The original name of Kangra Fort was Bhimkot. A joint name for the fort and town was later became Nagarkot. Mughals overtook it for 160 years during 17th Century A.D. Since then, Kangra meaning a fortress has been its name.
First of all, it is important to know the ancient history of this famous fort. Sir Alexander Cunningham says, that the royal family of Jalandhar and Kangra is one of the oldest in India. According to him their genealogy is older than even the Rajputana princes. Sir Lepel Griffin adds, that the Rajput dynasties of Kangra are the oldest royal families in the world.
Who built Kangra Fort?
Katoch king Susarman Chandra built Kangra fort. He was 24th in the dynastic lineage of its founder Bhumi Chand. Known as Susarman in the Mahabharata, he took the side of Kauravas. As a result he lost most of his territories. Most noteworthy, the original seat of the royal family was at Multan, now in Pakistan. Moreover, it was spread far and wide up to Sirhind. After losses in Mahabharata Susarman stuck to Jalandhar. Consequently, he took over the adjoining hill tract and built the Kangra fort. Thus, by all accounts, Kangra fort dates back to Mahabharata times (5000 years ago). Even more, the historians fully confirm the ancient history of legendary Kangra fort.
The fort is at a place known as old Kangra, since a new township of Kangra has now come up. The present day Kangra is 3 km north of the old one. The fort standing majestically amid inaccessible cliffs has once been an imposing structure of stone. In its uppermost portion were the residential buildings and temples. Incidentally, an earthquake of 1905 destroyed these structures. However, the main structure of the fort remains intact to this day. Scenic view of Kangra valley attracts the visitors from its height. On the east side, Baner (Banganga) rivulet flows almost 300 meters right below down the ridge.
Furthermore, the fort is profusely illuminated with powerful milky fancy lights at night. Watching the panorama is ecstatic.
Plunder of Kangra Fort
The Katoch dynasty with their rule extending over vast areas for 4000 years owned huge treasures. Mahmud of Ghazni took note of it in the year 1009 A.D. and looted it. He did it after defeating a large Hindu army on the Indus. He took the route along the foot of the hills to attack Kangra fort. Western cliff of Jayanti Mata temple came handy to him in his crusade.
Kangra fort had upto these times been used both as a fort as well as a treasure house. Surrounded by steep cliffs on all three sides it seemed inaccessible. Furthermore, the fort was famous all over India during those times for its wealth. The Hindu forces had left for Indus with their chief to fight the invader. The fortress was nearly defenseless and there was hardly any resistance to the Mahmud of Ghazni. Vast wealth fell into his hands with the utmost ease.