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