King Jaistambh, an early (maybe first) ruler of Chamba was a descendant of Lord Rama’s son Kush. Meru, the father of the first recorded prince Jaistambh in the Chamba Vanshavali, was the first to settle Bharmour.
Bharmour, also known as Machu Pichu of Himachal, formally known as Brahmpura, was the ancient capital of Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh, India.
King Jaistambh is said to have accompanied his father, Maru from their native land Kalpagrama. Many historians believe that while Maru created the kingdom, Raja Jaistamhb was the first king to rule over Chamba.
King Jaistamhb, in the 6th century, was so enamoured by the 36-course royal Kashmiri wazwan that he ordered the cooks back home to evolve a similar menu in the local Chamba tradition with the whole yield of the region at their disposal, albeit without meat.
And, the lavish meal that resulted from the exercise was called Dham.
Dham has about eight to nine dishes, made sans onion or garlic and served on a pattal or leaf plate. Today, it has gone from being temple fare to finding its way into banquets and other celebratory tables.
In fact, on a wedding day in Himachal, it is a common sight to see botis (traditional cooks) cooking the dham in large brass charotis or cauldrons, sometimes as early as 4 am!
Traditionally, no breads are served in the dham as it is rice-based and chefs rely on curd and dried mango powder as souring agents.