the crew could defend themselves, but did not receive them. Heavy seas kept the islanders away from the ship. After a week, the crew were rescued by an Indian navy helicopter.

On January 4, 1991, Pandit made the first known friendly contact with the Sentinelese.

Until 1996, the Jarawa met all visitors with flying arrows. From time to time they attacked and killed poachers on the lands reserved to them by the Indian government. They also killed some workers building the ATR Andaman Trunk Road, which traverses Jarawa lands. The first peaceful contact with the Jarawa occurred in 1996. Settlers found a teenage Jarawa boy named Emmei near Kadamtala town. The boy was immobilized with a broken foot. They took Emmei to a hospital where he received good care. Over several weeks, Emmei learned a few words of Hindi before returning to his jungle home. The following year, Jarawa individuals and small groups began appearing along roadsides and occasionally venturing into settlements to steal food. The ATR may have interfered with traditional Jarawa food sources.

In April 1998, American photographer John S Callahan organized the first surfing project in the Andamans, starting from Phuket in Thailand with the assistance of Southeast Asia Liveaboards (SEAL), a UK owned dive charter company. With a crew of international professional surfers, they crossed the Andaman Sea on the yacht Crescent and cleared formalities in Port Blair. The group proceeded to Little Andaman Island, where they spent ten days surfing several spots for the first time, including Jarawa Point near Hut Bay, and the long right reef point at the southwest tip of the island, named Kumari Point. The resulting article in SURFER Magazine, "Quest for Fire" by journalist Sam George, put the Andaman Islands on the surfing map for the first time. Footage of the waves of the Andaman Islands also appeared in the film "Thicker than Water", shot by cinematographer Jack Johnson, who later achieved worldwide fame as a popular musician. Callahan went on to make several more surfing projects in the Andamans, including a trip to the Nicobar Islands in 1999.

On 26 December 2004 the coast of the Andaman Islands was devastated by a 10-metre (33 ft) high tsunami following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. On 11 August 2009 a magnitude 7 earthquake struck near the Andaman Islands, causing a tsunami warning to go into effect. On 30 March 2010 a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck near the Andaman Islands.

Boa Sr., the last speaker of the ancient language Bo, died on January 28, 2010, at the age of 85.

Andaman Hotels:

Fortune Resort Bay Island, Andaman
Welcome Group Bay Island
Barefoot at Havelock, Andaman
Megapode Nest
Hotel Andaman Residency, Andaman
Hotel Sinclairs Bay, Andaman
Gem Continental
Sinclairs Bay View
Peerless Resort, Andaman
TSG Emerald, Andaman

Andaman Resorts:

Palm Grove Eco Resort
Peerless Beach Resort
Holiday Resort
Jungle Resort
Hornbill Nest Resort
Coconut Groves Eco-friendly huts

Andaman Map:

Andaman Photos:

Andaman Islands, Nicobar Islands, Andaman Sea, Andaman Weather, Andaman Hotels, Andaman Map, Andaman Beach, How to Reach Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Climate, Andaman Beach Resort, Andaman Tourism, Andaman Resorts, Weather in Langkawi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Pictures, Andaman Photos, Places to Visit in Andaman, history of andaman and nicobar islands and much

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gulmarg Hill Station | Gulmarg Tourism | Tourist Places Gulmarg

Gulmarg Hill Station | Gulmarg Tourism | Tourist Places Gulmarg

Gulmarg is a town, a hill station and a notified area committee in Baramula district in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Gulmarg's legendary beauty, prime location and proximity to Srinagar naturally make it one of the premier hill resorts in the country. Originally called ‘Gaurimarg’ by shepherds, its present name was given in the 16th century by Sultan Yusuf Shah, who was inspired by the sight of its grassy slopes emblazoned with wild flowers. Gulmarg was a favourite haunt of Emperor Jehangir who once collected 21 different varieties of flowers from here. Today Gulmarg is not merely a mountain resort of exceptional beauty- it also has the highest green golf course in the world, at an altitude of 2,650 m, and is the country's premier ski resort in the winter.

The journey to Gulmarg is half the enchantment of reaching there-- roads bordered by rigid avenues of poplar give over to flat expanses of rice fields interspersed with picturesque villages. Depending on the season, nature's colours could be the translucent green of spring, summer’s rich emerald, or autumn’s golden hues, when scarlet chillies festoon windows of village homes. After Tangmarg, the climb to Gulmarg begins through fir-covered hillsides. At one point, known simply as View Point, travelers generally stop their vehicles for a few minutes and look out a spectacle of snow-covered mountains, almost within touching distance.

Fast Fact Sheet of Gulmarg Hill Station:

Main Attraction:

Alpather Lake, Golf Courses & Skiing


34.05°N 74.38°E
56-km South West Of Srinagar, Kashmir Region, Jammu and Kashmir




Summer: Light woollens Winter: Heavy woollens


Kashmiri and Hindi



Best Time to Visit Gulmarg Hill Station:

In Summer - May To September
In Winter - November To February

STD Code:


Weather of Gulmarg Jammu Kashmir:

The temperature in June-August summer is 25 deg to 35 deg C. It plummets to 7 deg C in spring (March-May) and autumn (Oct - Nov).
In winter (Dec-Feb) temperature drops to minus 10 deg C.

Geography of Gulmarg Jammu Kashmir Tourism:

Gulmarg is located 52 km from Srinagar. It is located at 34.05°N 74.38°E. It has an average elevation of 2,690 m (8,825 ft).

What to do in Gulmarg:

Horse Riding / Hiking
Cable car riding to Khilanmarg
Golf playing
Snow Skiing during winter months (End Dec -Middle March)

How to Reach at Gulmarg Jammu and Kashmir Tourism:

By Air:

Gulmarg is in Baramula District and is 56-kms from Srinagar District. The nearest Airport from here is situated in Badgam District, which is well connected with all the major cities of the country.

By Rail:

The nearest railhead is at Jammu Tawi, which is around 300 km away.

By Road:

The journey from Srinagar to Gulmarg takes approximately 2 hours in bus and may take short time by chartered conveyance. The road to Gulmarg is very beautiful and is lined with poplar trees all through. All sorts of transport are available to Gulmarg from Srinagar bus stand at Batmallo and from private transport operators.

