Kangra Fort – Largest fort in the Himalayas

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Kangra Fort is located at a distance of 20 kilometers from the city of Dharamshala, on the outskirts of the city of Kangra in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.

This fort is a great witness to its thousands of years of grandeur, invasions, wars, wealth and development. This mighty fort traces the origins of the Trigarta kingdom found in the epic Mahabharata.

This fort is the largest in the Himalayas and probably the oldest fort in India, situated on the lower valley of the Beas and its tributaries.

It is said about this fort that there was a time when unimaginable wealth was kept in this fort which was offered to the big idol in the Brijeshwari temple located inside this fort.

Because of this treasure, this fort was attacked many times and almost every ruler, be it an invader or a native ruler, all tried to capture Kangra Fort.

The tourists coming here are very curious to know about the history of Kangra Fort and this fort is a unique specimen of attraction in Himachal.

Kangra Fort

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.

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, mentioned in the Mahabharata epic.

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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.

What is the Best Time to Visit Kangra

If you are planning to visit Kangra then let us tell you that the best time is from September to June. The summer months of May-June have a temperature of 22-30 degree Celsius which is preferred by the trekkers.

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Opening Timings for Kangra Fort

Kangra Fort remains open on all days of the week from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM.

Kangra Fort Entry Fee

Per person with guide (Indian) – 150
300 per person (foreigner) with guide

How to Reach Kangra

How to Reach Kangra by flight

If you want to visit Kangra Fort by air, then the nearest airport is Gaggal Airport. Which is located at a distance of 11 km from Kangra city. The airport is well connected with most of the airports in the country.

From the airport, you can take autorickshaws, buses, and taxis to reach Kangra Fort. It will take you 30 minutes to cover the distance from Gaggal to Kangra by road.

How to Reach Kangra by Train

For those tourists who want to travel by train, Kangra city has its own railway station, which is situated inside the Kangra Valley. But it is a toy train station, due to which it is not connected by rail to other cities of the country.

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The nearest railway station to Kangra is Pathankot Railway Station which is at a distance of 87 km from Kangra. It would be best to hire a taxi to reach Kangra Fort from Pathankot.

How to Reach Kangra by Road

Kangra is about 450 km from New Delhi, so you can easily reach here by traveling in a bus from New Delhi. Also another major city Chandigarh near Kangra is just 6-7 hours away which is well connected by roads.

Location

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.

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