Kangra is a district in Himachal Pradesh with Dharamshala as the administrative headquarters. Kangra is also known for the backdrop of the Dhauladar range, ancient temples, and endless tea plantations. Repeated mention of the Valley in the holy Hindu texts, present Kangra as ‘Devbhumi‘ or ‘Land of the Gods’. The beautiful tea plantations are located in Palampur. Kangra is a composite word made out of Kaann (meaning ear) + gaddha (create/mold). It is situated on the southern escarpment of the Himalayas, from 500 meters above mean sea level (AMSL)(“above mean sea level”) to around 5000 meters AMSL. The entire area of the district is traversed by the varying altitude of the Shivaliks, Dhauladhar and the Himalayas from north-west to south-east. Kangra shares the boundary with five districts of the Himachal and Punjab also, in the north by the districts of Chamba and Lahaul Spiti, in the south by Hamirpur and Una, in the east by Mandi and in the west by Gurdaspur district of Punjab. The present Kangra district came into existence on the 1st of September, 1972 consequent upon the re-organization of districts by the Government of Himachal Pradesh. It was the largest district of composite Punjab in terms of area till it was transferred to Himachal Pradesh on the 1st November 1966, and had six tehsils namely Nurpur, Kangra, Palampur, Dehragopipur, Hamirpur, and Una.
K A N G R A
- The total area of Kangra is 5,739 km.sq
- North latitude 15″ 32.0998° N
- East longitude 76.2691° E
- The total population of this district is 1,510,075
- The village of Kangra is also known as ‘Nagarkot’.
- The Sex ratio is (per 1000) 1012
- Tehsils / Blocks / C.D.Blocks : 21
- Total no of villages in District Kangra: 3908
- Total no of Panchayats in District Kangra:748
- Sub Division: 12
- Literacy Rate: 86.54 %
- Vidhan Sabha Constituency: Kangra
- Language: Hindi, Kangri
- Main River: Uhl, Beas, chakki river
- Vehicle registration Kangra: HP-40, HP-68, HP-04
In the ancient times kangra town name was called ‘Nagarkot’ and kangra town originally part of the ancient Trigarta (JALANDHARA /JULLUNDUR). The Trigarta was used for the territory drained by the three rivers Arijikya (Beas), Airavati (Ravi), Sutudri(Satluj). A tract of land to the east of Sutlej that probably is the area of Sirhind in Punjab also formed a part of Trigrata. The Trigrata found in the ‘Mahabharta’ the ‘Puranas’ and the ‘Rajtarangini’.
Trigrata had two provinces: One in the plains with headquarters at Jullundur and other in the hills with headquarters at Nagarkot (the present Kangra).
The first historical mention of Trigarta is founded in the 5th century B.C. in Sanskrit book by written by Panini. They are mentioned in a book “Ayudyajivi Sangha” and confederation of six states known as “Trigarta-Shashthas”.
- Heun Tsang, a Chinese traveller, visited India from AD 629 to 644 during Harshvardhana’s rule. In his accounts, he has mentioned about many kings ruling in this region. It is also gathered that king Harshvardhana annexed the state of Kangra.
- In 1009, the riches of the Nagarkot temple attracted the attention of Mahmud of Ghazni, who defeated the Hindu princes at Peshawar, seized the fort of Kangra and plundered the shrine of an immense booty in gold, silver and jewels. From this time, Kangra does not reappear in general history till 1360, when the emperor Firoz Tughlak again led a force against it.
- In 1556, Akbar launched an expedition into the hills, and occupied the fort of Kangra.
- At one time Jahangir intended to build a residence in the valley, and the site of the proposed palace is still pointed out in the lands of the village of Gargari. Probably, the superior attractions of Kashmir, which the emperor shortly afterwards visited, led to the abandonment of his design.
- During the period of Muhammadan ascendancy, the hill princes appear to have been treated liberally. They still enjoyed a considerable share of power, and ruled unmolested over the extensive tracts which remained to them. They built forts, waged wars upon each other, and wielded the functions of petty sovereigns.
