The former capital of the princely state of Kangra, this bustling pilgrim town is an easy day trip from McLeod Ganj. Hindus visit to pay homage at the Brajeshwari Devi Temple, one of the 51 Shakti peeths, the famous temples marking the sites where body parts from Shiva’s first wife, Sati, fell after the goddess was consumed by flames – the Brajeshwari temple marks the final resting place of Sati’s left breast.
Famous for its wealth, the temple was looted by a string of invaders, from Mahmud of Ghazni to Jehangir, before collapsing in the 1905 earthquake. Rebuilt in the original style, the temple is reached through an atmospheric bazaar winding uphill from the main road, lined with shops selling prasad and religious trinkets.
On the far side of town, a Rs 80 autorickshaw ride from the bus stand, the impregnable-looking Kangra Fort (Nagar Kot; Indian/foreigner Rs 5/100; dawn-dusk) soars above the confluence of the Manjhi and Banganga Rivers. The fort was used by Hindu rajas, Mughal warlords and even the British before it was finally toppled by the earthquake of 1905. On clear days, head to the battlements for views north to the mountains and south to the plains. A small museum at the fort has stone carvings from temples inside the compound and miniature paintings from the Kangra School.
Last updated: Sep 17, 2008
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