Weather forecast of Gulmarg Jammu and Kashmir:

Gulmarg Tourism:

Gulmarg is easily accessible from Srinagar or Srinagar Airport (SXR), the capital of Kashmir, in under 2 hours by Tata Sumo or bus. Just 1 hour on the way is the town of Tangmarg, a key tourist attraction and also a main destination for skiers riding down from Gulmarg during the winter months. From Tangmarg, the Gulmarg plateau is just 30 minutes travel. Gulmarg has around 40 hotels ranging from extremely budget accommodation in private huts to hotels that are of a similar standard to a western Bed & Breakfast. When hotels say 5 star expect similar standards to the aforementioned bed and breakfast or motel. The peak season starts with the snowfall in December and lasts until March (April if it is a good season). The charges for one night stay during peak season in a hotel range typically between Rs.1500 to Rs6500+, however there is also accommodation available for Rs500 which is only for the hardcore. The pre-season and post-season rates may have a discount but this is not standard. However, organising all of this can be pretty trying, so the cheapest and most convenient option is to go through a local tour company such as K-line Himalayan Adventure Sports or Gulmarg Powder Guides, which have connections and networks leading to the best prices and facilities available. They organise everything from transport to accommodation and, for all winter sports enthusiasts, an essential backcountry guide to lead you in navigating the unique but extreme terrain.

According to CNN, Gulmarg is the "heartland of winter sports in India." Gulmarg was being mooted as a possible host for the 2010 Commonwealth Winter Games. As such, Gulmarg has been rated by CNN International as Asia's seventh best ski destination. This resort is famous because of its "Gulmarg Gondola," one of the highest cable car in the world, reaching 3,979 metres. The two-stage ropeway ferries about 600 people per hour to and from the gondola main station in Gulmarg to a shoulder of nearby Mt. Apharwat Summit (4,200 m (13,780 ft)). The ropeway project is a joint venture of the Jammu and Kashmir government and French firm Pomagalski. The first stage transfers from the Gulmarg resort at 2,600 m (8,530 ft) to Kongdoori Station in the bowl-shaped Kongdori valley. The second stage of the ropeway, which has 36 cabins and 18 towers, takes skiers to a height of 3,950 m (12,959 ft) on Kongdoori Mountain, a shoulder of nearby Mt. Afarwat Peak (4,200 m (13,780 ft)). The second stage was completed in a record time of about two years at a cost of Rs11 crore and opened on May 28, 2005. The French company had also built the first phase of the gondola project, connecting Gulmarg to Kongdoori, in 1998. The JKSCCC also proposes to construct chair lifts to connect Kongdoori with Mary’s Shoulder for beginners and intermediate freeriders.

The “heartland of winter sports in India”, as quoted by CNN, is a gathering ground for all things extreme sports and outdoors related. In the winter, the diverse and extreme terrain combines with torrential snowfall to create a snow destination that is among the best in the world. As the destination itself is still undeveloped, skiers and riders never have to suffer the long queues that are so prevalent in other international snow destinations – it is not uncommon to get up to 10 runs in a day from the top of the gondola and to be carving fresh lines in untracked snow for the best part of a day.

The summer is just as busy. With temperatures ranging from 25-30°C, Gulmarg attracts outdoor sports fanatics with its world class trekking, mountain biking, horse riding, water skiing, and fishing.

There are a few places of religious importance near the resort within a 5 to 20 km radius like Baba Reshi, Haji Murad at Kreeri and Tangmarg.

Gulmarg is among the most famous tourist destinations in India, however, there is need for some stricted regulation to save the environment of the area from over tourism.

Major Attraction in Gulmarg Hill Station:

Skiing & Heliskiing:

Asia's one of the most famous Heli-skiing resort is at Gulmarg, Kashmir. Come December, and the verdant green slopes of Gulmarg are blanketed with snow, forming some of the finest natural slopes for ski runs of all levels.

Golf Courses:

Gulmarg also has one of the world's highest green golf courses, as well as a clubhouse, which is a historical building in its own right. For the would-be golfer, there are golf sets on hire, pros to instruct one in the game, and temporary memberships. Naturally, these facilities are available to players as well, except that serious golfers usually carry their sets along.

Gondola Lift:

For a fun filled ride of a most unusual kind, Gulmarg's newly constructed Gondola lift from high above Gulmarg, through pine clad slopes, is exhilarating.

Alpather Lake:

Beyond Khilanmarg, 13-km from Gulmarg at the foot of the twin 4, 511 metre Apharwat peaks, this lake is frozen until mid-June and even later in the year one can see lumps of ice floating in its cold waters. The walk from Gulmarg follows a well-graded Pony track over the 3, 810 metre Apharwat ridge, separating it from Khilanmarg, and then up the valley to the lake at 3,843 metres. The more adventurous trekkers can climb straight up the boulder-strewn slope of the ridge and descend the other side to the path. For horse riding aficionados, Alpather Lake makes an exciting day’s excursion, starting early morning and returning late evening.

Walk in Gulmarg:

A circular road, 11-km in length, runs right round Gulmarg through pleasant pine forests with excellent views over the Kashmir valley. Nanga Parbat is clearly visible 137-km to the north, Haramukh 60-km to the east while to the south one can see the Ferozpore and Sunset Peaks and the Apharwat Ridge. Nanga Parbat, the 'lord of the mountains', is the fourth highest peak on earth at 8,500 metres.

Adventure Sports Skiing in Gulmarg Hill Station:

In winter, Gulmarg acquires a new persona - that of the country's premier skiing resorts. Skiing, to many who watch it on TV, seems like a very elitist sport, requiring a high level of training and expensive equipment. They are surprised, when they visit Gulmarg for a day's expedition to "see the snow", that others with the same level of physical fitness and training are skiing down slopes. Gulmarg is the ultimate beginner's skiing resort. One doesn't requite a heavy woolen wardrobe - slacks or a Salwar Kameez will do fine. In Gulmarg one will also be able to drift to one of the many Ski shops and hire skis, sticks and goggles. Just find yourself a ski instructor and set off down a slope.

Neither does one need to exert oneself climbing up slopes. The gentlest slope of 200m is linked with a ski lift, which helps one to go up. When one graduates to intermediate level - which will happen after the first few days of practice, there are other slopes, longer and steeper, which are connected by chair lift. The longest ski run in Gulmarg is provided by the Gondola cable car, which allows a ski run of 2,213m.

Demographics of Gulmarg Hill Station:

At the 2001 India census, Gulmarg had a population of 664, though many people are required to leave by nightfall. Only tourists and those working in the tourism industry may stay overnight. Males constitute 99% of the population and females 1%. Gulmarg has an average literacy rate of 96%, higher than the Indian national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 97%, and female literacy is 22%. In Gulmarg, 0% of the population is under 6 years of age.

History of Gulmarg:

Gulmarg has been a resort for the kings like Yousuf Shah Chak and Jahangir who used to visit frequently. The old name of Gulmarg was "Gaurimarg", the name of Lord Shiva's wife. Yousuf Shah Chak changed its name to Gulmarg, meaning the place of roses. During the early part of the 20th century the famous Central Asian explorer Sir Marc Aurel Stein (1862–1943), made his home here in a tent between his expeditions. It was a favourite summer holiday destination for the British stationed in India.