- In 1758 Raja Ghamand Chand of Kangra was appointed governor of the Jullundur Doab and the hill country between the Sutluj and the Ravi.
- In 1752, the Katoch principalities nominally formed part of the territories ceded to Ahmad Shah Durrani by the declining Delhi court.
- In 1774, the Sikh chieftain, Jai Singh, obtained the fort by stratagem, but relinquished it in 1785 to Sansar Chand, the legitimate Rajput prince of Kangra, to whom the State was thus restored about two centuries after its occupation by Akbar.
- For twenty years Sansar Chand reigned supreme through out these hills, and raised his name to a height of renown never attained by any ancestor of his race. He found himself unable, however, to cope with the Sikhs, and two descents upon the Sikh possessions in the plains, in 1803 and 1804, were repelled by Ranjit Singh.
- In 1805, Sansar Chand attacked the hill State of Bilaspur (Kahlur), which called in the dangerous aid of the Gurkhas.
- The Gurkhas responded by crossing the latter river and attacking the Katochs at Mahal Mori, in May, 1806. The Gurkhas gained a complete victory, overran a large part of the hill country of Kangra, and kept up a constant warfare with the Rajput chieftains who still retained the remainder.
- Ranjit Singh, who was always ready to seize upon every opportunity for aggression, entered Kangra and gave battle to the Gurkhas in August, 1809. After a long and furious contest, the Maharaja was successful, and the Gurkhas abandoned their conquests beyond the Sutlej.
- Ranjit Singh at first guaranteed to Sansar Chand, the possession of all his dominions except the fort of Kangra and 66 villages, allotted for the support of the garrison; but he gradually made encroachments upon all the hill chieftains.
- Sansar Chand died in 1824, an obsequious tributary of Lahore.
- His son, Anrudh Chand, succeeded him, but after a reign of four years abandoned his throne.
- Immediately after Anrudh Chand in 1828, Ranjit Singh attacked the whole of his territory, and the last portion of the once powerful Kangra State came finally into the possession of the Sikhs.
- Kangra passed to the British at the end of the first Sikh War in 1846 and there were several revolts against the British.
- Ram Singh, a Pathania Rajput, invaded the British garrison at Shahpur.
- The national movement in Kangra district was spearheaded by Comrade Ram Chandra, Thakur Panchan Chandra and Baba Kanshi Ram. Baba Kanshi Ram did a great deal for liberation movement in Kangra district. He was responsible for the liberation wave in hills. He was given the title of “Hill Gandhi” by Jawahar Lal Nehru for his work and “Bulbule Hills” for his melodious throat by Sarojini Naidu. With the freedom of British India, Kangra district automatically threw away the foreign yoke and entered into the era of democracy.
The Economy of Kangra District consists mostly of agriculture and farming. Tea cultivation plays a vital role in the economy. “Kangra Tea” is famous worldwide for its rich aroma, colour and taste. A few other industries that have been established in the region, including water packaging, construction materials, and potato chips. The areas of Palampur and Baijnath are surrounded by lush, green tea estates. Tourism is also an important part of the economy, with Bir Billing in particular becoming a strong hub for ecotourism and aero sports. As Himachal is known as Dev Bhoomi, District Kangra is blessed with many temples of Goddess and green valleys.
- Tea Plantation and Orchards in Kangra and Palampur areas started by British ex-military officers in 1849 A.D . Tea Processing factory at ‘Bir’ near Baijnath. The tea farm established in Palampur in 1939.
- Horticulture Kangra district has variable altitudes and climatic conditions with favourable soil texture which provide positive scope for the development of horticulture. The growing of citrus fruit, guavas, mangoes, loquat. pomegranate and papaya. Certain varieties of lime, grapes, lemon and galgal. Lower parts of the district provide ample scope for the growing of fruit like citrus, mangoes and litchi etc. There is a Fruit Farm established in Palampur in 1936 and progeny orchards and nurseries at Kangra, Dehra, Nurpur and Palampur provide technical guidance to the orchardists.
