Kangra Fort is situated 20 km from Dharamsala. It lies between 32.1°N and 76.27°E. The fort was first mentioned in Alexander the Great’s war records.
About Kangra Fort
It is built by Bhuma Chand. It is largest fort in the Himalayas and the oldest dated fort in India. The entrance to the Fort is through a small courtyard enclosed between two gates. This courtyard were built during the Sikh period.The first attack on the fort was made by the Raja of Kashmir Shreshtha in 470 AD.
The fort resist Akbar siege in 1615. Maharaja Sansar Chand fought multiple battles with Gurkhas. The Sikh king Maharaja Ranjit Singh also fought battle with Gurkhas. In 1809 the Gurkha army was defeated and the Gurkha army moving back across the Sutlej river. In the foreyard of the Kangra Fort the temple of Laxmi Narayan and Adinath is situated. The Kapur Sagar ponds is situated inside the Kangra fort. The Kangra fort is now under the control of Archaeological Survey of India. The fort is badly damaged in 1905 earthquake.
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, mentioned in the Mahabharata epic. It is the largest fort in the Himalayas and probably the oldest dated fort in India. The fort of Kangra resisted Akbar’s siege in 1615. However, Akbar’s son Jehangir successfully subdued the fort in 1620, forcing the submission of the Raja of Chamba, “the greatest of all the rajas in the region”. Mughal Emperor Jahangir with the help of Suraj Mal garrisoned with his troops. The Katoch Kings repeatedly looted Mughal controlled regions, weakening the Mughal control and with the decline of Mughal power, Raja Sansar Chand-II succeeded in recovering the ancient fort of his ancestors, in 1789. Maharaja Sansar Chand fought multiple battles with Gurkhas on one side and Sikh King Maharaja Ranjit Singh on the other. Sansar Chand used to keep his neighboring Kings jailed, and this led to conspiracies against him. During a battle between the Sikhs and Katochs, the gates of the fort had been kept open for supplies. The Gurkha army entered the opened scarcely armed gates in 1806. This forced an alliance between Maharaja Sansar Chand and Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Subsequently in 1809 the Gurkha army was defeated and they had to retreat across Sutlej River. 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..
Architecture of Kangra Fort
The Fort is spread over a large area from both sides by a 4 km long outer circuit. Whole of the Fort is guarded by high ramparts and massive wall of black stones. On the right side of the entrance, there is a water pond which is called GO-MUKH. The major attractions of Fort lies in the huge ‘Darwazas’ that is typical of medieval architecture. All darwazas contain the inscriptions of names of the King, who had once ruled this Fort.
Entrance Fee : Rs. 100 per person.