The surrounding areas were politically restive during a period of relative peace and quiet. The town is nestled within the imposing Himalayan peaks, and lies within miles of the Line of Control. It receives heavy snowfall during the winter season and is a popular ski resort.

With the abatement of militancy in the area, Gulmarg has quickly become one of the state's most visited destinations. The slopes of the Afarwat Hills of the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalaya Chain boast one of the longest and highest ski slopes in Asia. The total distance covered by ski lifts is five kilometres and the resort peaks at an altitude of 3,950 m (12,959 ft), accessed by an aerial gondola (telecabine). The skiing project was inaugurated by the Chief Minister on 25 December 2004. The entire hill is guarded by the army at all times. The army, which is seen everywhere in the cities of Kashmir, is not in the town or the actual hilltop. Frisking is only done midway on the access road at 3 places: Tangmarg, near an army camp on the road from Tangmarg, and 5 km before entering Gulmarg. Gulmarg does not have any permanent residents. All living in Gulmarg are hotel employees and guests.

Gulmarg Map:

Gulmarg Photos:

Gulmarg Hill Station, Gulmarg Tourism, Tourist Places Gulmarg, Fast Fact Sheet of Gulmarg Hill Station, Alpather Lake, Best Time to Visit Gulmarg, Gulmarg Jammu and Kashmir Tourism, Gulmarg Tourism, Major Attraction in Gulmarg, Adventure Sports Skiing in Gulmarg, Gulmarg Photos and much more

Dalhousie Tourism | Dalhousie Hill Stations | Tourist Places Dalhousie | Places to Visit in Dalhousie

Dalhousie Tourism | Dalhousie Hill Stations | Tourist Places Dalhousie | Places to Visit in Dalhousie

Dalhousie is a hill station and popular tourist spot in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, India. Established in 1854 by the British Empire in India as a summer retreat for its troops and bureaucrats, the town was named after Lord Dalhousie who was the British Viceroy in India at that time. In western Himachal Pradesh, the hill station of Dalhousie is full of old world charm and holds lingering echos of the Raj era. It covers an area of 14 sq. km. and is built on five hills - Kathlog, Patreyn, Tehra, Bakrota and Balun. It is named after the British governor General of the 19th century, Lord Dalhousie. The town's average height is 2036 m, and is surrounded by varied vegetation - pines, deodars, oaks and flowering rhododendron. Dalhousie has charming colonial architecture, including some beautiful churches. Its location presents panoramic views of the plains and like a long silver line, the river Ravi twists and turns below Dalhousie. The spectacular snow-covered Dhauladhar mountains are also visible form this enchanting town.

Fast fact sheet of Dalhousie Tourism:


32°32′N 75°59′E


Immense Trekking Opportunities


7,419 (2001)


1,954 metres (6,411 ft)

Best Time to Visit in Dalhousie Hill Stations:

Mid-May To Mid-October

Location of Dalhousie:

Chamba, Himachal Pradesh, India

Climate of Dalhousie Himachal Pradesh:

In winter, the temperature can drop to freezing point when heavy woolens are required. The summer temperature are mild and light woolens / cottons are recommended.

Temperature of Dalhousie Himachal Pradesh:

The maximum temperature of Dalhousie in summers is 30*C and the winter temperature comes down to almost O*C.

Points of Interest at Dalhousie Hill Station:

Dalhousie has many places to visit. A favorite spot for tourists is the area near Alla. It is a potato field and it offers mesmerizing scenic landscape. Another popular spot is the area of Karelanu. It is famous for its precious water which healed a great leader, Subhash Chandra Bose. He was suffering from tuberculosis and he regularly drank the water from the natural spring in Karelanu and was healed.

Weather Forecast of Dalhousie Tourism:

How to Reach Dalhousie Tourism Himachal Pradesh:

By Air:

The nearest airport is at Gaggal (Kangra), 140-km from Dalhousie.

By Rail:

The nearest railhead is Pathankot, which is well connected to Amritsar, Jammu, Delhi and Jalandhar.

By Road:

Onward journey from Pathankot to Chamba and Dalhausie is by road. Punjab and Himachal Roadways run services, as do private operators.

Major Attraction in Dalhousie Tourism:

  • Dainkund Peak
  • Khajjiar
  • Bakrota Hills
  • Village Lohali

Eight Road Junction in Dalhousie Tourism:

At Gandhi Chowk in Dalhousie is a Road junction of eight roads. These roads lead to:
1) Subhash Chowk
2) Panchpula
3) Upper Bakrota
4) Diankund
5) Banikhet via Busstand
6) Khajjiar
7) Sadar Bazar
8) Motitibba

Important Areas of Dalhousie Hill Station:

  • Gandhi Chowk
  • Diankund
  • Bakrota Hills
  • Dalhousie Cantonment
  • Sadar Bazar
  • Tibetan Market
  • Panchpula

Places to Visit in Dalhousie Hill Station Himachal Pradesh:


There are four beautiful churches in Dalhousie. These are St. Andrew's Church and St. Patrick's Church at Balun, St. Francis church at Subhash Chowk and St.John's Church at Gandhi Chowk.

Subhash Baoli:

It was at this enchanting spot surrounded by majestic trees, that Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose spent time in 1937, contemplating and meditating. Commanding a view of the snowcapped mountains, 1.6-km away from the G.P.O. (check spelling) Square, the spring of Subhash Baoli is situated at an altitude of 2,085 metres (6,678 ft.).


This is a picturesque spot where a stream feed a series of pools. A monument has been built here in memory of the freedom fighter, Sardar Ajit Singh.

Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary:

This wild life sanctuary is a home to the 'ghoral' and Himalayan black bear.

Jandhri Ghat:

Around half a kilometre away from the Subhash Baoli, Jandhri Ghat enfolds an elegant palace in the midst of tall pine trees. Chamba's erstwhile rulers governed from here till the advent of Lord Dalhousie. The palace houses a number of shikhar trophies.

Beside the palace, Jandhri Ghat offers heavenly spots for picnicking-gushing streamlets in the midst of fragrant pine-scented breezes. Bakrota Hills and the 'Round' (2085m): Less than 5 km from the town centre, the Bakrota Hills frame a breathtaking view of the further snow-clad peaks. The 'round' is a walling circuit around the hill, very popular with residents.


On the way to Panjpulla, at an altitude of 2,036m. (6,678 ft.), these seven springs are reputed to have great therapeutic value as they contain mica with medicinal properties.

The Catholic Church of St. Francis:

Dalhousie is another hill station with a number of old churches. The Church near the G.P.O looks untouched by time. The Catholic Church of St.Francis, built in 1894.

