Hotel Ark

A Home Away From Home Where Nature Whispers

The Dalhousie Town was named after Lord Dalhousie who was the British Governor-General in India while establishing this place as a summer retreat. 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, Kathalagh, Potreyn, Terah, Bakrota and Bhangora.[1] 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 Gaddiand Gujjar tribes and has 84 ancient temples dating from the 7th–10th century AD.

Dian Kund is the most facinating place in the entire area. The ascent to the Dainkund begins after a turn from the Lakkar Mandi. About 6kms drive from Lakkar Mandi takes one an Indian Air Force Barrier, where the cars are parked. The top of the hill is unfortunately occupied by an Indian Air Force establishment. It is believed that in old days there were witches living there who used to trouble the villagers to no end, Because of this Dain Kund is also known with the name of Witch's Pond. Dalhousie- Dainkund is one of the most frequently undertaken tours from Dalhousie. The mountain of Dainkund rises to an altitude of 2,745 meters above sea level and provides a breathtaking view of the surrounding regions. Dainkund is the highest mount in Dalhousie that provides the picture book scenery of the whole valley. Daikund is popularly known as the singing hill.

Kalatop Sanctuary is a 30.69 km² animal sanctuary at Kalatop and Khajjiar in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh, India. The sanctuary area is well laid out for trekking trails both at Kalatop and Khajjiar. There is a dense deodar and fir forest covering 19.63 km² of the sanctuary, which is about 6 km from Dalhousie. Pheasants, serow and black bear are some of the common animals found here. The sanctuary lies in the path of the Ravi River, and is surrounded by coniferous and oak forests.

  • Latitudinal range- 32°02´ to 32°04´ N
  • Longitudinal range- 76°01´ to 76°06´E
  • Nearest rail gauge- Pathankot (86 km).
  • Altitude- 1185 to 2768 m
  • Temperature- 10 to 35 °C
  • Mean annual rainfall- 672.3 mm.
  • Kalatop Forest Rest House

The vegetation consists of blue pine and deodar forest, with oak. Undergrowth in the forest area is well developed.

  • Mammals- bear, Himalayan Black Marten, leopard, deer, Barking Goral, squirrel, serow, jackal, langur.
  • Birds- Blackbird

Birds in this sanctuary many Birds are found some of them are listed below:- 1. Eurasian Jay 2. Whitewinged Black Bird 3. Black Headed Jay 4. Chesnut Billed Rock Thrush 5. Blackheaded Jay. 6. Grey Headed Cannery Flycatcher.

Khajjiar (Hindi: खज्जियार) is a hill station in Chamba district, Himachal Pradesh, India, located approximately 24 km fromDalhousie.

Khajjiar sits on a small plateau with a small stream-fed lake in the middle that has been covered over with weeds. The hill station is surrounded by green meadows and dense forests. It is about 6,500 feet (2,000 m) above sea level in the foothills of theDhauladhar ranges of the Western Himalayas and snowy peaks can be seen in the distance. It is part of the Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary.

Khajjiar can be reached from Dalhousie, the nearest major town and hill station, by bus in an hour or so. It has a rare combination of three ecosystems: lake, pasture and forest, all in one place.

Mini Switzerland
On 7 July 1992, Mr. Willy T. Blazer, Vice Counselor and Head of Chancery of Switzerland in India brought Khajjiar on the world tourism map by christening it "Mini Switzerland". He also put a sign board of a yellow Swiss hiking footpath showing Khajjiar's distance from the Swiss capital Bern-6194 km. Khajjiar is among the 160 locations in the world that bear topographical resemblance with Switzerland. The counselor also took from Khajjiar a stone which will form part of a stone collage around the Swiss Parliament to remind the visitors of Khajjiar as a Mini Switzerland of India.

Switzerland of Himachal Pradesh

.Dauladhar mountains:

Dense deodars, pines and lush green meadows are characteristic of Khajjiar. Since Khajjiar is situated at the base of the Dauladhar mountains, the tourists here can get panoramic views of the mountains.

Khajjiar Lake:
Khajjiar Lake is a small lake, surrounded by saucer-shaped lush green meadow and a floating island. The dense growth of weed called vacha has made its earth spongy. Now the banks stand covered by a thick layer of earth, formed by the years of dust settling down on the weeds.

Khajjinag temple:
A little away from the lake is the temple of Khajji Nag belonging to the 12th century 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. This temple is dedicated to snake (Nāga) worship and there are some snake idols inside.

Bhalei Mata Temple is the temple of Bhader kali popularly known as Sri Bhalei Mata. It is located on a beautiful spur 3800 feet high at a place called Bhalei, which is now a Sub-Tehsil headquarters. It is about 25 km from Salooni Tehsil headquarters. The temple can be approached either from Chamba or from Dalhousie and is at a distance of 40 kilometers from Chamba and 35 kilometers from Dalhousie. The deity is in the front of an image of black stone of two feet height and is enshrined in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. Bhadar Kali draw a large number of pilgrims from far and wide. A big havan ceremony is performed during navratras of Ashwin and Chait months. Mythology has it that the temple of Bhadar Kali was built originally by Raja Pratap Singh during his reign. He was a religiously disposed king and has to his credit construction, repair and renovation of many temples in the district. The legend is that the deity appeared to Raja Partap Singh in dream and told him that she was lying hidden in a place called Bhran about three kilometers from the present site of temple. The deity asked the Raja to bring her from there and erect a suitable temple for her. The Raja with his officials went to the site and discovered the image. The Raja and his team were very happy they had already decided to construct a temple for the deity in Chamba town. So they started their journey back. On way back they stopped for rest at Bhalei and when they resumed their journey, the bearers could not lift the palanquin of the deity in which she was being taken to Chamba. A Brahman from Kilod village was invited to interpret this peculiar incident. The Brahaman interpreted that the deity did not want to go to Chamba, rather she desired her temple to be erected at the site. According to another belief, the people of this area were not happy over the idea of the deity being taken to Chamba, so they requested the Raja to construct the temple at Bhalei. Whatever be the reason, the temple was built at Bhalei by Raja Partap Singh and later renovated by Raja Sri Singh. Recently a lot of renovation work has been carried out. Statue of Bhader Kali was unfortunately stolen in the year 1973 by antique thieves but happily recovered at Chohra near the present dam site. It is believed that the image of the deity seems to be perspiring since that event.

Chamba (Hindi: चम्बा) 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 20,312 people.[1] 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 numerous 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 itsPahari paintings, which originated in the Hill Kingdoms of North India between the 17th and 19th century and its handicrafts and textiles

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 Khsas andAudumbaras 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.

Narasimha Temple,
Brahmaur, the ancient capital of the district.

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 which 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.

The remoteness and ruggedness of the Ravi River valley secured Chamba from successful invasions for around a 1,000 years.

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.

In 1806 A.D., the combined forces of Gurkhas and local hills chiefs attacked the forces of Raja Sansar Chand in the battle and forced a crushing defeat on him along with family took shelter in the Kangra fort. The Gurkhas sieged the Kangra fort and ruthlessly looted the area between the fort of Kangra and Mahal Mohrian and virtually destroyed the villages. The siege of the fort continued for three years. In 1809 A.D., Raja Ranjit Singh, the Sikh ruler of Lahore, on the request of Sansar Chand, waged war against the Gurkhas and defeated them in But Sansar Chand had to pay a heavy price whereby he had to lose Kangra fort and 66 villages to the Sikhs. 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.

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, 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 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.

After 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 State, Sirmour State and all of those in the Shimla hills.



Gandhi Chowk(G.P.O)





Subhash Chowk