The Battle of Kings

masrur temples

Rock cut Hindu temples of Masrur – photo attributed to Akashdeep83 – found at Wikipedia

It is said that the enmity between the Katoch and Sikh Kings perished with them, but such fierceness does not die with flesh. The Kangra Valley holds wondrous beauty and great mystery, and future historians would never be sure why the Temples of Masrur so resembled Elephanta Caves near Mumbai, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, nor do even the modern Hindus know, though they are its supposed builders.

After a long truce on the ethereal plane, Sansar Chand Katoch and Maharaja Ranjit Singh once again chose to contend with each other, their powers ever waxing. Thus on 4 April 1905 as the humans mark the passage of time, they entered into violent confrontation in the Kangra Valley, and though the visage of supernatural beings was never witnessed by mortals, the earthquake their combat caused killed more than 20,000. Would their conflict next endanger people in Cambodia or Mumbai?

I authored this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to use a Google maps location and image as the prompt for creating a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 149.

Today, the Pegman takes us to the Kangra Valley in Northern India. This is a popular tourist attraction for a number of reasons including the Rock-cut Hindu Temples of Masrur, which also resemble in design those other locations I mentioned in my story.

There really was a devastating quake in the area in 1905, and I used some of the local history involving the Katoch and Sikh battles a century before, weaving in a supernatural element in an attempt to tie all that together.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if disasters and misfortune on the physical plane was caused by perpetual battle between long-dead Kings in the supernatural world?

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit

15 thoughts on “The Battle of Kings

  1. I agree, it would be interesting if earthly disasters were actually by-products of fights amongst the gods or elders. And terrifying too! I have a similar myth in one part of Eneana, where they believe a great swath of destruction that led to a huge “wastelands” separating two regions was due to the gods fighting. Others believe it was just a natural phenomenon. Only the few people who were there and survived know the truth… 🙂


  2. You’ve written a good story, James, that ties together several facts about the location. You mention the Katoch dynasty. I expect that during your researches you came across the startling assertion that this was the oldest dynasty in the world, and could be traced back to (I think) about 8000 BC. Which seems incredible. Makes even a battle of gods seem plausible…!


  3. Enjoyed this mix of the supernatural, ancient cultures, myth and history. It worked very well I think. One thing’s for sure, we’ll all be in a lot of trouble if the dead kings rise


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