Ranked 4 among Places to Visit in Kangra
Time Required: 1-2 hrs
Situated on the outskirts of the town of Kangra, in the state of Himachal Pradesh, the Kangra Fort is witness to thousands of years of grandeur, invasion, war, wealth and evolution. This mighty fort traces its origins to the ancient Trigarta Kingdom, which is mentioned in the Mahabharata epic. It is the largest fort in the Himalayas and probably the oldest dated fort in India. Occupying the lower valley of the Beas and its tributaries, it was one of the leading hill stations of Punjab and Himachal earlier.
"You must pass through the gate leg first. Never lead with your head because if there is an enemy on the other side, you might lose your head". This tip by Tikaraj Aishwarya Katoch (present scion of the Katoch dynasty) indicates at the heavy security in the fort maintained by the kings to protect the unimaginable treasures inside. Though the tales of these treasures are nothing but stories in this ruined fort now, there was a time when the sanctum sanctorum of the Kangra Fort held unimaginable riches which were offered to the large idol in the Brijeshwari temple inside the fort. Perhaps because of these treasures, this colossal fort has been attacked many times. Almost every ruler, be it an invader or a native ruler have tried to lay control over the Kangra fort.
After Jahangir mercilessly captured the fort in1622, it was Raja Sansar Chand-II who finally succeeded in recovering the ancient fort of his ancestors from the Mughals in 1789. Ultimately it was handed over to the British and was occupied by them until it was heavily damaged by the earthquake of April 4, 1905. Although it is completely in ruins now, it was a structure of architectural marvel once. The Kangra fort in itself is a symbol of elegance and royalty.
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