Rampur, 31.45°N 77.63°E - a small township situated at 1,005 meters on the left bank of the Sutlej, served as Bashahr’s winter capital. Being well connected with major trading routes that joined Indian markets with Central Asia and Tibet, it buzzes with trade activities especially in November during the Lavi fair, the largest trading event in the north Himalayas attracting traders from Kashmir, Ladakh, Yarkand, and the Indian mainland.
"About three hundred years ago during the regime of Raja Kehar Singh of Bushahr, a trade treaty was signed between the Bushahr State and Tibet…Horses from Tibet and swords from Bushahr were exchanged in token of this friendship. It was written in the treaty that their friendly relations would continue till this time…Since then, it is presumed that trade relations increased and eventually Lavi fair was held.”
Rampur was also located along pilgrimage routes to sacred sites in western Tibet shared by Hindus, Bön and Buddhists alike, i.e., Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar. Missionary and pilgrimage activities, intensified by trading possibilities, created the conditions for Tibetan Buddhism to take a firm stronghold in these borderland regions. Twenty-two kilometres from the village of Namgya in upper Kinnaur, laid the Shipki pass which linked caravan routes to and from western Tibet. This treacherous transcontinental passage must have been in use from ancient times, for among the ruined castles reported by Francke at Shipki village, there were no living memories of the origins of mKar gog, the oldest of them built above the village in cyclopean style.
Rampur is also known for Asia's Largest Hydro Project Nathpa Jhakri Power Corp. at Jhakri and Also have world's deepest Surge shaft at shah 22 K.M. away from Rampur.
Lavi Mela or International Lavi Trade fair is three hundred years old fair and also a state fair as well as Biggest Trade fair of Himachal. It is held every year in Rampur Bushahar ( Located at 125 kms from Shimla). It is held from 11th to 14th November every year. Rampur Bushahr holds the credit of Oldest Trading town on Hindustan Tibet Road and was a major trading centre on the old silk route of Kinnaur, Tibet, Ladhakh and Afganistan.is also prsently the home to Raja Virbhadra Singh of Congress party.
Rampur Bushahr is the gateway to tribal Districts of Himachal such as Kinnaur, Spiti, Tibet, Ladakh etc. Since ancient times, Tibet and Kinnaur had trade relations, Even today, the tradition Continues, Tribals from general and tribal belt participate in Lavi fair and Trade or Barter in horses, mules, pashminas, colts, yaks, Dry Fruits like chilgoza,apricot, Chaumurthy, Plums, Pistachus, raw semi-finished wool etc. In Lavi Fair, one gets best quality of Hill Horses and yaks, Gunth breeds of horses and yalks worth over several crores of rupees change hands
In the day time, hectic trade activities are witnessed in fair selling quilts, utensils and other consumer goods. At night folks dances and music around small bonfires are organized. It continues for three days.
Businessmen from all over the country visit Rampur Bushahr for buying precious wool, pashmina and chilgoza, which have a great demand in foreign countries. Lakhs of rural folk from Kinnaur, Lahaul Spiti, Kullu, Mandi and Shimla districts besides traders from northern Indian plains and lower hills bring general merchandise to have a brisk trade before the onset of winter.
The status of Lavi fair has now reached to an international level and numerous efforts are made by government to restore the popularity and status of lavi fair. Over the past few years, the government is making efforts to modernize the activities at fair. Many traders from all parts of country come here during the month of November to lure customers and popularize their art and craft.
Lavi fair attracts large number of people every year during the month of November. Numbers of shops are established and goods are sold.
There is an age old tradition of churning the water of River Satluj before the commencement of Fair. Any act of barter, exchange, selling is preceded only after the water is properly churned.
One the major attraction of the fair is the display and sale of wide variety of native products. Himachal Pradesh is famous for its “Pashmina” wool, some kinds of Dry fruits like Chilgoza and other agricultural products like kala zira. Also, not to forget surefooted 'Chaumkhi' horses, especially found in the nearby tribal areas are bought in here at the fair to be sold.
Rampur's old religious shrines include the Raghunath temple, the Ayudhya temple, the Narasingh temple and Dumgir Bodh temple are the places of tourists interest. Also the Padam palace is one of the major attraction.
Among other tourist destinations about 45 kilometers from Rampur, Sarahan is known for its ancient Bhima Kali temple.
Padam Palace is the private residence of Shri Virbhadra Singh and one requires permission to visit it. There is also a rich library inside. Portraits of royal family members adorn the walls of this palaceThe original seat of the rulers of the Bushahr state was at the Kamru Fort in the village of Kamru at the banks of the Baspa River. The fort is currently abandoned and houses an idol of Kamakhya Devi (Kamakshi Dev), which is believed to have been brought several centuries ago from Kamakhya temple in Guwahati. The rulers subsequently moved to Sarahan. The Palace of the "Raja of Bushahr state" at Sarahan ("The Srikhand view") was built by order of Raja Padam Singh for his lodging in September 1917.
The current residence of the "Raja of Bushahr state" is at the Padam Palace at Rampur.Bushair was one of the richest princely states in the hills and was an important center for trade between Tibet, Kinnaur and the lower areas.The ruling princes of Bashahr were styled as Râna before the Nepalese occupation and titled Râja afterwards.With a personal gun salute of 9 guns, the ruler of Bashahr was the only Hills "Raja" amongst India's upper class of princely salute states, but was not entitled to the style of His Highness until independence in 1947.
1816 - 1850 : Mahendra Singh
1850 - 1887 : Shamsher Singh
1887 - 1898 : Raghunath Singh
1898 - 1914 : Shamsher Singh (return to power)
1914 - 1947 : Padam Singh
1947 - till date: Virbhadra Singh
Padam Palace was Built in the year 1917 by Raja Padam Dev Singh ( Father of Shri Virbhadra Singh Ji), it is one of the main attractions of the area. The white coloured front door of this palace has a Belgium-glasswork, which is one of the most beautiful aspects of the palace.
