kangra


Kangra is a city and a municipal council in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. Historically it was known as Nagarkot and Trigart. It is the home to the Masrur Temples, also known as the Himalayan Pyramids. It has the highest number of villages among all the other districts of the state. Kangra is a composite word made out of Kaann (meaning ear) + gaddha (create/mold)

Kangra valley is one of the most picturesque, green and luxuriant valleys of lower Himalayas sheltered by the sublime Dhauladhar range. This is one of the most important and famous districts of Himachal Pradesh due to its popularity. Kangra is mainly famous for its natural beauty and tea gardens. Number of people visit here every year.

It is famous for temples and beautiful lakes. The famous temple in Kangra are Jawalamukhi, Baijnath, Bajreshwari Devi Temple, Chinmaya Tapovan, Masroor Rock Temple and Trilokpur Temple. The Masroor Rock Cut Temple is a possible contender for nomination as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Baijnath, Jwalamukhi and Chamunda Devi temples attracts large number of people. Kangra is also famous for water sports activities like boating and fishing.

Historically known as Nagarkot and “Trigarta” the town of Kangra was founded by Katoch Kshatriya Rajputs of Chandervanshi Lineage . The Katoch Rajas had a stronghold here, with a fort and rich temples.

Another ancient name of the city is Bhimagar and it was supposedly founded by Raja Bhim, younger brother of Kuru Emperor Yudhishthira of Indraprastha (now Delhi).

The temple of Devi Vajreshwari was one of the oldest and wealthiest in northern India. It was destroyed, together with the fort and the town, by 1905 Kangra earthquake on the 4 April 1905, when 1339 lives were lost in this place alone, and about 20,000 elsewhere. In 1855 the headquarters of the district were removed to the cantonment of Dharmsala, which was established in 1849.


Famous Places Around Kangra :

Maharan Pratap Sagar Lake : It is made of Beas River. In 1960, a dam was built on the Beas river and this dam resulted in a huge Maharana Pratap Sagar Lake (once known as Pong Lake). This huge mass of water varies from 180 sq. km. to 400 sq. km. In 1983, the Sagar was declared a wildlife sanctuary and over 220 species of birds belonging to 54 families have been sighted over the waters and the fringing mud-banks - these include black-headed gulls, plovers, terns, ducks, water-fowl and egrets. The land portion of the sanctuary has barking deer, sambar, wild boars, nilgai, leopards and claw-less otters. 27 species and sub-species of fish belonging to six families have been recorded in the Sagar's waters.

Chamunda Devi Temple : It is 15 km. from Kangra. This temple is situated on the right bank of the 'Baner' stream with the Dhauladhar as a backdrop, this has an idol of goddess Chamunda, who, it is said, was given the boon to fulfil the desires of those who worshipped her. On the back of the temple is a cave niche where a stone 'Lingam' under a boulder represents Nandi Keshwar ( Shiva ).

Jwalamukhi : 30 km. from Kangra and 56 km. from Dharamshala. This place is famous for Jwalamukhi, the 'Flamming Goddess'. It is one of the most popular Hindu temple in Northern India. There is no idol and the flame is considered a manifestation of the Goddess. The eternal flame issues from the rock sanctum and is constantly fed by the priests. Two important fairs are held during the Navratras, in early April and in mid October.

Brajeshwari Devi Temple : Just outside the town is the temple dedicated to Brajeshwari Devi. Known once for its legendary wealth, 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. Destroyed completely in 1905 by an earthquake, it was rebuilt in 1920.

Masroor Rock Temple : 40 km. from Kangra. Masroor is known for its monolithic temples. There are 15 monolithic rock-cut temples in the Indo-Aryan style, richly carved. The temples, partly ruined now, are profusely decorated with sculptural ornamentation conceived in the same manner as the great temple of Kailash at Ellora in Maharashtra. The main shrine contains three stone images of Ram, Lakshman and Sita.

Kangra Fort : The historic fort of Kangra was built by Bhuma Chand. This fort had been the centre of attraction for the rulers of northern India, since a long time. The first attack on the fort was made by the Raja of Kashmir 'Shreshtha' in 470 A.D. In 1846 Kangra fort fell into the hands of the British. Kangra fort is located on the bank of the river Banganga at the height of 350 feet. In the foreyard of the fort are the temple of 'Laxmi Narayan' and 'Adinath' located in the Kangra fort is dedicated to Jainism. Inside the fort are two ponds one of them is called 'Kapur Sagar'. At present the fort is under the control of 'Archaeological Survey of India'. It was badly damaged in 1905 earthquake.

