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Bilaspur is a town in Himachal Pradesh that can be regarded as the first planned hill town in the country. The best months for visiting are from September to December.
Shimla (SLV IATA), Chandigarh (IXC IATA) and Bhuntar (KUU IATA) are the nearest airports, 85 km, 135 km and 131 km from Bilaspur respectively.
The nearest broad gauge railway station is at Kiratpur Sahib and nearest narrow gauge railway station is at Shimla, 65 km and 85 km from Bilaspur, which are connected by regular bus services.
Bilaspur is approachable by road from Shimla and Chandigarh.
- Fort of Bachhretu (in Kot Hill, on the western slope of Kotdhar just 3 km southward to Shahtalai, it is 3000 ft above sea level). Magnificent and sweeping view of Gobind Sagar and the surrounding hills. The fort was constructed by Raja Ratan Chand of Bilaspur who ruled from 1355 to 1406. Obviously the relics are as old as about 600 years and indicate that the stronghold was of a rectangular shape, the longer arms about 100 m and shorter about 50 m, built of hammer-dressed stones. From the portions of the enclosing walls, still existing here and there, it can be assumed to have been about 20 m in height. The thickness of its walls must have been one metre tapering towards the top. The space inside was, perhaps, divided into numerous room-shaped compartments out of which about fifteen can be traced even now. Walls of one of the room are exceedingly high, measuring about 10-12 m. A water tank is also said to have existed. A very interesting small temple, housing two busts of the goddess Asht Bhuja (eight armed) and some other deities is still extant. A pipal tree has now grown within the fort.
- Fort of Bahadurpur (on the top of Bahadurpur hill, the highest point (1,980 m) in the district, near Tepra Village in Paragana Bahadurpur Tehsil Sadar, about 40 km from Bilaspur). The range derives its name from the Bahadurpur fort. Due to its comparatively greater height it receives occasional snow fall in winter. The range is embellished by a beautiful small wood of deodar and ban trees. Almost in the centre of this range, in picturesque surroundings, is perched a rest-house. The fort is said to have been built by Raja Keshab Chand (c AD 1620). It is just 6 km above Namhol. From this high place the Ratanpur Fort, Swarghat, the Fatehpur Fort, the Naina Devi hill, plains near Ropar and the mountains of Shimla can be seen and look beautiful. Baron Charles Hugel, a German traveler, passing through Bilaspur in 1835 has left on record a vivid picture of this fort. It is, therefore, obvious from the account that this fort was built prior to 1835, but now is in its ruins.
- Fort of Kotkahlur (a few kilometers from Ganguwal Hydro Electric Station, in Naina Devi Hill). Raja Bir Chand, an ancestor of Raja Kahal Chand, built a palace-cum-fort called Kot Kahlur. It is in ruin now. The state was called Kahlur till such time the seat of Government was shifted to Bilaspur. Among the local population the district is still known as Kahlur. The fort is a square structure built of stones, each side about thirty meters long and as much high. Its walls are about two metres thick. It has two storeys each about fifteen metres high. The floor of the second storey, supported on numerous high stone pillars. About twelve meters above the floor of the second storey there were certain window shaped places with small peeping holes for the garrison to reconnoitre and, if need be to shoot at besiegers. Most of these hollows have now been closed with cement or iron-mesh. Within the fort, in the upper storey, is a small temple to Naina Devi with a stone idol. There are seven small ancient fortresses in the district at Bacchretu, Bahadurpur, Basseh, Fatehpur, Sariyun, Swarghat and Tiun. Sunhani is small village on the bank of Seer Khad is yet another place which claims the distinction of being a state headquarters for some period.
- Fort of Sariun (to the eastern side of the Tiun range, on the lifty range and peak of Sariun, at an elevation of about 1,500 m, about 58 km from Bilaspur). Played its usual role in the struggle between the erstwhile State of Bilaspur and Kangra during the minority rule of Mohan Chand. Nothing now remains of the fort except its ruin. It appears to be rectangular edifice made of stones. Its main gate faces west. From the relics it can be said that the fort was about twelve meters high. The thickness of the walls is about one metre. Within its walls a part of the area is marked by the ruins of what might be once the living rooms numbering about fifteen. The walls of the fort contain places shaped like a window with certain holes across the wall to facilitate showering of lead upon the besiegers. Tradition holds that the fort was built by the same Raja of the erstwhile Suket State and was subsequently wrested by the ruler of Bilaspur, the local people entertain a superstition according to which, the stones once forming part of the Fort are not used in any residential building.
