Places of Interest : Jawalamukhi, Kangra Fort, Brajeshwari Devi Temple Best Time to Visit : Mid-May to Mid-October
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
How to Get There
Air : Kangra airport is 7-km away and has got straight flights from Delhi.
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.
Road : Kangra is well connected by road with Dharamsala, which is 18-km away.