Once known as an important seat of administration, Kangra the capital city of Chand dynasty tells a story of glory, which has faded into history. One of the most picturesque valley of lower Himalayas, the valley, sheltered by the sublime Dhauladhar hills, is green and luxuriant.
The temple of Brajeshwari Devi is very famous in the area. It is believed that in the bygone era this temple was very rich and each time it was plundered it was always able to restore itself. The valley also comprises of the famous Kangra fort, which was taken over by the British in 1846 on clause of a treaty. In 1905 an earthquake destroyed both the temple and the fort, but the temple was rebuilt.
The town was attacked by Mohammed Ghaznavi and conquered by Emperor Feroz Tuglak and Maharaja Rant Singh. Prior to this episode, Kangra was the capital of the great Hill State, its renowned ruler being Maharaja Sansar Chand Katoch, a great patron of arts. It was during his reign that the Miniature and Rajpur Schools of hill paintings flourished. Close to Kangra is Nagarkot a beautiful area with the fort perched on top of a ridge overlooking the confluence of Manjhi and Baner rivers. Kangra valley provides a tremendous contrast in nature of places to be visited. Dharamshala is full of Buddhist air whereas ancient Hindu Temples such as Brajeshwari, Baijnath, Jawalamukhi and Chamunda Devi dot the countryside.
Prime Attractions of Kangra
This is one of the largest gable-roofed Hindu temples in the Satluj valley. The mandapa and corridor around the sanctuary are open to all sides. Angled struts support the overhanging stone-tiled roof, which is steeply gabled in two tiers.
Brajeshwari Temple Travel of Kangra Valley
It is said to have been founded by the divinity of that name at a famous 'Ashwamedh' or horse sacrifice, which was held on the spot. The famous Mehmood of Ghazni is said to have invaded the district and destroyed the temple, building a mosque on its ruins.
Brijraj Behari Temple
On the spread of 'Vaishnavism' in Himalayas Vogel says, " Though 'Saivism' prevails everywhere and all the principal temples and 'tirthas' are dedicated to 'Mahadeva' or 'Devi', under various names, there seems to be a great deal of Vishnu or Krishna worship in Rajas.
International Himalayan Festival at Kangra Valley
As winter arrives, anglers shift to the Pong Dam. With the blessings of Nobel Laureate, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Internation Himalayan Festival is he;ld in Kangra district. Kangra Art Gallery This treasure trove of Kangra valley arts, crafts and rich past, displays artifacts that date back to 5th century. It includes a gallery of Kangra's famous miniature painting and a representative collection of sculptures, pottery and anthropological items.
Surrounded by thick woods and the visually stunning backdrop of the Dhauladhar mountains, Kareiri Lake is a beacon for trekkers in the area.
At an altitude of 8,00m and 15-kms to the south of Kangra, is the town of Masrur. Here are 15 Shikhra Temples, cut out of solid rock and built in the 10th century. Built in the Indo-Aryan monolith style, these temples have got a great resemblance with the Ajanta-Ellora temples.
Close to the district border of Kangra, is the fort of Sujanpur. Popularly known along with its twin title 'Tira', this was built by Raja Abhaya Chand of Kangra in 1758.
The Judges Court
The Judge's Court is set in some eight acres of land and has a fairly eclectic character about it. The floor plan follows the layout of a colonial bungalow and the embellishments are part local and part Saracenic.
The Gaddis are shepherds who move their flocks of sheep from lower pastures in winter to higher ones after snow melt. To them the Dhauladhars are not just a mountain range but like their mother.
Kangra is accepted as one of Himachal's most picturesque areas, thousands of streams flow through its enchanting valleys.
Kangra Fort The remains of the fort of the rulers of Kangra are located on a strategic height, overlooking the 'Ban Ganga' and 'Manjhi' rivers. Among its ruins, besides the temple of goddess Ambika Devi, there are two Jain temples too.
Kangra TeaAs the sun rises over palampur, the dew drops that have settled over the night on the dark leaves of the tea bushes act as scores of little prisms that disperse the first light - and announce to the world that they nurture yet another fine crop of Kangra tea.
Nature Parks: Kufri, Manali, Gopalpur
These are small nature parks getting very popular among the tourists who whish to admire the expance of nature.
Pong Lake Sanctuary
Pong Dam reservoir is 65-km from Panthankot and 115-km from Dharamsala on the Beas River. The Pong Dam Lake is significant for a wildlife sanctuary with wild life species like Nilgai, Sambar, Barking Deer, Wild Buar, Clawless Otter, and Leapord. The reservoir is developed on a large scale for promoting water sports for tourists.
Shiva Temple Trip in Kangra Valley
The Shiva temple at Katgarh is lesser known as compared to other temples in Kangra. It is located at the periphery of Kangra district. It has many legends woven in to Folklore. The temple enshrined a human-size 'linga', which is vertically spilt in to two parts.
The Siddhanatha temple at Baijanath is similar in its arrangement both in its interior and exterior to that of Mahadeva temple commonly known as Siddanatha temple.
Excursions from Kangra
Jwalamukhi is 34-km from Kangra. Recognised as one of the 51 Shaktipiths of India, the picturesque temple, built against a wooded spur, in the Indo-Sikh style, has a dome that was gilded by Mughal Emperor Akbar.
This town became famous when the Kangra rulers shifted their Capital here after they lost Kangra Fort to the army of Jahangir. However, it lost its glory when Raja Sansar Chand re-captured Kangra Fort and became the strong ruler of Kangra valley again. It is situated on the Shimla-Dharamshala road on the bank of Beas River, 20-kms from Hamirpur town and 43-km from Kangra. It is peaceful town with a good Rest House, an Old Palace and Shiva temple. The Palace building at Amtar still houses some of the paintings of that time. Jawalajee (also spelt as Jawalaji) temple is also not very far and can be visited from here.
How To Get There - Kangra
Kangra airport is 7-km away and has got straight flights from Delhi.
Nearest broad-gauge railhead at Pathankot is 86-km away and one is situated at Mukarian is 30-km. Kangra Valley express is a narrow gauge train, starting from Pathankot and continues to Bajinath.
Kangra is well connected by road with Dharamsala, which is 18-km away.
Places To Stay - Kangra
Standardised accommodation options are available for one to stay in Kangra including HTPDC's hotel and tourist lodges.
General Information - Kangra
Mid-May To Mid-October.