To bus station by 6:15 but we discover our info was wrong – doesn’t leave until 8 – it is a thru bus all the way to Chamba! Well, it was late and luckily we’d been asking at the ticket counter about every 15 min. so finally around 8:15 a fellow took pity on us and, by the hand, led us to the bus which was just then passing thru(we would have missed it entirely otherwise!).
The ride to Chamba was the most curvey, twisty, follow-the-contours-of-the mtns road I think I’ve ever ridden on. A two lane, then 1 ½ lane squeeker often around blind bends w/ just a horn honk between us and the truck/bus/car coming the other way sight unseen! The driver had the quickest reflexes of any I’ve ever seen – survival skills for sure(or we’d be lying at the bottom of some steep mtn side).
Fantastically beautiful, pine covered, tree covered, green mtns – very steep, we see the snow capped Pir Panjal range which is just across the Pattan valley from the Himalayan rnage to the N. of us. The rushing Ravi River down thru Chamba valley is clear and tinged w/ green mineral content.
The state of Chamba founded in 920 AD is the most ancient state in N. India ruled for 1000 yrs until 1845 when the Brittish took it over. We walk a little ways from the bus stop(there is a state girls competition taking place in the large –once polo grounds – open park we pass by and our Hotel Aroma Palace overlooks! A dbl. room is just 385 r. and a window overlooking the park! Such a deal!
Lazy day...afternoon we walked the narrow alley streets of old town to the Old Palace(Rang Mahal) – a big red brick fortress-like place. Inside was the Himachal Emporium where we saw examples of Chambas’ famous rumals – embroidery in silk w/ mirror images of the same pattern on each side. Visited a number of temples(Chamba is noted for its numerous temples), the oldest/largest dates from 10th century in a compound of six. It’s dedicated to Lakshmi Narayan(Vishnu). Across from it is the huge white Akhand Chandi Palace – home of the Chamba raja built in 1764 now used as a postgraduate college. I really like seeing these old bldgs maintained and used for modern day purposes instead of dead tourist attractions!
Hiked up stairs to a great view at Chamunda Devi temple – quite a hike both ways, stairs up & walkway down…I found out that I prefer the stairs, Bon prefers the walkway due to her hip problem. Went to Bhuri Singh Museum – very impressive w/ great English descriptive/interpretive signage – lots on miniature paintings, fountain slabs (only found around here, they were used to commemorate/immortalize loved ones who died the water coming from the mtns was considered sacred ie the slabs) plus stone & wood carvings all from this area.
The fellow from the internet opened just for us so I could take advantage of his excellent services for uploading pics – over 150 – which means I only have about 400 more to go,ha!