The Undiscovered Kangra

Kangra is a region of Himachl Pradesh, India that is over 3500 yrs old and dates back to the Vedic Times finding mention in the ‘Puranas’ and the Mahabharata. The district derives its name from Kangra town that was known as Nagarkot in ancient times.

Sheltered by the Dhauladhar range of the lower Himalayas, Kangra District is a green and luxuriant paradise for tourists with interesting trekking trails, nature parks, heritage buildings, adventure activities, angling and a pleasant climate. Crafts like the exquisitely designed shawls and miniature paintings of this region are well acclaimed.

 

Kangra

KANGRA Kangra is the former capital of the princely state of Kangra. This bustling pilgrim town has the famous Brajeshwari Devi Temple, one of the 51 Shakti Peeths. The over 1000 year old formidable Kangra Fort, Maharaja Sansar Chand Museum and the Masroor rock cut temples are other interesting places to experience.

Pong Dam

 

pongMaharana Pratap Sagar, also known as Pong Dam Reservoir or Pong Dam Lake was created in 1975 building the highest earthfill dam in India on the Beas River in the wetland zone of the Shivalik Hills in Kangra. Declared a bird sanctuary in 1983 and one of India’s 25 international Ramsar sites in 2002, the reservoir is additionally one of the leading fish habitats in the Himalayan states, and provides vital habitat to a host of mammals including leopards, sambar, wild pigs, barking deer and oriental small-clawed otters.

Dharamshala

DHARMSHALA Dharamsala is the headquarters of the Kangra district and a popular hill station lying on the spur of the Dhauladhar range about 17 Km north- east of Kangra town. This hill station is wooded with oak and conifer trees and snow capped mountains enfold three sides of the town while the valley stretches in front. The snowline is perhaps most easily accessible at Dharamsala than at any other hill resort . It is possible to make a day’s trek to snow-point after an early morning’s start. Upper Dharamsala area comprise of places with names which bear witness to its history like McLeod Ganj and Forsythe Ganj. Since 1960, when it became a temporary headquarter of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dharamsala has risen to international fame as “The Little Lhasa in India”, McLeodganj, is 9 Km from Lower Dharamsala. Other Interesting points include, Kangra art museum, St John Church, Kunal Pathri, Kotla Fort etc. Dharamshal is also home to the famous cricket stadium where IPL matches are held.

Palampur

palampur

Palampur, also known as the ‘Tea Capital of North India’, is a not so popular hill station. It is known to a few for its scenic beauty but also for the beautiful temples and buildings built in the Colonial period. The town has derived its name from the local word pulum, meaning lots of water. There are numerous streams flowing from the mountains to the plains from Palampur. Behind this town stands high ranges of Dhauladhar mountains, whose tops remain snow-covered for most part of the year. Here, a nature lover can enjoy a quiet stroll while feasting his eyes on the natural beauty and an outdoor lover with a taste for adventure can enjoy long hikes and treks.

Pragpur

pragpur Pragpur is a small village, about 50 km from Kangra. It has been enlisted as the World Heritage Village in India. The pristine beauty and glorious historical background makes it a wonderful destination that showcases the traditional values of the local folks.

Baijnath

baijnathIt is a small town 51 km from Kangra and 16 km from Palampur. Famous for the over 800 yr old Shiv Temple of the same name. The temple is a beautiful example of early medieval north Indian Temple architecture known as Nagara style.

Bir

BIR Bir is situated in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas in the Kangra District, just 30 Km from Palampur and is a noted centre for ecotourism, spiritual studies and meditation. The greater Bir area includes Billing, the Tibetan Colony in Chowgan, Ghornala, and Sherab Ling in Bhattu. It is home to a diverse community of over a thousand Indian villagers, a Tibetan refugee settlement, and a small but growing international population . Bir is so charming that one of the joys of getting around is doing so slowly, out in the open. The many villages and fields of greater Bir are interconnected by webs of walking trails. Do yourself a favor by getting out and walking as much as you can . Paragliding is one of it’s biggest draws for outdoor enthusiasts and thrill seekers. Bir is regarded by international paragliding groups as the second best site in the world for paragliding (after Lake Como in Italy).

To discover Kangra contact Road2Travel for any information. You might want an extended trip to Himachal including Shimla and Manali. A number of Budget and Deluxe hotels are available like Hotel Kalpna by R C Hospitality at Manali. Road2himachal our Himachal division would be eager to help you out.

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Mandu- A Celebration in Stone

Mandu, is an abandoned city of ruins from India’s Mughal era. Perched along the Vindhya ranges at an altitude of 2,000 feet is Mandu or Mandavgad. A ruined city in the Malwa region of western Madhya Pradesh , central India. This fortress town on a rocky outcrop about 100 km (62 mi) from Indore with its natural defenses, was originally the fort capital of the Parmar rulers of Malwa.

Mandu, due to its strategic position and natural defences, was an important place with a rich and varied history. It was an important military outpost and its military past can be gauged by the circuit of the battlemented wall, which is nearly 37 km (23 mi) and is punctuated by 12 gateways. Towards the end of the 13th century, it came under the sway of the Sultans of Malwa, the first of whom named it Shadiabad – ‘city of joy’.

