Kangra Valley has amazing places, ranging from natural attractions to ancient temples and forts. Here is a list of some of the must-visit places in the valley:
1. Kareri Lake
Like scenic freshwater lake is one of the best places to visit in Kangra. Surrounded by emerald green flowering patches, dense pine forests, and snow-capped Dhauladhar ranges, this is also a popular trekking destination. There is an ancient Shiva temple near the lake, which looks onto the entire panorama. Don’t miss seeing the rustic houses of the Gaddi people around the lake and trying delicious local food.
2. Kangra Fort
This fort is said to have been built around 3000 years ago by the king Susharma Chandra of the Katoch dynasty and is amongst one of the oldest standing forts in the country. The fort, that finds a mention in the Mahabharata, has a spectacular architecture with influences from all the dynasties that laid their claim on it due to the hidden treasures that it stored.
You will see Sikh inscriptions, Mughal-style archways, and even Persian inscriptions. While it is mostly in ruins now due to an earthquake in 1905, it’s still quite a mesmerising place to visit. There are three temples inside the fort- Ambika Devi Temple, Shitlamata Temple, and Lakshmi Narayan Temple. It offers amazing panoramic views of the surrounding mountain ranges covered in lush green forests.
3. Kangra Art Museum
If you are an art aficionado, you should not miss visiting this museum. It houses rare exhibits from the various ruling dynasties and the Pahari tribal cultures. You will see centuries-old jewellery, documents, scrolls, murals, coins, pottery, weapons, etc. The museum is adorned with beautiful Tibetan paintings as an ode to the influence of Buddhist culture in the region.
4. Brajeshwari Temple
Those who want to spend some time soaked in spirituality and mountainside solitude must visit the Brajeshwari Temple. It is amongst the 51 holy Shaktipeeths in the country and is revered by the locals in the region. The temple comes alive with the beautiful sounds of chiming bells and hymns during the Aarti.
This 14th-century town is well known for its royal history and as the place where the famous Kangra paintings originated. The most famous attraction here is the Pong Dam Wetlands, which is an important fishing reservoir. Don’t miss seeing hundreds of migratory birds that visit the dam during winters. Haripur also has an intriguing old fort and hot water springs, that must not be missed.
6. Masroor rock-cut temple
Often known as the Himalayan Pyramid, this temple is a famous archaeological site. Albeit in ruins, one can still see the magnificent 8th century Indo-Aryan architecture that comprises around 15 temples carved out of a single rock. The temples are dedicated to Ram, Laxman, and Sita. The legend goes that Pandavas stayed here during their exile and this temple was the spot, which would have had a staircase leading to heaven.
7. Bhagsu Waterfalls
This is easily the most popular attraction in the region. These majestic 30-feet high falls lend the perfect escape into the raw wilderness of nature. Listening to the crashing sounds of water amidst the lush greenery is a fantastic experience.
There are plenty of cafes near the waterfall where one can relish coffee and hot noodles. Don’t miss visiting the ancient Bhagsu Temple nearby. The falls are reachable after a short and exciting 1 kilometre long trek amidst rocky and forested roads.