Kangra

Destinations Covered: Dharamshala – Gyuto Monastery – Norbulingka Institute – Dalai Lama Complex – Kangra Valley – Kangra Fort
Kangra Tour Duration: 04 Day / 03 Nights

Introduction

Kangra is the densest populated district of Himachal Pradesh. Kangra is known for the famous Masroor Rock Cut Temple popularly known as Himalayan Pyramids. It can be counted as a wonder of the world too. The Beas River flows through the heart of Kangra. Kangra is majestically beautiful with the sky-high snow-clad mountains and green valleys spread all across. Journeying through the Kangra Valley is a visual treat and an exhilarating experience. Kangra tops the chart in Himachal as tourists’ delight.

How to reach

By Air/Flight: Gaggal Airport of Dharamshala is the closest to Kangra at a distance of 13 km from the main city. The other airports situated around are those of Chandigarh, Amritsar and Jammu. Taxis connect the airports to the Kangra and there are buses plying regularly on the routes.

By Rail: The broad gauge rail that is closest to Kangra is located in Pathankot at a distance of about 90 km. Taxis connect the railway station to the main city. Buses are also available in plenty.

By Road: Kangra is connected well to other major cities by buses. Regular long-distance luxurious buses ply from the cities of Delhi, Chandigarh, Ambala, Shimla, Ludhiana and others.

Places to visit

Kangra Fort or the Nagarkot Fort: This is a beautiful ruins of an ancient fort. This fort is situated 20 km from the famous hill station of Dharamshala at the outskirts of Kangra. The audio tour of the museum unfolds so many interesting historical facts, anecdotes and stories that fascinate the visitors.The fort offers an exhilarating view of the valleys spread all around.

Kareri Lake: This lake is situated approximately 25 km from the city centre. The Kareri Lake is a picturesque and shallow fresh water lake. It is formed from the melting snows of the Dhauladhar Ranges. Though it is situated a bit off the mark from the main city it is worth visiting due to its natural beauty. If visit is planned in advance, good guides along with transport facilities is available for the convenience of the guests, travellers and tourists. This lake is also known as Kumarwah Lake and lies south of the Dhauladhar range. It is a very good destination for backpackers for a short and lovely trek to the Kareri Lake for a joyful and beautiful experience.The mesmerizing beauty of the lake is enhanced by the majestic Dhauladhar Ranges, the clean green meadows and the lush green forests.

Bajreshwari Temple: This temple is a very popular among the devotees and is known as a spiritually enlightening destination. Bajreshawari Temple is close to the parking and hence comfortably accessible. Also, there is a market on the way to the temple, which is a shopper’s paradise. The temple has mystic aura associated with it. Its architecture is also very unique. The temple sees a large number of devotees during its Aarti time. Kangrais famous for being one of 51 Shakti Peethsor religious hubs of India.

Baijnath Temple: This unique temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is an architectural fantasy and a must visit for Kangratourists and travellers.This temple is built in the heart of Dhauladhar Ranges in the middle of a village named Baijnathin 1204 AD by two native merchants namedAhuka and Manyuka. Built in the Nagara style, it has ornamental carvings. The water of this temple is believed to have medicinal properties.

Indrahar Pass: This magnificent mountain pass is situated 24 km form the city centre. Have a glance at the majestic PirPanjal Range and remain spellbound at the beauty of the majestic mountains all around and the deep green conifers and the never-ending mountain ranges.

Chamunda Devi Temple: This is a famous Hindu shrine dedicated to the Holy Goddess Chamunda Devi Temple. It is situated around 15 km from the Kangra Valley and 52 km from the city centre. The deity of the Goddess Chamunda appears with the male Hindu deities, Hanuman and Bhairava in this shrine.

Jwala Devi Temple: This temple is situated around 25 km from city centre. This is an important Hindu religious destination because of being one of the 51 Shakti Peeths. It offers magnificent view of the Dhauladhar Ranges and is visited often for the associated natural beauty of the settings.

Masrur: This site contains splendid ruins of some 10th century temples. The ruined shikharas of Masrur bear resemblance with the famous Angkor Wat of Cambodia. Masrur is approximately 30 km from Kangra. They were considerably damaged in the earthquake of 1905.

Kangra Museum: The Kangra Museum showcases brilliant artefacts of Tibetan and Buddhist culture and unfolds a mystic world of their rich history. Among the brilliant items on display, one can see exquisite pieces of jewellery, collections of rare coins, enigmatic paintings, sculptures and items of pottery. It is located 16 km from city centre.

Pragpur: Visit the heritage Village of Pragpur 32 km from city centre and the Judge’s Court Manor in all its grandeur. The old world charm of this untainted village will be an experience in itself. Get to see and enjoy the rustic feel of human dwelling in sweet harmony with nature. The quaint shops built from red bricks along with the traditional-style rural houses make for a perfect village getaway. Also visit the famous KaleshwarMahadev Temple in Pragpur.

Palampur: Visit Palampur in all its glory built in the folds of the majestic Dhauladhar Ranges at a height of 1219 metres. The tea plantations and the snow-capped mountain ranges beyond gladdens every travellers heart. It is situated 23 km from Kangra city centre.