Bara Pathar:

Set amidst thick forest is the small temple of Bhulwani Mata, in the village of Ahla, on the way to Kalatope. A fair is celebrated in July to venerate the goddess. It is 4 km away from the town.


At an altitude of 2,745 m and 10 km from the town, this tall peak outside town affords a bird's-eye view on a clear day, of the hills, valleys and the river Beas, Ravi and the Chenab threading their silvery way down to the plains.

Weather of Dalhousie Tourism Himachal Pradesh:

Dalhousie experiences winter-like cold climate throughout the year. Heavy rain with thunder showers are experienced during the period from June to September. In May–July it is usually warm in the morning and afternoon but gets cold early in the evening and quite cold at night. The weather becomes very cold during winter and if it rains. Dalhousie also experiences snow during the peak of winter period in December and January. Being a hill station, Dalhousie is famous for its salubrious climate.

History of Dalhousie Hill Station:

Dalhousie is a hill station in Himachal Pradesh. Established in 1854 by the British Empire in India as a summer retreat for its troops and bureaucrats.

It is built on and around five hills. Located on the western edge of the Dhauladhar mountain range of the Himalayas, it is surrounded by snow-capped peaks. Dalhousie is situated between 6,000 and 9,000 feet (2,700 m) above sea level. The best time to visit is in the summer, and the peak tourist season is from May to September. Scottish and Victorian architecture is prevalent in the bungalows and churches in the town.

Dalhousie is a gateway to the ancient Chamba Hill State, now Chamba District of the state of himachal pradesh of India. This hill region is a repository of ancient Hindu culture, art, temples, and handicrafts preserved under the longest-running single dynasty since the mid-6th century. Chamba is the hub of this culture. Bharmour, the ancient capital of this kingdom, is home to the Gaddi and Gujjar tribes and has 84 ancient temples dating from the 7th–10th century AD.


  • 1849 Punjab was annexed to the British Raj after the Second Anglo-Sikh War.
  • 1850 Lt. Col. Napier, Chief Engineer of Punjab was enchanted by the scenic spot in the Chamba state and visualized the project.
  • 1851 Selection of the site was finalized. A spot where the Dainkund Ridge, at the western edge of the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas, breaks into spurs was carved out. Dr. Clemenger of the 49th Native Infantry was in charge of the site development.
  • 1853 Thirteen square miles of land comprising the five hills Kathalagli, Potrein, Terah (Moti Tibba), Bakrota, and Bhangora were acquired by the Government of India from the Raja of the Chamba state. In return, the annual tribute that the Chamba state paid to the British Government was reduced by 2000 rupees. The total tribute at that time was 12,000 rupees per year.
  • 1854 Sir Donald McLeod recommended that the estate be named after Lord Dalhousie, the viceroy of India at that time. Convalescent Depot was constructed at Kathalag. It was made part of the Kangra District in the Punjab state.
  • 1860 Three level malls around Bakrota, Terah, and Potrein hills were laid down. The roads that connect these malls are still the main arteries of the city today.
  • 1863 St. John's church was built at the G.P.O. (Now known as Gandhi Chowk) Reverend John H. Pratt was instrumental in raising money from the Christian community.
  • 1873 Rabindranath Tagore spends time in Dalhousie.
  • 1884 Rudyard Kipling visited Dalhousie.
  • 1894 The St. Francis Church was built at Charing Cross (now known as Subash Chowk)
  • 1903 St. Andrew's Church (AKA The Church of Scotland) was built at Dalhousie Cantt.
  • 1909 St. Patrick's Church was built near the military hospital at Dalhousie Cantt.
  • 1910 Convent of the Sacred Heart, a residential school for girls, was started under the Archdiocese of Lahore.
  • 1915 Sadar Bazar, the main market of Dalhousie, was burnt down by a ferocious fire. The new Sadar Bazar buildings came up, and stone was used instead of wood. These 3-4 storey stone houses with slop?
  • 1920 Electricity was first distributed. A large generator using diesel was built to bring the electricity to the elite town.
  • 1920s-1947 Dalhousie was at its peak as a tourist destination.
  • 1954 Pt. Nehru, then prime minister of India, presided over the centennial celebrations of Dalhousie. He initiated promotion of tourism with the call Let us go to the Himalayas.
  • 1959 Tibet was taken over by China. Dalhousie was picked to host several thousand Tibetan refugees at the insistence of Pt. Nehru. Most of them have left the town. However, they have left their influence in the form of road-side rock sculptures and a Tibetan market near the GPO.
  • 1962 Dalai Lama visited Dalhousie. He visited again in 1988.
  • 1966 During Reorganisation of States, Dalhousie was transferred to the Himachal Pradesh from Punjab.
  • 1990s Dalhousie becomes a favorite shooting spot of Bollywood. Many Hindi films, including 1942: A Love Story, were filmed here.

Shopping in Dalhousie Tourism:

Tibetan handicrafts including pullovers and carpets at Dalhousie. Chamba Slippers, 'Rumals' and Shawls at Chamba town.

Hotels & Resorts in Dalhousie Hill Station:

  • The Manimahesh Hotel
  • Hotel Moonga
  • Hotel-Shangri-La
  • Hotel Alps Holiday Resort
  • Spring Dalhousie Hotel
  • Hotel President
  • Peace Channel Resorts
  • Hotel Mount View
  • Hotel Lall Ji, Resorts
  • Hotel Grand View
  • Hotel Dalhousie Heights
  • Hotel Sagrika Resort
  • Hotel Ashiana Regency
  • Snow Valley Resorts

Dalhousie Photos:

Dalhousie Tourism, Dalhousie Hill Stations, Tourist Places Dalhousie, Places to Visit in Dalhousie, Major Attraction in Dalhousie Hill Station, Dalhousie Photos, Hotels and Resorts of Dalhousie and much more

Monday, September 5, 2011

Chamba Tourism | Chamba Hill Station | Tourist Places Chamba Himachal Pradesh

Chamba Tourism | Chamba Hill Station | Tourist Places Chamba

Chamba is an ancient town in the Chamba district in the state of Himachal Pradesh, in northern India. According to the 2001 Indian census, Chamba has a population of 38,312 people.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 (a major tributary of the Trans-Himalayan Indus River), at its confluence with the Sal River.

Though historical records date the history of the Chamba region to the Kolian tribes in the 2nd century BC, the area was formally ruled by the Maru dynasty, starting with the Raju Maru from around 500 AD, ruling from the ancient capital of Bharmour, which is located 75 kilometres (47 mi) from the town of Chamba. In 920, Raja Sahil Varman (or Raja Sahil Verma) shifted the capital of the kingdom to Chamba, following the specific request of his daughter Champavati (Chamba was named after her). From the time of Raju Maru, 67 Rajas of this dynasty have ruled over Chamba until it finally merged with the Indian Union in April 1948, although Chamba was under British suzerainty from 1846 to this time.

