Rakkh Resorts enjoys the unique distinction of being mercifully removed from the mainstream, yet is within convenient proximity to some of the most celebrated and also unknown landmarks in Himachal Pradesh and India. There’s so much to see in and around the Kangra district of Himachal – from impregnable mountain fortresses, ancient temples associated with Mahabharata legends to tea gardens and a refuge for a persecuted people and culture in exile. Rakkh can organized escorted day tours with your own private car and chauffeur, or alternatively set off and explore at your own leisure.
Once the seat of power to the Katoch dynasty that held sway over much of Himachal, the Kangra fort now stands as a testament to brilliant defensive fortifications capitalizing on impassable terrain. This is the centre from where Sansar Chand – one of the North’s most powerful rulers – held court.
From the ramparts of the Fort, you can see the magnificent Himalayas in the distance; their snow-capped peaks at times appear to be floating above the shimmering cloud line. Surrounding the fort are plunging ravines, which explain why the Kangra kings held firm against numerous invaders over many centuries. The excellent audio guide, curated by the royal family of Kangra, is highly recommended and offers an absolute wealth of fascinating historical insight to the fort’s colourful history. Do check out the nearby museum built by the modern descendants of the Katoch rulers, and if time allows visit the nearby temple in Kangra itself with its colourful mural of handprints left by pilgrims over the years. Kangra Fort is a 1 ½ hour drive from Rakkh.
Masroor Rock Temple
The magnificent rock cut temples at Masroor must surely be one of the most remarkable sites in Himachal, and most definitely the most overlooked. Said to be more than 1200 years old, the Masroor temple complex is associated with several legends from the great epic Mahabharata. There are 15 richly carved temples in all, but alas many suffered extensive damage during the massive earthquake in 1905.
They are the only temples of their kind in Northern India, and remind the visitor of the awe inspiring temples at Angkor Wat, albeit on a much smaller scale of course. The main shrine contains three stone images of Rama, Lakshmana and Sita. The views of the snow clad Dhauladhar is amazing from the temple premises, and if you time your visit right the sunset hues on the carved temples are stunning. Kangra Fort and Masroor can easily be combined as a day trip from Rakkh. Ask the Activities Team for details.
Dharamsala and McLeodganj
Tea Estate Visit
Join us for our Tea Experience – a specially designed walk and tea tasting tour in collaboration with Green Buds Tea. Our walk will start at the Kangra Valley Tea Estate – small stalls at the entrances sell fresh juices, teas and pickles. The short walk will take you through beautifully manicured tea gardens, and during the season you can watch the estate workers nimbly plucking the leaves of the tea bushes. The hike will wind through and a small village with terraced fields of wheat until we reach the small Green Buds Tea factory. Here you’ll get a chance to pluck your own tea, discover the immense skill that goes into plucking the best buds and witness the multiple steps that go into processing the tea at the factory before enjoying a cup of the finest brew. The walk will continue back through small villages and will end up back at the tea stalls at the entrance to the tea gardens.
40 minutes by road from Rakkh is the delightful Baijnath Temple, one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the most sacred abodes of Lord Shiva. The temple at Baijnath has been continuously used for worship ever since its construction in 1204 A.D. The two long inscriptions in the porch of the temple indicate that a temple of Shiva existed on the spot even before the present one was constructed. The present temple is a beautiful example of the early medieval north Indian Temple architecture known as Nagara style of temples. There is a small porch in front of the entrance to the inner sanctum with an idol of “Nandi”, the bull, in a small pillared shrine, and with a larger Nandi, which devotees whisper their wishes into his left ear. The temple attracts a large number of pilgrims throughout the year, but during the five day festivities for Shivratri Festival the temple receives thousands of devotees.
Rather than travel by road why not take the train to Bajinath – it’s an opportunity to travel as locals do, and the journey is a very scenic one passing through typical Himachal villages and farms and offer spectacular vistas of the Dhauladhar Range. Combine a morning visit to Bajinath with an afternoon pottery workshop at Andretta. Ask our Activities Team for more info.