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.
Kangra is accepted as one of Himachal's most picturesque
areas, thousands of streams flow through its enchanting valleys. The
vegetation is a fascinating mix of tropical and sub-Himalayan varieties -
climb higher and oaks and majestic Himalayan cedars ride the crest of
every hill. And behind, rise the Dhauladhar ranges - stark white by day
and soft romantic pink by dusk.
The Dhauladhars - "the White Ranges", rise upto 14,000-feet providing a dramatic backdrop to the hill resort of Dharamshala. This is the principal township of Kangra covering a wide area in the form of town settlement. Lower Dharamshala, at 1,380m, is a busy commercial centre, while upper Dharmashala, at 1,700m, with the suburbs of Mcleod Ganj ands Forsyth Ganj, retains the British flavour, more or less colonial lifestyle.
The charming stone church of St. John in the wilderness, with its beautiful stained glass windows is situated here and this churchyard is the final resting-place of Lord Englin, a British Viceroy of India.
There is a charming Tibetan settlement in Mcleod Ganj, with bustling Bazaars that sell carpets, handicrafts and delicious Tibetan food. A giant prayer wheel ornaments the main street and in the monastery, a statue of Lord Buddha presides over the gentle chanting of the monks. McLeodganj is now a major centre for Tibetan culture.
Winter in Kangra valley is enchanting. The snow line remains close enough at all times and during winter months, the northern part is swaddled in a blanket of freshly fallen snow, allowing the magic of Kangra to take on yet another hue. Numerous ancient temples like the Jwalamukhi, Bajreshwari , Chamunda, and Baijnath lie on the plains below Dhauladhar.
Brajeshwari Devi Temple (Bajeshwari Devi Temple): Known once for its legendary wealth of diamonds and pearls, this temple was subject to successive depredation by invaders from the North. Mohammed of Ghazni is known to have departed with a king's ransom in gold, silver and jewels in 1009. Earthquake of 1905 destroyed it completely. Rebuilt in the present form in 1920, it continues to be a busy place of pilgrimage. more...
Jawalamukhi: 30-km from Kangra, 56-km from Dharamsala, near the Beas river and on the side of cliff, is one of Hindu dome most famous shrines. Built against the side of a rocky spur, the temple is dedicated to the manifestation of the Devi of fire also called the "Flaming Goddess". A blue flame fed by natural gas, shoots out of the rock in the sanctum in which the goddess, Jawalamukhi, manifests herself. more...
Kangra Fort: The remains of the fort of the Kotch Raja's of Kangra are located on a strategic height, overlooking the Ban Ganga and Manjhi rivers. At the top of the fort there was also a place of the Kotch kings. The earthquake of 1905 in Kangra destroyed both the palace and the fort. It is now in its ruins.
Nadaun: Nadaun is a pretty town situated on the left bank of river Beas and is 13-km from Jawalamukhi. It was the favourite residence of Raja Sansar Chand who built himself a palace at Amtar on the riverbank 2-km from the town. This historic town, which was once the capital of the Kotch rulers, derives its name from demon Nandan.
Sujanpur Tira: Just 30-km away from Nadaun, situated on the banks of the foaming Beas, the historical town Sujanpur Tira was built by Raja Sansar Chand, who had ascended to the throne when he was only ten years old. The palace was the winter residence of Sansar Chand and the Alampur palace on the other side of the river Beas was his summer resort.
The Kangra Valley offers exciting opportunities for
trekking, rock climbing, mountaineering and fishing. The Kangra Valley is
the proverbial home of various fishes such as Mahaseer as also the Malli,
Soal, Bachwa, Gid and Shingra.
3.5-km from Palampur is a predominant Buddhist town of Bir and 14-km from Bir is Billing, a beacon for "Hang-gliders" all over the world. In the month of May or June a tented colony is set up by H.P tourism to facilitate Hang-gliders. more...
Road: Kangra is well connected by road with
Dharamsala, which is 18-km away.
Rail: 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.
Air: Kangra airport is 7-km away and has got straight flights from Delhi
Standardised accommodation options are available for one to stay in Kangra including HTPDC's hotel and tourist lodges.
Amid the crowded streets of the Kangra town, the central bazaar brims with puja essentials such as red powder, coconuts, tinsel and sugar.