Fortress of Kangra, Himachal Pradesh. Coloured lithograph after Alexander Jack, c. 1847.

  • Jack, Alexander.
Part of:
Six views of Kot Kangra
  • Pictures

About this work


Kangra is the name of a town and a district in Himachal Pradesh in the Himalayas. The town, formerly known as Nagarkot, was a stronghold of the Rajput Rajas. It contained one of the oldest and wealthiest Hindu temples in India, dedicated to Devi Bajreshri. However, the fort was taken by the Turkish conqueror Mahmud of Ghazna in 1009. The town was plundered again in 1360 by Firuz Shah Tughluq. The region is also known for growing tea, the cultivation of which was introduced, presumably by the British, around 1850. In 1855, the headquarters of the district were moved to Dharmsala. The town of Kangra, along with the temple and the fort, were destroyed by an earthquake in 1905.

It has not proved possible to identify precisely the military campaign depicted in some of the images in this series. However, some clues have emerged. The amateur artist John Ruggles (1827-1919) "served under General Wheeler against Kot Kangra in 1846." See Mildred Archer, British Drawings in the India Office Library, London 1969, vol. II, p. 293. In the Dictionary of National Biography, the entry for Sir Hugh Massay Wheeler (1789-1857) mentions his time serving as second-in-command to Sir Harry G.W. Smith during an Indian campaign in 1846 and quotes Smith : "17th Feb. Wheeler crossed the Satlaj, and occupied the strong fort of Philor, and advanced to the banks of the Beas." DNB, London 1909, vol. 20, p. 1350. The title given in Abbey op. cit. for plate 2 is : "Crossing the river Beas." The publication date given in Abbey is 1847. This suggest that the series Six views of Kot Kangra may have had topical interest on two fronts, namely, being the site of a British military campaign, and also that of depicting a region used for growing tea for the home market


[London] : [Smith, Elder and Co.], [1847]

Physical description

1 print : lithograph with two tint plates, with watercolour ; image.


A. Jack delt. Bears number : 6

References note

Travel in aquatint and lithography 1770-1860 from the library of J.R. Abbey, San Francisco 1991, vo. 2, 473.7 with the title : "Fortress of Kot Kangra". Abbey gives the author's full military title of Lieutenant-Colonel. The titles given are based on titles taken from Abbey. The numbers on the images are one lower than the plate numbers given in Abbey. The names of the printmakers given are also taken from Abbey


Wellcome Collection 28061i



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