Chamba is an ancient town in the Western part of the state of Himachal Pradesh, in the Indian Himalayas. Situated at just 1000m altitude, Chamba is not high up but is deep in the heart of the Himalayan range.
The town itself dates back to around the 2nd Century BC and has some very old temples and palaces. Chamba is also well noted for its arts and crafts, particularly its miniature paintings. More importantly though for some, Chamba is a fabulous base for trekking.
A ‘U’ shaped valley, Chamba is surrounded by the Pir Panjal Range, which separates it from Kashmir, the Zanskar range to Ladakh and the Dhauladhar Range across which is Dharamsala and the Kangra Valley.
However, the town is just one of the attractions for me. More special and what makes the Chamba Valley our favourite place of the week is a wonderful place to stay around 12km out of Chamba in the Saho Valley.
Orchard Hut is run by the Dhami family who gave up life in the town to move to their block of land, situated half way up the side of a mountain to build their lifestyle with nature. Growing most of their own food and building their traditional house from scratch, they turned their home into a guest house in 1992. Over the past 20 years, Orchard Hut has grown from a small farm house with the most amazing views to a fabulous destination in itself. Over the years, the Dhamis have added on many rooms and features and turned their simple home into a wonderful place to visit, relax and get back to nature.
The challenge of getting to Orchard Hut (you have to hike 30 min from the road up a very steep hill) is more than compensated for by the hospitality and views. You can stay here for days and do nothing more than enjoy the views and the food (Mrs Dhami is an awesome cook and will give you more than a few tips and pointers), swim in their mountain fed spring water pool, and chill out in a hammock hidden away somewhere in their terraced orchard.
However if you’ve got a bit more energy, there are some amazing walks and hikes nearby. My personal favourite is to walk up to the end of the valley, to the small village of Saho. You pass through a multitude of farms, up and down hills, across streams and all around you are surrounded by the towering Himalayas. Go at the right time of year and the yellow mustard flowers make the views absolutely spectacular. More challenging is a hike 2-3 hours directly up the mountain from Orchard Hut to the Dhami’s mountain hut at Ridgemoor Cottage. You can even stay up there for the night.
There are many more amazing places to be found in the Indian Himalayas, but this is one of the most special destinations of all!
To visit Chamba, contact us now to arrange an Add-on to one of our Group Tours.