Mandu is a celebration in stone, of life and joy, A tribute to the love shared between the poet-prince Baz Bahadur and his beautiful consort, Rani Roopmati. The balladeers of Malwa still sing of their euphoric romance. The fort walls encloses a large number of palaces, mosques, Jain temples of 14th century and other buildings. The oldest mosque dates from 1405. Each of Mandu’s structures is an architectural gem; some are outstanding like the massive Jami Masjid and Hoshang Shah’s tomb, which provided inspiration to the master builders of the Taj Mahal centuries later.

jahaz

 

 

Jahaz Mehal/Ship Palace is situated between two artificial lakes, this two storied architectural marvel is so named as it appears as a ship floating in water. Built by Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din-Khilji, it served as a harem for the sultan.

hindola

 

 

Hindola Mahal – meaning Swing palace is so named due to its sloping side walls. The Hindola Mahal might have been constructed during the reign of Hushang Shah about 1425 C.E. but may date to the end of the 15th century during the reign of Ghiyas al-Din,The Hindola Mahal may have been used as an audience chamber. There are a number of other, undated structures surrounding the palace – an evidence of the rich and glorious past.

hoshang

 

 

Hoshang Shah’s Tomb is India’s first marble structure, it is one of the most refined examples of Afghan architecture. Its unique features include the beautifully proportioned dome, intricate marble lattice work and porticoed courts and towers. It served as a template for the construction of Taj Mahal

jamamasjid

 

 

Jami Masjid Inspired by the great mosque of Damascus, this humongous structure is striking in both its simplicity and architectural style-with large courtyards and grand entrances.

roopmati

 

 

A large sandstone structure originally built as an army observation post , is known today as Roopmati’s Pavilion. Rani Roopmati – the love interest of Baaz Bahadur lived here and is said to have gazed at the Baz Bahadur’s Palace – situated below and also at Narmada river, flowing through the Nimar plains far below, a river which the queen revered. The Pavilion is a major tourist attraction and offers many scenic views. Rewa Kund- A reservoir constructed by Baz Bahadur for the purpose of supplying water to Rani Roopmati’s Pavilion. The reservoir is situated below the pavilion and hence is considered an architectural marvel.

bazbahadur

 

 

Baz Bahadur’s Palace – Built by Baz Bahadur this 16th century structure is famous for its large courtyards encompassed by large halls and high terraces. It is situated below Roopmati’s Pavilion and can be seen from the pavilion.

The mystical beauty of the monuments, amidst the sprawling lush green landscape and the purple sunset sky, paints the live picture of the bygone era. The effect is completed by the rich surroundings of mango, tamarind and banyan trees. The place is also famous for its ‘Khusrani Imli’, tamarind trees which bear fruit only in the rainy season and juicy custard apples

For being an abandoned ancient oasis, Mandu is relatively easy to get to — it’s a couple hours’ bus ride from Indore. But the real bonus of Mandu? There’s “almost a total absence of Western tourists.” And who doesn’t love an undiscovered spot? Contact Road2travel to discover Mandu

Forts of Rajasthan : Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer Fort is one of the largest fortifications in the world. It is situated in the city of Jaisalmer, in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is a World Heritage Site. It was built in 1156 AD by the Bhati Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal, from whom it derives it name. Deep in the heart of the Thar Desert is Jaisalmer,. Founded on what was the cross – road of lucrative trade routes, this remote settlement came to be celebrated for the valour of its rulers, and for the aesthetic sense represented by their palaces and havelis. The rich merchants engaged stone – craftsmen who worked delicately on the sandstone mansions they built, filling up facades with sculptural filigree, screen windows, delicate pavilions and beautiful balconies. Today, these veritable art – museums are still inhabited, and their colourful celebrations and festivals have placed Jaisalmer Fort firmly on the world tourism map.

Apart from the artistic havelis the Jaisalmer Fort is home to Jain Temples which are a must visit site. You will find these temples to be very old with high pilgrimage as well as archeological value attached to them.

Jaisalmer fort , over 800 years old, is the second oldest in Rajasthan. Two hundred and fifty feet tall and reinforced by imposing crenellated sandstone wall 30 feet high; it has 99 bastions, 92 of which were built between 1633 and 1647. Wells within the fort still provide a regular source of water. Even today, you will find that nearly one fourth of the old city’s population resides within the fort. If you are a student of cross-cultural merging, the subtle fusion of Rajput and Islamic architectural styles, visible in this fort, will catch your fancy. Ganesh Pol, Akshya Pol, Suraj Pol and Hawa Pol are a must see.

You enter the fort from its east side and pass through four massive gates on the zigzagging route to the upper part. The fourth gate opens into a large square, Dashera Chowk, where Jaisalmer Fort’s uniqueness becomes apparent: this is a living fort, with about 3000 people residing within its walls. It’s honeycombed with narrow, winding lanes, all of them paved in stone and lined with houses and temples – along with a large number of handicraft shops, guesthouses, restaurants. Fortunately cars cannot drive beyond the main square. The fort walls provide superb views over the city and surrounding desert – it’s fantastic to stroll around the outer parts at sunset.The fort stands proudly amidst the golden stretches of the great Thar Desert. Its massive yellow sandstone walls are a tawny lion colour during the day, fading to honey-gold as the sun sets, thereby camouflaging the fort in the yellow desert. For this reason, it is also known as the Sonar Quila or Golden Fort.

Contact Road2Travel for your glimpse into the majestic Rajput Forts and Palaces of Rajasthan