While Kangra in Himachal Pradesh is unknown to many but when a mention of Dalai Lama and Dharamshala is made, the region suddenly comes in public preview. While Dharamshala, Kangra and Palampur might offer some awesome views of Dhauladhar, there are some unexplored places too. One of these is the Masroor rock temple or Masroor temple.
36 Km or 22 miles of Kangra on the Nagrota Suriyan link road lie the Masroor temples which are often ignored by travellers who pass by.
Masroor temple is among some of the popular rock cut temples of India. This is a cluster of 15 rock cut temples which have been carved out from a single rock. The central shrine was curved out from the middle while the other 14 temples surround it.
East facing idols of Lord Rama, Lakshmana and Sita adorn the main shrine. At the main altar of the temple, you will also find a figure of Lord Shiva. The depiction of Lord Shiva is very interesting here, with his eyes closed and sitting in a meditation mode, much similar to Lord Buddha.
These temples are said to be built during 8th and 9th century and resemble temples at Angkor Wat in Cambodia that are said to be build during first half of 12th century.
History of Masroor Rock temple
It is believed by archaeologists that during its phase of construction, Masroor temple and its surrounding region were plundered by Mahmud Ghazni. The only saving grace was that since it was constructed out of a single rock, not much damage could be done.
Moreover, the events during later centuries and the Kangra Earthquake of 1905 did lot of damage. Narrow stairways which have degraded over the centuries and central tower of the temple complex remain intact. Some of the portion of the temple has been destroyed or degraded over time but a major sheen of the temple is still alive and rocking which attracts visitors and architecture lovers from all over.
How to Reach
Masroor rock temple is 496 Km from Delhi, 50 Km from Dharamshala and 36 Km from Kangra which is the nearest town. You can travel by bus upto Gaggal near Dharamshala and take a local cab from Gaggal to Masroor temple.
Since the Kangra airport is operational and is served by regular flights from Delhi and other major cities, exploring Masroor temple is not difficult and should be on your priority list when you visit Dharamshala. This way, you would be contributing in saving and promoting our cultural heritage, some of which is on the decline due to neglect of society at large.
Happy travelling and happy exploration!