district as a princely State was under the rule of progressive and staunch Hindu Rajas and
a large number of temples owe their origin to the princes.One of them, Raja Sahil Varman
in the tenth century was particularly noted for his religious zeal and was apparently a
staunch believer inVishnu cult. Most of the Vishnu temples are concentrated in Chamba town
andLakshmi Narayan temple is the most important one. The temple of Nar Singh at Brahmaur,
Thakur Murli Manoharji at Raj Nagar and of Nar Singh at Bartgal in pargana Bhalai is some
of the other important Vishnu temples.
The cult of
Siva is more ancient and has a wider sphere of influence. This is natural because the
Himalayan range, her many peaks, the Kailash mountain, lakes etc,. are taken to be the
traditional home of Lord Siva.King Meru Varman in theseventh century A.D. is said to have
built a number of Siva temples. A mountain peak Mani Mahesh Kailash and a small lake
called "Dal" are supposed to be the permanent abode of Lord Siva and the whole
pargana of Brahmaur where they are located is known as Siva Bhumi. The principal Siva
temples are those of Chander Gupt, Trimukha andGaurishanker,the Mani Mahesh temple and the
Ganesh temple at Brahmaur.
Whenever a new house is constructed some religious rites
and homage to Lord Siva are done. This is known as Niwala, which is a corruption of
Nav-Alay or consecration of newly built house. Niwala ceremony has been extended to other
domestic events like births, marriages etc. Naturally
because of Lord Siva his consort Durga or Parvati or Uma has also a very popular place. She is more popularly known as the Devi and faith in Devi and
Devi worship is a part of the domestic life throughout the district whether there are Devi temples or not in the neighborhood.