There are four beautiful churches in Dalhousie. These are St. Andrew's Church and St. Patrick's Church at Balun, St. Francis' Church at Subash Chowk and
St. John's Church at Gandhi Chowk.
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 2,036mts. (6,678 ft.), these seven springs are reputed to have great therapeutic value as they contain mica with medicinal properties.
It was at this enchaining spot surrounded by majestic trees, that Subhash Chandra Bose spent a lot of time in 1937, contemplating and mediating. 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.).
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 (4Km.)
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.
This is picturesque spot where a stream feeds a series of pools. Just 2 km away from the town lies the 'five bridges' memorial, built in memory of Ajit Singh, one of India's well-loved freedom fighters. A natural tank and creams give the spot a fitting serenity.
Kalatop (10 km)
This wild life sanctuary is home to the 'ghoral' and Himalayan black bear.
Khajjiar (23 kms)
Mini Switzerland of India at a height of 6400 ft. Hutchison writes, "Khajjiar is a forest glade of great beauty, 6400 feet above sea level".
Khajjiar is often reffered to as "Gulmarg of Himachal Pradesh". The lush green meadows are surrounded by thick pine and cedar forests. Grazing herds of sheep, goats and other milch cattle present a prefect pastoral scenery. There is a small lake in the center of the saucer shaped meadow which has in it a floating island. Much of the lake has degenerated into slush because of heavy silting during rains. Still the landscape of Khajjiar is picturesque and a photographer's delight.
A little away from the lake is the temple of Khajji Nag belonging to 12th C. AD. In the mandapa of the temple one can see the images of the Pandavas and the defeated Kaurvas hanging from the roof of the circumambulatory path. The sanctum of the temple has been beautifully carved from wood.
The best entertainment in Khajjiar is to walk around the lake or to go for long walks in the thick pine forests. Children enjoy this place because of the freedom of movement and the slopy terrain which permits them to roll down to the lake without getting hurt. Another attraction like any other hill station is horse riding.
Bharmaur (65 kms)
From Chamba is the land of legendary Gaddies, i.e. Bharmaur. Known as Brahmpur in the 6th century, was the seat of power of Chamba state for some 400 years till AD 920, when a new capital was founded at Chamba by Raja Sahil Varman. Bharmaur is known for some very old archaeological remains, primarily the temples. All these temples stand on a level area which call the Chaurasi after the 84 Siddhas who are believed to have meditated in Bharmaur over 1000 years ago. These Siddhas hailed from Kurukshetra and visited Manimahesh.
The tallest temple in the whole complex is of Manimahesh built in Shikhara style of architecture. The temple has a Shivalingam on a raised platform. The other temple in Shikhara style is of Nar Singh. Lord Vishnu in his avtar as Nar Singh has been cast vividly. There is a bronze Nandi of life size which stands facing the Manimahesh temple. Inscriptions on the pedestal of the bull and on the idols of Lakshna Devi and Ganesh date back to the reign of Raja Meru Varman. These idols are believed to be the work of master craftsman Gugga. There is a small water source called Ardh Ganda in a corner of the temple complex. Bathing in its water is considered religiously significant. The country around Bharmour is regarded as belonging to Shiva and is sometimes called Shiv-Bhumi. Being the home of nomadic shepherds Gaddies it is also called Gadderan.
Just 4 kms above Chaurasi temples is the hill temple of Bharmani Devi. A trek to this temple refreshes the visitors as it unfolds the green woods before him.
The best period to visit Bharmour is between July and September.
In the month of August/September the famous YATRA of Mani-Mahesh commences from Laxmi-Narayana Temple in Chamba. The CHHARI is taken to the sacred lake of Mani-Mahesh, which is one of the chief tirthas in the district. Off late people from north India and beyond have started visiting this sacred lake. According to an estimate nearly one lakh people visit this sacred lake every year and take a holy dip. The lake is situated at the height of 13,500 feet above sea level and at the base of Mani-Mahesh Kailsah peak (18,564 feet). Mani-Mahesh kailash is a virgin peak. In 1968 an Indo-Japanese team led by Nandini Patel made an unsuccessful attempt to scale the peak. The devout attribute the failure to the divine prowesses of the holy mountain. On the margin of the lake is a small marble Shivlaing called CHAUMUKHA.
