Discovered In : 920
Attractions: Lakshmi Narayan Temple, Bajreshwari temples,
Best Time To Visit: Mid-May to Mid-October.
Bilaspur is a place where
the echoes of the past mingle with the tomorrow. The new town, on the
bank of the Gobindsagar Lake of the Bhakra Dam is 64-km from Kiratpur
on the Chandigarh-Manali National Highway No-21.
In the dim past, many centuries ago, Rishi Vyas came to the bank of
the Satluj river to do penance in the verdant and fertile district
abounding in low hills, forests, grazing lands, rivulets and streams.
In the Vyas Gufa, which draws a continuous host of tourists and
pilgrims, the Rishi who penned the Mahabharata, lived as he prepared
himself for the arduous task, which he was about to perform latter in
another Gufa in the Uttrakhand way up in the celestial heights of the
The ancient Lakshmi Narayan and Radheyshyam temples, along with the
Vyas Gufa, escaped being submerged by the swirling water of the dam as
modern man's monument to nature clashed with the old. The Satluj,
which rises in the snows of the Tibet, after crossing the Dhauladhar
in the lower regions of the Himalayas above Rampur, create wide
terraces, in the highly developed and populated town of Bilaspur. The
225m high Bhakra dam is the highest in the world. A link with the past
is still provided by Nalwari, the most important fair of Bilaspur,
which is held every year in the third week of March.
Bilaspur, formerly the seat of the ruler of the State is now submerged
in the Gabind Sagar, it was situated on the south east side of the
Satluj. Bilaspur Township is situated just above the old town of
Bilaspur at a height of 6,70m above in sea level. The new Bilaspur
Township can be truely described as the first planned hill town of the
country. 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 New Town:
The ultimate effects of the colossal construction were to generate
many thousands KW of electric energy, which combined with a
canalization of the waters has extended irrigation over ten million
acres, to help in feeding the teeming millions. The Gobindsagar
reservoir behind the dam is 80-km long on whose banks has sprung the
new township of Bilaspur. Two big generating stations have been built
just below the Bhakra Dam, each with a capacity of 600 millions watts.
Asia's biggest mirror carp hatchery is situated here, at a distance of
13-km from the town. Kandror Bridge: While the town is situated on the
lake created by the highest bridge in India, Kindror Bridge is the
second highest bridge in the world and is 22-km from Bilaspur.
Himachal has always been the favourite stamping grounds of the ancient
Rishis or Sage. Here they performed penances and sought cures for
mankind in their orisons or prayers. Markand is 25-km from Bilaspur,
is where Maharishi Markand performed the strictest austerities on his
body to delve into the secrets unknown to man. A dip in the sacred
waters over here is a sure cure, it is believed, for infant diseases
and sterility. There is also a famous shrine about 20-km from Bilaspur,
in tehsil Sadar named after renowned Rishi Markandeya, who lived and
worshiped there. According to a legend, a tunnel connected Markand and
Vyas cave and the two rishis, Vyas and Markand used to visit each
other through this sub-terrain path. In addition to a shrine there is
also a water spring of ancient fame where a night fair is held
annually on Baisakhi day.
On the top of a hill known as Bahadurpur the highest point (1,980m) in
the district near Tepra Village in Paragana Bahadurpur, after covering
a distance of about 40-km from Bilaspur. The beautiful woods of deodar
and ban trees embellish this range. 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. This Fort was built prior to 1835, but now is in its ruins.
Shri Naina Devi Ji:
A notable place of worship in the district is the temple of Shri Naina
Devi Ji, situated on the hill top which rises some 9,15m above the
sacred town of Anandpur Sahib in Ropar. The temple stands on the very
summit of the hill above a small bazar and is reached by a long flight
of stone steps or by a cable car. Sariun Fort: To the eastern side of
the Tiun range, on the lifty range and peak of Sariun like this
stronghold at an elevation of about 1,500m above M.S.L and is about
58-km.from Bilaspur. Tradition holds that the fort was originally
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.
Relics of this fort is situated on the top of a hill known as the Tiun
range, at distance of about 55-Km.from Bilaspur, on the Ali Khad
crossing Ghumarwin-Ladraur motorable road and about 10-km from
Ghumarwin. Vyas Cave: The name of sage Vyas is well known in this
part. Situated at the foot of the new township, the belief is that
Vyas Rishi meditated in this cave. The origin of the town, Vyaspur is
believed to have been derived from this cave. Lying on the left bank
of river Satluj, this place is famous as a pilgrimage too.
Swarghat is ideally situated about 40-km.off Bilaspur on the Bilaspur-Chandigarh
road. Perched at an elevation of about 1,220m from sea level, Naina
Devi temple and Bhakra Dam, are also approachable from here. There is
also a temple dedicated to Lakshmi Narayan.
Situated at Bhakra village of Bilaspur, about 13-km upstream from
Nangal township, it is one of the highest straight gravity dams in the
world. The lake is about 90-km long, covering an area of about
168-sq-km of which 90% is in Bilaspur and 10% in Una district. The dam
was dedicated to nation by late Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru on November
20th, 1963. The view of vast dam and green jungles around is
HOW TO GET THERE
Air: Chandigarh and Bhuntar are the nearest airports, located
at 135-km and 131-km from Bilaspur.
Rail: The nearest broad gauge railway station is at Kiratpur
Sahib and nearest narrow gauge railway station is at Shimla, which are
connected by regular bus services.
Road: Bilaspur is approachable by road from Shimla and
WHERE TO STAY
Accommodation options in and around Bilaspur vary from luxurious
hotels such as HTPDC's Hotel at Swarghat to reasonable budget hotels.
Situated in the hot temperature zone the climate of Bilaspur ranges
from high temperature to sub tropical and snow rarely falls over here.
FAIRS & FESTIVALS
The Nalwari or Annual cattle fair is held at Bilaspur for four or five
days in March / April months, the occasion is marked by wrestling and
other amusements. Cattle are brought from Nalagarh and neighboring
parts of Punjab to sell over here.