Chanced upon the Nurpur Fort and an ancient Krishna Temple on way to the hills
It is not every day that you chance upon a hidden jewel like Nurpur Fort on way to spend a quiet holiday in the hills. Well, so it happened with me. The happenstance, though it took place a few years ago, was when I was driving from Pathankot in Punjab to Palampur in Himachal Pradesh, an uphill journey of around 120 km. No sooner had we got onto the National Highway 154 or the Mandi Pathankot Road and driven around 25-odd kilometres, we came across a seemingly deserted, almost hidden with thick bushes and tall trees a fort-like structure.
As we had started early, we decided to leave the highway for a while and took a right turn to explore this little-known jewel. Nurpur, earlier known as Dhamedi, has been forever famous for its ancient Krishna Temple located in its inner sanctum. The city was named Nurpur after Mughal queen, Noorjahan, visited the area. Nurpur Fort, on the banks of River Jabbar, was built by the Pathania Rajputs, around 900 years back.
The Brij Raj Swami Temple has a black stone idol of Lord Krishna which was transported here from Rajasthan during the reign of Raja Jagat Singh. Legend has it that Raja Jagat Singh was visiting Chittaurgarh with his main priest, somewhere between 1619 and 1623 on the invitation of its king. The room which was allotted to Raja Jagat Singh and the priest was right next to a temple. Around midnight, the two were woken up by the sounds of dancing and bhajan rendition. When they opened the doors of the temple, the saw a woman singing and dancing in the closed room. It was then that the priest told the raja that when they will leave the city, he should ask for the idol of Krishna from the king. And Raja Jagat Singh did the same, only to be obliged by the king. And thus, the idol of Lord Krishna, made in true Rajasthani style arrived in Nurpur. The walls of the temple are adorned by beautiful and magnificent paintings which highlight interesting incidents from the leaves from Krishna’s life.
The palace and the fort suffered massive destruction due to an earthquake back in 1905 and resulted in the wonderful structure getting a ruined look. At present, the fort doubles up as an educational institution – Rajkiya Varishth Madhyamik Vidyalaya in one of its corner. There are number of ruins strewn all around the massive fort premises which narrate many a story of its glorious golden past.
Around 24 km from Pathankot and 90 km from Palampur
Nearest railhead is Pathankot for broad gauge and Nagrota Bagwan for narrow gauge
Nearest airport is Gaggal, around 50 km away