Haripur: Pay a visit to this small and sleepy hilly township of Kangra district. Haripurand Gulercan be called twin townships separated by a river. This river creates the Pong wetland, which is a Ramsar Wetland Site. This place is the destination of a large number of migratory birds that are a pleasure to watch in winters. It is just 16 km from the city centre.

Bir and Billing: Bir is a centre of spiritual studies and meditation of the Tibetans and has community settlement that is majorly influenced by Tibetan culture. Billing is famous for the adventure sports, paragliding. This locality is also famous for having very popular trekking routes on account of the beauty of the surroundings it commands. It is around 43 km from Kangra city centre.

Tashijong: It is another small hilly township around 5 km west of Baijnath and approximately 50 km from Kangra town. This village is the home to a small community of DrukpaKagyud monks and refugees.

Dharamshala and Mcleodganj: Dharamshala is a famous tourist spot and is the home to the Tibetan Spiritual leader Dalai Lama. It is also known as Little Lhasa. Mcleodganj is a picturesque town situated near upper Dharamsala and both are visited together in account of their proximity and tourist value.

Taragarh Palace: It is a heritage hotel belonging to the Maharaja of Kashmir. It is situated around 2 km south of Tashijong and nearly 50 km from Kangra.

Things to do

  • Find religious peace and tranquillity with a visit to the Bajreshwari Temple, Baijnath Temple orChamunda Devi Temple.

  • Visit the fascinating ancient ruins of the Kangra Fort and enjoy the views of the sprawling valleys all around.

  • Go for a trek across the majestic Himalayas through McLeodganj crossing Triund Caves and Lahesh across a picturesque trail through the Indrahar Pass.

  • Go for a more adventurous Dhauladhar Trek to be mesmerized at the intense natural mountain beauty.

  • Take in the beauty of the Taragarh Palace or the Judges Court Manor of Pragpur.
  • Enjoy the adrenalin pumping aerial sport of paragliding in Billing.

  • Be fascinated by the uniqueness of Tibetan culture of Dharamshala and Mcleodganj and Tashijong.

Where to stay (Best 5 Hotels)

Hotel The Grand Raj: This property is a value for money. It is located on Dharamshala Road in Kangra. It boasts of a health club and has 31 well-furnished and decent rooms. In-room amenities include television, makeup mirror, desk, telephone and attached bathroom with hot and cold running water. It also has doctor-on-call and car rentfacilities. This property has air-conditioned rooms. It boasts of a fitness centre or health club. The rooms are provided with TV and attached bathrooms. The 24-hour front desk assists all guests. The Gaggal Airport is around 9 km away.

Dharamshala Paradise: This hotel is known for luxury rooms and services. offersmulti-cuisine restaurant, free WiFi access, TV, toilets fitted with shower and free toiletries and a chic lounge and tour desk for assisting the guests. This hotel has free parking. It is strategically located within the Kangra Valley on the Palampur Road, 12.5 km away from city centre and about 250 km from Chandigarh and 90 km form Pathankot. It has 17 luxury rooms to enjoy the fresh beauty of the hills the breath-taking views and the pleasant climate.

Kay Kay Resort: This property is excellently located on the Grand Trunk Road. It is just 20-minute drive away from the Pathankot Airport. Hotel facilities include 19 well-furnished rooms and very prompt services. The rooms are elegant with breath-taking views. The elegant rooms ensure comfortable stay.

Katoch Homestay: This homestay is on the Bir Road and offers a very comfortable stay in Joginder Nagar. The cosy rooms are well furnished to cater to the needs of all kinds of tourists and travellers.

Mature Bloom and Resorts: This is a notable property in the midst of nature. It is situated a bitaway from the main city of Dharamshala and offers exquisite natural views. There are various room types to suit a range of budget and very attractive options of one-bedroom and two-bedroom cottages.

How to go around

Kangra is a picturesque small hill station and can be covered mostly by foot. Taxis can be hired for local sightseeing. Taxis are available in abundance and can be conveniently hired from travel agencies locally. Buses also ply connecting the various local popular destinations.

Fests & Fairs

Nawala Festival in Kangra: This festival is celebrated in the honour of Lord Shiva as a thanksgiving ceremony. Lord Shiva is looked upon as the protector of misfortune. This festival is marked by singing of devotional songs in praise of Shiva throughout the night. This festival is majorly participated by the Gaddi tribe of Kangra, Chamba, Mandi and Kullu regions.

Harayali Festival in Kangra:The word Haryalimeans greenery and as the name suggests it is a festival to celebrate rain. Rain is considered very important by the people of the region as it marks good harvest and prosperity. This festival is celebrated on the first day of Shravan or the monsoon month that falls in middle of July. In order to celebrate this festival, seeds of five or seven grains are mixed together and sown amidst religious rituals and festivities either by the head of the family or the family priest in a small basket containing soil a few days before the festival. On the day before the onset of the festival, the locals perform the marriage of Lord Shiva and Parvati with the belief that the divine union between the God and Goddess ushers in fertility to the land

Climate

The Kangra District is at a height of 400metres and mostly lies in a semi-humid and sub-tropical zone. The mean temperature of the district is about 24°C. Palampur and Dharamshala are in the wet temperate zone, Dharamshala being the wettest region in Kangra. Winter months range from October to March and temperatures range from 0 to 20°C. Summer months are from April till June and temperatures vary from 25 to 38°C. Summer months are usually dry and are followed by the wet monsoon months.The climate in general remains cool and soothing and this region is visited by tourists all round the year.

