On the 21st day of September 2012, it was a bright and beautiful morning when we reached Nurpur Fort in Nurpur (Noorpur) Town, (Kangra District in Himachal Pradesh, India) before nine. Young boys in fresh blue and white uniforms were awaiting the doors of knowledge to open, as the Government Boys’ Senior Secondary School is located immediately after the colossal façade of the fort. As we walked past the school, old high walls gaping at the vast blue expanses made an interesting backdrop for the richly carved platform of the old temple of Nurpur. We climbed the grey stone steps leading to the temple facing the west. We rested at the broad high platform and watched the world go by.
Myna, pigeons and parakeets played on the bare tree near the platform. The school prayer began around 9:10 AM. The latecomers squatted behind wild grass and bushes covering a part of the fort to escape punishment. At the end of the prayer, the students moved to classrooms and the latecomers smartly joined them. The students tried to concentrate within the classes. It was quiet again. We started ambling within the fort.
The tall thick walls that protected a big kingdom in the past had new delicate occupants, mould, moss and other plants. The pond was full of lovely lavender-color flowers. The manicured lawns were lush. Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was repairing the palace within the fort, a protected monument.
The temple was clean and peaceful the way it should have been. We could easily access the sanctum of new Brijraj Temple, located in the old Darbar Hall, in the absence of possessive and non-interfering priest. There were hardly any devotees within the temple, making our visit more pleasant.
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As the day matured, several young couples occupied nooks and corners of the ruins, benches installed at the strategic view points and even the open spaces. The vantage points or almost entire fort commanded sweeping views of the surroundings. We spotted the Dhauldhar Range in the north and the Shiwalik Range in the south. In between, the Chakki Khad and the tributaries, such as the Jabhar Khad and Grail Khad washed the foot of the ranges and watered them. Along the rivers, in the valleys and on the shoulders of the mountains the settlements reminded us of achievements of our race.
After the recess bells, the shrieks of joy, innocent screams and gales of laughter filled the air. The fort became busy and lively like the life of a person in the prime years. The students joined the visitors. Monkeys also found a place in the fort that did not charge an entry fee.
We climbed high staircases located within the ruins. The slippery staircases scared us, as there were no roofs to stand on and enjoy the vistas. The staircases ended at the capitals of the pillars and shoulders of the walls that once carried the roofs and provided the privacy to the royals. We looked down inside the ruins from the edge of the staircases for a while only. The edgy feeling coupled with clamor of the school students who were free to go home was annoying. When they saw us, some of the teenagers let out a string of expletives and demanded to be photographed. Some of the students with the “half-baked” brains and knowledge could not identify the Indians. They said loudly, “Look, Chinese lady!” “No, no, angrez (English) from London.” But we are Indians. Barring this teasing, a kind of “molestation,” we enjoyed the time at the fort.
To plan a trip to Nurpur Fort, read What to do and see in Nurpur.