If there’s one place in Himachal Pradesh that is still free from over-crowding and over-tourism, it’s the Kangra Valley. Perched at an elevation of 733 meters above sea level, Kangra is located at the foothills of the Western Himalayas. The town is known to afford incredible views of the Dhauladhar Range and is essentially called a river valley since it is placed on the confluence of Benar, Majhi and the Beas rivers.

Also known for its distinctive culture and pleasant weather, it’s a great alternative for Dharamshala. The rule of the Katoch Dynasty has had a deep influence on the culture of the valley, and the ancient temples and palaces, most of which got destroyed in an earthquake in the 1900s, are proof of that.

One of the major attractions here is the Masroor Rock Cut Temple, also known as ‘Himalayan Pyramids.’ There’s a strong chance it will soon be nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other religious attractions to explore include Jwalaji Temple, Chamunda Devi Temple and Baijnath Temple. Also, the various tea estates dotting the landscape are great if you wish to unwind in the lap of nature.

Even Kangra Fort is a great architectural marvel known to be built around the time of Mahabharata. Annexed several times by different dynasties and kingdoms, the fort has been a site of various battles. The Tibetan Museum inside the fort complex is a must-visit; it houses collectibles that take you through how Tibetans arrived and established their stronghold in Himachal Pradesh.

The nearby town of Bir is where one gets to see the major stronghold of the Tibetan refugee settlements courtesy of the various Buddhist monasteries strewn across Kangra. Even the neighbouring Billing is an exciting spot to explore; especially if you wish to indulge in adventure activities such as paragliding.