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Friday, 26 May 2017

Kamru Fort ,Sangla(Kinnaur)....History along the Baspa valley

  The tall dark coloured tower of the Kamru Fort stood out clearly in the white backdrop of the mighty snow capped ranges as we looked up from the main market place of Sangla .The colour of the structure was enough to tell its age and spoke of years of supremacy that it had enjoyed.Not much had changed since then,only a few houses which sprung around it ,at places replacing wood and stone with concrete now.The houses were probably of the distant kins of the kings of the erstwhile Bushair kingdom who ruled there thousands of years ago. The Baspa(a tributary of the Sutlej) still flows in all its elegance,and the mighty ranges stand tall even today fortifying the people in its folds.Talking about the people ,their faith in the mountains Gods remain as firm as ever.

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     Over the years I have developed a strong liking for places which relate to history,the  more ancient the structures are ,the more I am lured towards them,to the extent that our manager at the hotel at Sangla ended up asking, if I am doing some research in archaeology.The place with  its abundant beauty ,a 360 degree view of the snow capped mountains and the mere feeling of staying so close to nature should have been more than enough for an urban dweller like me.  But a constant harping to an already irked driver, resulted in him leaving us till the last motorable spot on the way to Kamru fort. And then a steep climb through the houses on the mountain slopes,with an overcast  sky above and rain drenched steps finally took us panting to our destination.  Kamru Fort finally happened. It was worth all the effort and left us with no scope to repent for.

Read here-- Kalpa ..a complete guide to the mesmerizing hill station in the Kinnaur Valley 

An abandoned shrine at Kamru fort

  The cluster of houses that we saw around us was actually the village of Kamru which is at a distance of 2 kilometres from the tourist hub Sangla.Climbing the path was strenuous,but the surroundings was a scene to behold. Apple orchards,walnut and apricot trees lined our paths .The apple blossoms made us promise to ourselves that we shall be back again to this land of Gods in the harvest season. Cosy little wooden houses along the slopes painted the perfect postcard with the mighty ranges behind.

Read here----Our successful itinerary to the Kinnaur Valley of Himachal Pradesh

Apple orchards

And finally the gates of the fort with wooden carvings on either sides of Gods and Goddesses carved to perfection.A Buddhist temple welcomes us,each shrine intricately carved out of wood.We look right and surprisingly in the very same premises stands the most important Hindu temple of the region.The temple of Badri Vishal (a Shiva temple).

Read here---Papu Dhaba ...The remarkable food joint in Kinnaur

Raed Here--- How to travel with small children.-Few useful points

Read here---Rakcham .Why we preferred it to Sangla (Kinnaur)

The temple of Badri Vishal

Intrigued as we were ,we looked around for someone to answer our many questions.We had visited the place in the odd hours of the afternoon when the temple was closed(both the Hindu and the Buddhist temple are opened during the mornings). Though we could not get darshan  ,this seemed to be a blessing in disguise as we had the whole place to ourselves ,in complete silence, to appreciate its oneness with nature.

This was the first time in the trip that we had come across this kind of an amalgamation of the two religions .We soon learnt that due to the proximity with Tibet and a very long standing trade relation with the country , the people in the mid Kinnaur valley follow a unique mix of the two religions.

Fascinated , enlightened and undoubtedly uplifted, we left the temple premises to climb a few more steps to the fort tower.

    A five story ancient structure made out of wood and stone stood there overlooking the entire valley.It was built in the typical architectural style of the valley.Entry to the tower was strictly restricted only to the priest.In front of the tower was the shrine of Goddess Kamakhya Devi.  The idol is believed to be brought by the kings of Kamru from Assam.We were at the stronghold of the Bushair kings.

The shrine of Kamakya devi at Kamru

An old door at the Fort

The history of Kamru
Kinnaur was a part of the erstwhile princely state of Bushair. Kamru was the capital of the Bushair kingdom which was later shifted to Sarahan and then to Rampur,which are places lying in the lower Kinnaur  Valley.The tower and the fifteenth century old temple of Badri Vishal were made by the then kings of Kamru.

Sangla is close to the ancient trade route to Tibet.Years of trade with  Tibet has left a indelible mark on the people of this region .With the infusion of people from Tibet the place saw a slow change in their culture ,food habits ,clothing ,looks and most undeniably ,the religion.
One can only wish that the blessed Dev Bhumi remains just the same with all its beauty,simplicity and beliefs.

Places to visit in Sangla
Sangla in itself is a beautiful village set above the right bank of Baspa. From the entire trip to the Kinnaur valley  I can infer that one need not visit any places of interest in particular.The entire valley is replete with clusters of houses ,fields and orchards ,lending so splendid a scenery that one can spend few days simply relaxing in the hotel.Almost all places to stay are located in marvellous locations with wonderful views of the magnificent snow capped ranges of the Kinner Kailash.
The places to visit in or near Sangla are-
The Kamru Fort
The Bering Nag Temple 
Batseri village(deserves a separate post...coming soon)

View of Sangla from the Kamru Fort

Sangla is at a distance of approximately 240 kms. from Shimla,and is a7 hours drive from Shimla.Natural beauty apart it is an important place in the Kinnaur valley as it is equipped with restaurants, petrol pumps,ATMs, medical facilities ,bars, etc.Though it does not own a HPTDC property it has numerous other staying options.A stay of 3 nights and four days can be optimum for a relaxed visit to the place and the sorrounding places of interest .One can stay in Sangla and visit the nearby places like Raksham  ,Chitkul, Batseri, etc.
Sangla to Raksham-14 kilometres
Sangla to Chitkul-22 kilometres
Sangla to Bastseri_7 Kilometres


  1. Beautiful place and there is so much to see here.

  2. The place is awesome and love the photographs.

    1. Very true, waiting to visit again, thanks

  3. The manager asking u if you are into archeological research...heheheh....

    Himachal Pradesh is a treatise for travellers. agree. Each nook and corner has beauty written all over it.
    Wonderfully described.

  4. Thanks Sujata.I actually had a tough time convincing people that I wish to visit places not so frequented by visitors.And Himachal Pradesh as you say is never explored full.