Kangra Valley is one of the most beautiful regions of Himachal Pradesh. This lush green valley is dotted with sun-bathed paddy fields, tea-covered slopes and crisscrossed with gurgling streams. The major part of this valley is overlooked by the towering Dhauladhar mountains. The white-tipped peaks of Dhauladhars are like conscience keepers of the valley. As you ascend to the upper reaches of Kangra, crops give way to the forests of tall oak and pine trees. Along with the diverse natural beauty, Kangra valley also encloses some of the ancient architectural marvels. Here you will find information on the places to visit and attractions in Kangra Valley. You will also get to know about the geography of the valley.
Orientation of the Valley
Kangra Valley extends from the base of the Dhauladhar mountains to the Beas basin in the south-west Himachal Pradesh. In this vast expanse, it houses some of the splendid towns of Himachal. The best introduction to this region is the famous town of Dharamshala which is situated at the head of the valley. To its south is the Kangra town which has received its name from the fort situated here. To the east of Dharamshala is the town of Palampur which is surrounded by the tea-covered slopes. And if you go further east, you reach the settlements of Bir and Billing. The heritage villages of Pragpur and Garli are situated to the south of the Kangra town.
Important Places to Visit in Kangra Valley
Dharamshala, the largest town in Kangra, is the most sought after place in the entire Kangra Valley. It receives various types of travellers: spiritual seekers, Buddhists, hill lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and backpackers. Dharamshala enjoys a splendid setting. It extends from the valley floor to the spurs of the Dhauladhar Mountain Range. The upper town, which is also called Mcleodganj, is closer to the snow line. The presence of Dalai Lama and the Tsuglagkhang temple complex in Mcleodganj brings in scores of visitors from across the globe. Several western travellers are also attracted by the natural beauty and serenity of the hamlets situated beyond the upper town. The lower town is rich in vegetation and is cut through by the streams carrying the snow-melt of the Dhauladhars. Read More
Palampur is a town situated amidst the tea-producing region of Kangra valley. This town, situated right below the looming peaks of Dhauladhar mountains, is surrounded by lush green tea-covered slopes. The famous Kangra tea is processed and packed in the tea factory of Palampur. Despite being a hill town, Palampur is quite developed and is a very peaceful place. This town can also be utilized as an alternative to Dharamshala. But only if you want a nature stay. Because if you are a spiritual seeker, you ought to be in Dharamshala. There are many wonderful plantation stays and country retreats around Palampur. Read More
Kangra Fort, situated near Kangra town, is about 24 km south of Dharamshala. This fort overlooks the confluence of two rivers: Banganga and Manjhi. Once it was the home of the Katoch rulers and has seen numerous battles. Many a clans have commanded this fort. Today it is ruined. Most of the destruction owes to the earthquake of 1905. Kangra Fort is considered to be one of the oldest forts in India and its location is mesmerizing. A visit here is highly recommended especially if you are a nature lover. Read More
This place, spread over a hillock, is known for its monolithic temples. There were about 15 temples in this complex. But apart from the wearing due to age, the temples were wrecked during the the earthquake of 1905. So, what you see today are the remains of the original temples. Despite the dilapidation, one temple has been kept functional. The temples date back to the 8th century. You can admire the exquisite carvings and sculptural ornamentation of that era on the remaining walls. Read More
This village is situated in the lower reaches of the Kangra valley. Pragpur is India’s first heritage village. It was once the base of the merchant princes of Sood clan. You can walk through the village to check out the mansions built by them. Garli village, situated nearby, is also a part of the Pragpur heritage zone.
There are many temples in Kangra valley which attract numerous pilgrims every year. While Brajeshwari Devi temple is situated in Kangra town, Jwalamukhi temple is just about 30 km from there. Chamunda Devi Temple is situated between the towns of Dharamshala and Palampur. Baijanth Temple is 16 km from Palampur. Tsuglagkhang is a Buddhist temple in Mcleodganj (Dharamshala). There are many Buddhist monasteries and temples around Dharamshala and Palampur.
The lower part of Kangra valley receives plenty of rain. Though the monsoon is from July to September, sporadic rains can be expected any time during the year. Winter is from December to February. During winter, it snows in the upper reaches of the valley. Summer, March to June, is quite hot in Kangra.
Adventure Activities and Sports in Kangra
Kangra valley lends itself very well for adventurous activities and sports. It is ideal for trekking, mountaineering, rock climbing, and hang-gliding. The Buddhist town of Bir, situated near Palampur, is popular world-over as a hang-gliding spot. Gliders take off from Billing, situated above Bir, and land in the paddy fields around Bir. The best time to do trekking in Kangra is from May to October. The most popular trek is to Triund from Mcleodganj. To immerse more in the beauty of the Dhauladhar mountains, you can go further from Triund to Indrahar Pass.
Where to Stay?
If it is your first visit to Kangra Valley, the best place to put up is Dharamshala. It enjoys the central location and has several hotels and resorts. If you are looking for a country retreat or a plantation stay, you can choose to stay at Palampur. There are a few hotels in Kangra town and Pragpur Village.