Ensconced in the valley of the fast-flowing Ravi River, the bustling capital of Chamba district is dominated by the former palaces of the local maharajas. The princely state of Chamba was founded in AD 920 by Raja Sahil Varman and it survived for 1000 years until it finally fell to the British in 1845. Every year since 935, Chamba has celebrated the annual harvest with the Minjar Festival, in honour of Raghuvira (an incarnation of Rama).
Although en route to Bharmour and fine trekking country, Chamba is well off the tourist radar. The de facto centre is the open grassy sports field known as the Chowgan, the focus for festivals, impromptu cricket matches, picnics and promenades. Most places of interest are tucked away in the alleyways of Dogra Bazar, which spread uphill from the Chowgan.