The construction of this palace uses wood heavily. It is designed to make way for interesting spaces such as porticos and galleries. It has a typically colonial design with conical roof, which looks stunning and meant for snow to fall off. It also sports white painted eaves, which add to the colonial-look of the place.
The interiors of this palace are even more beautiful with great glasswork designed using different colours and incredible woodwork.
Situated on the left-bank of Sutlej River, Padam Palace is 125 km away from Shimla. It was once the winter capital of Bushair, when India was a land of princely states. Padam Palace is well maintained and contains a unique blend of Indian impact and European style in its architecture. The ambience of the place is calm and the palace has a big garden with many spaces for gardens, orchards and greenery.
Foundation stone of Padam Palace was laid in 1919 but it took 6 years to build it. It was completed in 1925 under the supervision of Bir Chand Shukla, who was also the Chief Engineer responsible for building this palace.
Padam Palace boasts of exemplary craftsmanship and architectural design. It is a double-storied building made of wood, which was brought from Munish and Dhamreda forests. Instead of cement, black gram was used between stone blocks to hold them together. There is a wooden screen adorned with exquisite floral work and figurines, which makes it even more beautiful. While the upper floor is carved with woodwork, the lower floor has stone arches to make it an interesting contrast. The roof of the building is made of tin and has beautiful spiral projections. Royal functions are held in the Hall of the palace. During celebrations, the royals are seated at one end of a sprawling lawn in front of the palace. This place is known as Macchkandi, which is known for its exquisite but intelligent woodwork. It was designed by Gurjit Singh Fishta.
The best time to visit Rampur is between March to June and between September to November.The summer season starts from March and continues till June. Rampur has harsh summers.Monsoons arrive from June middle and continue till the middle of September. There is intermittent rain throughout this time. Weather is usually pleasant but it can also be hazardous because of chances of landslides.
Winters are cold with heavy snowfall throughout the season. Roads are frequently blocked due to that from December to March. This makes travelling a big hassle.
Jubbarhatti Airport in Shimla is closest to Rampur. Tourists can avail buses or hire cars that will take them to Rampur. Shimla is well connected to many places in India so it is convenient for tourists to get here.
The nearest railway station is Kalka which is 132 km from Shimla. Kalka is well connected with cities like Delhi, Kolkata and Chandigarh. Direct trains to Shimla are not available.
Private buses as well as buses of the State Government are available on a daily basis to travel from Shimla to Rampur. One can also travel by taxi or hire private vehicles to save time as it takes nearly 3 hours to travel from Shimla to Rampur by bus.
Rampur was Once the capital of the princely State of Bushahar, Rampur is presently one of the biggest commercial town of Shimla district (Himachal Pradesh), 130 kms from Shimla on NH-22. It is located on the left bank of river Sutlej. The town was once a major center on the old trade routes to Kinnaur, Tibet, Ladakh and Chiana. Even today the tradition is as Vibrant as ever.
Famous International trade fair “Lavi” is held in November. This is a trade dominated fair and people sell goods worth millions of rupees. Tribes from Kullu, Shimla and Kinnaur bring carpets, shawls, Woolen articles, dry fruits etc. for sale. It is an occasion where people get together, make friends and enjoy as well as exchange goods. The fair is being held for the past 235 years. At this time trade takes place and is at a peak. At night, folk dances, music and bonfires are the attractions of this fair, and also “Faag Mela”(Holi fair) is somewhat different from the rest of the Holi played in other parts of India. Here songs, dances, plays, matches are the main attraction. This is three-day long events start from the day of holi celebration.
Rampur is connected by regular Bus/Taxi services. The nearest Railhead (130 km) & Air (152 km) are at Shimla. Rampur can be approached from Rohru via Sungri ( 80 km ) and from Kullu via Jalori pass ( 190 Km).
In winter, the temperature can drop below freezing point when heavy woolens are required. In summer the temperature is warm but pleasant.
There are number of Himachali dishes which, those who live outside Himachal miss most of the time. There are so many dishes like 'Mah ki dal ke pakode' (Bada), Patrodu (Patode)-made of Leaves stuffed with Paste made of Mah ki dal etc, Poldu, Chiltu, Sigdi etc.
Hindi is the state language but mostly people speak in Pahari. Communities and cultures have intermingled in Himachal. Most of people in Rampur Bushahr are Hindu. The crime rate is very low. There faiths are simple, beliefs ancient and myths difficult to through. A birth, a fair, a marriage, a festival all provides them opportunity for song and dance. Their has been relatively a closed society. They believe that all their act whether good or bad are recorded in heaven and shall eventually decide their next birth.
Ninety percent population of Rampur Bushahr are engaged in agriculture and people are very hardworking.The people of Rampur Bushahr love colour. Their dress patterns follow the local climate. They wear grass or leather boots. Their caps indicate the region they come from.
RAMPURTOWN (924m): There are many places for sight-seeing. It is old Hindu and Buddhist Shrines include the RagunathTemple, the AyodhyaTemple, the NarsinghTemple and DumgirBudh Temple which has a large prayer wheel and hold important scriptures. In an interesting colonial and traditional styles, the PadamPalace is one of Rampur's major attractions.
DUTT NAGAR (970m): 12 km ancient village on the left bank of Sutlej which derived its name from the ancient temple of god Daattatraya.
NIRATH (950m): 18 km famous for ancient and unique "Sun Temple" of Nirath.
SARAHAN(1020): 34 km famous for ancient and unique BhimakaliTemple.
Hotels in Rampur Bushahar
THE BUSHEHAR REGENCY