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. 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.

Fast fact of Chamba Himachal Tourism:


At an altitude of 926m.Chamba is 56 km from Dalhousie via Khajjiar. Distance 600 kms from Delhi.


3,268 ft (996 m)


32°34′12″N 76°7′48″E


Pahari(local language)English ,Hindi and Himachali

Best time to visit in Chamba Hill Station:


Weather Summer in Chamba Hill Station:

38C- 15C Winter: 15C-8C

Temperature(deg C)in Chamba Hill Station:

Summer- Max. 39, Min. 8; Winter- Max. 10, Min. 1.1.

Population (2001):


Best time to Visit in Chamba Hill Station Himachal Pradesh Tourism:

Chamba is one of the beautiful hill resorts in India and can be toured between March and June.

How to Reach at Chamba Himachal Pradesh:

Chamba Nearest Airport And Railway Station:

Chamba Nearest Airport And Railway Station Is Not Yet Directly Connected By Air. The Nearest Airport Is Is Gaggal ( Kangra ) 135 Km. Pathankot 120 Kms And Amritsar 220 Km. Any Kind Of Transportation Is Very Easily Available.Chamba Is Not Yet Directly Connected By Train. The Nearest Broad Gauge Railway Station Is At Pathankot 120 Km. Which Is Linked By Direct Trains To Amritsar, Delhi, Bombay And Calcutta. Regular Bus Service Is Available From Pathankot To Chamba. Any Other Kind Of Transportation Is Easily Available.

By Air:

Air Route To Chamba The Nearest Airport From Chamba Is That Of Pathankot, Located At The Distance Of 120 Kilometer, And Offers Facility For Reaching The Place By Air. Flights Are Easily Available From All The Major Cities, Like Delhi And Chandigarh. Once Dropped At Kangra, Tourists Can Always Board The Buses Running On Regular Basis, On The Chamba-Kangra Route. Taxis Are Also Easily Available.

By Railway:

Train Route To Chamba Is Not Yet Directly Connected By Train. The Nearest Broad Gauge Railway Station Is At Pathankot 120 Km. Which Is Linked By Direct Trains To Amritsar, Delhi, Bombay And Calcutta. Regular Bus Service Is Available From Pathankot To Chamba. Any Other Kind Of Transportation Is Easily Available.

By Road:

How To Reach Chamba By Road The Nearest Bus Station From Chamba Is Located At Chowgan. Bus Service Is Easily Available For Reaching The Place, From Different Destinations Like Delhi, By Road. Generally, The Journey From Chamba To Khajjiar Takes Half And Hours, To Bharmaur Takes Three And A Half Hours, To Takes Dalhousie 3 Hours, To Pathankot Takes 6 Hours And To Dharamshala Takes 10 Hours.

Weather Forecast of Chamba Tourism:

Geography and climate of Chamba Tourism:

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 early July 2005, when the 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 and Pathankot, the latter of which is 120 kilometres (75 mi) away by road.

The temperatures in summer vary between 38 °C (100 °F) and 15 °C (59 °F) and in winter: 15 °C (59 °F) and 0 °C (32 °F). The maximum temperature recorded in summer is 39 °C (102 °F) and the minimum temperature in winter is −1 °C (30 °F). Climatically March to June is said to be the best period to visit Chamba, which is a well known hill station. The average annual rainfall in the town is 785.84 millimetres (30.939 in).

Famous places in Chamba:

Khajjiar – Mini Switzerland

Trekking at Chamba Valley Himachal Praedsh:

Chamba valley is famous for trekking as it has three well-definned snow ranges Laskar, Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal.

Place to Visit in Chamba Tourism:

Champavati Temple:

This temple was built by Raja Sahil Varman in memory of his daughter Champavati. The temple, located near the Police Post and the Treasury building, is built in the Shikhara style, with intricate stone carvings. It has a wheel roof and is large as the Laxmi Narayan Temple. An idol of the goddess Mahishasuramardini (Durga) is worshipped in the temple. The walls of the temple are full of exquisite stone sculptures. On account of its historical and archeological importance, the temple is maintained by the Archeological Survey of India.

Lakshmi Narayan Temples:

The Lakshmi Narayan temples complex, devoted to the Vaishnavite sect, includes the main Lakshmi Narayan temple, built in the 10th century by Raja Sahil Verman. It has been built to suit the local climatic conditions with wooden chatries and has a shikara, and a sanctum sanctorum (Garbhagriha), with an antarala and a mantapa. A metallic image of Garuda, the vahana (mount) of Vishnu is installed on the dwajastamba pillar at the main gate of the temple. In 1678, Raja Chhatra Singh adorned the temple roof with gold plated pinnacles, as a riposte to Auranagzeb, who had ordered demolition of this temple.

Chamunda Devi Temple:

Chamunda Devi Temple is located in a prominent position on the spur of Shah Madar range of hills, opposite to the Chamba town. It was built by Raja Umed Singh, and was completed in 1762. It is the only wooden temple with gabled roof (single storied) in Chamba, while all others in the town are built from stone in the north Indian Nagara architectural style.

In the past, the temple was accessed through a stone paved steep path laid with 378 steps, but it is now approached by a 3 kilometres (9,800 ft) motorable road. The temple, a trabeated structure, is built on a high raised plinth, buttressed on all four sides, and has a rectangular layout on the outside. It exterior measures 9.22 metres (30.2 ft) x 6 metres (20 ft), the inner square sanctum measures 3.55 metres (11.6 ft) x 3.55 metres (11.6 ft) and has a parikrama path (circumambulatory path) of 1.67 metres (5.5 ft) around the perimeter.

There is a mandap in the foreground of the temple of 5.1 metres (17 ft) x 6 metres (20 ft) size with an agni-kund or fire pit in the centre and a gable roof covered with slates. The mandapa has carvings in wood in its multi paneled ceiling with reliefs of human figures on the pillars and brackets. Votive bells are provided in the mandap entrance and it has a Nagari inscription, which records it as the offering from Pandit Vidhadhara to the goddess Chamunda deified in the temple on April 2, 1762, the date when the temple was consecrated.

Akhand Chandi Palace:

The Akhand Chandi Palace, noted for its distinct green roof, was built by Raja Umed Singh between 1747 and 1765 and used as his residence. Later, Raja Sham Singh refurbished it with the assistance of British engineers. In 1879, the Darbar Hall (also named 'Marshal Hall' after the builder) was built. Raja Bhuri Singh added the Zenana Mahal (residence of Royal ladies). The building was exemplary of the fusion of Mughal and British architectural influences. In 1958, the Royal family of Chamba sold the palace to the Government of Himachal Pradesh, who in turn converted it in to a Government College and District Library. Maintenance of the attractive palace, however, which has painted walls and glass work and intricate woodwork, has not been satisfactory, due to the lack of funds allocated to refurbish it. The palace provides scenic views of the Chaugan, Laxmi Narayana Temple, Sui Mata, Chamunda Devi Temple, Rang Mehal, Hari Rai Temple and Bansi Gopal Temple.

