Taken as an excursion from Kullu
or Manali , Nagar also known as Naggar,
is a very lovely village set on a hill surrounded by forests. Naggar was
the capital of Kullu valley in the 16th century and the monuments in the
region are witnesses to the glory it had once lived in. Glaciers surround
the upper Beas region from three sides, the highest peaks being 21,760 ft
and 23,050 ft. The Chanderkhani pass at 12,200 ft. leading to the Malana
valley is close by and over here, in summers, the vegetation grows up to a
height of 10,000 ft.
Raja Sidh Singh, who built the Naggar Castle, about 504 years ago, has been converted into a hotel. The gracefully built castle has a temple in the courtyard and also houses a small museum. The temples in this area are also worth a visit such as the grey sandstone Gauri Shankar temple, the Chatar Bhuj temple, Tripura Sundri Devi temple and the Murlidhar temple.
Naggar Castle: Now converted into a hotel since 1978 is an imposing structure. It was built by using a local stone, the layers of which are punctuated by long pieces of cut wood. It rises, to be topped by a grey slate roof. Wooden brackets and carved windows are being restored to capture the originality of the castle. The style of construction ensured a lot of resilience in the structure, and it successfully withstood the mighty and disastrous earthquake of 1905. It is said that the stone for building the edifice was to be brought from the other side of river Naggar. Inside this castle is a small temple that could have passed unnoticed had it not been for the powerful legend associated with it. It is believed that it was decided to make Naggar the celestial seat of all the gods in the world.
The Jagti Patt Temple: The Jagti Patt temple's amorphous deity, triangular slab of rock strewn with rose petals and rupee notes, is said to have been borne here from its home on the summit of Deo Tibba by a swarm of wild honey bees-the valley's devtaas in disguise.
Shiva Temple: The grey sandstone Shiva temple of Gauri Shankar is at the foot of the bazaar beside the castle. It was erected during the 11th-12th century. A wicket gate leads to this stone structure, topped with an umbrella-like slate roof, protecting the shikhara from vagaries of uncertain weather. A trader's pressing survival instinct has made him build a small shop very close to the temple gate.
Tripura Sundari Devi Temple: The Tripura Sundari Devi temple is unusually built like a pagoda and on the sloping twin tapering roofs; there is a monkey and a lion carved in wood at each corner. Beside, the temple is having several crafted wood pieces, displaying floral and geometric designs.
Muralidhar Krishna: Murlidhar Mandir is looking down on the town of Nagar, with superb views up the valley to the snow peaks around Solan and the Rohtang Pass. Built on the ruins of an ancient town of Thawa the shrine is set in a large courtyard.
Chatar Bhuj Temple: The little Chatar Bhuj Temple of Lord Vishnu also exists in the town. Every morning and evening, the temple bells toll the music of compassion, peace and brotherhood, unrestrained. Vermilion paste marks inside the temple and on the forehead of the devout, establish a bond between God and man.
The Nicholas Roerich Gallery: The paintings and photographs of late Nicholas Roerich are exhibited in this gallery, who was an artist, writer, photographer, archeologist, explorer and a mystic. Inside the museum, one can see the beds, library, settees, writing tables, toiletries, and samovars of the Roerich family.
Gardhak: It is said that the stones, picked up from the ruins of Gardhak, a fortified palace of Rana Bhosal, gave Raja Sidh Singh his castle. The site commands a stupendous view of the valley and the snow-laden peaks.
Urusvati: A little above, through a winding pathway is situated another Roerich building named Urusvati, meaning 'Light of the Morning Star'. It houses a collection of paintings, embroidery, straw dolls, Russian dolls, musical instruments, ceramic ware, whistles and jewellery boxes, amongst a host of other articles.
Khatrain: It is situated half way between Kullu & Manali about 19km at an altitude of 1,463m. This is the home of Lush orchards and famous for bee keeping and trout fishing.
Air: It also can be approached from the Bhuntar
airport that is one-hour drive away. Delhi is
543-km away from Naggar.
Road: Naggar can be approached by bus from Chandigarh , Kullu and Manali . While from Chandigarh it is an overnight journey, Kullu and Manali are 25 and 15-km away respectively from Naggar.
A good fallback is the Sheetal Guesthouse, where rooms come with balconies, bathrooms and hot water. The equally comfortable Poonam Mountain Lodge, around the corner, offers cosy doubles and has a good non-vegetarian restaurant serving local specialties such as red rice.
The climate of Nagar is very cold and the altitude of gives the place a climate, which is just perfect for the holiday mood. The summers are cool and the winters prove to be very harsh. The best time to visit Nagar is May and October but one can visit this place during winters too.
Manali : 15-km
Kullu : 25-km