Famous for Sh. Chandershakhar Mahadev Temple and Pariyawaran Chetna Kendra
Twenty kms from Chamba is the village of Saho on the right bank of Sal river. The village is situated on a high plateau of great beauty. Saho is famous for its temple dedicated to Lord Chandra Shekhra i.e. the moon-crowned God, Shiva. The temple is hidden behind the locality in a tree grove. Two magnificent images of Shiva can be seen at the entrance and a huge Shivaling is enshrined in the sanctum. Facing the temple is a life size Nandi bull carved with fine details. According to Sarahan Prasasti, "The temple was constructed by Stayaki, a local Rana in order to establish friendship between his wife Somprabha and the daughter Parvati". It is believed that the temple belongs to a period earlier than transfer of seat of power from Bharmour to Chamba in 10th century. In the month of August/ September a mela is held in the compound of the temple. This mela coincides with Manimahesh Yatra. During summer Saho wears a golden mantle of wheat crop and in August/September the fields are lush green with paddy crop. The spring water of Saho is supposed to have medicinal value. There is a Forest Rest House at Saho.
Sal River is a major tributary of Ravi River. The town and the valley of Chamba are spread along its sides. The river descends from the Himalayas and adjoins Ravi River. The river got its name from the Sal trees found in this region in abundance. Sal River flows through the Chamba valley but the town resides at the congruence of the two rivers. An ancient village of Saho has flourished on the banks of the Sal River about 18 km from the Chamba town. The pious Chandrashekhar Mahadev temple, which is a 10th century marvel, is also situated on right side of the banks of this River. Most population of Saho village works as Lord Shiva devotees and they are called suhal who speak suhali.The magnificent temple has 5 feet high shivlingam. In the front side is a stone carved statue of Nandi Maharaj.
This river is perennial and provides a constant supply of water to the town. The sound of the waves tickles your ears and the splendid view across the river fills your eyes with contentment and gratitude. The river is an inseparable part of the visit to Chamba and often it is a summoned as a goddess.
There is a beautiful temple devoted to Lord Chandershekhar in the heart of Saho village. According to one belief , this temple was constructed by Raja Sahil Varman and according to the other belief, the temple was constructed by Satyaki, the son of King Bhagota. the inscription on a slab discovered from the village now preserved in Bhuri Singh Museum in Chamba town unfolds that Satyaki had married to Somprabha, a daughter of Kishkindha royal family. Kishkindha finds mention in Ramayana as the realm of the monkey king Sugriva but here it denotes Himgiri pargana. Satyaki is said to have built this temple to establish unshaken friendship between Somprabha and mountain daughter, Parvati.
Here is an interesting legend as to why the deity came to be called as Chandershekhar. There are two streams called Saredi and Karedi converging at a point about one kilometer from the village on Saho-Kiri road. On the bank of this confluence, there lived a sadhu (hermit) who took his bath regularly in the early hours of morning at the confluence. He made it sure that no one bathed before he bathed. But soon he discovered that some one took bath before him. To known the secret he hid himself behind a boulder one night. To his surprise, there children bearing resemblance emerged and started taking bath very early. he ran to get hold of the children. He could get hold of one child while the other two managed to escape. Sadhu tried to have some information from the child. Hardly had he taken some introduction, the child in custody also vanished from the scene and appeared in the form of a linga in a place where Chandershekhar temple now stands. This linga is about five feet in length and is biggest in size in the district. The names of the Children where Mahesh, Chandergupat and Chandershekhar. The children who had run away where Mahesh and Chandergupat. Mahesh reached Bharmour and Chandergupt in Chamba. These are worshipped as Manimahesh in Bharmour and Chandergupt in Chamba town, and shikhara style temples stand at these places. The third child Chandershekhar is worshipped at sahoo as Lord Chandershekhar. The temple is in shikhara style and has a slate roof.
The Nandi (bull) in front of the temple has been carved out of stone and is exquisite not only in its appearance but also in the fact that when the throat portion of the bull (Nandi) is tapped it sounds like the jingle of the bell. The temple is not only the pilgrimage centre but also a centre for all social gatherings like fairs and festivals. The Baisakh fair is celebrated with full festivity and enthusiasm at the temple site.
The nearest domestic airport is Gaggal airport which is 135 km from Chamba and international airport is Amritsar which is 220 km from here. Further journey can be completed by a hired taxi or bus. The closest broad gauge railway station is at Pathankot 120 km away. Chamba is extremely well connected with other major cities such as Delhi, Pathankot, Amritsar, Jammu and Shimla. The distances from main cities such as Delhi: 640 km, Amritsar: 220 km & Shimla: 370 km. Further the journey till the Sal River or up to the Saho village can be completed by taking a taxi to the desired destination.
April and October are the most favourable months to visit Chamba. The temperatures are between 15degrees to 30 degrees maximum. During day time there can be harsh sun but evenings become pleasant and sometimes chilly with blowing winds. Summers are from April – June and temperature can go up to 20 to 35 degrees. Monsoons are from June till end of august and the river may get flooded during these months. Winters are extremely chilly with temperatures ranging between 0- 4 degrees. Hail storm is common during these months & Warm clothing is of utmost essential if you plan your trip during this time. The area around the river may get colder in the corresponding months so it is best to avoid your travel time during December to January.
The best time to sit besides the River to enjoy its beauty is in the months of March to May and post monsoon, is in the months of August to October.