Located by the banks of river Satluj, Rampur used to be the capital of former princely state of Bushahr in the 18th-century. Since it fell on the ancient trade route to Afghanistan, Ladakh, China and Tibet, Rampur benefited from a wide range of economic and cultural activities. It’s still a bustling town and a melting pot of cultures of the region.
From historical palaces to the temple villages of Nirath, Duttnagar and Nirmand, there’s a lot to see and do here. The highlight of the town is a fair called ‘Lavi’ that is held here every year in November. Arguably one of the biggest fairs of North India, the fair is popular among the people of Shimla and the travellers alike. Some of the best things to buy here include chilgoza or pine nuts, shawls, crop produce, handicraft items, dry fruits from Kinnaur, and the trademark soft sheep wool. Some people even trade livestock during the fair such as sheep, goat, cow and horses.
Some of the ancient Hindu and Buddhist shrines worth a visit include the Raghunath Temple, Ayodhya Temple, Narsingh Temple, Sri Sat Nahan Temple and the Dumgir Buddha Temple which is most famous for its large prayer wheel and important scriptures.
Another great attraction in Rampur is the Padam Palace, an interesting structure built in colonial and Pahari style of architecture. The large imposing building is constructed using wood and intricate stone carvings and is surrounded by a sprawling garden.
One of the best things to buy here as a souvenir is the blanket also known as ‘Rampuri Chadar.’ These hand spun blankets are known for their softness and durability and keep warm even in the coldest of months.
The nearest railhead is in Shimla, about 135km away. Rampur can be also be reached by road from Rohru via Sungri (80km) and from Manali via Jalori Pass (190km).