- Fort of Tiun (on the top of a hill known as the Tiun range, 17 km in length, at distance of about 45 km from Bilaspur, on the Ali Khad crossing Ghumarwin-ladraur motorable road, about 10 km from Ghumarwin proper). Relics of this fort still serves to remind of the ancient turbulent times when wars in this area were perhaps a routine feature. Raja Kahn Chand had it constructed in 1142 Vikrami. The area of the fort around 14 hectare. It is rectangle in shape. The length of the fort was 400 m with a breadth 200 m. The height of the wall is varies from 2 m to 10 m. The main gate of the fort is 3 m high and 5.5 m across. There were two water tanks inside the fort. Also there were two granary which contains 3000 kg grain. The fort is said to have once served as a prison to an uncle of Raja Kharak Chand.
- 1 Bhakra Dam (Bhakra Nagal Dam) (in Naina Devi Sub-Tehsil about 14 km from Nangal town). The highest straight gravity dam in the world occupies the predominant position amongst the places of tourist interest. The idea for the construction of this dam was conceived by Sir Louis Dane the then Lieutenant Governor of Punjab, who travelled from Sunni to Bilaspur and then onward to Ropar. The project could not make headway due to prohibitive cost of construction. In the year 1938-39 the districts of Rohtak and Hissar of the then Punjab State experienced severe drought resulting in great loss of human life and cattle. The scheme was again mooted out but was not executed due to second world war. It was only after independence in March, 1948 that the work was taken in hand for execution. On the historic day of 17th November, 1955 later Prime Minister Shri Jawahar Lal Nehru placed the first bucket of concrete at the foundation. The constructin of dam was completed in October, 1962. The height of the dam is 226 m, length at the top is 518 metres and width 9 m. It has a length of 99 metres at the bottom and width 402 m. The project derives its name from two villages Bhakhra and Nangal in the foot hills of the low Himalayan ranges. Bhakhra occupies a very important place on the India’s tourist map and has rightly been described as a “New Temple of Resurgent India”, by the late Prime Minister Mr. Nehru. The project authorities have set up a Public Relation Office in Nangal Township which provides necessary help and guidance to the tourists.
- 2 Gobind Sagar Lake (On river Sutlej). Has been created by the huge hydel dam at Bhakra and is named in honour of Gobind Singh the Tenth Sikh guru. One of the world's highest gravity dams, the Bhakra rises 225.5 m above its lowest foundations. Under the supervision of the famous American dam-builder, Harvey Slocum, work began in 1955 and was completed in 1962. Incidentally, Slocum had no formal training as an engineer, but his conceptions and designs have proven successful. To maintain the level of water, the flow of river Beas was also channeled to Gobind Sagar by the Beas-Sutlej link which was completed in 1976. Today, this dam feeds electricity and water to a large area the Gobind Sagar reservoir is 90 km long and encompasses an area of approximately 170 sq km. There are provisions for water sports speed boats and ferry rides. In October and November, when the water level of the reservoir is at its peak, a series of regattas are also organizing by the department of Tourism and Civil Aviation. Water-skiing, sailing, kayaking and water scooter racing are popular water sports activities during this period.
- New Bilaspur Town. The old Bilaspur town, now submerged in the Govind Sagar, was founded in year 1663 when the capital of the state was shifted from Sunhani to this place, it was situated on the south east side of the Satluj. New Bilaspur Town is situated just above the old town of Bilaspur at a height of 670 metres above the mean sea level. The New Township Bilaspur has been conceived, planned and built on modern lines and should be regarded as the first planned hill town of the country. The new planned township, 64 km from Kiratpur on the Manali National Highway No. 21, has come up which is the seat of district headquarters. The pleasure of a visit will be enhanced manifold when a motor launch is preferred as the means of travel, gliding through cool and enchanting waters of the lake. The best months from visiting this place are from September to December. The Nalwari or Annual cattle fair is held at Bilaspur for four or five days in March months, the occasion is marked by wrestling and other amusements. A good trade is usually done. Cattle are brought from Nalagarh and neighboring parts of Punjab sell over here. It is easily approachable as regular bus services are maintained from and to Shimla, Mandi, Hamirpur and Chandigarh. The places of interest were the temples of Sri Naina Devi Ji, Raghu Nath Ji, Gopal Ji, Khanmukheshwar and Deomati where fairs are held.
