Kangra Fort

Posted: September 17, 2015 by obsesessivetraveler in himachal pradesh, India
Tags: ,

Kangra Fort is the largest fort in the Himalayas and perhaps the oldest fort in India (and hence in the world) and definitely one of the most picturesque forts I have seen thus far offering breathtaking views of the Dhauladhar range, although major part of the fort is in ruins owing to the 1905 earthquake. I would strongly recommend to anyone with interest in history and architecture.

Location and how to Reach: 3 km from Kangra town and 20km from Dharamshala and best reached only by hiring a cab or auto from Kangra.

Timings: 9am to 6pm; all days of week

History: The exact year of its construction is unknown but it was built by the Royal family of Kangra (The Katoch Dynasty). As per legends, Rajanaka Susherma Chandra, after being defeated in the battle of Mahabharata (allies of Kauravs), retreated to the valley and built this fort.

1009: plundered by Mahmud of Ghazni

1337: Captured by Muhammad bin Tughluq

1351: Captured by Firuz Shah Tughluq

1622: Conquered by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir after a siege of 14 months

1789: Raja Sansar Chand-II

1809: Maharaja of Punjab, Ranjit Singh

1846: British Government

1905: Earthquake

Layout: The Fort is surrounded by a high rampart over a circuit of about 4 km. The fort has many gates, stairs and courtyards, believed to be added during the various stages of its history and siege by different rulers. The palace fell down and the shrines were defaced during the earthquake and remain as such today but looking at them one can imagine the grandeur of the entire structure before the earthquake!!

Interesting Trivia: Kangra= Kaan=ear + gaddha= create/mold. Thus the city was named such because it housed the ancient plastic surgeons of the region

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