|Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)|
Chamba (चम्बा) is city and district in Himachal Pradesh. It is the northwestern district of Himachal Pradesh. The towns of Dalhousie and Khajjhiar are popular hill stations and vacation spots for the people from the plains of northern India.
Chamba is the only state in northern India to preserve a well-documented history from circa 500 A.D. Its high mountain ranges have given it a sheltered position and helped in preserving its centuries old relics and numerous inscriptions. The temples erected by rajas of Chamba more than a thousand years age continue to be under worship and the land grant-deeds executed on copper plates by them continue to be valid under the law.
Bhatis give their name to the Bhattiana and to the Bhattiora tracts, as well as to various places, such as Bhatinda, Bhatner, Pindi Bhattian and possibly the Bhattiāṭ in Chamba. They live in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. .
Most probably Nagas moved from Kashmir valley and settled in different valleys of Himachal Pradesh. Still today these nagas can be seen today in temples and heard in legends throughout the modern province of Himachal Pradesh. Basuki Naga is worshipped in ex-hill state of Chamba. Basuki naga has also a temple of Himgiri.  
H.A. Rose writes: Barwala (बरवाला), Batwal (बतवाल). These two names, though probably of different origin, are used almost as synonyms, the former being more common in the lower hills and the latter in the mountain ranges of Kangra. But in Chamba the Barwala is clearly distinct from the Batwal, being a maker of mats and winnowing fans, and the name is probably derived from bara or baria, the kind of grass used for them. Batwal or batwar on the other hand means a tax collector, and batwal is an ordinary peon of any caste even a Brahman, though of course he may be by caste a Batwal.†† At the capital, Chamba, Barwalas used to be employed as watchmen and thus went up in the social scale as Batwals. In Kangra however the Batwal form a true caste, while Barwala, is little more than the name of an occupation. Both words correspond very closely with the Lahbar or Balahar of the plains, and denote the village watchman or messenger. In the higher hills this office is almost
- †† Dr J. Hutchison notes regarding the Batwals of Chamba that they claim descent from Siddh Kaneri, a deified ascetic of whom they know nothing. Formerly employed as watchen a few are still enlisted in the State Police. Barwalas and Batwals are all Hindus and have their own gotras, but Brahmans do not officiate at their weddings, which are solemnised by two literate men of the caste. Their observances follow the usage of the locality in which they are settled. Thus in Chamba the biyah or full wedding rite is observed as among the high castes though expense is curtailed and the ceremonies abridged. A Brahman fixes the day of the wedding. The dead are burnt.
H.A. Rose writes:  Chanal (चनाल), or probably Channāl, from Chandala, whom all Sanskrit authorities represent as begotten by a Sudra on a Brahman. His occupation is carrying out corpses, executing criminals, and other abject offices for the public service.† The menial class of Kangra and Mandi, corresponding to the Dagi in Kullu and the Koli in the Simla Hills,
the Chanals in Kangra appear to be inferior to the Kolis of that District, and some of them at least will not touch dead cattle, or mix on equal terms which those who do. On the other hand, in Kullu Saraj some of the Chanals rank below Kolis. Dagi-Chanal is a very common term for the caste : and in Kullu it appears to include the Nar. Yet a Chanal of Mandi State will not intermarry with a Dagi of Kullu. The Chanal is also found in Chamba, where the proverb goes : Chanal jetha, Rāthi kanetha, 'The low caste is the elder and the Rathi the younger brother,' doubtless pointing to a tradition that the Chanal represents an earlier or aboriginal race. See the articles on Dagi and Koli.
विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर ने लेख किया है ... चंबा (हि.प्र.) (AS, p.323): इस पहाड़ी नगर को 920 ई. में राजा साहिल वर्मा ने बसाया था जो सूर्यवंशी क्षत्रिय थे. नगर दो भागों में बंटा हुआ है. निचले भाग के निकट रावी नदी बहती है. शाह-मदार पहाड़ी के बीच में महाराजा रणजीत सिंह की रानी शारदा का बनवाया स्मारक है जो रानी नैना देवी की स्मृति में निर्मित
[p.324]: हुआ था नैना देवी नगर वासियों के लिए जल की पर्याप्त मात्रा प्राप्त करने के लिए अपने प्राण उत्सर्ग कर दिए थे. कहानी यह है कि राजा साहिलवर्मा ने सरोथा नामक सरिता का जल चंबा तक पहुंचाने के लिए एक रजबहा बनवाया था. किसी अज्ञात कारण से नदी का पानी इस नहर में न चढ़ता था. राजा को स्वप्न में आदेश हुआ कि पानी लाने के लिए उसे जेष्ठ पुत्र या रानी का बलिदान करना पड़ेगा. रानी को जब यह ज्ञात हुआ तो वह अपने प्राण देने के लिए तैयार हो गई. कहा जाता है कि जैसे ही नैना देवी ने जल समाधि ली वैसे ही नहर में पानी फूट पड़ा. इस महान आत्मा की स्मृति में चैत्र-वैशाख में चंबा में एक बड़ा मेला लगता है जिसमें केवल स्त्रियां ही आती हैं.