- Sericulture: A major part of the district has been found suitable for rearing of Uniholtine silk worm races, which are much superior to Multivoltine’ races being reared in the rest of the country. Under silk production programme, a foreign species basic silk seed station is functioning at ‘Nagrota’ which produces commercial seeds. The other farms are at Palampur’ and Shahpur’. A silk filature is functioning at Bodhan tehsil Nurpur.
- Apiculture: There is a government Bee Farm at Nagrota’ established in the year 1936. The Khadi and Gramodyog is also engaged in the development of apiculture.
- Animal husbandry
- Industries: Kangra district has no big industry worth the name, There are only small scale and cottage industries based on local raw materials.
- Dhoop Making: Jwalamukhi and Kangra.
- Lac Industry: Some trees got infested with Lac insects Nurpur and Dehra-Gopipur.
- Katha Making: Katha is obtained from ‘Khair‘ (Acacia catechu) trees which are found in abundance in Kangra district.
- Wool Spinning and Weaving: Floral Shawls- Nurpur: (ii) Carpet Weaving – Palampur and Multhan; (ii) Gudmas and Namdas – Palampur. Quality carpets, Chaddars. Woolen sweaters, mufflers etc. are also produced in Dharamshala, at Mcleod Ganj by Tibetan weavers.
- Minerals: (i) Limestone(ii) Slate(iii) Natural Gas
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS
The famous fairs and festivals of the district are following
- Naoni fair (Kalkar Kulai in tehsil Nurpur):
- This fair is held in the month of Srawana (July-August) for one day at village Balkhor Kular of sub-district Nurpur.
- The fair is altogether religious and the devotees make offerings to goddess Nagni.
- According to a legend an ailing priest, one day dreamt that if he worshipped goddess Nagni he would be relieved of distress. He acted accordingly and miraculously recovered from the illness. Since then the fair is held regularly.
- Men, women, and children participate in large numbers, and sweets and articles of general merchandise are sold.
- Mela Shah Abdul Rehman (Nurpur):
- This fair is held on Chaitra 10 and 11 (March-April) in which people of all castes and creed participate.
- Wrestling bouts are the main attraction.
- It is said that one Swami Sradhanand used to live in the vicinity of a graveyard at Nurpur.
- He had a white mare.
- He made no distinction between Hindus and Muslims and was venerated by both communities alike one regarding him as Hindu and the other as Muslim.
- One day he left his mortal frame while in deep meditation and his mare also died.
- Samadhis of both the Swami and his mare were raised and managed by the Brahmins initially.
- When the Muslims gained power and took control they termed the samadhi of the Swami as Mazar (tomb) of Shah Abdul Rehman.
- Baba Dayagir fair (village Daulatpur, Kangra tehsil):
- This fair is held at village Daulatpur in the Kangra sub-district on Jaistha 22 (MayJune) for two days.
- The fair is a religious one and is held in memory of one saint Dayalgir who got built a Shiva temple here and gave up his mortal frame while in meditation.
- It is believed that the celebration of the fair provides a guarantee against the occurrence of epidemics.
- A large number of participants pay their respects and offer food grains in the temple.
- As an entertainment, the wrestling bouts are held.
- Earthen pots, sweets, fruits, and articles of general merchandise are sold.
- Dhamu Shah fair (Bari, Kangra tehsil):
- This fair is held in village Bari in sub-district Kangra on 27th Chaitra (March-April) for two days.
- The fair is held in memory of Dhamu Shah who belonged to the Hindu-Khatri family and engaged in the profession of money lending. Dhamu’s grandfather, it is said had lend some money to a person belonging to Scheduled Castes. The borrower could not pay the debt during his lifetime and instructed his son to repay the same, but, he also died without a final settlement. Before his death he in turn asked his son to clear the debt. When the grandson of the debtor approached Dhamu Shah the grandson of the lender to receive the payment of the debt as per the instructions of his grandfather, Dhamu Shah refused to receive the amount on the pretext that his grandfather had issued no instructions to receive the amount. The loanees grandson who was bent upon in paying back the debt spent the money due to the moneylender on the construction of a bawali, a raised platform, and a temple.
Since then the fair is being held in which people of all castes and creed participate.
- Cattle marketing is done and wrestling bouts are held.
