Chamba is an ancient town in the Chamba district in the state of Himachal Pradesh, in northern India. According to the 2001 Indian census, Chamba has a population of 20,312 people. Located at an altitude of 996 metres (3,268 ft) above mean sea level, the town is situated on the banks of the Ravi River (a major tributary of the Trans-Himalayan Indus River), at its confluence with the Sal River.
Though historical records date the history of the Chamba region to the Kolian tribes in the 2nd century BC, the area was formally ruled by the Maru dynasty, starting with the Raju Maru from around 500 AD, ruling from the ancient capital of Bharmour, which is located 75 kilometres (47 mi) from the town of Chamba. In 920, Raja Sahil Varman (or Raja Sahil Verma) shifted the capital of the kingdom to Chamba, following the specific request of his daughter Champavati (Chamba was named after her). From the time of Raju Maru, 67 Rajas of this dynasty have ruled over Chamba until it finally merged with the Indian Union in April 1948, although Chamba was under British suzerainty from 1846 to this time.
The town has a large number of temples and palaces, and hosts two popular jatras (fairs), the "Suhi Mata Mela" and the "Minjar Mela", which last for several days and involve music and dancing. Chamba is also well noted for its arts and crafts, particularly its Pahari paintings, which originated in the Hill Kingdoms of North India between the 17th and 19th century and its handicrafts and textiles.