Kangra one of the Himachal’s most beautiful valleys, rolls down the southern edge of the magnificent Dhauladhar range, in gentle slopes that are covered with lush green forests of pine, orchards, tea gardens and terraced fields. Dhauladhar, the white ranges, rise upto 14,000 ft from the valley floor, much like a massive wall providing a dramatic back drop to the soothing panoramic landscape.
The headquarters of such a picturesque district is no less panoramic in beauty. It is Dharamsala that rises up to Mcleodganj at 1700m from war memorial at 1300m.
Kangra is the most popular district of Himachal Pradesh among all the 12 Districts of Himachal. Dharamsala is the administrative headquarter of the district, which is 18 km from Kangra town. Both Kangra and Dharmashala are important tourist destinations known for their ancient temples and picturesque surroundings.
Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh is situated in Western Himalayas between 31°2 to 32°5 N and 75° to 77°45 E. Kangra district covers an area of 5,739 sq km geographically, which constitutes 10.31% of geographical area of Himachal Pradesh. The population of Kangra District comprises a multi religious community of Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians and Jains. The total population of the district was 13,39,030 in 2001(According to Census) which is highest in the state (22.50% of the population). With 6,61,254 Males and 6,77,776 Females. Sex Ratio is 1025 females per 1000 males. The district has varying altitude ranging from 427 to 6401m above mean sea level, with some plain areas touching Gurdaspur district of Punjab in the West and Una district of H.P. in the South. In the East it touches Mandi district, in North with Kullu and Chamba. The district has considerable diversity in its soils, physiography, land use pattern and cropping system. On the basis of these, the district has further been divided into five-sub-situations i.e. Pir Panjal, Dhauladhar, Kangra Shiwalik, Kangra Valley and Beas Basin.
Beas is one of the larger rivers of this district, and contributes to the fertility of the land here. The district is bounded by the Himachal Pradesh districts of Chamba to the north, Lahul and Spiti to the northeast, Kullu to the east, Mandi to the southeast, and Hamirpur and Una to the south. The district shares a border with the states of Punjab on the southwest and Jammu and Kashmir on the northwest. Due to the hilly terrain, not very much of the land is cultivated. The region is covered with uniform patches of barren land, as well as small forests. There is a reasonably good network of roads across the district.
Dharamsala, the district headquarters, is also the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile, headed by the His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Jwalamukhi, also known as Jwala ji, is famous for an ancient temple of the goddess of the same name, and features holy flames that run on natural gas. Other important temples include Brajeshwari Devi temple, Chamunda Devi temple, Chintpurni temple and Baijnath's Shiva temple. Brajeshwari Devi Temple and the rock cut temples of Masrur are quite famous. Some other places of interest are Maharana Pratap Sagar Sanctuary, Sujanpur-Tira and Kangra town. There are also important Buddhist temples in Dharamshala, Sidhbari, Rewalsar and the Tibetan Colony in Bir. Historical villages of Pragpur and Garli are also located here.
History of Kangra : Kangra is known for the oldest serving Royal Dynasty in the world Katoch. Kangra became a district of British India in 1846, when it was ceded to British India at the conclusion of the First Anglo-Sikh War. The British district included the present-day districts of Kangra, Hamirpur, Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti. Kangra District was part of the British Province of Punjab. The administrative headquarters of the district were initially at Kangra, but were moved to Dharamsala in 1855. This area was significantly damaged by an earthquake on April 4, 1905. Upon Indian Independence in 1947, Punjab province was partitioned between India and Pakistan, and the eastern portion, including Kangra, became the Indian state of Punjab. Kangra was the largest district of composite Punjab in terms of area till it was transferred to Himachal Pradesh on 1st of November, 1966 and had six tehsils namely Nurpur, Kangra, Palampur, Dera Gopipur and Hamirpur. Lahul and Spiti became a separate district in 1960, and Kullu in 1962. In 1966, Kangra and Una districts were added to Himachal Pradesh, which became a union territory of India, and an Indian state in 1971. Hamirpur District was separated from Kangra in 1972.