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About halfway between Dalhousie and Chamba, stop at Khajjiar, also known as the mini Switzerland of India. Occupying an old crater whose flat bottom constitutes a small shallow lake and green meadows, this tourist site is the joy of people on vacation because it allows pretty horse rides (you can rent it).

The Chamba Valley, north of Himachal Pradesh, is framed between two chains of high mountains, Pir Panjal in the north, and Dhaula Dhar in the south, the latter separating it from the country of Kangra and the heights of Dharamsala. It is crossed by the Ravi river which, at the level of the town of Chamba, looks like a tumultuous torrent flowing in a bed cluttered with large stones and cashed between steep banks.

To reach Dalhousie, the starting point towards the Chamba valley, from Delhi, the easiest solution is to take the train which joins Delhi (Old Delhi station) to Pathankot (Jammu line). The journey of some 500 km covers approximately 11 hours. On arrival in Pathankot, you go outside the small station to an office of the Union of taxis.

The prices are fixed and displayed (1150 Rs to go in 1h30-2h to Dalhousie - 75 km). You can also take the bus for much less. It is also from Pathankot that taxis reach Dharamsala. Dalhousie is a village scattered on the mountainsides at 2000 m altitude. The panorama of the Pir Range mountains to the north is remarkable.

The agglomeration is very wooded, the beautiful cedars of the Himalayas (Deodar) and the giant rhododendrons, in bloom in early April, forming a very pleasant setting. The English made Dalhousie a summer resort during the colonial period, in order to take advantage of its mild climate while the plains of Lahore or Amritsar cooked in the sun. Dalhousie keeps track of this past with a number of luxury but dated hotels.

To get to Chamba from Dalhousie, you can take two roads, one by the valley (if one can say), the other by the mountain, much more beautiful and picturesque, from where one enjoys superb views of the mountains and passing through Khajjiar. On the way to Khajjiar you can enjoy a walk in the middle of nature, we will start at the Kalatop toll bridge until the rest station.

For over 1000 years, the Chamba Valley has formed the oldest princely state in northern India. Chamba, at an altitude of 1000 m, is perched on the right bank of the Ravi.

Khajjiar Travel Guide

You can visit various places which, fortunately, have not been pillaged in the course of history because the remoteness of the valley has sheltered it from incursions. These places are:

1. Khajji Nag Temple


Some accommodation and the small Khajjinag temple are the only constructions. In this 12th century temple with architecture revealing a very specific local style (slate roof with four sides, open mandapa with wooden columns), you can see rare and interesting wooden sculptures representing, at the foot, each of the five Pândava brothers, whom the epic of the Mahabharata immortalized.

These statues date from the 16th century and are said to have been donated by the Raja of Chamba. In the sanctuary, Shiva is represented on a very beautiful old stone stele blackened by the years.

Khajjiar Travel Guide

2. Chamera Lake


Leave for Chamera Lake in the morning. It is a hidden gem in the lap of the Himalayas, surrounded by mountains everywhere. Enjoy boating on the lap, surrounded by mountains everywhere. After that visit the meadows of Khajjiar. No wonder it is called Mini Switzerland of India. Watch the sheep graze in the grass next to you and the pines swing towards the winds.

3. Dainkund


After breakfast, you can take the short Dainkund Trek. It is a very nice walk. You can have lunch in some excellent Dalhousie restaurants in the local market, and also buy some colorful woolen garments in the surrounding shops.

4. Bharmour


This big village, whose name is also indifferently Bharmaur or Bharmour, is a good 3 hour drive (85 KM). It is a mountainous road and subject to landslides in the side of the cliff that runs along the Ravi. Perched at 2200 m above sea level, Bharmour is the starting point for treks, but also the place of passage for pilgrims who go to Manimahesh Lake (4170 m).

From Bharmour, the Gaddi shepherds lead their herds to the high mountain pastures. Before the Raja Sahil Varman founded Chamba in the year 920, Bharmour was the capital of the Chamba region for 400 years. The village has a magnificent group of temples, the Chaurasi temples. They are grouped on a large esplanade at the top of the village but, unless we count as temple each Shiva Lingam, they are much less numerous!

