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About Kangra

Kangra, located in the state of Himachal Pradesh at the foothills of the Dhauladhar range, is an extremely popular tourist destination, and for great reasons! This ancient town was believed to have been established in the 4th-century and has changed hands between Mughal, Katoch, Sikh, and Gurkha dynasties, reaffirming its historical importance. These legends have made Kangra into a famous destination that not only has glorious natural attractions but also important man-made ones like ancient temples and forts along with a rich cultural fabric.

Due to its location, it offers the perfect mountainside escapade into the crisp & clear air and serene beauty that’s peaceful and calm, away from the bustle of city life. Travellers come back rejuvenated after soaking in the glorious views and spending time in amazing adventure activities like trekking here. Nature enthusiasts love to spend time in miles of densely forested meadows, thunderous waterfalls, and picturesque lakes that reflect the surrounding snowlines in their crystal clear waters.   

Kangra is one of the few mountain towns that are an important seat for ancient Indian art and paintings, which make the already beautiful landscape even richer. Visiting Kangra and seeing the museums and forts here is nothing short of a quick lesson in history. It houses preserved ancient artefacts and architecture in the form of forts and temples. 

The place is a haven for people who love to try rustic and native foods as well. It is the best place to indulge in delicious Pahari cuisine including foods like Madra, Bhey, Chha Gosht, Siddu, Babru, trout dishes, and Aktori.

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Kangra FAQ's

Which are the places to see in Kangra?

Kangra Valley has amazing places, ranging from natural attractions to ancient temples and forts. Here is a list of some of the must-visit places in the valley:

1. Kareri Lake
Like scenic freshwater lake is one of the best places to visit in Kangra. Surrounded by emerald green flowering patches, dense pine forests, and snow-capped Dhauladhar ranges, this is also a popular trekking destination. There is an ancient Shiva temple near the lake, which looks onto the entire panorama. Don’t miss seeing the rustic houses of the Gaddi people around the lake and trying delicious local food.

2. Kangra Fort
This fort is said to have been built around 3000 years ago by the king Susharma Chandra of the Katoch dynasty and is amongst one of the oldest standing forts in the country. The fort, that finds a mention in the Mahabharata, has a spectacular architecture with influences from all the dynasties that laid their claim on it due to the hidden treasures that it stored.

You will see Sikh inscriptions, Mughal-style archways, and even Persian inscriptions. While it is mostly in ruins now due to an earthquake in 1905, it’s still quite a mesmerising place to visit. There are three temples inside the fort- Ambika Devi Temple, Shitlamata Temple, and Lakshmi Narayan Temple. It offers amazing panoramic views of the surrounding mountain ranges covered in lush green forests. 

3. Kangra Art Museum
If you are an art aficionado, you should not miss visiting this museum. It houses rare exhibits from the various ruling dynasties and the Pahari tribal cultures. You will see centuries-old jewellery, documents, scrolls, murals, coins, pottery, weapons, etc. The museum is adorned with beautiful Tibetan paintings as an ode to the influence of Buddhist culture in the region. 

4. Brajeshwari Temple
Those who want to spend some time soaked in spirituality and mountainside solitude must visit the Brajeshwari Temple. It is amongst the 51 holy Shaktipeeths in the country and is revered by the locals in the region. The temple comes alive with the beautiful sounds of chiming bells and hymns during the Aarti. 

5. Haripur
This 14th-century town is well known for its royal history and as the place where the famous Kangra paintings originated. The most famous attraction here is the Pong Dam Wetlands, which is an important fishing reservoir. Don’t miss seeing hundreds of migratory birds that visit the dam during winters. Haripur also has an intriguing old fort and hot water springs, that must not be missed.

6. Masroor rock-cut temple
Often known as the Himalayan Pyramid, this temple is a famous archaeological site. Albeit in ruins, one can still see the magnificent 8th century Indo-Aryan architecture that comprises around 15 temples carved out of a single rock. The temples are dedicated to Ram, Laxman, and Sita. The legend goes that Pandavas stayed here during their exile and this temple was the spot, which would have had a staircase leading to heaven.  

7. Bhagsu Waterfalls
This is easily the most popular attraction in the region. These majestic 30-feet high falls lend the perfect escape into the raw wilderness of nature. Listening to the crashing sounds of water amidst the lush greenery is a fantastic experience.

There are plenty of cafes near the waterfall where one can relish coffee and hot noodles. Don’t miss visiting the ancient Bhagsu Temple nearby. The falls are reachable after a short and exciting 1 kilometre long trek amidst rocky and forested roads.

What is the best time to visit Kangra?

Lying in the foothills of the Dhauladhar ranges, Kangra is one of the best places to escape into, to escape the summer heat. The best time to visit the place is between March to June when the temperatures range between 22-38°C. The days are pleasant & sunny and the nights are cool, perfect for trekking and being outdoors.

For those who want to enjoy the winter chill and snow trekking, can visit Kangra between October-February. The temperatures range between 4-9°C during this time with snow covering the surrounding mountains and highlands.

What is Kangra famous for?

1. Pilgrimage
The ancient city of Kangra is dotted with magnificent temples that have been visited by pilgrims from all over the country for ages. Some of the most prominent ones include Jwalamukhi Temple, Radha Krishna Temple, and Sidh Bairag Lok Temple. 

2. Paintings
Kangra houses traditional painters who have kept the ancient tradition of beautiful Kangra paintings alive. These paintings, famous around the world, have Mughal and Pahari influences that depict nature, hunting, animals & birds, and scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata. 

3. Festivals
People visit Kangra from all over the country to attend the local festivals that are celebrated with a lot of fervour by the locals. You can enjoy bonfires, folk song & dance at the time of festivals like Rali, Navratri, and Lohri.

What does Kangra mean?

The origin of the name ‘Kangra’ has an interesting story behind it. The word is a combination of ‘Kaan’ (ear) and gaddha (mold/create). Till about the 14th-century, Kangra was one of the few places in the country where ancient medical practitioners used to practice the centuries-old tradition of rhinoplasty or plastic surgery.

These surgeries were performed to treat royals who got injured during wars or the ones who wanted to improve their looks, especially around their ear area.

How far is Kangra from Dharamshala?

The distance between Kangra and Dharamshala is around 19.5 kilometres. The route passes from Chilgari via Mission Hospital Road (on NH503) to reach Kangra. The best way to reach is to hire a taxi from Dharamshala, which would take around 45 minutes, depending on the road conditions and traffic.

How do I get to Kangra?

Kangra is located at a distance of around 462 kilometres from Delhi. There are many comfortable transport options available including:

- Train:
There is no direct train between Kangra and Delhi. You can take a train from Delhi to Pathankot and proceed via taxi. (around 87 kilometres)

- Bus:
There is a regular bus service between Delhi and Kangra. You can choose between state-run (HRTC) or private Volvo buses to cover this 10-hour journey. The buses depart from points like Majnu ka Tila, Kashmiri Gate ISBT, and Karnal Bypass.

- Self-drive/ Taxi:
Driving down to Kangra will take around 9 hours. The route proceeds from Delhi-Panipat-Karnal- Kurukshetra-Ambala-Chandigarh-Rupnagar-Una-Amb-Kangra.

- Flight:
Kangra doesn’t have an airport. The best way to reach by air is to take a flight from Delhi to Gaggal (1 hour 30 minutes). Kangra is located around 15 kilometres from Gaggal.

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