Places to visit in Manali

Rohtang Pass

Naggar is an artist’s abode, known on the global map for being the sanctuary of Nicholas Roerich, the well-known Russian artist. Settled majestically near a ridge top, the splendid Naggar Castle Manali is must-visit tourist place in Manali for all when traveling in these parts of The Himalayas.

Sporting an unhurried ambiance, the castle is a great stop for the views from its overhanging long wooden corridors and overlook the Beas Valley. The grand view is simply very panoramic.
Naggar Castle Manali

Naggar Castle Manali has a long glorious history that dates back to 1460 A.D. when it was first built by Raja Sidhi Singh and the castle was used as the royal seat. It remained o till about the 17th century. In the year 1846, Major Hay, an assistant commissioner with the colonial government bought the castle and Europeanized it.
The castle was later sold to the government, who put the heritage building to use by hold court. It only stopped functioning in 1947 after India attained independence from British rule.

However, the building has always been kept open for the weary traveler and vagabond artist, who travels to Naggar and draw inspiration fro Roerich’s great work.
Nicholas Roerich, a Russian count who after having traveled the world, settled down in Naggar. He is best remembered for the thousands of paintings, many of which are on permanent display some of the most prestigious art galleries of the world.

There is a small wooden temple in the Naggar Castle Manali premises that shelters a rocky slab. The belief is that the Kullu Devata’s were determined to make Naggar their celestial seat and the rocky slab was symbolic of it.

Naggar Castle Manali is constructed in the local style of architecture known as ‘kath kuni’. This wood and stone structure boasts of a wonderful architectural grandeur of the bygone ages. It is, in fact, a remarkable blend of European and Himalayan architecture; the structure displays a grand fa├žade and elegantly finished interiors that have fitted staircases and fireplaces, making it a fine specimen of two architectural styles.

The castle was constructed by using locally sourced raw timber that gives it quite a rustic look. The stone was transported from a query at Grardhek across the river Beas. The main door has a rough look for it has been chiseled with the help of an axe and the wood used has been extracted from a massive tree. No metal has been used to attach them and the wooden beams fixed in the walls have also been obtained from whole trees.

The Naggar Castle Manali was the royal residence of Kullu Rajas before the British defeated the Sikhs and captured the whole of Kangra and Kullu states in 1846. Raja Gyan Singh, scion of Kullu royal house sold the castle to Major Hay, for a gun. To give it a European touch, Major Hay added staircases, fireplaces, and chimneys to the hill architecture building.

The castle survived a devastating earthquake of 1905 that had its epicenter in Kangra Valley. The stone and wood beam building was able to absorb the huge tremors of the massive earthquake.

With time the building passed onto the government of Himachal Pradesh, who are running the prime property as a premium heritage hotel.

Roerich Gallery

Those visiting Naggar Castle Manali will not miss walking over to Roerich Gallery, a mere 2 km from the heritage Castle. The artist lived many years at Naggar before he died in 1947. The house now converted into a gallery and museum houses many artworks and other artifacts of the times. There is an actual 1930 Dodge car hidden at one side.

Higher up in the valley, Naggar is located on the left bank of Beas River. It can be reached by road both from Kullu town 25 km and Manali 20 km. The nearest airport is at Bhuntar 35 km away.

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