Rampur--Important Market Town
Distance: 140km from Shimla
lies along the ancient trade routes to Tibet, Ladakh and Afghanistan.
It used to be the capital of the mighty Bushahr Empire in the 18th
century which had its borders well into Kinnaur. Today Rampur is one
of Himachals most important market towns.
¤ Attraction of Lavi Fair
The highlight of Rampur is the age-old Lavi Fair, reputed to be one
of the biggest trade fairs in Northern India. The fair is held every
year in the second week of November (11th-14th).
Its quite a thing for the people of the region and involves
hectic activity for three feverish days. Large crowds pour in from
Kinnaur, Spiti and Lahaul.
They gather on the banks of the Sutlej to buy, sell and barter their
produce which includes everything from homespun blankets and shawls to
dry fruit and even horses.
There are sporting competitions during the day, and dancing around
bonfires after dark. The fair coincides with the return of the
shepherds from high pastures for the coming winter and has been held
for over 300 years.
¤ A Shopping Hub
As youve guessed it, theres much to shop in Rampur even
when its not November.
The place is famous for its exquisite soft wool sold by Tibetan
traders. The shawls woven here are known as Rampur chaddars and are
famous for their velvety softness and durability.
Theyre made of pashm wool, a special kind of wool from a
special goat. It is said that these shawls first caught the fancy of
Lord and Lady Dufferin who then passed on the craze to other
¤ Main Attractions of Rampur
Rampur is not a mean place for sightseeing too. The Padam Palace is
the most overwhelming edifice here.
The palace, designed by one Bir Chand Shukla, housed Raja Padam Singh
of the Bushahr kingdom.
It was six years in the making (1919 to 1925) and is an outstanding
testament to taste, style and architecture.
The two-storeyed building is made of wood and stone, and has a
slanting tin roof with spiral projections.
The big lawn was often used for festivities and public functions. At
one end of the lawn stands Macchkandi, a masterpiece in woodwork which
was used for seating the royal family (especially the women) during
Stone arches dominate the lower floor while woodwork is king on the
upper storey. Wooden screens with floral and figurine designs admitted
light without exposing those inside. Portraits of royalty adorn the
walls of the hall till today and the wood ceiling is exquisitely
Unfortunately, you cannot enter the building but will have to make do
with the lovely gardens. A curious summerhouse here has Tibetan murals
and theres also a Hindu Temple on the premises.
But the older part of the town below the palace and by the
river is the most interesting place to wander in. Its a
maze of tiny lanes, lined with shops and Hindu and Buddhist temples
such as the Sri Sat Nahan Temple (Buddhist), which was built in 1926.
Not a good place for staying the night. If necessary, try Bhagwati