चंबा की मुख्य इमारत अखंड चंडीमहल है जिस के उत्तर पश्चिम की ओर 6 मंदिर स्थित हैं. इनमें तीन शिव मंदिर और तीन विष्णु मंदिर हैं. ये मंदिर शिल्प के सुंदर उदाहरण हैं. ये लगभग एक सहस्त्र वर्ष प्राचीन हैं. चंबा जिले में सर्वरसिद्ध मंदिर लक्ष्मीनारायण का है जो साहिल वर्मा का ही बनवाया हुआ है. कहते हैं कि इस मंदिर को बनवाने के लिए राजा साहिल वर्मा ने अपने नो राजकुमारों को संगमरमर लाने के लिए विंध्याचल भेजा था. इस काम में अपना ज्येष्ठ पुत्र युगकार वर्मा सबसे अधिक सफल रहा था. आज भी पुरानी हिंदू संस्कृति का केंद्र है और अपने प्राचीन परंपरागत लोक संगीत तथा नृत्य के लिए भारत भर में प्रख्यात है. यहां के अनेक प्राचीन अभिलेख स्थानीय संग्रहालय में सुरक्षित हैं.
चंबा एक प्रसिद्ध नगर है, जो पश्चिमोत्तर हिमाचल प्रदेश राज्य, उत्तरी भारत में स्थित है। यह नगर दो पर्वत चोटियों के बीच रावी नदी द्वारा निर्मित ऊँचे टीले पर स्थित है। निचले टीले पर प्रसिद्ध चौगान है, जहाँ जन समारोह व उत्सव आयोजित किए जाते है। यहीं सरकारी कार्यालय और 'भूरीसिंह संग्रहालय' भी स्थित है।
स्थापना: स्वतंत्र चंबा राज्य की स्थापना छ्ठी शताब्दी में हुई थी और 1846 ई. में ब्रिटिश भारत का हिस्सा बनने से पहले यह क्षेत्र विभिन्न कालों में कश्मीर, मुग़ल और सिक्ख शासन के अंतर्गत रहा। 1948 में इसे हिमाचल प्रदेश में मिला लिया गया।
इतिहास: वर्मन वंश की राजकुमारी 'चंपा' के नाम पर हिमाचल प्रदेश की पहाड़ियों में रावी नदी के किनारे बसे चंबा शहर को मंदिरों की नगरी, कलानगरी और मनोरम पर्यटन स्थल कहलाने का गौरव प्राप्त है। चंबा की राजधानी ब्रह्मपुर है। चंबा के संस्थापक साहिल वर्मा ने 820 ई. (?) में इस शहर का नामकरण अपनी पुत्री चंपा के नाम पर किया था। साहिल वर्मा द्वारा निर्मित 'चमेसनी देवी का मन्दिर' ऐतिहासिक चौगान के पास आज भी विद्यमान है। वास्तुकला की दृष्टि से यह मन्दिर अद्वितीय है।
संग्रहालय: चंबा में भूरीसिंह नाम का एक संग्रहालय है, जहाँ चंबा घाटी की प्राचीन कला के विभिन्न पक्ष अपनी मूक, किंतु जीवंत कहानी को कहते प्रतीत होते हैं। यह संग्रहालय भारत के पाँच प्रमुख प्राचीन संग्रहालयों में से एक है। इस संग्रहालय का निर्माण 1908 ई. में चंबा नरेश भूरीसिंह ने डच विद्वान् डॉ. फोगल की प्रेरणा से किया था। इस संग्रहालय में पाँच हज़ार से अधिक दुर्लभ कलाकृतियाँ हैं। विश्व प्रसिद्ध 'चंबा रुमाल' भी यहाँ की विरासत है। धार्मिक स्थल
लक्ष्मीनारायण मन्दिर समूह तो चंबा का सर्वप्रसिद्ध देवस्थल है। इस मन्दिर समूह में महाकाली, हनुमान, नंदीगण के मंदिरों के अलावा विष्णु एवं शिव के तीन-तीन मंदिर हैं। चंबा की प्राचीन लक्ष्मीनारायण की बैकुंठ मूर्ति में कश्मीरी तथा गुप्तकालीन तक्षण कला का अनूठा संगम है।
Regarding the early history of this region it is believed that this area was at time inhabited by certain Kolian tribes,which were later, subjugated by the Khasas. The Khasas too after a time came under the sway of Audumbaras (2nd century B.C.). The Audumbaras had republican form of government and worshiped Shiva as their principal deity.
