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Sunday, December 4, 2022

Khaniyara valley — Kangra’s scenic treasure trove of cultural, historic wealth

Khaniyara valley, a Dharamshala suburb nestled in the foothills of Dhauladhar mountains in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, boasts of a perfect combination of historic significance, cultural heritage and nature’s delight, and is an attractive option for a whistle-stop tour.

Considered among the most scenic places in Himachal Pradesh, the angelic beauty of the valley is a feast for eyes. Lush green fields, cool breeze blowing, birds chirping, a fascinating view of the mighty Dhauladhars—the nature’s bounty is in abundance here, for sure.

Conveniently located about 8 km from Dharamshala and 171 km from Himachal capital Shimla, Khaniyara acquired its name from slate deposits. ‘Khan’ is a Hindi word for deposits of natural wealth—black slates in this case, which are mined from the mountains here. Famous for their lustre far and wide, the slates are used in local architecture for roofing and flooring.

In the 1980s when the demand for the slates was at its peak, the Khaniyara panchayat was termed as one of the richest not only in Himachal but entire Asia. The slates were exported to several countries. Slates are mined even today and one can watch these being chipped manually by visiting the village.

Among the main attractions around Khaniyara valley are Norblingka Institute and Aghanjar Mahadev temple.

Norblingka Institute: An authentic representation of Tibetan art and craft, Norblingka is 5.4 km away from Khaniyara. It’s a calm and serene place where one can walk through the semblance of a Japanese garden built using rocks and trees. The Deden Tsuglagkhan is an elephant stone structure built on the traditional Tibetan model. It is surrounded by paintings and murals drawn by Thangka painters. Then there is the Losel Doll Museum, which comprises a unique collection of costumed dolls reflecting regional costumes of Tibet. A café serving a range of local and international cuisines satiates the taste buds of those hungry During travelling.

Aghanjar Mahadev temple: Situated in Khaniyara, Aghanjar Mahadev temple is famous not only for its sculpture, but is also an important site for pilgrimage for Lord Shiva devotees. The legend goes that when Arjuna of Mahabharata was on his way to the Kailash mountains, Lord Shiva appeared and gave him the blessing for “victory over Kauravas”. Mythologists believe that it is here that Baba Ganga Bharti fired ‘Akhand Dhuni’, which is still burning. If you are fed up visiting traditional hill spots and want to be in a place largely unexplored, Khaniyara valley is the place to be.

Nearby tourist places

Kharota village: It’s at a trek of 3.7 km from Khaniyara and the path to the village is full of greenery on both sides. From the village top, one can enjoy the picturesque view of the valley and the dense forest. At night, the place offers a thrilling and captivating experience with darkness all around and the houses in Dharamshala appearing as shimmering beautiful lights ahead.

Thatharna: Situated at an altitude of 8,530 feet, the place is a 5-km trek from Khaniyara. Just beneath the Dhauladhar range, Thatharna offers a breathtaking view of the valley.

How to reach Khaniyara

Air: Gaggal airport is the nearest air-approach medium and is 15.6 km from Khaniyara valley

Rail: The nearest railway station is in Pathankot, about 68 km away

Road: Khaniyara is easily accessible by road and is 8 km from Dharamshala

 

 

 

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