Mani-Mahesh is 35 kms. from Bharmour. During mela days efficient bus service is available upto Hadsar. The pilgrimage is generally done in two stages. First camp is set-up at Dhanchho. Several grazers can be seen grazing their sheep in the alpine pastures of this place. the ascent from Chanchho to Mani-Mahesh lake is difficult in patches. Just short of the lake is Gauri Kund where women take a holy dip before returning to home. The pilgrimage to Mani-Mahesh is considered sacred like that of Amarnath, Badrinath and Rameshwarm. During the mela days several BHANDARAS are set-up for the benefit of pilgrims and meals are served free of cost. Pack animals are also available for those who do not want to carry their luggage themselves.
Chhatrari (45 kms from Chamba via road is this famous village of Chhartrari)
The village is inhabited mostly by the Gaddies who are semi-postral lot engaged in rearing of sheep and goats. This village, situated at a height of 6000 feet, its famous for its remarkable hill-style temple of Shamti Devi.
The temple of Chhatrari is regarded as one of the holiest ones competing with well known temples of "Lakshna Devi" at Bharmour and of "Bhawani" at Kangra. The construction of the temple is simple. It consists of a small Cell or sanctuary in which one of the rare brasses by the master craftsman Gugga is enshrined. The walls of the temple are built of rubble masonry alternating with beams of wood. The structure is surmounted by a sloping roof of slate. The roof is supported by richly craved wooden posts which form a VARANDAH or circumambulatory path round the sanctum. The Shakti Devi temple is of interest owning to the elaborate decoration of its facade, ceiling and pillar. The sanctum, its architecture and sculpture betray a conscious effort on part of its builder to introduce a highly refined post Gupta art in this remote part of Chamba.
The main idol in the temple is that Shakti. This fine brass statue, 4 feet 6 inches tall shows Shakti holding in her hands a lance (Power, energy) and a lotus (life), a bell (aether, space) and a snake (death and time). Besides this main idol there are almost thirty other small figurines of tutelary deities like Annapurna. Some of these are believed to have been brought from far South or the State of Orrisa.
According to the inscription at Chhatrari the temple was built by Raja Meru Varman, by whose order the inscription was engraved alongwith the names of his father, grand father and great grand father as well as that of the sculptor. This epigraph commemorates Meru Varman's victory over his rivals with the help of the Devi.
The outer walls of the sanctum are covered with frescoes which are of recent origin and represent scenes from PURANAS.
Near the Shakti Devi Temple is the temple of Gauri Shankra. The stone image of Gauri Shankra is of later origin. The work can be attributed to the 10th century AD which indicates a long period of sculptural activity in the region.
A few minutes walk up the mountain slopes from the main village is the Charauta temple which houses a stone image of BHATOD NAG who gives water to the people in return for one black and four white goats every three years.
There are two interesting legends connected with the village. Villagers had to fetch water from a nearby village call Makain. Once, a Chela of a siddha while carrying water fell prey to bears. The Siddha invoked the deity to solve the water problem. Inspired by the Devi he made 36 marks with his trident at different places in the village and water gushed out from the points where the marks had been made. There are 36 water sources in the village around which beautiful PANIHARS (Fountain slabs) can be seen.
In the month of September a mela is held on the third day after the mela at the Mani-Mahesh lake whence a man brings a Lota of water with which the idol of Shakti is bathed. On this day a number of sheep are slain to appease the goddess and to invoke her blessings. After the prayer the gaddies in their traditional costumes dance to the tune of local music.
The village is approached either from Gehra from where a bridle path leads to Chhatrari or from Luna-Ka-Pul from where a steep trace is to be ascended to reach the village or by the motorable road, experiencing a scary ride almost 700 to 900 feet above the river Ravi as one nears the village. The ascent on foot is most rewarding as the visitors are welcomed by lush green fields and orchards at the outskirts of Chhatrari. Chhatrari looks most scenic during September and October. Even on other occasions, particularly in spring, Chhatrari offers pleasant scenery.