Taragarh Palace : Muslims used this place to propagate the ideas of Islam and in 1933 the 'Nawab of Bhavalpur' built a palace there, which was named as Alhilal. Till 1947, the place remained as the Summer capital of the Nawab. From 1947-49 it was used as warehouse by the Punjab government. In 1949 it came in the possession of 'Maharani Tara' the wife of Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu and mother of Raja Karan Singh. In 1951 it was converted into a Motel Taragarh Palace.

Chinmaya Tapovana : 10 km. from Knagra. Situated on a hillock is the recently established 'Ashram' complex by Swami Chinmayananda, who was a great exponent of the Gita. It is a beautiful place to visit. There is also a larger than life statue of Hanuman and also a very big Shivling which can be seen from far.

Sujanpur Tira : The historic town of Sujanpur Tira is known for its palace, now in ruins, built by Raja Sansar Chand. It is famous for the temples of Gauri Shankar, Murli Manohar and Narbadeshwar. There is the largest ground of Himachal Pradesh which is made use of as a meeting place and also for sports activities.

Kathgarh : It is a village situated 7 kms. from Indora on the meeting point of the Beas and the Choch rivers. There is an old temple, built in Mughal style, housing 6 feet long and 5 feet round 'Shivalinga' The 'Linga' here is of its own kind not found anywhere in the world.

Nadaun : 10 km. from Jwalamukhi and 40 km. from Kangra. A lovely place for a quiet weekend. The Beas river which flows nearby provides excellent Mahasheer fishing. Theere is a temple dedicated to Shiva.

Trilokpur : It is 41 km. from Kangra. The natural cave has attractive pillars of limestone on the floor of the cave by the percolation of water from the roof. It is something like stalagmites. The cave is dedicated to Shiva.

How To Reach :

Access by Air : Nearest airport is Gaggal airport located 13 km. from Kangra. Other airports having regular service are : Jammu 200 km. from Kangra, Amritsar 208 km. from Kangra and Chandigarh 255 km. from Kangra

Access by Rail : Nearest broad gauge railhead is Pathankot 90 km. A narrow gauge railway line between Pathankot and Jogindernagar passes through Kangra, 17 km. from Dharamshala.

Access 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. There is huge network of HRTC to cater the needs of the people.

Distances : Chandigarh 239 km., Delhi 514 km., Nangal 145 km., Jalandhar 166 km., Hoshiarpur 128 km., Mandi 147 km., Jwalamukhi 55 km., Kullu 214 km., Manali 252 km., Chamba 192 km. and Shimla 322 km.

Near By

1. Kangra Fort

2. Kareri Lake

3. Indrahar Pass

4. Chamunda Devi temple

5. Palampur

6. Kangra Art Museum

7. Bir & Billing

8. Pong Dam Wetlands

Fair and Festivals

Fairs

In state level fairs of District Kangra, Shivratri of Baijnath, Holi of Palampur, Baisakhi of Kaleshwar Mahadev Dehra, Dussehra of Jaisinghpur, Lohri of Pragpur and district level fairs, besides Shivaratri of Kathgarh Indora, Baisakhi of Jwalli etc., besides many types of village level fairs Is organized. Thousands of pilgrims on Shivratri visit Lord Shiva in Baijnath and Kathgarh, earn virtue by appearing in Shiva Temple, they also get uncomfortable pleasures.

Holi is celebrated in a very attractive and interesting fashion in Palampur as well as in Baijnath, Jaisinghpur sub-divisions. On this occasion, beautiful Floats are also carried out at the village level, in which hundreds of lugs are involved. In these fairs, cultural practices are also organized, in which many talented and emerging artists of the state get the opportunity to showcase their skills and art.

Several types of sports competitions are organized in fairs celebrated in Kangra district, as well as Wrestling in which many wrestlers came across the country. This cirque is called chhinj in the local language. At present, women’s wrestlers are also participating in these chinjs and showing their talent. Those who win the competition are rewarded with proper money and monuments.
These fairs are our cultural heritage, so they are celebrated in the whole district with great enthusiasm.

