Himachal Yatra – कांगड़ा

So after paying my respect at Jwalamukhi temple, we proceeded towards Kangra.   The divine flames of Jwalaji had filled our heart with energy and positive feelings.  We were very happy and in good mood for our onwards journey to Kangra.

Mysterious Jwalaji flame

Mysterious Jwalaji flame

 

The route from Jwalamukhi to Kangra (35 Kms) is scenic and dangerous.  This is the only patch in this area which has many solid mountains otherwise at this height, we find only the lose stoned hillocks which are prone to landslide during monsoon.

We by-passed Rani Taal, a railway station for the toy train coming from Pathankot.  Just after Rani Taal, a road towards left goes to Masroor, the famous mini ellora of Himachal.  We continued on the main road towards Kangra and Dharmshala.

coming out of tunnel

We crossed the only tunnel in the way and after the tunnel, we were welcomed by beautiful and green valley.  The toy train railway track crosses way many times.  We waited for some time to take a photo of the toy train, but were disappointed.

Beautiful way to Kangra, with toy train bridge in background

As on way to Shimla, this route is also infested by monkeys.  Many cars stop there and throw eatables to monkey despite the fact that at many places the administration has barred people to give eatables to monkeys.  This causes many accidents and feeding the monkeys, disturbs their natural habits as they stop searching for food and wait for the people to give them food, which is not suitable for their stomach.  Thanks to Maneka Gandhi, the population of monkeys has increased manifolds.

 

Any moment we halted, a group of monkeys would appear from no where and see towards us, as if asking – अबे कुछ खाने को देगा क्या ??

कुछ खाने को देगा क्या ????

We ignored the monkeys and continued our journey towards Kangra.  One has to drive very carefully on this road, because the road has sharp curves, heavy traffic and deep gorges.  This road is also infamous for fatal accidents.  The sides are so steep that if a vehicle skids off the road, it will reach the ravine, by air… as the  mountains are wall like at many places.

 

We were fast approaching Kangra and the Kangra Fort was visible.  Earlier when I brought my son to Jwalaji, my son got a promise that I will show him Kangra fort too.  My son had no interest in temples, but deep interest in history.  We had then visited Kangra Fort and were fascinated by its magnificence.

Ruins of Kangra Fort

Kangra fort was built by Katoch rajputs of Kangra and was almost invincible, due to its mere geography.  The fort is situated on a wall like mountain, surrounded by a deep and fast flowing Baan Ganga river from three sides.  Fourth side had dense forest.  Many Muslim invaders tried to win it but were always defeated.

Baan Ganga encircling the Kangra Fort

Baan Ganga encircling the Kangra Fort

It was due to treason  of one minister of the king that the fort was finally won by Jahangir, the mogul king.  The traitor minister asked moguls to make him the king and revealed the secret entry point to the invading army.  However, the minister was beheaded by the invading army after conquering the fort.  A good lesson for traitors !!

yours truely

Baan Ganga encircling the Kangra Fort

It was after the fort was conquered that the mogul army destroyed and looted the famous Kangra temple of Brajeshwari Devi, where we would be going next.

 

The toy train bridge crossed our way for the last time.  The high beams supporting the railway tracks were still strong enough to carry the weight of the train, even after 100 years… tks to British

old toy train bridge

After crossing the old iron bridge over Baan ganga, we entered the beautiful city of Kangra.

 

Kangra starts

On reaching Kangra, we entered the busy bazar and there was a car parking near the bazar leading to Brajeshwari Devi.

 

Brajeshwari Devi or Nagarkot ki Devi temple is historic temple in Kangra valley.  This temple alongwith Chintapurni and Jwalaji, makes a perfect Shakti Trikone, which is adored by all Devi Bhaktas.  This Shakti Trikona is mentioned in our scriptures as Jallandhar Peetha.

Way to Kangra Temple

Passing the long bazaar we reached the main temple.  Brajeshwari Devi is a deformed name of Varah-Yogini.

 

It is also said that left breast of Sati fell here hence it is also a shakti peetha.  Pandavas when came to the village of Nagarkot (now Kangra) they saw a dream of Durga who asked them to make a temple in her name.

This magnificent temple was looted several times, but each time it was re-built with more galore.  The first of the plunderers was Mahmud of Ghazni, who looted it in 1009. A mosque was built on the ruins and a garrison was left behind. 35 years later, the local king regained its possession. The shrine was repaired and a replica of the idol was enshrined. The temple was filled with gold, silver and diamonds only to be ransacked again in 1360 by Firoz Tughlaq. Later Emperor Akbar visited the shrine with his dewan, Todar Mal and restored it to its former grandeur. The temple was razed to the ground by an earthquake in 1905, but a new one came up the very same year, thanks to the Kangra Restoration Committee

Kangra temple gate

 

que for darshans

This time also the temple was full of people and a long que before us.  Lakshman revealed that he knew someone here who can arrange early darshans for us. But I declined the idea, as I did not want any special favours or any dishonesty in entering the temple.