From the Gupta period (4th Century A.D.) the Chamba region was under the control of Thakurs and Ranas.
Much information about Himachal’s ancient history is given in epics like the Mahabharata and the Ramayana and other scriptures like the Vedas and the Puranas. The Mahabharata mentions the janapadas (some sort of a kingdom) of Kuluta (Kullu), Trigarta (Kangra), Kulinda (Shimla hills and Sirmaur), Yugandhara (Bilaspur and Nalagarh), Gabdika (Chamba) and Audumbara (Pathankot).
The Rig Veda mentions the rivers which flow through Himachal Pradesh. The text also talks about Shambara, the powerful king of these hills before the advent of the Aryans, and his 99 strong forts in the region between the Beas and the Yamuna rivers. His war with the Aryan chief, Divodasa, lasted 12 long years, wherein the latter emerged victorious. The Puranas too, mention Himachal, calling it all sorts of nice names.
One significant happening during the time of the great war of Mahabharata (circa 1400BC) was the founding of the Katoch monarchy of Kangra by King Susharma Chandra. This Susharma Chandra is supposed to have sided with the Kaurava brothers in their war against the Pandavas. Kangra was probably named as Bhim Kot (fort of Bhim) after Bhima, one of the Pandavas.
Alexander Cunningham on Champa or Chamba
Alexander Cunningham writes that Chamba is a large district, which includes the valleys of all the sources of the Ravi, and a portion of the upper valley of the Chenab, between Lahul and Kashtwar. It is not mentioned by Hwen Thsang, and therefore, probably included by him within the limits of Kashmir The ancient capital was Varmmapuri or Barmawar, on the Budhil river, where many fine temples, and a brazen bull, of life size, still exist to attest the wealth and piety of its early rulers. According to the inscriptions these works belong to the ninth and tenth centuries. The country is frequently mentioned in the native chronicle of Kashmir, under the name of Champa, and each notice is confirmed by the local genealogies. Between A.D. 1028 and 1031 the district was invaded by Ananta of Kashmir,1 when the native Raja, named Sala, was defeated and put to death. His son founded a new capital, Champapura, called after the goddess Champavati Devi, which, under the name of Chamba, is still the chief place in the district. The Rajas of Kashmir after-wards intermarried with the Chamba family ;2 and during the troubles that followed the Muhammadan invasions this petty state became independent, and remained so until reduced by Gulab Singh, early in the present century.
2 'Raja Tarangini," vii. 218. Ibid., vii. 589, 1520; viii. 1092.
Rajatarangini tells that ....At the time when preparations for war were being made, three hill chiefs Jāsaṭa of Champa, Vajradhara of Vallapura And Sahajapala of Vartula and two heir apparent Kahla of Trigarta and Anandaraja of Vallapura assembled together and arrived at Kurukshetra. They found Bhikshachara who was saved by Asamati with Naravarmma; and Naravarmma gave gold to the former for, expenses on the way. Jasata was related to Bhikshachara and treated him well, and the other chiefs also honored him. They then arrived at Vallapura. Vimba and others who were out of Kashmira joined Bhikshachara so that the fame of Sahasramangala was eclipsed. The people said that king Harsha had directed Bhikshachara to be king and questioned who the others were, and left Sahasramangala and his party and flocked to Bhikshachara. Darpaka of the royal line, son of the maternal uncle of Kumarapala, father of Bhikshachara, though not banished from Kashmira, for-
[p.47]: got the gratitude due to the king in his love for his relative and went over to Bhikshachara. He had been raised to prosperity by Sussala as if he were his own son. Advised by the heir-apparent and Jasata, the chief of Vallapura married his daughter to Bhikshachara and bestowed Padmaka on him. Gayapala, the Thakkura of the country, assembled many chiefs and desired to place Bhikshachara in the seat of his grandfather Harsha. The king heard this news, and became anxious, but in the meantime the powerful Gayapala was murdered by his relatives through stratagem. Darpaka who had joined them at Padmaka and was the chief of Bhikshachara's army fell in a battle. This reduced Bhikshachara to an insignificant state, like a cloud in a rainless season. Asamati had gone away from him, and his gold for the road expenses was reduced ; and even his father-in-law ill treated him then. For four or five years he lived in the house of Jasata and where he had barely food and clothing with difficulty. Dengapala, a Thakkura, who lived by the Chandrabhaga, married his daughter to Bhikshachara and took him to his house. There for sometime he lived not in poverty and without fear, there he was beloved and there he attained his manhood.
