Kangra – one of the most picturesque valleys of lower Himalayas

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Kangra - Quick Facts

Area: 5739 sq. Km.
Population: 15,10,075
Altitude: 1854 m above sea level
Clothing: Summer- Light cotton, Winter- Heavy woollen
Season: October to March
Rainfall: 380 cm average
Languages: Hindi, Pahari & English


The Kangra valley is one of the most picturesque valleys of lower Himalayas. The valley, sheltered by the sublime Dhauladhar range, is green and luxuriant. It provides a tremendous contrast in nature of places to be visited. Dharamshala is full of Buddhist air whereas ancient Hindu Temples like Bajreshwari Devi, Chamunda Devi, Baijnath Shiv temple and Jwala Devi ji dot the country side. The history of Kangra valley dates back to the Vedic times more than 3500 years ago. The area was exposed to successive invasions, the last being the British domination of the princes of many small the hill states. Despite the onslaughts and political upheavals, the arts and crafts of the region continued to develop and found lyrical expressions. Crafts like the exquisitely designed shawls and miniature paintings of this region are internationally appreciated.


By Air
In the state there are three airports. These are: Kangra airport at Gaggal (15 kms from Dharamshala and 25 kms from Mcleodganj), Shimla airport at Jubbar Hatti (23 kms from Shimla), Kullu airport at Bhuntar (10 kms from Kullu and 50 kms from Manali) Other nearest airports having regular service: Jammu (210 kms from Dharamshala) Amritsar (205 kms from Dharamshala), Chandigarh (260 kms from Dharamshala, 116 kms from Shimla and 312 kms from Manali).

By Rail

Main railway stations connecting Himachal: Pathankot: All trains going to Jammu passes through Pathankot station. Kalka: From Kalka you can have direct trains to Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta and other parts of India. In the state there are two narrow gauge lines connecting: - Kalka to Shimla. This railway track is about 96 kms. Pathankot to Joginder Nagar. This railway line covers 113 km.

By Road
Almost each and every part of the state is linked by roads. The Himachal Road Transport Corporation is running its buses covering the whole state.


Kangra Art Museum
This treasure trove of the Kangra valleys arts, crafts and rich past, display artifacts that date back to the 5th Century. It includes a gallery of famous paintings and a representative collection of sculptures, pottery and anthropological items. Shamiyanas and local dresses used by local royalty, old carved doors, jail and pndals are also on display. Coins jewellery and manuscripts are included. A section houses the works of conteporary artists, sculptures and photographers.

Martyr's Mamorial

Set amidst beautiful surroundings, this memorial was built in 1972, near the entry point to Dharamshala in Civil Lines. The war memorial was built to commemorate the memory of soldiers and officiers of Kangra district who fought valiantly for the defence of Motherland in INDO-CHINA(1962) and INDO-PAK wars(1947-48,1965 & 1971) and during some peace operations under United Nations Auspicies.
Features of the memorial are its three curved walls in black marble each 20 feet long and 24 feet high bearing the names of 1042 martyrs on five of its faces with a mural on the sixth. Rising from a circular shallow pool having a central bowl and 21 water jets, these walls signify the three wings of the "Armed Forces". Their curved shape indicates the continuity and onward movement of human and national life. On selected evenings in a week, the monument is flood lit and the fountains burst forth in full splendor.
Outside the gate of the memorial are a disused Pattan Tank captured in 1971, INDO-PAK war and a Gnat, a light jet aeroplane, successfully used by the Indian Air Force in the same war. The entire area looks like a fairyland.

Mural

The Mural symbolizes the flame of National Freedom. A stout arm is holding the flame aloft, showing how our heroes are making determined efforts to keep it ever high and ever burning and in doing so they are achieving martyrdom. The garlands and medals around them represent Nation's gratitude to them. In nutshell, the mural depicts how the martyrs are upholding the freedom of their Motherland by sacrificing their lives so that their countrymen may be able to live freely.

Truind

For adventurous people nothing can be more enjoyable than a 9-km climb from McLeod Ganj to Triund located at a height of 2,827 metres above sea level. Here you get a face to face view of towering snow-clad Dhaula Dhar. On a clear day you can also have a spell-bounding view of hills and valleys below.In spring the hill slopes of the path leading from McLeod Ganj to Triund are abloom with lots of wild flowers like the flame of the forest, holly hock, gladioli, hydrangea and so on.

For weary travellers there is a forest rest house at Triund (cabins for night stay are booked by the Divisional Forest Officer in lower Dharamshala) to rest and sojourn. Tour operators can arrange rest house bookings on their own too. Since the spot is ideal for hang-gliding, a westerner used to enjoy flying down from Triund on his hang glider till some time back. Lately, no one has emulated his example. Five kilometres above Triund, the snowline starts at a place called Laka, presenting a breath-taking view of the snow above and the Kangra valley below.

Kareri Lake

Located at a distance of 33 km from Dharamshala and at an altitude of 1,983 metres above the sea level., Kareri village is set amidst beautiful settings.13 km from here lies the impressive Kareri lake 3,048 metres above the sea level amidst green meadows, oak and pine trees making it an idyllic spot to visit. At Kareri the visitors can stay in the forest rest house, for which prior reservation is needed from the Divisional Forest Officer, Dharamshala near head post office.


Dal Lake

Eleven kilometers above Dharamshala and next to the Tibetan Children Village is a miniature oval-shaped artificial lake called Dal lake, rimmed by fir trees. Though small in area, this lake has a charm of its own solely due to its surrounding forest and hills. Taking a dip in the lake is considered sacred. Devotees believe that a bath in the lake fulfills any boon asked from Lord Shiva at that time.