Ideal Itinerary

Kangra Itinerary (4D/3N)

Day 1Dharamshala — Gyuto Monastery, Norbulingka Institute, Dalai Lama Complex

Arrival at Dharamshala and welcome by our representative.Escorted by the personnel to the hotel/resort of your choice in or around Dharamshala and briefing about Dharamshala.Get fresh and have some refreshments and proceed for the day trip to Gyuto Monastery, Norbulingka Institute and Dalai Lama Complex.

  • Visit the Gyuto Monastery, which is a famous centrefor learning for Tantric rituals, Tantric meditation and Buddhist philosophy. It was founded in 1474 by JetsunKungaDhondup, a disciple of the first Dalai Lama and is the sacred home for more than 500 practicing Buddhist monks. The beautiful monastery building in golden yellow provides a picturesque contrast to the snow-capped mountains stretching beyond. Catch up some moments of sheer beauty and bliss in the heart of mountains.

  • Get deeper insights on the Tibetan literature and art at the famous Norbulingka Institute that was built to preserve the unique Tibetan culture. A tour around the complex reveals traditional Tibetan and modern techniques of art. Collect information on the rich Tibetan history, traditions, and beliefs and buy some exquisite artworks.

  • Visit the Dalai Lama Complex to revel in the immaculate architecture and art. Also visit the Tibetan temple within the complex and be a witness to the peace and tranquillity of the Buddhist chanting and meditation. The temple is dedicated to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. This is the seat of the Tibetan governmentinexile and is very well-maintained apart from being very scenic.

After the refreshing day trip in and around the beautiful city of Dharamshala return to the cosy comfort of your hotel. Catch up with a nice cool drink and a well-laid dinner before you retire to your room for an overnight stay.

Day 2 Bhagsu Waterfall, Bhagsunath Temple and Triund Hill

Wake up early to enjoy a magnificent sunrise from beyond the majestic Himalayan ranges and go for a quick guided trek across some unfamiliar paths up and down the nearby mountain trails and woods. Warm up for filling breakfast spread before you proceed for an eventful day trip to some lovely tourist destinations.

  • Bhagsu Waterfall presents a picturesque cascading stream, which is a short walk from the Bhagsunath Shiva Temple. Tourists and travellers clamber on to the edge of the waterfall and enjoy a refreshing shower and a dip. The local vendors sell authentic spicy recipes to every visitor’s delight. Reach the site early to avoid crowd rush. Have a wet a delightful time among the rocks and the hills.
  • Bhagsunath Temple is a peaceful destination for all pilgrims. It is a medieval shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. There are two adjacent pools with water believed to have medicinal values and the temple is respected by both the Hindu and Gorkha communities. Enjoy the interesting local legends connected to the temple and soak in the cool mountain charm.

  • Triund Hill makes for a refreshing hike up the easy yet popular route across valleys and mountains. The trail can get tricky at places and get very steep and dangerous. The trail snakes through forest and also has a few small stalls that offer refreshments. Reach the top to view the exciting and mesmeric scenery spread below.

After a refreshing day watching the wonders of naturereturn to the hotel in Dharamshala for a peaceful overnight stay.

Day 3 Kangra Valley–Kangra Fort, Kangra Museum, Bajreshwari Temple and Kangra Tea Plantations

Day 3 will again start off with a sedate leisurely breakfast in the lap of majestic Himalayan nature. Start your day by a visit to the historical splendour of Kangra Fort.

  • Start off your Day3 with a visit to the Kangra Fortor the Nagarkot Fort. Get fascinated by the beauty of the ancient ruins and the historical anecdotes associated with each part or structure of the fort. Travel through beautiful mountain terrain for 20 km from Dharamshala across the Kangra valley.

  • Proceed towards theKangra Museum that exhibits enthralling artefacts of Tibetan and Buddhist culture. Get a glimpse of the ancient heritage by seeing the pieces of jewellery, coins, paintings, sculptures and pottery.
  • Wrap off the day tour by a visit to the Bajreshwari Temple and some tea gardens. Visit the temple duringAartiand have a wonderful religious experience. You can also buy the famous Kangra tea to carry back home and gift it to near and dear ones. You can also visit the Baijnath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and the Chamunda Devi Templededicated to the Holy Goddess Chamunda Devi (optional only if time and energy permits).

Reach back Dharamshala for an overnight stay. Enjoy the last night by some customised delicacies ordered at the restaurant and sipping some refreshing drinks.

Day 4 Departure from Dharamshala or Kangra Valley.

There comes the time to say goodbye to mesmeric land of mountains and valleys! After a hearty meal, our representative will accompany you to see you off for your return back home.

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