Himachal Pradesh is home to around two thousand temples situated in its towns and cities. Chamba Valley is one of the prominent places of Hindu pilgrimage. Lakshmi Narayan Temple here draws a huge crowd of Hindu pilgrims. Built in the 10th century, this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Architecture of Lakshmi Narayan Temple
This temple resembles the shikara style of architecture, acclaimed by both domestic and international tourists. Different rulers of Chamba were responsible for the decoration of this temple in its later years. Raja Balabhadra Verma presented an image of Garuda. It is installed on a high pillar above the main gate. Raja Chhatra Singh contributed for the gilded pinnacles on the top of the temple.
The 'garbhagriha' or the innermost shrine houses a mandapa (altar) that is prohibited to the public. It also has idols of several other deities.
The entire complex consists of six temples in a row from the north to south direction. They are mostly dedicated to Lord Shiva or Vishnu. The other important ones here are of the Gauri Shankar Temple, Shiva Temple of Chandergupta and temple of Radha and Lord Krishna. Divine symbols and images of deities adorn the outer walls of these temples.
The shell roofs or the umbrella like structures made of wood was built keeping in mind the climate of the place. Snowfall is inevitable in this part of the state.
Legend behind Lakshmi Narayan Temple
It is believed that Raja Sahil Verma built this Temple. According to a legend, he sent his sons to the Vindhya Mountains to get marble stones for making an idol of Lord Vishnu. The sons brought the stones but there was a dirty looking frog sitting on it. Disgusted, the king sent 8 of his sons again but they were killed on their way back. The king, refusing to give up, sent his eldest son this time. With the help of a saint, he returned safe and victorious after killing his attackers on the way.
How to reach Lakshmi Narayan Temple
Chamba is easily accessible from Palampur and Dharamshala. There are state and private bus services from Chowgan and Shimla. Pathankot, the closest railway station, is around 119 km away. The Gaggal Airport in Kullu is the nearest airport to Chamba Valley.