- 3 Kandrour Bridge (8 km from Bilaspur on National Highway No-88, across the river Satluj). Very beautiful and fascinating bridge. Its construction was started in April,1959 and was completed in 1965. The total cost of construction came to ₹28,12,998. The span of the bridge is about 280 meters with a breadth of about seven meters and the height above the lowest river bed below is about 80 meters, making it one of the highest bridge in the world. It is ranked first in Asia for its height. It has provided a link between Bilaspur, Ghumarwin and Hamirpur district, and is a marvellous engineering feat. The pillars supporting the bridge are hollowed. The bridge was opened by Shri Raj Bahadur, Minister of Transport in 1965.
- 4 Deoli Fish Farm (15 km from New Bilaspur township towards Mandi just below the Shimla-Mandi Road). Comprising 4.4 hectares comes in existence 1962. It consists of two big brood stock tanks and 14 nursery ponds. The total outlay on setting up this hatchery was 3.68 lacks. In beginning the farms activities were limited to meet the seed stocking requirements of Gobind Sagar reservoir, but its targets were increased year to year and research, training, technique and demonstration brought under the farm programmed. During 1978 fish species being record at the farm were demonstrated to the people by constructing a small aquarium and its aim was to apprise the popular. During 1989 a training center and Hostel were constructed within the farm premises so that training course be imparted to the departmental personnel and interested fish farmers. Now training camps are being conducted with modern fish breeding and culture technique training are imparted. This farm has not only historic importance but is can be known as a center breeding excellent training in fish culture and research programmed. Keeping in view the commendable work done in the field of breeding, the Punjab University extended its recognition for undertaking research work at this farm. The Deoli fish farm has played a major role in breeding fish population in Gobind Sagar reservoir, income of the reservoir fishermen and their lives prosperous. For the first time Silver Carp fish was stocked in Gobind Sagar reservoir from Deoli farm. Every year 30-40 lacks mirror carp fingerlings are being produced at the farm and these are stocked in Gobind Sagar reservoir and other water bodies in the State and distributed to the private fish farms. Due to regular stocking in Gobind Sagar reservoir for the last decade at has a unique capacity of fish production per hectare in the country and this credit goes to Deoli farm. The scientists of ICAR and State Fisheries Department initiated a joint research project viz. ‘Genetic Rejuvenation of Fish Stock in HP’. The ‘Bio-Science Department’ started this project entire funded about 18.00 lacks. A quality strain of fish is being reared under this project and distributed to the fish farmers. Under this technique demonstration programme a new scheme namely ‘Fish Culture in Running Water’ was introduced for the first time at the farm. This scheme was observed suitable especially in high altitude of Himachal Pradesh on the basis of success of this technique the Govt of India incorporated this scheme under the Centrally Sponsored Fish Farmers’ Development Agency subsidy programme. The NABARD Bank has also approved this scheme namely ‘Fish Culture in Running Water’ which resulted in setting up of about 1000 units in the State. Sport fisheries in the Gobind Sagar reservoir show great potential of attracting tourists. The Department regularly organizes angling completions every year. In Gobind Sagar and Mahseer fish which is a famous and most liked fish of the anglers is an important fish of this reservoir. As the breeding of Mahseer fish is not a easy job hence the Punjab University and State Fisheries Department jointly prepared a project of ₹19.00 lacks it was got approved from ICAR. Present hatchery set up at the Deoli farm has been constructed under this scheme. Under this scheme matured Mahseer fish would be brought from his habitat and bred in comfortable situation.
- 5 Namhol (about 24 km from Bilaspur and 68 km from Shimla on the Bilaspur-Shimla motorable road on which regular bus service is maintained). Small hamlet. There is a Thakurdwar which was built by Raja Amar Chand in 1883 A.D. Brass idols of Ram, Lakshman, Sita and Hanuman are installed in the temple. The place is the main centre of ginger trade. There are a Police Post, a Senior Secondary School, an Ayurvedic Dispensary, a Branch Post Office, a State Bank of India and a PWD Rest House.
- Thakurdwara of Auhar (in the middle of the district Bilaspur). It was an important town of the princely state Bilaspur. Due to its importance Rani Naggar Dei built the famous Thakurdwara of Auhar. She also constructed on water tank with roof known as chhatwain and an inn for the stay of the travelers. In the Thakurdwara idols of ‘Shaligram’ and ‘Narsingha’ were installed. The walls of the temple have beautiful mural paintings. The Language and Culture department has given financial assistance for the repair of the Thakurdwara.
