Haripur Fort in Himachal Pradesh - A Heritage of Guler Riyasat which you would want to see before it vanishes because of lack of maintenance

I talked about the sorry state of the Guler monuments in Haripur, in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, in my post about the Lord Ram temple we chanced upon in this area. If that was bad, this fort was heartbreaking. We were searching for interesting places to visit on the way to Dharamshala and this fort had popped up. We were expecting this place to be small, but were definitely not prepared for the state that the fort is in.


I talked about the sorry state of the Guler monuments in Haripur, in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, in my post about the Lord Ram temple we chanced upon in this area. If that was bad, this fort was heartbreaking. We were searching for interesting places to visit on the way to Dharamshala and this fort had popped up. We were expecting this place to be small, but were definitely not prepared for the state that the fort is in. 

At first when Google Maps told us that we had arrived, we serious doubted its claims. because we found ourselves at a crossing with some buildings around us, but none of them looked like a fort. And there was no path leading away from this crossing that looked like it would lead us to the fort.

At first when Google Maps told us that we had arrived, we serious doubted its claims. because we found ourselves at a crossing with some buildings around us, but none of them looked like a fort. And there was no path leading away from this crossing that looked like it would lead us to the fort. 


So we asked a couple of people standing there, probably waiting for a bus. And they pointed us to a big, but not fort-size big, building right there on the crossing. The gates seemed to be closed and there wasn't any ticket counter in sight. So we were still not sure.

So we asked a couple of people standing there, probably waiting for a bus. And they pointed us to a big, but not fort-size big, building right there on the crossing. The gates seemed to be closed and there wasn't any ticket counter in sight. So we were still not sure.  


Moreover we could see some sheep and goats on the yard, who looked as if they owned the place. And they did not seem to have any intentions of moving or leaving anytime soon. So we asked the locals. They informed us that we could go inside the fort, but it was in a bad state and could collapse any moment.

Moreover we could see some sheep and goats on the yard, who looked as if they owned the place. And they did not seem to have any intentions of moving or leaving anytime soon. So we asked the locals. They informed us that we could go inside the fort, but it was in a bad state and could collapse any moment. 


This was a first, but we decided to risk it. As we got closer, we could see a lot more sheep and goat all over it. At the entrance, all over the stairs that we would have to take to reach the yard. This looked scary, but also reassuring. Afterall, if the fort could survive the weight of so many goats and sheep, two humans could hardly make a difference.

This was a first, but we decided to risk it. As we got closer, we could see a lot more sheep and goat all over it. At the entrance, all over the stairs that we would have to take to reach the yard. This looked scary, but also reassuring. Afterall, if the fort could survive the weight of so many goats and sheep, two humans could hardly make a difference.  


However, we were also scared. Those sheep and goats looked like they meant business, and their horns looked sharp. Vijay climbed up some rocks and spotted the Gaddi (Himachali nomad shepherds) to whom this large herd seemed to belong. So he asked them whether it was safe to navigate through the sheep. They assured us that it was safe.

However, we were also scared. Those sheep and goats looked like they meant business, and their horns looked sharp. Vijay climbed up some rocks and spotted the Gaddi (Himachali nomad shepherds) to whom this large herd seemed to belong. So he asked them whether it was safe to navigate through the sheep. They assured us that it was safe. 


We also asked about a ferocious looking dog that watching us from a amid the sheep. The dogs that accompany gaddis are famous for their size and temper. But the Gaddis assured us that the dog was safe too. Nevertheless, Vijay picked up a stick as we started ascending the stairs, in hope that he could defend us from 100s of sheep and a dog in case they decided to attack us.

We also asked about a ferocious looking dog that watching us from a amid the sheep. The dogs that accompany gaddis are famous for their size and temper. But the Gaddis assured us that the dog was safe too. Nevertheless, Vijay picked up a stick as we started ascending the stairs, in hope that he could defend us from 100s of sheep and a dog in case they decided to attack us. 


Anyway, we managed to reach the fort and it seemed to be occupied by Gaddis. They were cooking food in the courtyard and one old man was smoking a hookah. We asked the woman, who seemed to be in-charge of this nomadic family of humans and beasts, about why their dog wasn't attacking us. She said that he was a sweet-natured dog and then calmly pointed to another shabby, angry looking female dog that was tied to a pole at a distance, and said, "that is the one you should watch out for." We thanked our stars that that dog was tied, else we were sure it would have tried to take a bite out of our shins.

Anyway, we managed to reach the fort and it seemed to be occupied by Gaddis. They were cooking food in the courtyard and one old man was smoking a hookah. We asked the woman, who seemed to be in-charge of this nomadic family of humans and beasts, about why their dog wasn't attacking us. She said that he was a sweet-natured dog and then calmly pointed to another shabby, angry looking female dog that was tied to a pole at a distance, and said, "that is the one you should watch out for." We thanked our stars that that dog was tied, else we were sure it would have tried to take a bite out of our shins. 

Anyway, while being judged by sheep, goats, dogs and humans, we made our way to the interiors of the fort. It was there that we found the family of the caretaker. They were living in the only two rooms that were still standing  Their two daughters had just returned from school and hadn't even taken off their school bags. However, they generously allowed us to look around.

Anyway, while being judged by sheep, goats, dogs and humans, we made our way to the interiors of the fort. It was there that we found the family of the caretaker. They were living in the only two rooms that were still standing  Their two daughters had just returned from school and hadn't even taken off their school bags. However, they generously allowed us to look around. 

The fort was built by Raja Harish Chandra Guler about 900 years back when he developed the kingdom of Haripur. The reason why he left is old kingdom and built this new one is not a happy one. If you want to read about it, please read this post. I have tried to capture some details here.

The fort was built by Raja Harish Chandra Guler about 900 years back when he developed the kingdom of Haripur. The reason why he left is old kingdom and built this new one is not a happy one. If you want to read about it, please read this post. I have tried to capture some details here. 

The fort overlooks the valley and strategically seems to be at a good location. It was built on the banks of a rivulet known as Banganga.

The fort overlooks the valley and strategically seems to be at a good location. It was built on the banks of a rivulet known as Banganga. 

Overall, there isn't much to be seen here. The walls are interesting and if it had been maintained, the fort had potential. It is said that Haripur was the place where the legendary Kangra Art was born and at one time, this fort boasted of several fine specimens of it. But today its walls are bare, and the fort seems ready to collapse at the slightest provocation. Hopefully though, it can still be saved, if the Government shows some love.

Overall, there isn't much to be seen here. The walls are interesting and if it had been maintained, the fort had potential. It is said that Haripur was the place where the legendary Kangra Art was born and at one time, this fort boasted of several fine specimens of it. But today its walls are bare, and the fort seems ready to collapse at the slightest provocation. Hopefully though, it can still be saved, if the Government shows some love.    

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