|Facts and Figures|
|Languages||Hindi, Himachali, English|
|Best time to visit||March-June|
KANGRA: THE CAPITAL OF THE CHAND RULERS
The small town of Kangra was the capital of the erstwhile rulers of the Chand dynasty. It is set amongst the picturesque settings of the Kangra valley at the foothills of the majestic Dhauladhar range. The area around Kangra is known for its ancient temples and picturesque surroundings, which attract the tourists.
Kangra is located in the western part of the state of Himachal Pradesh, in the northern region of India. It is 18 km south of Dharamshala. The weather in Kangra is alpine. Summers (April-June) are mild and winters are cold (November-February). It experiences southwestern monsoon rains in July-September. The Kangra region receives the second highest rainfall per annum.
The town of Kangra has a chequered past. It has been sacked a number of times because of the wealth accumulated within the Vajreshwari temple. The immense wealth of this temple attracted Mahmud of Ghazni, the famous plunderer from Central Asia. He looted an enormous treasure trove of gold and silver and jewelry from this temple in ad 1009. The Tughlaq rulers of the Delhi Sultanate again plundered it in 1360. However, the town made a good recovery, and during the reign of the Mughal emperor Jahangir in the early 17th century, this temple was paved with plates of pure silver. This area was ruled by local rulers and was later annexed by the British, who established a garrison in Kangra.
The small town of Kangra is famous for its Vajreshwari Devi (Kangra Devi) temple. Though the original temple was destroyed in a devastating earthquake, the present one is rebuilt on the same site. A large number of devotees throng this temple during various Hindu festivals. The ancient fort of Nagar Kot is located 2.5 km south of the town, perched on a high windswept ridge. Although this fort is in ruins, the travelers can enjoy the panoramic view of the surroundings, which includes the confluence of Manjhi and Baner rivers.
There are a number of important temples near Kangra. The small town of Masrur, 15 km from Kangra, is known for its intricately carved temples. Masrur has a group of 15 sandstone-hewed monolithic rock-cut temples belonging to 10th century ad. The carvings and sculpture found in this group of temple reminds one of the world-famous rock-cut temples of Ellora in the state of Maharashtra. Though most of the temples and sculptures are in a bad shape, yet they reflect the glory of the bygone era.
The road from Kangra to Masrur offers magnificent views of the Dhauladhar range. The temple of Jawalamukhi is 34 km south of Kangra. A marvel in itself, it is perhaps the only temple in India where natural jets of flame flare out from the hillside covered by the ancient, holy edifice. The temple has been a major attraction for an assortment of people down the centuries.
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS
Pilgrims flock to Kangra in the month of April for the Navratra celebrations, and in September-October, before the Dussehra festival, to pay their homage to Goddess Durga at the Vajreshwari (Kangra Devi) temple.
HOW TO REACH
Kangra does not have an airport. It has two railway stations: Kangra station, which is 3 km south of the town, and the Kangra Mandir station, 3 km east of the town. Indian Railways has introduced the “Kangra Queen” between Pathankot and Palampur. This luxury train running on narrow gauge covers a distance of 128 km in 4½ hours with two halts-Jawalamukhi and Kangra. The entire route provides panoramic view of the snow-capped Dhauladhar range. The Kangra bus stand is located north of the Bazaar, along the Dharamshala Road. Bus service from Kangra to Dharamshala (45 minutes) and Palampur is frequent.
|Adventure Tours of India|