Churah the hidden valley of Himachal is located between Latitude 32.5458 and longitude 76.1152 towards North from District head quarters Chamba. Churah, was one of the Wazarats of the erstwhile State regime. Churah literally means four paths. In fact the headquarters Tissa, now Bhanjraru, is a central place of Churah Valley from where paths lead to all four directions linking different places within the district and the adjoining state of Jammu & Kashmir. Churah seems to have been open to trade route from Jammu & Kashmir as it makes boundary with it. The Indo-Greek silver coins found near Lachori village of Churah duly preserved in Bhuri Singh Museum, Chamba prove that there must have been a trade route through the valley.Churah valley is endowed with various places of scenic beauty, religious and historical places. Lack of proper communication and transportation facility and lack of due publicity have kept these places away from the eyes of tourists. Bhandal-Kihar, Jasorgarh, Thalli-Bhatkar, Dudar Dhar, Bhukhu Dhar, Devi Kothi, Baira, Bhatmana, Himgiri-Banter and Salooni-Kilod are to mention a few most beautiful places with rich green cover of deodar, ban, kail,spruce and fir. Salooni the headquarters of Salooni tehsil and commands a panoramic view of the surrounding hills, mountains, valley and sub-valley. Churah valley has to its credit the four beautiful lakes. Churah is famous for different kothis built by the Rajas almost in each pargana. Some kothis were built as rest places for the Rajas and their men on their visits to the area. Kothis used as rest houses can be enlisted as Devi Kothi, Sei Kothi, Thanei Kothi, Himgiri Kothi, ladan Kothi, and Sanooh Kothi. Kothis are generally square in shape measuring 20 or 30 yards on each side with an open courtyard in the centre. The buildings are to or three stories with spacious rooms and verandahs.
Some kothis were designed as fortress and used as revenue collection centre and as courts for administering justice, law and order. Such kothis are Bairagarh, Tikrigarh, Begheigarh and Jassaurgarh etc. Churah is also famous for its hydro-electric project Baira Siul. Nakrod is the dam-site of the project and power-house is located at Surgani.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Chamunda temple Devi Kothi - One of the most interior and backward villages of Churah valley in Himachal Pradesh is Devikothi, about 110 km from the district headquarters of Chamba. In the absence of a link road, transportation of goods is carried out by mules. This mountainous area remains covered with snow for six months in a year. The other numberless village temples, mostly dedicated to a Devi or Naga, the only one which deserves a passing notice is that of Chamunda , at Devi Kothi, on account of the Mughal influence manifest in its wood-carvings. It is possible that this temple may have been constructed by Raja Umed Singh in A.D. 1754,but it is very unlikely that the paintings were executed under the patronage of this raja .It would be more correct to place them ,on stylistic grounds, in the first quarter of nineteenth centaury. The temple is dedicated to Devi and contains illustrations of the exploits of the goddess Durga. But there are many panels given to the themes from Bhagavata Purana.
Situated at an altitude of 3470 meter and sixteen miles from Tisa, the headquarters of Churah tehsil, this lake is circular in shape and is roughly half a mile in circumference. Beside this lake also stands a temple dedicated to Goddess Kali and thus the place has acquired a holy significance. A temple dedicated to Goddess Kali stands at a corner of the lake. The approach to the lake is through difficult rocky terrain. This lake is believed to have been discovered by a surveyor probably of the Geological Survey of India, who after his compass instrument came to be known as Compassi Babu which later corrupted to Kappassi Babu. This lake has become a place of pilgrimage.
Mahakali Dal- This dal (lake) is situated at a height of 4080 Meter from the sea level and lies at a place where the boundaries of parganas of Saho and Gudial of Chamba tehsil and Changu of Churah tehsil meet. Surrounded by meadows below mountain peaks, the lake presents a panoramic. Look to the viewer. The lake is dedicated to Goddess Kali and perfect silence is observed at the place. This lake is though smaller then Lama dal, is larger than Khajjiar and Manimahesh lake.
Katasan Devi Temple
Another popular temple of the Chamba district, it is about 30-km from the town near Baira Siul Project. This calm and peaceful spot is ideal for picnic lovers and one can witness a full view of the valley from its premises.
Mahal Nag dal- on Mahalvar dhar and Chamunda Devi Dal at Devi Kothi are the other two beautiful lakes. Approaches being difficult, these lakes remain less frequented by the people.Churah is also known for many other temples of which Chamunda Devi temple at Devi Kothi and Bhader Kali temple in Bhalei sub tehsil are more famous.
Bandal Valley - 27-km. from Salooni, this is where the Himachal border meets Jammu and Kashmir.
Salooni - Situated at a height of 1,829m.(6,000 ft.) and 56-km away from Chamba, Salooni offers a breath-taking panoramic view of the snow-covered hills and peaks.