The Kangra Fort
, , is located 20 kilometers from the town of Dharamsala
on the outskirts of the town of Kangra
. The fort was first mentioned in Alexander the Great
's war records, referring to the 4th century BC.
The Kangra Fort was built by the Royal family of Kangra (The Katoch
Dynasty), which traces its origins to the ancient Trigarta Kingdom
, mentioned in the Mahabharata
epic. It is the largest fort in the Himalayas and probably the oldest dated fort in India.
The fort of Kangra was taken by the Mahmud of Ghazni
in AD 1009. In 1337, it was captured by Muhammad bin Tughluq
and again in 1351 by his successor, Firuz Shah Tughluq
. But it was not completely subdued until 1622, when after a siege of fourteen months, it was conquered by the Mughal
who garrisoned it with his troops and appointed a Governor to keep the turbulent hill chiefs in check.
In the second half of 18th Century, following the decline of Mughal power, Raja Sansar Chand
-II succeeded in recovering the ancient fort of his ancestors, in 1789. But by carrying his ambitions too far he came in conflict with the neighboring hill chiefs, the Gurkhas
and finally with Maharaja
, Ranjit Singh
to whom he was compelled to surrender Kangra Fort in 1809. It remained in the hands of the Sikhs
till 1846 when it was made over to the British Government, along with the surrounding hills.
A British garrison occupied the fort until it was heavily damaged in an earthquake in the year......