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.

Gandhi Gate:

The Viceroy of British Government Lord Curzon had got a warm welcome by a bright orange gateway built in 1900. It is the main gatway of Chamba.

Bhuri Singh Museum:

The Bhuri Singh Museum at Chamba was established on September 14, 1908 in honour of the raja at the time, Raja Bhuri Singh, who ruled Chamba from 1904 to 1919. J. Ph. Vogel, an eminent indologist, and expert on the history of Chamba state, proposed the museum to preserve a number of valuable inscriptions, mostly in Sarda script, which contained some rare information about the medieval history of Chamba; the parasites of Sarahan, Devi-ri-kothi and mul Kihar are still preserved in the museum. Bhuri Singh donated his family collection of paintings to the museum, including royal portraits which ranged from Basohli to Guler-Kangra in style, and embroidered Pahari miniatures. Numerous artifacts, important to the heritage of Chamba were added, including coins, hill jewelry and royal and tradiitional costumes, arms and armour, musical instruments and other items. The current museum was built in 1975 in concrete.

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.


The Chaugan (a Sanskrit word meaning: “four sided”) is the nucleus of all activity in Chamba, surrounded by impressive administrative buildings and a shopping arcade built during the British period, with the old Akhand Chandi palace standing nearby. It has a terraced grass green, and is exceptionally large for a hill station, measuring 800 metres (2,600 ft) length and 80 metres (260 ft) width. In 1890, the British converted five small chaugans into a single chaugan for use as an esplanade and sports complex, and today it is commonly used for cricket matches, picnics and promenades during the mid summer months. During the annual ‘Minjar Mela’ fair, the entire ground becomes a flea market. After the Dussera festival, the grounds are closed to the public until April, for maintenance purposes.

Church of Scotland:

The Church of Scotland, a Presbyterian Church, known as 'St. Andrew’s Church', was established by the first missionary in Chamba, the Reverend William Ferqueen, who served there between 1863 and 1873. The foundation stone for building the new church was laid by the Raja of Chamba on 17 February 1899, in the presence of the Scottish reverend Dr. M’Clymont who had come from Scotland. The Raja had contributed a generous grant to build the church and ensured that it was exquisitely built in fine stone masonry. The walls are supported by buttresses, and lancer arch windows provide the light and ventilation. Several schools are run by the Mission located within the church precincts.

Monuments built prior to 1846:

Buildings in Chamba were traditionally constructed using local materials. Buildings were made out of dry stone masonry, with the walls and floors of the older houses plastered with a concoction of clay and cow-dung. Thick wooden beams were used to support the walls, paying attention to durability and to withstand earthquakes, and wooden cantilever construction was often used to support the verandas. The staircases and doors were made from wood, with the doors often decorated in religious reliefs and flanked by two lamps to light it at night. Before the arrival of the British, who introduced slate roofs to Chamba, roofs were covered with planks, coated in clay. Few of these houses remiain today, although a number still have wood-clay roofs in villages in the suburbs.

The old heritage monuments, which comprise of palaces and temples are located in the old town (east of the Chaugans), on the lower slopes of Shah Madar hill. They were built in the lower valley where the two rivers and steep thickly forested hillsides provided a strong defense. Located here is the 10th century Champavati Temple, said to have marked the birth of the town, the Lakshmi Narayan group of temples (built from 10th-19th century), the 10th century Sita Ram Temple, Bansi Gopal temple, Kharura Mohalla and Hari Rai temple, the 11th century Sui Mata Temple and Chamunda Devi Temple, and the Akhand Chandi palace, overlooking the Chaugan, which has since been converted in to a college. Additions were made to the palace in the form of the Zenana Mahal and the Rang Mahal in the 18th century. The temples built in Chamba demonstrate a strong Kashmiri influence with their stone temple architecture and temple iconography. Given their age however, only their unicellular layout with fluted pillars has been retained.

Monuments built after 1846:

In the second half of the nineteenth century, the British administration drew up an urban plan for the development of Chamba. They laid emphasis on the building of civic buildings around the Chaugan to conceal the unorthodox structural layout of the residential complexes. The western oriented development programme grew particularly active after the arrival of Major Blair Reid in January 1863, during the reign of Raja Shri Singh. The next fourteen years in particular, until his retirement in March 1877, were characterised by large scale building projects in Chamba, with Reid fully revising the administrative and revenue departments of Chamba and reorganizing the state machinery to make development more efficient.

Orderly new building complexes with "simple visual discipline with white plastered walls, lancer arch windows, cornices, sloping sheet roofs, wooden eaves and deep verandahs were planned and built". Road communications were dramatically improved, with the approach road to the town being diverted, to provide a way for vehicular traffic to enter from the western end of the chaugan. A cabled suspension bridge was built across the Ravi River in the lower outskirts of the town, and many important public welfare projects were started, and well as many temples, gates, gardens and churches between 1863 and 1910. Notable works built during the colonial period include the temples in the Jansali Bazar, Gandhi Gate (Curzon Gate), Shiva Temple, the Chaugans, the Police Lines, the Church of Scotland, the Shyam Singh Hospital (built in 1891), Chamba Library, the Post Office building, Bhuri Singh Museum, the State Forces barracks, and the administrative buildings of the British period. Today, architectural materials have evolved considerably since ancient times and reinforced concrete structures are rapidly changing the skyline of the town

Art and Culture of Chamba, Himachal Pradesh:

Chamba Miniature Paintings:

Chamba is noted for its miniature Pahari paintings, where Basohli style of Pahari paintings took roots with Nikku, the artist of Basohli migrating from Guler to Chamba in the eighteenth century. Raja Udai Singh and Raja Jai Singh patronized this school of painting. During the reign of Raja Charhat Singh, folk art developed and had a lasting influence on local artists. The paintings of Chamba encompass both miniatures and murals and the Mughal influence is clearly discerned in these paintings. Distinguished artists of Chamba who have painted in this art form include Lehru, Durga and Miyan Jara Singh. The paintings were generally painted with Hindu religious themes, particularly the legends of Hindu mythology such as Radha Krishna, Shiva-Parvati, Rama Darbar, Yashoda and Krishna, Gopis, love scenes, deer, birds and women, Daya Saptashati and Krishna - Sudama. Romantic ambiance of the monsoon season in Chamba has also been painted by the artists of Pahari miniature art, in various moods and styles in Basholi colours. They are displayed in the museums at Chamba and also at Shimla and Dharamsala.