- Thakurdwara of Sunhani (on the bank of Seer Khad, just 3 km behind Barthin, on Bhager- Barthi & Ghumarwin road, just 8 km from Ghumarwin). Shunhani is very attractive and historical place. Raja Vikram Chand (1555-1593 AD) made Sunhani its capital this area got the credit of being Kehloor's capital for more than 100 years. Chandel kings have a tradition that where ever they went & settled, they constructed temple of Nahar Singh Ji (Nar Singh Devta) and worshiped the deity. According to this tradition they made Thakurdwara of Sunhani where they made Narsingh Devta (there Istdev) temple. On the doors of thakurdwara, there is Gupta period architecture & drawing. There are many jarokhas on the backside of thakurdwara where sculptures of various gods and goddesses are made. Today also, people of this area offer new harvest as Nasrawan. Buffalo milk’s ghee is firstly offered here newly married couple move around Ficus (Pipple) tree. Shitla Mata’s temple is present near it though now this region is not that famous, its popularity still persists.
- Para-gliding. Before 1994, there was hardly any para-gliding or hang gliding pilot in Himachal Pradesh, excepting one, Roshan Lal Thakur from Manali, who had acquired some skill in flying from foreign pilots, often visiting Manali as tourist. Mean while R.P. Gautam who had come on retirement from Central Reserve Police Force as Commandant, visualised the vast potential in paragliding from Bandla mountain. To make his dream come true, he got in contact with Shakti Singh Chandel, the then Director Tourism and Civil Aviation, to extend all possible help to promote paragliding not only in Bilaspur, but also in whole in Himachal Pradesh. The Director Tourism, who himself belonged to Bilaspur, took keen interest in approving Bandla top as take off site, gave financial assistance to run para gliding courses for Bilaspur under Himachal Aero Adventure Institute Bilaspur, which under expert guidance of Mr. Bruce Mills from New Zealand and Alexi Garisimov from Russia,Vikram Sharma the Local Pilot got the pilots trained. Thus Bilaspur was brought on World Map in Paragliding. What is special about Bilaspur, which is not there in flying sites at other places, is that it gives you almost eight hours of flying time as against 3 to 4 hours maximum at Billing or Manali. More over it has vast and safe landing grounds on the bank of Govind Sagar Lake at LUHNU. From training point of view, Bilaspur can be considered the best in whole of Asia. It is laid down in the training manual that training in instability maneuvers during advance pilot course i.e. Dynamic Stall, deep stall, spiral drive, spin reovery, assymmetric tuck, front tuck and deployment of Reserve Parachute, should be carried out over a broad base of water for reasons. For this, there is hardly any place, where there is any huge lake just beside the landing site. Bilaspur has the privilege of having unique combination of Air Sports in one stretch, which is very rare.Local contact person for paragliding in Bilaspur is Vikram Sharma (Sonu) one may contact him any time at his mail id email@example.com.
- Water and River Sports. Govind Sagar reservoir in Bilaspur (H.P.) with its 56 km length and nearly 3 km breadth, offers a variety of water sports activities in close collaboration with the Directorate tourism and Civil Aviation and Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied Sports. Due to fluctuating level of Lake here, the water sports are mainly confined to half of the year i.e. August to January. During this period the activities include swimming, surfing, water-skiing, Kayaking, rowing, canoeing, white water river rafting. Three level of courses are also conducted – beginners, intermediate and advance. For this tourism department of Himachal Pradesh has constructed a huge water sports complex with all the boarding, lodging and equipment facilities. River rafting or white water rafting, as it is also called, is swiftly making Bilaspur a focus for this scintillating sport. For a torrent of adrenaline to gush through every vein and surge cover every muscle, you can race over the rapids of river – Sutlej, right from Rampur to Bilaspur through serpentine path in deep gorges, placid mountains, green alpine meadows and thick forests, all forming an immense spectrum. Non swimmers and novice can also have this thrilling experience in an inplatable rubber dinghy, on some of the gentler rapids. Earnest efforts are on to harness the vast potential in water sports to bring Bilaspur (H.P.) on the world map.
- Cafe Lake View.
- Hotel Neelam Bar.
There are quite a few hotels in the main town area.
- Hotel Lake View Resorts.
- Hotel Dholra Resorts.
- Hotel Kwality.
- Hotel Neelam, ☏ +91 1978 222474, +91 1978 223873. This hotel has been in service since 1965 and claims to be the best in the area.
- Hotel Sagar View.