- Mela Sujan Bharti (Panapari):
- This religious fair is held at village Panapari on Jaistha 12 (May-June) in memory of Baba Sujan Bharti at the site of his Smadhi (Tomb).
- As per legend one Baba Sujan Bharti used to live in a small cottage in the village.
- One day as a devastating hailstorm was advancing towards the village which would have damaged the standing ripe wheat crop, the villagers approached the saint for his help.
- The Baba shouted at the storm and warned not to advance further.
- The storm miraculously stopped and withered away and the crop was saved from destruction.
- Offerings of wheat grains are made at the Samadhi (Tomb) and apart from recreational activities sweetmeats and articles of general merchandise are sold.
- Champa fair (Dagoh, tehsil Palampur):
- The fair is held at village Dagoh in sub-district Palampur for three days in the month of June.
- The fair is a recreational one.
- There is a big old Champa tree here, after which the fair is named.
- A large gathering of people participates and enjoys the fair after harvesting of the rabi crop is over.
- Jwalaji fair:
- This fair is held at Jawalamukhi during Chaitra Navratras (March–April) and Asauj– Navratras – (September–October) for ten days.
- The fair is attributed to the worship of the eternal flame coming out of the earth.
- Offerings of karahi, lambs and the things pledged are made.
- The devotees also solemnize tonsure ceremony of their children in the temples.
- Mela Pir Mahu (Barla. Tehsil Dehra-Gopipur):
- The religious fair is held at village Barta in sub-district Dera Gopipur for five days in the month of June.
- The fair is held in the memory of Pir Mahu whose shrine is here.
- It is believed that the ‘Pir’ protects the cattle from diseases.
- The devotees at the shrine of the ‘Pir’ make offerings.
- A large congregation of people participates and wrestling bouts are held.
- The festivals celebrated in the district are Shivratri, Holi, Baisakhi, Ram Navami, Janmashtami Dussehra, Diwali, etc.
- Cattle Fairs: Zamora, Bhatberni and Dilbar (Kangra tehsil), Bhika Shah. Harshi and Salyana (Palampur tehsil). Narihasma and Garli (Dera Gopipur tehsil) and Indora in Nurpur.
PLACES OF INTEREST
The home ground for the Himachal Pradesh cricket team for Ranji Trophy matches and other domestic matches. The stadium also hosted some IPL matches as a home stadium. The picturesque venue is unique in India as it is situated at an altitude of 1,457 m above the sea level and has the snow-capped Himalayan mountains in the background. Dharamsala from the nearest airport Is Kangra Airport.
Kangra Fort: A Landmark Monument
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. Now present open of tourism.
- The Kangra Fort is a majestic sample of the architecture.
- Kangra Fort’s other name is Nagarkort, Bimkort in ancient times.
- Built to around 4th Century B.C
- It is the largest fort in the Himalayas and probably the oldest dated fort in India.
- Materials used Granite Stones and lime mortar.
- Controlled by: Government of Himachal Pradesh.
- Many of the kings Rule the Kangra Fort. for more read the Katoch dynasty.
Kareri Lake: A Popular Trekking Destination
Lake is named after the nearby gaddi village of Kareri, situated 9 km southeast of the lake. Kareri Lake is a high altitude, shallow, freshwater lake south of the Dhauladhar range northwest of Dharamsala in Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh.
- Its surface is 2934 meters above sea level.
- Kareri lake is best known for being a trekking destination in the Dhauladhars
- The lake remains frozen from early December to March–April.
- There is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Shakti on a hilltop overlooking the lake.
Kareri Lake serves as a base for trekking further into the Dhauladhar and onward to Chamba and Bharmour via the Minkiani Pass (4250m) and Baleni Pass (3710m).
- Primary inflows Mankiani Peak
- Primary outflows Nyund Stream
Indrahar Pass: Spot Amazing Views
Indrahar Pass is a mountain pass in the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas. The altitude of 4,342 meters (14,245 ft) above mean sea level, Indrahar pass forms the border between Kangra and Chamba districts. It is a very popular trekking route from Dharamshala. The trekking season between April – October.