Handicrafts and Musical Instruments in Chamba:

Chamba is an important centre for the making of traditional handicrafts, and the town has numerous small workshops maintained by the artisans. Many of the items produced are exquisite and lavish, testament to the towns' aristocratic heritage.

Casting metalware in Chamba is an ancient tradition, dating back to the Bronze Age period, with items typically made out of copper or brass, and also iron, especially in the traditional making of implements and weapons by blacksmiths. Of particular note in this trade are the large plaques with reliefs, commonly used for wall decoration. The temple cupolas in Chamba district are often furnished with copper and brass items made in Chamba and often the golden kalasha or vessel crowning them is produced here.

Chamba has its own unique traditional system of men’s and women’s foot wares. The foot wares were originally made from locally produced leather but is today transported to Chamba from the south of India. Women's foot wares are embroidered as are the "vegetarian" foot wares which are purposefully made without leather for use in places where leather is prohibited for religious reasons. Handkerchiefs and shawls are also made in abundance in Chamba. Traditionally handspun, they are designed in such a way as to make both sides of the cloth look identical, and are beautifully embroidered. Chamba shawls are woven on hand looms in wool and typically have a bright border in a traditional design. A similar woven design is used for making caps.

Traditional jewellery is made in gold and silver in Chamba as its pottery, typically kitchenware, utensils and earthen pots. Given Chamba's history of new immigration from other parts of the country and Tibet, a variety of influences can be seen in the pieces of jewellery that are produced in Chamba. Chamba is also noted for its wood carvings, which, like the metalware is often used for iconography in temples, such as Chamunda Devi. A “Nagara”, a form of kettle drum is produced in Chamba as are cymbals, bells and "Singa” or "Ransinga" (horns) produced in both straight and curved styles. Other instruments include Shankh, Nad, Beiunsuli, Saihna, Nag Pheni, Thali Ghada, Bhana, Karnal, Pohol, Dhons, Kahal, Kansi, Hasat Ghanta and Drugg.

Festivals, Fairs and Dances in Chamba:

Two melas or fairs, also known as Jatras, are of particular note in Chamba; "Suhi Mata Mela" and "Minjar Mela". A notable event of such fairs is when the ‘chela’. a subordinate of the deity who is being worshipped goes into a trance and answers the queries and prayers of the devotees.

An important festival held in Chamba is known as the "Suhi Mata Mela". It is held annually in March–April for four days to commemorate the sacrifice made by the queen of Chamba with her life, to bring water to the town. The legend associated with this festival and the Sui Mata temple, built in memory of the queen (wife of Raja Sahil Varman), relates to the sacrifice she made to fulfill a prophesy in a dream, which said that water from the Sarota stream could only be accessed through an aqueduct if the queen or her son was sacrificed. Rather than kill her own son she sacrificed her own life for the town. To commemorate this event, women and children take a lead role in the festival. An image of Champavati, with banners of the Rajput solar emblem, are taken by them in a procession, dancing and singing, through the Chaugan to the Suhi Mata temple.

Another popular festival held in Chamba is the "Minjar Mela", held on the second Sunday of the Shravana month, corresponding to the month of August in the Gregorian calendar. It marks the triumph of the Raja of Chamba over the ruler of Trigarta (now called as Kangra), in 935 AD and also celebrates the paddy and maize crops grown at this time of the year. The festival commences with offerings of 'minjar', consisting of a bunch of paddy plant and golden silk wrapped in red fabric. The offerings also include a rupee, a seasonal fruit, and a coconut. This occasion is also celebrated with a flag hoisting ceremony at the Chaugan that initiates a week of cultural and social programmes. The image of the deity, Lord Raghuvira, and more than 200 other deities, are taken in a procession, in a chariot pulled by ropes. Folk dances and music performances known as 'Kunjari Malhar' are part of the festivities. On the last day of the festival, a parade is held from the Akhand Chandi Palace to Ravi River, where offerings are made to the river. This commemorates an event in which Raja Sahil Verman changed the course of the river, to make the Hari Rai temple accessible to all devotees.

Chamba and the surrounding district have many local customs in dancing, illustrating the differences in geographical, anthropological and social cultures and religious beliefs in the area. A solo dance or a dance of two people such as the Pharati or Khad-dumbi is commonly performed during the Nuwala ceremony and other important occasions, such as marriages etc. and the Dangri and Sikri are said to be of note. Notable male dances include the Gaddi and Gujjar dances, Dandaras, Nat, Ghorda, Nachan, Dharumsde, the Khad-dumbi and the Chhinjhati. Notable female dances include the Ghurei, Dangi and Kikli, whilst dances such as the Shain, Dhamal, Sohal, Sal Kukdi Nachan, Ratege and Til-Chauti are performed by both sexes. Several forms of masked dance are also performed in Chamba, such as the Chhatradhi Jatar.

Costumes in Chamba:

Ancient people of Chamba were known to have worn a fine woolen blanket or chadar around the waist, to keep warm in the cold climate. It was often tied or girdled with a band or patka, as evidenced by some archaeological discoveries in the area depicting this fashion. The Gaddi people have traditionally worn white embroidered caps and loose-fitting white woolen garments known as a chola, tied around the waist with a black wool rope. A local custom in Chamba was to give the Jogi of the Natha sect a cotton maikhal sheet to wear over the head during the Nuwala ceremony to honour Lord Siva. Chamba and the surrounding district have been well documented as being a producer of fine cloth and embroidered dresses for centuries.

Given the history of migrants arriving in Chamba from across Kashmir and Tibet over the centuries, today Chamba has a variety of traditional dresses, defined by the region to which they belong. The most traditional dress worn by Hindu women, on special occasions, is the pashwaj. Pashwaj is a gown with a short bodice (blouse) covering up to the waist. A shirt is worn, below which the dress falls in many folds, nearly touching the ground. The typical casual dress though, however, is a pairahan, with a chadar or dupatta (stoll) worn over the head. The lower half of the body is covered by a pyjama, known as a suthan.

Muslim women also generally wear similar dresses as the Hindu women. However, the one difference is that the tunic they wear is considerably shorter, just touching the knee. They don a small vest called a angi, worn beneath the bodice. A small shirt or kurta is also common. Hindu men wear an angrakha, long tunic that touches the knees. A cloth waist-band and tight fitting pajama and a small pagri (top hat) worn on top of the head completes their ensemble.

Demographics of Chamba Hill Station:

As of 2001 India census, Chamba had a population of 20,312. Males constituted 52% of the population and females 48%. Chamba has an average literacy rate of 81%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with a male literacy of 85% and female literacy of 77%. The main languages are Hindi, the local language of Pahari, and Himachali is also spoken by some inhabitants.