 

I had come to this temple after some 10 years and I remembered that Dhauladhar snow range was visible from inside the temple…but that scene was missing now, due to clouds perhaps.

Main temple

Like in other temples, this temple too had a very old banyan tree.  People had been tieing red Chunnis as a request to the goddess to fulfill their wishes

Old banyan tree in temple premises

 

Another view of Kangra temple

After darshans

In about one hour we were out after having darshan of the Pindi of Brajeshwari Devi.  On Lohri day, each year this pindi is worshipped with butter, ritualistic applying of balm on the wounds of Durga, after her fight with Mahishasura.

Kangra

We came out of temple, had some refershments in Kangra bazaar and started our onwards journey towards Palampur

29 Comments

  • Praveen Wadhwa says:

    SS Ji, as usual great post. I have been to Kangra several times and river at Rani Tal is my favorite bathing place. After few turns this river merges into Pong dam. I always enjoy my stay in Kangra and I spend some days here each year before going to McLeod’s Gunj after Dharamshala.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Tks Praveen. I am not sure if the river at Rani Taal is the same Baan Ganga coming from Kangra?
      pls write a story about your walks in this area.

  • Surinder Sharma says:

    Dear SS,

    Very nice description, good photos. So many time I visited these place, but when I start reading can not stop upto end and waiting for next post.

    Thanks

    • SilentSoul says:

      Sharmaji tks for your comments. Kangra was earlier in Punjab and has been quite famous with punjabis coming here for visit to Brajeshwari Devi, alongwith Chintpurni and jwalaji.

  • Amitava Chatterjee says:

    Very nice post…one of my relatives are from Hamirpur, now stay in Gurgaon pestering us to go to their home and visit all these places for a long time …we planned to go there along with them but couldn’t…so Kangra valley, Kalpa still not explored…what will we do…even if we have 7 days leave…the urge to go home and meet everyone overruled our wishes most of the time…but definitely, will visit these places one day…
    I am going backwards to read your post…not an ideal scene, but finding time out in this winter season is difficult…still in bed…reading your story, with a hot cup of tea…feeling good.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Amitava do not leave any chance to accept their invitation. Hamirpur is the best base for visiting Palampur Valley, Kangra valley and Dharamshala.

      We had once stayed with our relativesin Hamirpur and seen all Sidhha peethas (chintapurani, jwalaji, baglamukhi, brajeshwari devi, and chamunda) as well as masroor, Bir-Billang and Mcloadgunj.

      tks for your comments

  • Gita AM says:

    Enjoyable post and good pics.

    We also explored a bit of the Kangra district last year, though not so much the temple circuit except for Masroor and a brief visit to Chintapurni where we had a night halt. I remember admiring the Kangra Fort from a distance – we were at river level – it looked very interesting and I would surely like to go there sometime in the future.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Tks Gitaji for your comments. Kangra valley has some of the most beautiful places and Kangra fort is one of them. I do not have fotos of that visit, otherwise I could have written a log here.

  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    Wow the beautiful pictures and interesting write up. The flames of Jwalaji are really mysterious and I have a strong desire to see them with my eyes, let’s see when it would be possible. Brijeshwari devi temple is looking nice. Thanks for making us have darshan of devi in very morning.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Mukeshji, Jai mata di. hope you have read my post on Jwalaji.. i didnt see your kind comments there so thought you missed that one.

      tks for your time to read and comment

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Great log SS. Drove on this route few times (on the way to Mcleod), never been to Brijeshwari Temple. Thanks for taking along and sharing. Even I had a great desire of visiting the Kangra fort but on each time, since we had a lot to cover, we skipped it. Next time, we would need to plan upfront , at least for Masroor and Kangra fort.

    Pong is heavenly. Once we were driving back from Dalhousie and were not taking main roads, driving through internal roads and reached Pong and it was brilliant.

    I share my views with you on the Monkey thing. Hopefully thing would change over time.

    Never stayed in Palampur as well so looking fwd to lovely tea estate pics.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Tks Nandan !! The Kangra fort is worth visiting, historical reasons are secondary.. prime one is that you can have the best of golgappas outside the fort. We reluctantly asked the youngman selling golgappas on a rehri, but our eyes popped up on the first one. I have tasted golgappey in karolbagh, SE, Lajpat nagar, purani delhi and Krishna nagar… but those at Kangra fort were the best…specially his ??? ?? ????????, which is a rarity in delhi as most of them sell Suji ke golgappey… whereas most of golgappa walas mix the readymade masalas to make paani for golgappa… this man was using traditional method to grind all the masalas and mint, himslef giving an unforgettable and unique taste to his recipe. We took so many golgappey and spiced water that we forgot our lunch(hope Mrs Jha is not reading this..LOL)

      on to Palampur soon

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi SS,

    An engrossing post on Kangra.

