Saturday, October 31, 2009

Capture of Kangra Fort

Jahangir, after being enthroned the king, was seized with the desire to conquer Kangra and capture the fort, about which it was believed: "He who held the fort, ruled all the hill states". In 1615, he sent a strong contingent of troops under the command of Sheikh Farid Murtaza Khan and Raja Suraj Mal of Nurpur, his trusted confidant. But the troops returned without success. Unfazed, the king sent another contingent in 1620 under the command of Sunder Dass. This time the troops succeeded in capturing the fort after facing a stiff resistance. The ambitious Muslim invader also annexed the other hill states to his empire and garrisoned his troops in the fort to keep a watchful eye on the hill rulers.

The fort, a winsome blend of the medieval and ancient genre of fort architecture, covers a fairly large area and is guarded by high ramparts and a huge wall. Its gates have been named after its conquerors who captured it from time to time. The entrance gate is known as Ranjit Singh Gate, which leads to Jahangiri Darwaza. Then there are the Ahini and Amiri Darwazas, both dedicated to Nawab Ali Khan, the last Muslim Governor of Kangra. The other two gates — Andheri and Darshani Darwazas — had suffered extensive damage in the earthquake.

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