Kangra Fort – A Complete Guide. Nothing is as refreshing as taking a break from the monotonous life and busy schedule and go on an absolutely mesmerizing journey. Travelling refreshes and relaxes your mind and soul. Kangra Fort is famous for its marvellous architecture and serves as a popular tourist destination site.
About Kangra Fort
Located within 20 kilometres from the town of Dharamshala, Kangra Fort is located in the town of Kangra. Build by the Royal Rajput family of the Katoch dynasty, who are considered to be the descendants from the Trigarta Kingdom, from the Mahabharata. Kangra Fort is considered to be the oldest Fort in India and thus attracts numerous tourists.
Build from granite stones and lime mortar; the Kangra Fort has numerous temples dedicated to Laxmi Narayan and Rishabhnatha. It also has a Jain temple inside its premises.
The Fort is built on a rock at the confluence of the rivers Banganga and Majhi. Today, there is a museum build beside the Fort that is run by the royal descendants of the Kangra family.
History of Kangra Fort
Kangra Fort has a rich history associated with it. Build by the royal Rajputs of the Kangra State; it was conquered first by Mahmud Ghazni in 1009 and then by Firuz Shah Tughlaqq in 1360 and later by the famous ruler Sher Shah in 1540. It was later taken by Jahangir in 1620.
After the decline in Mughal power, Raja Sansar Chand II took over the Fort. Later on, after the Sikh War in 1846, the Fort was taken by the British army. The Fort was damaged during the earthquake of 1905.
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The Architecture of Kangra Fort
Build from granite and lime mortars; the Kangra Fort is entered through two sets of gates that were built during the Sikh period. One has to take the long, narrow stretch to reach the Fort.
On the way, there are two passages or gates that are dedicated to Nawab Saif Ali Khan, the first Mughal Governor of Kangra, known as the Ahani and Amiri Darwaza.
There is a second courtyard which is located on the south side of the Fort. There are shrines and temples of Laxmi Narayan and Rishabhnatha inside this courtyard. A Jain temple is also present inside the Fort.
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Kangra Fort Timings
Kangra Fort is a popular tourist destination, especially among people who have a knack for ancient history. It remains open from 9 am to 6 pm daily. Two to three hours are enough to explore the magnificent Fort.
Kangra Fort Entry Fee
The entry fee to Kangra Fort has been kept at a minimum of Rs 150 for an Indian traveller. If you are travelling from different countries, then the entry fee that you have to pay is Rs 300 per individual.
Best Time to Visit Kangra Fort
As Kangra is a hill station, the best time to visit the Fort is during the summer months. The summer months last from March to August. During this time, the weather remains pleasant and comfortable. Winter is not recommended as the weather remains chilly and rarely snowfall also occurs.
If you are planning the Fort, then make sure you do so during the day time and witness the sunset, which is a magnificent view from the Fort.
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How to Reach Kangra Fort
The nearest airport to the Kangra Fort is the Gaggal airport, located within 13 kilometres from Dharamshala. Dharamshala is located at a distance of 23 km from the Kangra Fort.
Located within 87 km from the town of Kangra is the Pathankot Station which is well connected with the country. There is also a toy train station within the town of Kangra.
There are numerous buses travelling from New Delhi to Kangra. There are premium deluxe as well state bus that makes a journey to the beautiful town.
Restaurants Near Kangra Fort
As it is a very popular tourist place, there are multiple eating places near the Fort. There is a cafeteria that is maintained by the fort authorities that provide delicious cuisine for the tourists at a very reasonable price.
Other than that, there is Annapurna Bhojanalya, Atithi Restaurant, Kumar sweets, etc. that serve exquisite food to travellers.
Places to Visit Near Kangra Fort
Located in McLeodganj, the Bahgsunag waterfalls are a beautiful fall which has become a popular tourist attraction and caters to the need for the hiking and trekking tourists.
There is a long stretch that leads to the magnificent waterfall which falls on a rocky pool and creates an ambience worth remembering.
One of the most important monasteries in the world and owes its importance to the Tantrik meditations and Buddhist Philosophies that it holds, the Gyuto monastery is a very important and popular place to visit in Dharamshala.
Housing a giant statue of Buddha, the Gyuto Museum is famous for its architecture and significant history.
Build in the memory of the war heroes who gave their lives to save our country; the War Memorial is one of a kind piece of architecture.
The memorial is built in colonial style, within the dense pine woods of Dharamshala. It was built during the British era and offers a serene environment for the tourists to enjoy.
Chamunda Devi Temple
Considered as one of the most important pilgrimage centres for Hindu worshippers, the temple is dedicated to Goddess Chamunda. It is a popular attraction in Dharamshala owing to its history.
The temple walls have carvings and paintings depicting scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
According to the locals, this temple served as the abode of Lord Shiva for some time, and thus this temple gained its popularity among the Hindu pilgrims and the devotees of Lord Shiva. It has a unique style of architecture that makes it a place worth remembering.
St. John in the Wilderness
Another piece of colonial architecture, this church is one of the hidden gems of Dharamshala and is famous for its exquisite style.
Build inside a dense forest; you have to reach the church by following a nature trail. It was built in memory of Lord Elgin, whose graveyard still lies in its premises.
Famous among the Buddhist pilgrims, the Nechung Monastery serves as the house of State Oracle and protects the deity of Dalai Lama. It is located within a distance of 2.5 km from Dharamshala.
It was built after 1959 when the original Nechung Monastery was broken was, and the monks were killed during Revolution in Tibet.
Being the house of Tai Siti Rimpoche, the Sherabling Monastery is one of the important sites for Buddhist Pilgrims. It is nestled among the snow-laden mountains. It is a must-visit if you are planning to visit the Dharamshala or Kangra state.