Shahpur Kandi Fort

The 16th century Shahpur Kandi Fort, just 7km from Pathankot near the border with Pakistan, nestles at the foot of the Himalayas, an area of outstanding natural beauty, overlooking the River Ravi.

The region, situated at confluence of the Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir was strategically an important position to hold. The fort was built in 1505 AD by a Rajput Chieftain, Jaspal Singh Pathania, in order to retain control over the Kangra and Nurpur regions.

The fort was the last refuge of Ram Singh Pathania, who rebelled against the British in 1848 AD. This final battle of the Rajputs of the Kingdom of Nurpur took place after their dignitaries were insulted by the British, who had their own designs on who should be the next Rajput ruler. British troops were evicted from Shahpur Kandi Fort on the morning of 15th August, 1845 by Ram Singh who subsequently led guerrilla raids on them, thwarting their attempts to recapture the fort.

Ram Singh was finally caught after a local priest was bribed by the British in order to reveal when he could be found alone and unarmed. British soldiers laid an ambush, captured Ram Singh while he was offering prayers to the goddess Durga on the banks of the River Ravi near the fort, and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was deported to Rangoon (Burma) and died there on 11th November, 1856 AD. Every year on 17 August, a fair honoring Ram Singh is held at Dhaula Dhar, near Shahpur Kandi, where the sword and Armour of the lionheart, Ram Singh Pathania is displayed.

En-route to Shahpur Kandi, you there are several caves that belong to the period of Mahabharata. According to legend, these caves were visited by the Pandavas during their exile. A temple, known as Mukesran Mandir, is to be found here and the Mukesran da Mela (carnival) is held there each year in the month of April to mark Baisakhi.

The fort recounts tales of heroism and valour and, although today inactive, the fort has been transformed into a charming hanging resthouse, standing majestically on the bank of the River Ravi, with breath-taking views.

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