5. Manimahesh temple


The most imposing of them is the Manimahesh temple dedicated to Shiva in the form of Lingam: it is easily identified by the beautiful bronze Nandi which, seated under a canopy, faces it. The second temple of importance is the temple of Narasimha (Narsingh) where an impressive bronze statue of two colors of this frightening deity (an avatar of Vishnu in the form of a Lion-Man) resides in the sanctuary.

A third temple draws attention. It is the Lakshna Devî temple, remarkable for its finely carved wooden porch, on which we see the God Vishnu riding the Garuda eagle. As for Ganesh, he discreetly lives in the first small temple on the right when you arrive on the esplanade. It is an extraordinary bronze statue dating from around the year 750, making it one of the oldest bronze figurations that has come down to us.

The face is very powerful with its prominent eyes and the harmonious curvature of the proboscis; it is surmounted by a pretty ornate crown in the shape of three stylized crescent moons.

6. Bhuri Singh Museum


Do not forget to visit the Bhuri Singh Museum, a beautiful introduction to the different art forms that have developed in the region. Miniature paintings called Pahari in different styles from Kangra, Basholi, Chamba, fine embroidery on canvas (Rumal) represent scenes from the religious mythology of Krishna, with a sculpture room with some deities and engraved ornamental plaques from old fountains.

There are also carved wooden doors, some remarkable small old bronzes (showcase in the entrance), weapons and coins, not to mention interesting old photos of the city. The name of the Museum comes from Raja Bhuri Singh, who reigned over Chamba at the beginning of the 20th century (1904-1919).

A last Chamba specialty is the making of Rumal embroidery. Dating back to at least the 15th century, this art developed a lot in the 18th century, as it was strongly sponsored by local rulers. This kind of satin embroidery on cotton canvas is special because the two sides of the fabric are embroidered without any knot being visible. The patterns most often relate to Krishna's gesture or are charming little animal scenes.

7. Shri Hari Rai Temple


The Harirai temple, near north of the Chowgan meadow, is old since it dates from the 11th century. Its construction is attributed to Salabana. With a classic finely crafted shikhara tower, it houses a very beautiful bronze statue of Vishnu in its form of Chaturmurti, with four arms.

8. Champavati Temple


The Champavati temple, built by the Raja Sahil Varman, received this name in memory of his daughter Champavati. Champavati, in this temple, is assimilated to the Goddess Durgâ of which a beautiful bronze representation resides in the sanctuary. In the temple courtyard, two stone lions, symbols of the Goddess, painted in red, face the sanctuary. Note that this temple also has a large mandapa.

Khajjiar Travel Guide
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Kalyan Panja Kalyan Panja Author

47 comments:

  1. thanks for bringing me to Khajjar through your beautiful blog!

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    1. Thanks Jessa. Glad you liked it. Visit and subscribe to my website for more enchanting places.

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  2. Really interesting, extremely informative post! I must say must visit place when unrouting Switzerland.

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    1. Thanks. Yes, do visit once. You won't be disappointed.

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  3. Wow such a wonderful place I love the nature view. Awesome photos.

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    1. It indeed is a wonderful place. Do visit at least once.

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  4. Wow this looks absolutely stunning. Thanks so much for sharing this experience with us.

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    1. Definitely stunning. It is an out of the world experience. Do visit my website for information on Dalhousie too.

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  5. We are planning a vacation to Dalhousie this summer. Would like to visit Khajjiar. 😍

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    1. Definitely a place to visit. Read my post on Dalhousie also, for detailed information. You can see at https://www.gowithvimal.com/2019/04/amazing-places-to-see-in-india-3-days.html

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  6. Nice guide. Your friends sounds like he had a blast!.

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    1. It's a place to rejuvenate your body mind and soul.

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  7. Khajjar really looks like Switzerland of India. Your photo of green meadow is very beautiful. I have never been to Khajjar but I would like to go one day. No wonder you had a great time there

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    1. It is a paradise on earth. You would just not feel like coming back.

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  8. I've not yet been to Khajjiar, but it looks like an amazing place to go and explore! I'll keep your travel guide in mind, if ever I have the opportunity to visit myself.