Dharamkot

1 Kilometer above McLeod Ganj a village called Dharamkot inhabited by the Gaddis (hill tribals) nestles amidst scenic beauty at 2,100 metres above the sea level. Besides offering a panoramic view of the Dhaula Dhar range of mountains, Kangra valley and the Pong Dam, the village once had a gallery of paintings of a well-known English painter "A.W.Hallot". Today Dharamkot is a favourite picnic spot.

Naddi

At 2,000 metres above the sea level and about two kilometres from Mcleod Ganj, a modern picnic spot is developing fast at Naddi. It is connected with a metalled motorable road.It is the only place in Dharamshala from where an open view of mountains and wide valleys on Dhaula Dhar's southern side can be seen. It is also a starting point for a trek to Kareri lake, Guna Temple and Triund.There is an International School called "Sahaj International School", where the children are educated keeping in view the Indian way of life besides all essential school subjects.

Mcleodganj
Viewed from Mcleod Ganj, the Kangra valley sprawls below as far as the eye can see. So fantastic and expansive is the view of kangra valley from upper Dharamshala (McLeod Ganj) that an Englishman Barnen went ruptures over it. His description in the Kangra gazetteer is worth reading: 'No scenery, in my opinion persents such sublime and delightful contrast'. At 2,000 metres above sea level, McLeod Ganj is a place pulsating with life. it has a delightful mixture of eastern, western and Buddhist cultures, reflected in the people, in the shrines of worship and in its very name.

Water Fall

2 kilometers away from McLeod Ganj and connected to with a mettalled motorable road, is an ancient temple of Bhagsu Nag. About 1 km there is a small but lovely waterfall close to the temple, which is enough to sooth one's eyes and mind. Above the waterfall, the mountain side has a lot of slate quarries. It is a perfect site for picnics and recreation.

Kangra Fort

The historic fort of kangra was built by BhumaChand the founder of the Katoch Dynasty. This fort had been the centre of attraction for the rulers of Northern India. Since Long Time the first attack on the fort was made by Raja of Kashmir, Shreshta in A.D.470. In 1009 Muhammad Gazni Looted the Kangra Fort. He Carried with him 7 Lakh gold Coins , 28 tonne utensils mode of Gold and Silver and 8 tonnes of Diamond and Pearls. In 1337 Muhammad Tughlaq and in 1357 Feroze Shah captured the Kangra Fort. In 1540 the fort was captured by Khan Jahan a commander of Sher Shah Suri. In 1620 Jehangir occupied the Kangra Fort and came to see it in 1622. In 1781 it came under the control of Jassa Singh Kanhaya. In 1786 Maharaja Sansar Chand took control of the fort. In 1846 the Kangra Fort fell into the hands of the British. The Fort is located on the Banks of the River Ban Ganga. In the foreyard of the Fort are the temples of Laxmi Narayan and Adinath dedicated to Jainism. Inside the Fort are two ponds one of them is called Kapoor Sagar. At prsent the fort is under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India. It was badly damaged in the 1905 earthquake.

Nurpur Fort

Is located on 32 18 north and 75 55 eat at an altitude of 2125 ft on the banks of the river jabbar.The first reference of nurpur is found in the writings of the historian of the period of Akbar. He reffered to the king of Nurpur by the title of Zamindar of Mau and Paithan. The ancient fort of Mau was demolished by Shahjahan. To the ancient it was known as Dhameri.It was renamed by raja Basu as a mask of Respect to the mugjhal empror Shahjahan and empress noorjahan. it is famous for an old fort and a temple of Brij Raj Bihari. The image according to legend was worshipped by Meera Bai. The fort is in ruins now but still has some carved relief work on stone.

Pong Dam

A beautiful Reservoir named the Maharana Prathap Sagar in Distt. kangra also known as the pong dam plays host to a wide variety of water sports like Sailing, Water Skiing, Rowing, etc.. This reservoir is situated at a height of about 450 mtrs, covering an area of about 45,000 Hectares approx. This palce is now a wildlife sanctuary with over 200 species of migratory birds having been spotted in and around the reservoir. You can visit this Place from Masroor, Pathankot and Nurpur. This Place therefore serves a dual purpose for the adventurous tourists.

Masroor Temple

The famous Masroor temple complex in Himachal Pradesh lies nearly 22 km from Kangra and 40 Kms from Dharamshala. It lies to the north-east of the village, a rocky sandstone ridge, the main axis of which runs from north-west to south-east. An outcrop of sandstone rock, the highest central portion of which has been separated from the rest by two transverse and more or less parallel cuttings, it accentuates the crest of the hill. In the intervening portions of the rocks are sculpted a series of temples unique in the entire Himalayan region and comparable to the monolithic temples of Mahabalipuram, Ellora and Dhamnar caves.In the centre of the complex stands the principal and most elaborately carved shrine - the Thakurdwara - enshrining black stone images of Ram, Lakshman and Sita facing east. The Masroor temple has an adjoining tank - large and rectangular - hewn from sandstone. It is nearly 50 m in length and is reputed to have water throughout the year.

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.


Kotwali Bazar and McLeodganj are major shopping areas. McLeodganj Bazar has numerous shops
selling Tibetan handicrafts including woollen carpets, metalware, jewelry, jackets, handknitted cardigans, gloves etc.

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