Festivals

Makar Sankranti

Although Makar Sankranti is an all-India festival it is celebrated a little differently in Kangra. It is said that Mata Barjeshwari got herself hurt while fighting the great Demon Mahishashura. To cure herself she applied ghee or clarified butter on her wound and it soon healed. During the Makar Sankranti a big fair is held at the Brajeshwari temple for seven days and special puja is also offered to the deity. Butter sculptures, flower decorations are as much part of the festivals as are holy dips at the Ban Ganga. Bhajans or hymns to the deity too add to gaiety.

Shivaratri and Navaratri

Shivaratri is another all-India festival celebrated little differently in Kangra. This festival is as much significant for the people here as for the temples of the town. While most keep fast throughout the day and offer their puja to Lord Shiva at night there is another unique aspect of it. Images of Lord Shiva and Mata Parbati are made either with clay or with cow dung. The idols are then worshiped with greatest devotion. Songs are also sung in praise of the lord Shiva and His Consort Mata Parbati. In all, Shivaratri is an example of a festival that combines devotion and piousness with gaiety.

Navaratri

Navaratri is also another important all-India festival celebrated with gaiety in Kangra. Out of the nine days, the Durga Ashtami holds special significance for the people here. On that day devotees go to offer puja at the local Durga Temple.

Chait

Chait, also known as Dholru, is an important festival for the people here. In Kangra, Hamirpur and Bilaspur, the festival takes place on the first day of the month of Chet. In Kangra, the festival is celebrated so as to drive away all that is bad and to usher in prosperity and happiness. Dholru, a special genre of songs, are sung on this occasion.

Biswa or Baisakhi

Biswa in Kangra is celebrated at the end of the Spring Festival. Generally it falls on 13th April. However, preparation for the festival starts much earlier. Houses are cleaned and where possible they are applied with fresh coat of paint. The pious also take a holy dip in Ban Ganga. Fairs are held on this occasion and residents take part in it with full gusto.

Haryali

Haryali is held on the first day of Shravana (generally 16th July) in the honor of the Rain God. Ten days prior to this festival seeds of five to seven different kinds of grains are mixed together and sowed in a basket filled with earth. It is either done by the head of the household or by the family priest. On the day of the Haryali clay idols of Shiva and Parbati are married off because the devotees believe that it is Their union, which causes fertility to the land.

Sair and Nawala at Kangra

Sair is basically a festival of thanks giving and is held in September or October. A barber goes round with a fruit in a basket (galgal) and the residents bow to the fruit wishing for a rich harvest. Nawala is also a festival of thanksgiving, but it is mainly celebrated by individual Gaddi household of Kangra. This particular festival is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is believed to have driven out all kinds of misfortunes and calamity.

Best time to visit Kangra?

Summer Season in Kangra

The temperature during summers in Kangra varies between 22 °C to 38 °C. But you can also be surprised by a sudden change in the weather anytime. For trekking, this is the best time to visit Kangra. March to June is the duration of the summer season.

Winter Season in Kangra

December to February usher in the period of winter. Sometimes, the temperature descends to 4 °C and makes the environment truly chilly and bitter. Snowfall can also be seen in the hight reaches of Kangra district at this time. There are different timings to taste the different flavors of this place. Like if you want adventurous trekking in its hilly areas then come here in the months of March to June. The best season to visit Kangra to experience the scenic beauty of the mountains covered with fresh snow is December to February.

Monsoon Season in Kangra

Although Kangra valley gets garlanded with lush and fresh greenery in the monsoon, it does get messed up because of the heavy rainfall. This season is here for three months that are July, August and September.

Events / Festivals in Kangra

Baisakhi or Bisoa: This event generally takes place on the 13th day of April, nevertheless local people start the preparation to celebrate it many days in advance. People come to Kangra to take a dip in the sacred river Banganga.

Chet: People celebrated this event to pray for prosperity and happiness throughout the year ahead. This is the first day of the first month of the lunar year.

Spring Festival: Amongst the festivals in Kangra the spring season comes with much importance. At this time, the young bachelor girls worship the clay statues of Shiva-Parvati and sing and dance around a gathering of grasses. After ten days of worshipping, they immerse the statues in nearby pond or brook on the day of Baisakhi.

Haryali: This is the fest to celebrate the rains over Kangra valley. It takes place on the first day of Hindi month, Shravana.

Accommodation in Kangra

There are several guest houses for the tourists in the valley of Kangra. Advance booking will assure your smooth stay. You can get ayurvedic massage centers, fitness centers, horse riding facilities as well as swimming pools at your resort.

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