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Nurpur

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Nurpur is a city located in the northwestern part of Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh. The city only has a population of 9,045 people, according to the 2001 India census. Of these, men constitute 52% of the population while the women make up the remaining 48%. The literacy rate is higher than that of the 59.5% national average, with the males having a literacy of 81% and the females, 75% averaging to an overall 78%. The city has an elevation of 643 meters above sea level.

Nurpur was founded in the 11th century by Raja Jhet Pal, who was the younger brother of the ruler of Delhi. It reached its peak during the reign of Raja Basu, from 1580 to 1613, who built an impressive fort that can still be seen today. When the Mughal empire conquered northern India, Raja Basu’s son staged a rebellion which was quelled.

Originally, the city was known as Dhameri. This was changed when it was visited by Queen Nur Jehan, the wife of the Mughal emperor Nuruddin Salim Jahangir, who ruled between 1569 to 1627. The legend goes that upon visiting the town, the queen was so awestruck by its natural beauty and richness that she decided to stay there for the rest of her life. This decision made the local administration worry since the Mughal empire at that time were expanding across India and the local leaders of Dhameri did not want their peaceful town to be a central point for Mughal domination and influenced by external politics. So, to deal with this without offending the queen and suffering the wrath of the Mughal empire, they devised a simple but effective plan. They advised the queen that staying in their town for a long period of time could spoil her great beauty, and that there is also a fictitious local disease in town that might afflict her. This terrified the queen so much that she hurriedly left. The little experience wasn’t in vain, however, as in 1622, the name of the town was changed to Nurpur in honor of the Mughal queen who fell in love with the beauty of the place.

Before India gained independence in 1947, Nurpur was a princely state that was under the rule of the Pathania clan of Rajputs. Until India consolidated the princely states into new states, the Pathania clan had ruled Nurpur for more than eight centuries.

The main attraction of Nurpur is the massive and sprawling Nurpur Fort, built by Raja Basu in the late 16th century. It spreads across a long, flat plateau and forms the western end of the ridge, overlooking the Jhabar Khud, a tributary of the Chakki rivulet. The architectural designs are masterfully done and while it is in ruins now, there are still some finely carved reliefs found in the walls. The fort also has a 16th century idol of Lord Krishna, which still attracts tourists from around the country.

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