Places to Visit in Kangra Valley
Details of Tourist Places to Visit in Kangra Valley are :
By the road side on the Mandi-Palampur road, within a vast enclosure is the Baijnath Temple known as Kringama, its name was changed after the temple was dedicated to Lord Shiva in his form as Vaidyanath or the lord of Physician. The temple is a good example of Nagari style of architecture. The walls have the characteristic niches and the shikhara (tower) has an amalka and pot finial at the summit. The niches enshrines images of goddess Chamunda, Surya the sun god, Kartikeya(son of Lord Shiva).A life-sized stone Nandi, believed to be the carrier of Lord Shiva stands at the entrance. Also the another miniature shrines and memorial stones within the complex said to have been built around 804 A.D. The linga enshrined in its sanctum is one of the 12 jyotirlingas in the country. Every year during the Shivratri Fair, pilgrims descend in Baijnath for the colourful fair & festivities. It is among top of the list on tourist places to visit in Kangra Valley.
Thirty four kms south of Kangra is one of the most popular Hindu pilgrimage sites in Himachal Pradesh. Jwalamukhi is recognised as one of the 51 Shaktipiths of India. The Devi temple, tended by the followers of Gorakhnath is set against a cliff. From the fissure comes a natural inflammable gas which accounts for the blue flame. It is said that when Akbar, the Great Mughal emperor, was in the process of consolidating his empire, he chance upon the temple and was much impressed with the phenomenon of the shooting flame. He visited it again with his chief queen Jodha Bai and as an offering to the goddess, had the whole dome gilded with gold leaf. It is among top of the list on tourist places to visit in Kangra Valley.
At an altitude of 800 metres and 15 kms to the south of Kangra, is the town of Masrur. Here are fifteen Shikhara temples, cut out of solid rock and built in 10th century, Only a few of the original Shikhara stand and some of the most beautiful carved panels are now in the state Museum, Shimla. The main Shrine dominates the centre. Although the remote locations of these protected them from theinveding army of Mahmud Ghazni and their stone construction prevented severe damage in the 1905 earthquake, yet these temples are partly ruined. Even in their damaged state, they have been compared with the rock cut temples of Ellora in Maharastra and those at Mamallapuram, near Chennai. So one can imagine their condition when they were in full glory. Since they are situated on a ridge, their position on top commands a superb view of the fertile verdant countryside.
48 km from Kangra is Nadaun which, it seems, was designed by nature for peace of mind. When Kangra was attacked by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, then King of Kangra moved his capital to this place, overflowing with beauty. On the left bank of river Beas, he built a palace which soon grew into a centre for Kangra’s culture, art and business.
A temple dedicated to Lord Shiva was also erected here so that the king could meditate there inpeace.Within no time the new capital became the favorite haunt of artists and Nadaun hummed with life.An ideal place for a quiet weekend, Nadaun also offers fishing opportunities for enthusiasts in river Beas. But peace of mind still eluded King Sansar Chand in Nadaun. Searching for salvation he moved 28 kms further along the left bank of river Beas, to Sujanpur Tira which became his third capital. Since he was connoisseur of fine arts, he stocked the new palace and painting which gave him solace in his declining days.
Masons from far and near came at his bidding to erect the lovely temples of Nanbadeshwar, Gauri Shankar and Murli Manohar.These flat roofed temples, ‘Thakurdarwaras’ are dedicated to incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Lord Rama and Lord Krishna. Amongst these idyllic surroundings the king died in1823.The festival of colours, Holi is celebrated here with great gusto and vitality. Till data, the town is renowned for this colourful festival. It is among top of the list on tourist places to visit in Kangra Valley.
Situated 3.5 kms from Dharamsala at the altitude of 1249 metres is the pleasant town of Palampur. Surrounded by all sides by well laid out tea gardens it is a picturesque verdant region. The British introduced tea plantations in this area, which are now known to produce very high quality tea and are sold for a fortune in foreign markets.
Kangra shepherd in their duffle shirts and conical caps can be seen walking through the streets of this town. Beside beautiful gardens and lovely walks, the place also offers a beautiful view of snow laden peaks from here. Palampur is a popular camping region for trekkers. From here one can cross the Dhaula Dhar ranges through the Waru Pass and enter the feeder of the Upper Ravi valley.
A major attraction in Palampur in Neughal Khud, a 305 metres wide yawning chasm, through which gushes the Bundla stream. During the monsoon months, this stream becomes a roaring torrent. The thundering water in the chasm is a sight, never to be forgotten.
Near Palampur is the charming village of Andretta, where once lived Mrs. Norah Richards a pioneer of rural theatre in India and an ardent disciple of Mahatma Gandhi.Sardar Sobha Singh, a renowned artist, also stayed here. He gained prominence for this painting of the immortal ill-fated Punjabi lovers, Sohni and Mahiwal, seperated in life but united in death. His other painting include scenes from Omar Khayyam and Heer Ranjha.Sobha Singh’s studio has become famous all over the country and attracts many tourists.
A few kilometer from the city of Palampur is Al-Hilal a place of unparalleled charm. During the conquests of Kangra by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Al-Hilal was a military bastion. It is believed that after the war, the Sikh ruler was in turn, conquered by the charms of the lovely place and decided to stay on.He determind to make it his summer retreat and built a palace in the midst of a mango grove decorating it with exquisite crystal chandelier imported from Europe. It is among top of the list on tourist places to visit in Kangra Valley.
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