Most visitors to the Kangra valley restrict themselves to Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj. In fact, there is so much more that makes the Kangra District a perfect holiday destination, as we discovered to our delight in April this year.
With an airport at Gaggal, the Pathankot - Jogindernagar railway line and frequent inter city bus services, Kangra is a lot better connected than most places in Himachal.
Decent accommodation to fit all budgets is available at most places. We stayed at Barot, Jogindernagar, Dharamsala, Palampur and Bharwain.
Bound in the north by the snow clad Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas, with the fertile riparian valley below, Kangra has abundant natural scenic beauty.
Easily accessible by road from the highway near Joginder Nagar via Jhatingri, are the pretty mountain villages of the Uhl valley - Barot, Multhan, Luhardi - a nature lovers paradise.
Billing is a well known paragliding site. It is also a great place for easy hikes on the mountain ridge and stunning scenery. Longer treks to the Bada Bhangal region are also possible. A road goes all the way up to Billing from Bir, which has a colourful new Tibetan monastery. There are several more monasteries at Tashijong and Sherabling.
Baijnath is a much venerated ancient Shiva temple with exquisite stone carvings. .
Palampur has its "Kangra tea" estates, military establishments and a plethora of educational institutions. Snow capped mountains loom large over the beautiful Neugal Khad [river] here. The temple of Chamunda Devi and the World War II POW camp at Yol are on the way to Dharamsala
Dharamsala is on the tourist map thanks to the Dalai Lama. Upper Dharamsala or McLeod Ganj is a food lovers paradise with a variety of good quality global cuisines available at low prices. It also has a stunning view of the Dhauladhars, especially from Naddi.
Masroor is an ancient rock cut temple complex between Lunj and Nagrota Suriyan. It is the only one of its type in north India. The Kangra Fort and Haripur Fort are also worth a visit.
The temples of Jwalaji, Naina Devi and Chintpurni attract huge numbers of visitors. There are several smaller temples of the antiquity of Baijnath, which make for an interesting stopover.
The Pong reservoir at the southern end of the district is an excellent bird watching site.
This was an introductory visit for us. We look forward to a longer visit for there is so much more waiting to be discovered in beautiful under rated Kangra.
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