- The trekking Indrahar pass starts from the Galu Devi temple near Dharamsala.
- Passes through the camping ground of Triund, Ilaqua/Laka Got, and Lahesh Caves.
Chamunda Devi Temple: A Popular Site
The famous temple of Ma Chamunda is in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India. It is around 10 km west of Palampur, on the Baner river. Chamunda also is known as Chamundeshwari, Chamundi, and Raktandika is a fearsome form of Chandi, the Hindu Divine Mother Parvati, and is one of the seven Matrikas (mother goddesses). She is also one of the chief Yoginis, a group of sixty-four or eighty-one Tantric goddesses, who are attendants of the warrior goddess Parvati. The name is a combination of Chanda and Munda, two monsters whom Chamunda killed. She is closely associated with Kali, another fierce aspect of Parvati. She is identified with goddesses Parvati, Kali or Durga.
Palampur: A Plantation Center
Palampur is a hill station in India’s northern state of Himachal Pradesh. It’s known for its tea gardens like the Palampur Cooperative Tea Factory, which also processes the leaves. A waterfall drops into a stream at Bundle Chasm. Saurabh Van Vihar nature park has picnic spots, birdlife, and views of the snow-capped Dhauladhar range. A forested trail leads northeast to hilltop Birni Devi Temple, with mountain views.
- Durga Handloom Kullu Shawls.
- The Palampur Co-operative Tea Factory.
- Shobha Singh Art Gallery.
Bir & Billing: A Buddhist Influence and Paragliding site
Village located in the west of Joginder Nagar Valley in the state of Himachal Pradesh in northern India. Bir is a noted center for ecotourism, spiritual studies, and meditation. Bir is also home to a Tibetan refugee settlement with several Buddhist monasteries and a large stupa. Bir Billing is also Known as the ‘Paragliding capital of India.
Masrur: Explore Lost Glory
The Masrur Temples, also referred to as Masroor Temples or Rock-cut Temples at Masrur, is an early 8th-century complex of rock-cut Hindu temples in the Kangra Valley of Beas River in Himachal Pradesh, India. The temples face northeast, towards the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas. They are a version of North Indian Nagara architecture style, dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, Devi and Saura traditions of Hinduism, with its surviving iconography likely inspired by a henotheistic framework.
Pragpur: An Offbeat Destination
Pragpur is a village situated in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. Lying in the shadows of the Dhauladhar range, and developed about 3 centuries ago, the village of Pragpur along with the nearby village of Garli is notified as a “Heritage Village” by a State Government notification dated 9 December 1997. As per the constitution of India and the Panchyati Raaj Act, Pragpur village is administrated by the sarpanch, who is the elected representative of the village.
Baijnath Temple: Lord Shiva
Baijnath Temple is a Nagara style Hindu temple situated in a small town of Baijnath located in Kangra District, Himachal Pradesh, and was built in 1204 A.D. by two local merchants named Ahuka and Manyuka. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva as Vaidyanath, ‘the Lord of physicians’
Bajreshwari Mata Temple: One Of The 51 Shaktipeeths
The Shree Vajreshwari Mata Mandir also known as Kangra Devi Mandir is a Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Vajreshvari, a form of Durga located in the town Kangra. Makar Sankranti, which comes in the second week of January, is also celebrated in the temple. Legend says that after killing Mahishasura in the battle, Devi had got some injuries. To heel those injuries Goddess had applied butter on her body, in Nagarkot. Thus to mark this day, the Pindi of Goddess is covered with butter and the festival is celebrated for a week in the temple.
Jwala Ji Temple: The Temple Of Eternal Flames
Jwalaji/jawalaji (flame) or Jwala Mukhi (flame mouth) is probably the most ancient temple discussed here besides Vaishno Devi. It is mentioned in the Mahabharata and other scriptures. There is a natural cave where eternal flames continue to burn. Some say there are nine flames for the nine Durgas.
