Kangra Fort is among the most visited tourist destinations in the state of Himachal Pradesh and lies 20 km from Dharamshala and on the outskirts of Kangra. The Kangra Fort was built by the Katoch dynasty who was then a royal Rajput family of the state of Kangra. It is also mentioned in the Hindu epic Mahabharata. Kangra Fort is probably the oldest fort in India and also the largest in the Himalayas.
The fort is located just near the Kangra town and lies in the Old Kangra or Purana Kangra region which opens up to a beautiful valley. It is built right at the ‘Sangam i.e. the confluence of two rivers which are the Banganga and Majhi rivers.
There is a small yet famous temple of Jayanti Mata at the hilltop near the fort, adjoining which there is a museum as well which tells the history of the Kangra fort. There is also a Maharaja Sansar Chand Katoch Museum which is run by a royal family of the town and has audio guides to Kangra fort along with a cafeteria for tourists to rest and eat.
Kangra Fort History
The Kangra Fort was built by the royal Rajput family of Kangra State (the Katoch dynasty), which traces its origins to the ancient Trigarta Kingdom. At least three rulers sought to conquer the fort and plundered the treasures of its temples: Mahmud Ghazni in 1009, Firuz Shah Tughluq in 1360, and Sher Shah in 1540. The Katoch Kings repeatedly looted Mughal-controlled regions, weakening the Mughal control.
Aiding in the decline of Mughal power, Raja Sansar Chand II succeeded in recovering the ancient fort of his ancestors in 1789. The Fort remained with the Katochs until 1828 when Ranjit Singh annexed it after Sansar Chand's death. The fort was finally taken by the British after the Sikh war of 1846. A British garrison occupied the fort until it was heavily damaged in an earthquake on 4 April 1905.
Top Attractions of Kangra Fort
1. Masroor Rock Cut Temple
The Masroor Temples have their origin back to the 8th century. This complex is located on the Kangra Valley of Beas River which is situated in Himachal Pradesh, India. These temples face northeast towards the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas.
2. Gyuto Monastery
What is really interesting to know about this place is the fact that this monastery was typically established to preserve the tantric teachings of one of the greatest teachers Tsongkhapa. And if you have an inclination towards such occult things in life then this is a great place for you to make a visit.
3. Tatwani Hot Spring
The Tatwani hot spring is yet another gem of a tourist attraction that is worth visiting with your loved ones. A great number of tourists can be seen traveling to this place on a yearly basis owing to its subtle magical charm.
Things to Do in Kangra Fort
1. Indrahar Pass
The Indrahar Pass is one of the best options to visit around. If you visit this place, then it would be simply a phenomenal experience for you.
2. Bajreshwari Devi Temple
The Bajreshwari Temple is one of the most amazing places which you could be visiting with your family and friends. This place has an amazing spiritual aura experiencing which will make you peaceful and help you reflect gratitude.
3. Kangra Valley
Kangra Valley is one of the most essential places which you should be visiting with your loved ones. The lush scenery and the immense natural beauty of this place is out and out amazing and absolutely worth exploring with your loved ones.
Best Time to Visit Kangra Fort
The months between March and June are the best time to visit Kangra Fort. During this time, the overall climatic conditions are quite suitable for you to travel.
How to Reach Kangra Fort?
The nearest airport is the Gaggal airport and is situated at a distance of around 11 km from the Kangra town. From there, you can easily get a taxi or any other means of public transportation.
The overall connectivity via road to Kangra is quite good. So, if you are planning to visit this place by road then you won’t be facing any issue, and would be a seamless experience for you.
It needs to be observed that Kangra does have a railway station but it is a toy train station and thus it is not connected with the other cities of the country.