    During our trip to Dharamshala last year, we happened to make an unscheduled night halt at Kangra since it was very late and I did not have the heart to drive across the pahadi roads any further. In the morning, had an opportunity to visit the temple. This post brings back the memories.

    Info on Kangra fort is very interesting. We did not know anything about that.

    Thanks for the nice post.

    Auro.

  • ashok sharma says:

    nice post.that bunyan tree is awesome.

  • Vipin says:

    Thanks SS Ji for presenting beautiful Kangra Fort & Brajeshwari Devi Temple to us. Nice pics. Had seen the fort from afar, will check these places out next time we visit Kangra…

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    As always, a very engrossing and informative narrative, SS. I was not aware of the Jalandhar trinity though Jwalaji is famous all over India. I was surprised at the reference to Hanumanji as “Langur Veer” at the entrance of the Vrajeshwari Devi temple.

    The Kangra fort looks rugged and impregnable. When one looks at the photographs, it is obvious that a lot of effort was put it to reshape the natural features to make it unassilable. As is usually the case, the weakest link in such forts are the humans that man them. Forts like Devagiri (Daulatabad) and Golconda too were overcome by treachery, as were most other forts in India. The shrewd invaders knew that it was impossible to conquer these forts by force,

    It is ironic that the population of humans has come down, thanks to Sanjay Gandhi’s efforts during the emergency and the population of monkeys has gone up thanks to his wife!

    Waiting for Palampur.

  • vinaymusafir says:

    Reading your travelogues is always pleasance.
    Very well written post.
    Please keep writting.

  • chicobello says:

    Excellently written..anxiously waiting for your next post and pics….little biased since i myself belong to this part of himachal….

    • SilentSoul says:

      tks chicobello.. i too have some relatives living in Hamirpur, Kullu and sujanpur Tira. pls continue reading next stories

  • Ritesh Gupta says:

    S.S. Ji ,
    ???? ??? ?? ?? ??? ??? ?????? ???? ?? ?????? ???? ??? ???? | ????? ?? ???? ???? ?? ???? ????? ???….|
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    ???? ?? ????? ???? ??? ???? ??? ?? ???? ???? ??????? ?? ??? ???? ?
    ???????…..

    • SilentSoul says:

      ??????? ????? ??… ???? ????? ?? ?? ?? ?? ??? ??? ??? ???. ???????? ?? ???? ??? ???? ?? ???? ????? ?????? ??? ???? ???? ??…???? ?????? ? ???? ?? ?????? ????? ??? ?? ?? ???? ?? ??? ??? ?? 2 ????? ???? ????? ?? ????… ??? ?? ?? ??? ???? ?? ????? ??? ?? ?? ????? ??? ?????.

      ?? ???? ??? ?????? ?? ??, ?? ???? ?? ???????? ?????? ??? ???? ??? ???? ??..??????? ???? ?? ????? ???? ?? ?? ??? ?????? ????? ????? ?? ????

  • Once again a superb post by you SS jee . Nice clicks and good narration . Thanks for the darshan of Kangada

  • ????? ????? ??????? !

    ???? ???? ?? – ?? ?? ?? ???? ??? ??? ?? ??? ???-??? ???? ????? ?? ??? ??? ??? ?? ??? ???? ?? ????? ?? ??? ??? ?? ?????? ??? ?? ?? ??????? ??? ?????????? ?? ?? ??? ?? ?? ?? ???? ?? ??? ????????? ??????? ?? ????? ?? ??? ???? ?? ?? ?????? ??? ?? ???? ??? ?? ???? ?? ??? ?? ?? ???? ???????? ??? ???? ??? ??, ?? ??? ?? ?? ????? ??? ?? ????? ?????? ?? ???? ???????? ?? ???? ?? ?? ???? ?? ?? ?? ??????? ?? ????? ??? ???? ???? ?? ??? ??? ???? ?? ?? ??, ???? ??????, ????? ?? ???? ?????? ??? ?? ???? ???? ???? ???? ??? ???? ???? ??? ????? ??? ??? ???? ???? ??? ????????? ?? ???? ?????????? ?? ???? ?? ???, ?????? ???? ???? ???????? ?? ?? ?????????? ????? ??? ?? ???????? ?? ??? ??, ???? ????? ???? ???? ????? ??? ???? ?? ???? ?? ?? ?? ?? ????? ???? ??????, ?????? ???? ?????? ???? !

    • SilentSoul says:

      ?? ??? ??? ????? ?? ????… ??? ???? ???? ?????? ???? ?? ??????? ????? ??, ?? ???? ???? ???? ?? ????? ???? ????… ????-2 ???????

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