Away from the urban centre, the tribal people of Chamba are divided into two major groups; the Gujjars and the Gaddis. The Gujjars, mainly nomads, came to Chamba across the state border from Kashmir along the trade routes. They belong to nomadic herdsmen of the Islamic community, and travel to lowland Punjab in the autumn with their livestock to avoid the harsh winter of the Chamba hills. Their features are middle-eastern and have a distinct language and culture aloof from the main town.

The Gaddis comprise several ethnic groups; namely the Brahmans, Rajputs, Thakkurs, Rathis and the Khatris, who form the majority. They are agricultural peoples, and the name "Gaddi" means "shepherd". They mainly inhabit an area of the Chamba district in the Dhaula Dhar mountains, known as Brahmaur Wazarat or "Gadaran", located between Chamba and Kangra. "Gadar" means sheep, so their land is informally referred to as "Gadaran", literally meaning "sheep country". They are believed to have come to Chamba in the 10th century, although an influx of Gaddi people migrated to Chamba from Lahore in the 18th century, during the Mughal Empire. They are said to practice animism combined with the worship of Lord Siva.

History of Chamba:

Early history:

Chamba has an ancient history, which is inseparable from that of the surrounding district of Chamba. The earliest rulers were Kolian tribes. In the 2nd century BC the Khasas and Audumbaras were in power in the region. In the 4th century AD during the Gupta period, the Thakurs and Ranas ruled. From the 7th century, the Gurjara Pratiharas or the Rajput dynasty came into power.

The recorded history of the Rajput rulers is traced to an eminent individual named Maru who is said to have moved to northwest India from Kalpagrama, around 500 AD. He founded his capital in the Budhal river valley at a place called Brahmaputra, which later became known as Bharmour or Bhramaur, which is situated 75 kilometres (47 mi) to the east of the present day Chamba town. For three hundred years, kings of Rajput Dynasty ruled from their capital in Bharmour.

However, in 920, Raja Sahil Varman (or Raja Sahila Verma), King of Bharmour, shifted his capital from Bharmour to a more centrally located plateau in the lower Ravi valley, and named the city Champavati, after his daughter. There is some variation in the story to how exactly this transition came about in the historical records of Chamba. One version tells how Varman, who, after being childless for a significant period, was blessed with ten sons and a daughter, named "Champavati". It was Champavati who urged her father to build a new capital town in the valley. However, obstacles stood in the way to relocating his capital, given that the king had previously granted the land in the modern Chamba vicinity to the Kanwan Brahmins. A solution was found in the form of offering a gift of eight copper coins called chaklis on the occasion of every marriage that took place in the Brahmin family, if they would agree to surrender their land to pave the way for the new capital. With the land thus obtained, the new capital was built and named as Champa after Chamapavati, the King’s daughter, which, over the years, was simply shortened to "Chamba'.

A variation of this origin of Chamba is that it originated as a hermitage where Champavati, a devout Hindu, used to frequent. The king, being suspicious of his daughter's fidelity, one day investigated and followed her to the hermitage, but surprisingly he found neither his daughter nor the hermit there. Suddenly he was said to have heard a voice which informed him that his suspicions were ill founded, admonishing him and informing him that his daughter had been taken away from him permanently as a punishment of his lack of trust in her morals. The King, fully chastened, sought redemption for his sin by expanding the hermitage into a temple, named in his daughter’s honour and built a city around the temple. Today this temple, called the Champavati Temple, belongs to the Royal family and the King’s daughter is venerated as a goddess. Every year, since 935, the Minjar festival or fair has been held. It lasts for 21 days, coinciding with the first day of Baisakhi.

Since Raja Sahil Varman, the dynasty ruled, without successful invasion for around a millennium until the British gained power. The isolation of the town and its rugged hilly terrain is believed to have been a contributing factor to this unusual state of security. Later, Mughal emperors Akbar and Aurangzeb did attempt to annex Chamba but were unsuccessful in subjugating this territory into their kingdoms. Raja Prithvi Singh (1641-1664 AD), who was on amiable terms with Emperor Shahjahan was instrumental in introducing the court life styles of the Mughals. He also introduced Mughal-Rajput art and architecture in Chamba and the Mughal influence in the 17th and 18th centuries can be seen in modern Chamba today in the artwork and construction, and the exquisite tastes in its handicrafts.

Modern history:

By the late 18th century, the Sikhs under Maharaja Ranjit Singh controlled the region and had even placed a garrison at Chamba, forced the hill states to pay tribute to them. Ranjit Singh deposed the hill princes, including the more powerful Kangra ruler, Sansar Chand Katoch, but spared Chamba, given that the Wazir Nathu of Chamba had been important as an ambassador in negotiations with Katoch in 1809 and had saved his life in 1817 by succumbing his horse to King Singh to escape during a winter campaign in Kashmir. After Ranjit Singh’s death, Chamba became unprotected and was drawn into the vortex of the disintegration of the Sikh Kingdom.

In 1845, the Sikh army invaded the British territory. The result was disastrous, with the British defeating the army, leaving Chamba in a poor position. Wazir Bagha of Chamba was important in negotiations in its aftermath, and the Rajas of Chamba, upon on the advice of Bagha, agreed to the British suzerainty as part of Jammu and Kashmir in favour of an annuity of Rs 12,000. The Treaty of Lahore was signed in 1846, in which the Rajas agreed to ceding the territory of Chamba district. From then on, relations with the British were cordial, and the all of the Rajas of Chamba under the British rule, Sri Singh, Gopal Singh, Sham Singh, Bhuri Singh, Ram Singh and Laxman Singh were on good terms with the British army officers.

Many progressive reforms and developments were made in Chamba under the British. In 1863, the first Post office was established in Chamba and a daily mail service and a primary school. In December, 1866, a hospital was opened by Doctor Elmslie of the Kashmir Medical Mission. In the late 1860s two new roads to Dalhousie via Kolri and Khajiar were built. Gopal Singh, who ruled from 1870 to 1873, after abdicating, was responsible for building the grand Jandarighat Palace as his summer residence.

Subsequent to India becoming an independent nation in August 1947, the princely state of Chamba finally merged with India on April 15, 1948 along with the other princedoms of Mandi-Suket, Sirmour and all of those in the Shimla hills.

Chamba Map:

Chamba Photos:

Chamba Tourism, Chamba Hill Station, Tourist Places Chamba, Chamba Himachal Pradesh, Festivals, Fairs and Dances of Chamba, Culture of Chamba, Geography and climate of Chamba, Places to Visit in Chamba, Trekking in Chamba Valley, Chamba Photos and much more