From a small town on the highway between Shimla and Kangra, Hamirpur has swiftly expanded as an economic hub for the area. Several roads fan out of this rapidly growing town and this is also the administrative headquarters of the district with the same name. The story of Hamirpur goes back to the epic, ‘Mahabharata’ when this formed a part of the ‘Jalandhara tract’ and was a part of the Trigata of yore; the Katoch dynasty that ruled the large and prosperous kingdom of Kangra (which included the Hamirpur area), also trace their lineage to the time of the Mahabharata. The town dereives its name from Raja Hamir Chand of the Katoch clan who built the fort of Hamirpur and set the foundation of the town. Today, the district is famous for having one of the highest literacy rates on the country as well as one of the highest levels of road density per square kilometre. Apart from being a business and education destination, Hamirpur is strategically located for sightseeing in the vicinity and as a stopover for longer trips.
Height: 925 m
Climate: Summers are warm and cotton clothing is recommended. Winters get cold and woollens are required.
Getting There & Away: How to reach Hamirpur
Rail: The distance of the broad-gauge station of Pathankot is 161 kms. Hoshiarpur is 116 kms and Una is 80 kms from Hamirpur. The narrow-gauge station of Kangra is 70 kms away.
Air: The Kangra Airport (at Gaggal) is 72 kms from Hamirpur.
Tourist Attractions in Hamirpur
Sujanpur – Tihra (25 kms): Sujanpur and the fort of Tihra that lies above the town became the refuge of Sansar Chand in the early 19th century. One of the greatest rules that Kangra has ever had, Sansar Chand was a great builder and patron of the arts; his contribution to the Kangra School of Painting is incomparable. The fortified palace of Tihra, also known as ‘Katoch Garh’, has the remains of the grand ‘Barahdari Hall’ where Sansar Chnad used to hold court. This has twelve chambers for the twelve vassal princes. The fort also holds temples dedicated to Chamunda Devi and to Gauri Shanker – the lattr has some fine frescoes that cover the walls and ceiling; the twelve paintings behind the images are said to have been made by Sansar Chand himself.
Sujanpur’s Narbadeshwara temple holds a wealth of paintings. This splendid structure was built in 1802 by one of Raja Sansar Chand’s wives, Prasanna Devi. Hardly an inch of space has been left unadorned. Also in the town, by the wide chaugan, is the Murli Manohar temple built by Sansar Chand, in his mother’s memory. The large images of Radha and Krishna are carved out of a single shaligram and the architecture is loosely modelled on the famous temple of Baijnath.
Nadaun (28 kms): It was once said of Nadaun, ‘that he who has visited the place, will never leave’. This was initially chosen by Sansar Chand as his capital once he lost the fort of Kangra to Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab. The remains of the old palace at Amtar can still be seen. This is a small town which was once a thriving centre of business on the old trade routes and much of its importance still derives from the highways that pass through this. Nadaun is a well known place for fresh-water fish – especially mahasheer, carp. The town also has the ancient temple of Bhikleshwara Mahadev and a gurudwara.
Deosidh Temple (30 kms): This famous pilgrimage centre is situated on the border of Bilaspur and is well connected by roads from all directions. During the Navratras, there is a continuous stream of visitors to receive blessings of the Babaji. The temple is visited by nearly 45 lakhs of devotees from across the country every year. ‘Mela’s are organized during the Holi festival. Sunday is considered auspicious day of Babaji and attracts numerous devotees.