Rajatarangini tells us that when Sussala became king of Kashmir second time in 1121 AD he had to face defeat but continued the renewal of war. .... Although the king Sussala's army was destroyed, yet with twenty or thirty men of the royal blood and of his own country, Sussala faced the enemies.
Udaya and Dhanyaka, Kshatriyas, born of Ichchhita family, and Udayabrahma and Jajjala, lords of Champa and Vallapura; Tejahsalhana, the chief of the Hamsa family, who lived at Harihaḍa, and Savyaraja and others of Kshatrikabhinjika ; Nila and others, sons of Viḍāla, born of the family of Bhāvuka ; Ramapala of Sahaja and his young son ; — these and other warriors of renowned
[p.93]: families were eager for the well contested battle, and opposed on all sides the enemies who besieged the city.
Rilhana who was, as if he was the king's son, first advanced in battle accompanied by Vijaya and other horse men. As an iron mail defended his arm, so the energetic king protected Sujji and Prajji who were well versed in battle. The king who had shared his kingdom with them was now, in this time of peril, able by their help, to sustain the weight of his misfortunes. Bhagika, Sharadbhasi, Mummuni, Mungata, Kalasha and other men of the king's party harassed the enemies. Kamalaya, son of Lavaraja king of Takka, took the king's side in this war. (VIII,p.92-93)
Rajatarangini tells us ...When the Damaras and the citizens deserted the, enemy and went over to the king and received befitting rewards, Manujeshvara and Koshta, both of whom aspired after reward from the king and wished for his friendship, quarreled between themselves, each wishing to go over first to the king. Bhikshu heard of this from the sooth-sayers, collected his attendants, and set out in the month of Ashada intending to go to some other country. The Damaras who followed him could not assuage his anger with pleasant words, nor make him turn back.
The vicious Koshteshvara, — himself a prostitute's son, — longed for the very beautiful wife of Bhikshu.
But who could touch his wife, or hold the .... (?)* of an angry lion, or the jewel in the hood of a serpent or the flame of the fire?
When Bhikshu asked Somapala for shelter, he did not give it, because he had made his peace with the son of Sussala. The victor had every where made attempt to kill Bhikshu, consequently Bhikshu went to Sulhari, crossing over an unapproachable tract of that country. "There is kindness in Trigartta, good behaviour at Champa, -ifts (?)* at Madramaṇḍala and friendship at Darvvabhisara. When you stay away, the king,
* word is not clear
[p.132]: relieved of fear, will oppress the Damaras. They will then gradually welcome you and make you king." Though the ministers told him that it would be well for him to ask the help of the people for the conquest of the dominion of Naravarmma, Bhikshu did not accept their counsel ; he adopted the advice of his father-in-law, and his servants left him on the plea that their families at home were anxious for them. [VIII(i),p.131-132]
- जाट इतिहास:ठाकुर देशराज,पृष्ठ-585
- Dr Naval Viyogi: Nagas – The Ancient Rulers of India, p.20
- Vogel J. PH. "Indian Serpent lore", p. 252
- A glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province By H.A. Rose Vol II/B, p.67
- A glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province By H.A. Rose Vol II/C, pp.152-153
- A glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province By H.A. Rose Vol II/J, p.387
- Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.323-324
- The Ancient Geography of India/Singhapura,p.141
- Kings of Kashmira Vol 2 (Rajatarangini of Kalhana)/Book VIII,p.46-47
- Kings of Kashmira Vol 2 (Rajatarangini of Kalhana)/Book VIII,pp.92-93
- Kings of Kashmira Vol 2 (Rajatarangini of Kalhana)/Book VIII (i) ,p.131-132