||Kangra, Dharamshala & Mcleodgunj:
Situated in Holy valley of Kangra is Kangra Town, ahead at 24 km is Dharamashala and further ahead at 9 km is Mcleodgunj. The entire area is famous for great weather and variety of it. If you wish to have really pleasant weather Kangra, Palampur and Jogindernagar are the places. Climbing upto Dharamshala would make it cooler and further high at Mcleodgunj is the coolest weather.
This area is also famous for the mixed culture of mountains and Punjab (as it was part of the Punjab throne). The altitude changes bring changes in flora and fauna around. However every place is equally interesting. If you wish to explore the entire area; plan a stay of at least 4 days.
This impregnable fort is built on the cliff between two rivers and there is only one way to reach it. The fort is brilliantly planned with narrow turning road inside and ramparts. This fort was captured for short durations by Mohammand Gazni (A.D. 1009) and then by Mohammad Tughlaq (A.D. 1337) and his successor Firoz (A.D. 1351) ; however nobody could hold it for long. Finally in A.D 1622; Jehangir led a siege of 14 months to capture it. If again slipped out of their hands to Sikhs and later to Gorkhas. In 1846 it was finally captured by British. The fort is worth seeing with symbols of Hindu as well as Islamic rule. There is a small museum and garden around. You can plan for a half day tour to the fort. There is an interesting trek through the forest at foothills of the fort and you can see lots of trees of Curry Leaves (Kadipatta) in the forest. It grows everywhere around the fort.
Came to fame during British Rule when they selected the place for administrative centre in the summer. However later after the earthquake of 1905 which almost destroyed this entire area; Shimla was made the capital. Later presence of His Holiness Dalai Lama made it regain its old glory. It is a beautiful and buzzing town with narrow and crowded lanes, foreigners seeking instant nirvana, small hotels, cheap shacks and Tibetan shops. Visiting Namgyal monastery is a must if you ever come here. Its quiet and serene environment makes you spiritual for those moments.
Temple of Kangrajee is one of most important temples here in the Aadishakti temple circuit. The rest being Chamundajee, Jwalajee and Chintapurnijee. The three domes of the temple depict Hindu, Islamic and Sikh style of architecture (see picture). It is 22 km from Dharamshala.
Godess Aadishakti in the form of flame is worshipped here. The flame continues to be lightened for ages and there are legends about ruler trying to put it off; but going back unsuccessful. It is believed that Sati’s pr Aadishakti’s tongue fell here. Maharaja Ranjit singh donated the golden roof to the temple and his son as donated the silver plated doors. It is 54 km from Dharamshala.
If you plan a tour to this area, we recommend that you take at least 4 days out. Spend one day at Mcleodgunj, second one at Kangra and third one Visiting Jwalajee and Palampur. We also recommend that you spend at least one at Barot where you would see Himachal Pradesh in its most virgin from. There are lot of hotels at Mcleodgunj but they are in crowded area. If you wish to have peaceful stay with nature try homestays and stay at all the recommended places so that you experience every area, weather and minimize your travel as back on forth.
Situated on the banks of Banganga river is the temple of Chamundajee. Here the goddess is supposed to be in the form of the destroyer with Lord Shiva temple as well. It is also believed that sacred dip in Banganga washes your sins off. It is 15 km from Dharamshala.