Bidding Dharamshala goodbye
My four days at Dharamshala was a very pleasing and memorable experience. I had a chat with Nandy (the guy with whom I did the North-East ’14 trip and the Vietnam ’15 trip). He had been to the place before and mentioned that he could stay there for weeks and not feel bored. I agreed with him.
Ganesh had been a nice host. He gave a lot of pointers and some of them were really helpful. After all, he has been in the business for the last 10 years.
At Dharamshala bus stop, I had two choices. I could either move towards Kangra or head towards Palampur, which would be on my way towards Mandi. I decided to take a detour to Kangra. It took me one hour to reach Kangra.
Kangra is not frequented by travellers like me. The tourist crowd mostly consists of religious pilgrims. I got a room near the new bus stop. For 650 rupees, it is one of the worst I have seen. Probably, last year’s hotel at Kohima may give it a tough competition.
Remains of Kangra Fort
I dropped my bag and rushed out. (I did not even waste two minutes). I caught a bus and got down at a place where NH 503 meets the Baner Khad. This junction is about a kilometre from Kangra Fort. The fort is now in rubbles. The 1905 Kangra earthquake had destroyed it along with older structures like St. John’s Church in the wilderness I had visited yesterday. The monarchy and history of the Kangra region passes through multiple people and lineages in power. The fort was built in 1500 BCE.
There is a small exhibit inside the fort compound by ASI. There is also a private exhibit known as Maharaja Sansar Chandra museum adjacent to the fort that is run by the royal family. Photography was prohibited at both places. The latter had a nice printed timeline of Kangra’s history.
Brajeshwari Devi temple or the goddess of Kangra
Kangra is known for its Brajeshwari Devi temple. It is a mainstream attraction. Even in this off season, there were a considerable crowd inside. Also, unlike all other temples I had visited, this one had facilities that one expects from a place that expects crowd. I kept my shoes at a stall. When I returned, there was no one at the stall. I took my shoes and walked away. Then again it could have been anyone else walking away with my shoes.
On my way back, I stopped at a crowded street food joint that sold Aloo Tikki and Burgers. Just like all street foods, the Aloo Tikki was tasty and unhealthy.