Kaleshwar Mahadev Temple:
Paragpur Village of Kangra District, Kaleshwar Mahadev Temple is a popular pilgrimage site in Himachal Pradesh. Lord Shiva is the presiding deity of this temple. The temple is also known as Kalesar and the Shiva worshipped here is believed to be the Maha Rudra of Mata Chintpurni. During Maha Shivratri festival as well as in the month of Shravan (Hindu Month) a huge number of devotees throng at this place. The temple is found on the bank of the River Vyas and appears as a perfect meditating spot. A Hindu Cremation Ghat is seen next to this temple.
Bathu Ki Ladi: Explore The Submerged Temples
The Bathu temples known locally as ‘Bathu ki ladi’ is a cluster of temples in the Kangra district of Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. These temples were submerged in Maharana Pratap Sagar, a reservoir created by the Pong dam in the early 1970s.
Other Important Places are:
- Kangra Art Museum: Delve Into Culture
- Pong Dam Wetlands: A Fishing Reservoir
- Dhauladhar Ranges: Visually Enthralling
- Haripur: Hear The Local Stories
- Tashi Jong Monastery: Attain Nirvana
- Mcleodganj: Understand The Culture
- Baglamukhi Temple: Calm Your Senses
Captain Vikram Batra
Hailing from a small village called Ghuggar in the Palampur region of Himachal, he is the brave army officer of our country who showed his valor in the Kargil war, 1999. He was awarded the highest bravery award of the nation, the Param Veer Chakra posthumously.
Major Somnath Sharma
This brave soldier belonged to the Kumaon Regiment and is the proud recipient of the first Param Veer Chakra ever given in our country. He was given this honor posthumously for his courage and dedication towards duty that he showed in the Kashmir operations in the year 1947.
Sardar Shobha Singh
Sardar Shobha Singh is a renowned artist who lived in the quiet village of Andretta, Palampur of Kangra district for the inspiration that reflected in the beautiful paintings he made. He is well known for his paintings like Sohni Mahiwal and The Last Desire of Mumtaz Mahal among many others.
The Noble Prize winner for peace, Tenzin Gyatso is the 14th (and the current), Dalai Lama. He is the highest monk of his community and well known worldwide for his advocacy of Tibetan Buddhism, his spirituality, and his sincere interest in modern science.
Major Sudhir Kumar
Major Sudhir Kumar Walia, son of Subedar Major Rulia Ram Walia, was born on May 24, 1971, at Panuri village in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. Walia was awarded the Ashok Chakra, the highest peacetime military decoration, posthumously and equivalent to the Param Vir Chakra during wartime.
Shanta Kumar (born 12 September 1934) is an Indian politician who was the 3rd Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh and a Union Minister in the Government of India. He is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He was elected to the 9th Lok Sabha from Kangra constituency in 1989. He was re-elected to the Lok Sabha in 1998, 1999, and 2014 from the same constituency. He has written a number of books.
Shriya Sharma is an Indian film actress and model who appears mainly in Telugu Films Shriya Sharma was born in the city of Nurpur, Himachal Pradesh in India.Awards National Film Award for Best Child Artist 2011.
Karnail Rana is an Indian singer of Himachal Pradesh who is famous for his Himachali songs. He has recorded more than 150 albums, and become a star overnight with his first album Chambe Patne Do Bediyaan. Rana was born on 30 April 1963 in Village Ghallaur in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh
FACTS N TRIVIA
- The district is famous for its ancient temples like Jawalaji, Brejeshwari, Chamunda and Shiva temple of Baijnath.
- Dharmsala, the district head–quarters is known for the second-highest rainfall station after Cherapunji, in the country.
- The headquarters of the Tibetan Government in exile is located at Dharmsala, which is often referred to as ‘Little Lhasa’, since 1959.
- The Brave race Dogra belongs to this district and the Indian Army has a ‘Dogra Regiment’.
- The district is famous for its historical Kangra Fort.
- Palampur area of the district is famous for tea production.
- Bodh village in Nurpur Tahsil of the district is the only village in the state where silk sarees are manufactured.
- The district is also connected by a narrow-gauge railway line from Pathankot to Joginder Nagar.
- The district is famous for its ancient art and wall paintings.
- One Himachal site
- India hikes
- Himachal tourism
- HP General Studies and
- Himachal Pradesh government site for Kangra.