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    1. It is stunningly beautiful. Khajjiar takes you to a different world. You can read about more amazing places on my website https://www.gowithvimal.com.

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  9. This sounds like a wonderful time and a great time had with others too!!

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    1. Whether you want time for yourself or a family picnic or just want to be in the midst of the nature, Khajjiar is the place. Visit my website https://www.gowithvimal.com for more such unexplored beautiful places.

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  10. I honestly thought that Khajjiar was in Switzerland. As someone who loves the outdoors and spending time in nature, Khajjiar is a great place to visit for me. The lush green valley and snow capped peaks are indeed a marvel. I also particularly like the sound of the Rock Garden. It's fascinating to see how the rocks formed visually attractive patterns naturally. Khajji Nag Temple, dedicated to the Snake God also piques my interest as I love learning about different cultures and beliefs when I travel.

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    1. Do not miss Khajjiar. It is a one of it's type place. There are numerous unexplored but naturally beautiful places in India. Check out https://www.gowithvimal.com.

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  11. Visiting there is one in my bucket list. man, that view is a dream

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    1. It is a dreamland. You will be transported to some different planet. Looking for some more such places? Visit my website.

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  12. Never been to this place but that place looks very vibrant to relax and unwind. Looks like you had a great time there!

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    1. Yes! It indeed is a great place to not only unwind but to rejuvenate your mind and soul. Visit my website https://www.gowithvimal.com for more.

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  13. The photos look amazing! The snow makes it look like a winter wonderland. Looks like you had a lot of fun!

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    1. Yes, I did have a lot of fun as well as peace, which is at premium in the city life. Amazing beauty, that is Khajjiar, leaves you spellbound. For information on more such places, bookmark my website.

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  14. This article brought back some really great memories. I visited Dalhousie and Khajjiar with my family about 15 years ago. The memory had completely slipped my mind but reading your article made me remember some details from that trip.

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    1. I don't think things might have changed much since then. It is still the same peaceful, simple place, welcoming each and every guest with wholehearted warmth. Bookmark my website for complete information on more such places.

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  15. Khajjiar is a wonderful place! It looks awesome throughout the year. Would like to visit again. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Yes, I too would like to go again. There are more such places, which are naturally beautiful and calm. For example, Narkanda. It's an equally peaceful and beautiful place. Do visit my site for stories on more such places.

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  16. Definitely a place worth adding to any India itinerary! Sounds like you had a great time on your trip! I would love to experience this one day myself!

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    1. Do make it a point to visit this wonderful place. Khajjiar is simply awesome.

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  17. Khalliar sound amazing!! I would love to visit there someday! It looks and sounds beautiful!

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    1. Khajjiar is indeed an amazing place. It doesn't look beautiful, it is beautiful.

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  18. Never heard of Khajjiar but it looks beautiful. Awesome photos.

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    1. You have to see Khajjiar to believe that such a beautiful place exists in India. And that too hidden in a remote corner.

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  19. Those slopes look amazing! I'd love to visit in winter and in summer time.

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    1. You can visit Khajjiar any time of the year. It is equally beautiful throughout the year.

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  20. Khajjar really does looks like Switzerland. The photos are extremely awesome.

    Loved it.

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    1. I too fell in love with Khajjiar once I saw it with my own eyes. Just visit and find the hidden beauty yourself.

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  21. I'm loving the nature shots. Very nice. This area does look like Switzerland for sure.

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    1. It is much more than what these pictures show. Same with Dalhousie, just 20 km away. It is again a stunning beauty. Visit https://www.gowithvimal.com for my story on Dlhousie.

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  22. Omg, Switzerland is so stunning! I've been to Zurich but I would love to see more of Switzerland :)

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    1. This is not Switzerland dear friend. This is INDIA. Place named Khajjiar in India which has been termed as the 'Mini Switzerland of India'.

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  23. One of those naturally sweet and beautiful places, I love how you described it in this travel guide!

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    1. Khajjiar is another wonder of nature. Definitely worth a visit.

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  24. Thanks. Khajjiar is surely a natural beauty. There are many more such beautiful places in India. Checkout my blog for that at https://www.gowithvimal.com.

    ReplyDelete

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