First Read this: Geography of District Bilaspur
The old name of Bilaspur was Kehlur. It is said that Bir Chand founder of state found an idol of Goddess Durga beneath a stone slab and after a few days, at the same place a Gujjar named Kehlu saw that one of his goats attacked a leopard when he tried to prey her. When Raja came to know about this he understood the secret of this miraculous slab and built a fort and named it Kot Kehlur, after the name of Kehlu. The Naina Devi temple was constructed for the idol.
The founder of state was Raja Bir Chand who belonged to Chandel Rajput family from Bundelkhand.
Raja Kahal Chand: He was sixth descendent of ruling family and is said that he built Kot Kahlur fort, but according to other account, it was built by Bir Chand.
Raja Ajit Chand: founded the ruling dynasty of Hindur (Nalagarh) and handed over the new Dynasty to his brother Suchet Chand.
Raja Megh Chand: He was a tyrannical ruler and was forced by the people to leave the state and took asylum in Kullu and later he regained the lost kingdom with the help of Delhi’s sultan Altutmish.
Raja Abhisand Chand:
- He was contemporary of Sikandar Lodhi.
- He fought a victorious battle against Tatar khan Amir.
- Later on, Raja and his son Sundar Chand were killed by Tatar’s son treacherously.
Raja Sampurna Chand:
- He was killed by his brother Ratan Chand.
- This was a rare case in Hindu to kill brother for the throne.
Raja Gyan Chand or Ayam Chand (1570):
- He was contemporary of Akbar.
- He adopted Islam.
- His tomb is still at Kiratpur in Punjab.
- He had three sons, Bik Chand elder son remains Hindu but Younger son Ram Chand and Bhima Chand also converted to Islam.
- Bik Chand married to the daughter of Raja Trilok Chand of Kangra (1600-1612).
Raja Bik Chand:
- When he succeeded Gaddi and had two wives one from Kangra who gave birth to Sultan Chand and other was from Bhagal who gave birth to Kesab Chand.
- Raja abdicated the throne to sultan Chand in 1620.
Raja Kalyan Chand (1630):
- He was married to the daughter of Raja of Suket Raja Shyam Saran Sen.
- He Built fort on the border of Hindur which cause a war between two states.
- In the battle, Raja of Hindur was killed.
Raja Tara Chand: He built Taragarh fort in Hindur.
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Raja Deep Chand (1650-1656):
- He shifted the residence of ruling family from Sunhani to new place Dholra on the left bank of river Satluj, traditionally called Vyasgufa.
- He founded the town Bilaspur.
- He changed the salute Jai Deva to Raja, Jai to Miani and Ram Ram to Ranas.
- He was poisoned at Nadaun by Raja Chander Bhan Chand of Kangra.
Raja Bhim Chand (1667):
- He was a minor when his father Deep Chand died.
- He fought a battle with Manak Chand brother of Deep Chand who was dismissed by Raj Mata Jalal Devi from the post of Wazir.
- Bhim Chand was supported by Sidh Sen of Mandi.
- He fought two battles with Guru Govind Singh in 1682-1685.
- The cause of two wars was a white elephant of Guru that was demanded by Bhim Chand.
- He lost the battle and spent last years of his life as Faqir.
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Raja Ajmer Chand (1712-41 AD): He built a fort on the border of Hindur called “Ajmergarh.
Raja Devi Chand (1741-78):
- During his reign revolt took place in his neighboring state Nalagarh where Raja Man Chand and his son were killed.
- Gaje Singh was installed new king of Hindur (Nalagarh) by Raja Devi Chand.
- He was contemporary of Nadir Shah.
- He built the fort of Bhamaikot and gave Ramgarh fort to Hindur.
Mahan Chand (1878):
- He was six years old when his father Devi Chand died.
- The Administration remained under Ramu Wazir who died in 1785.
- Raja Sansar Chand of Kangra invaded Kehlur in 1795 and occupied Chauki Hatwar.
- Sansar Chand built fort on Dhar Jhanjiar in Bilaspur territory and called it Chhatipur.
- During his reign Gurkhas emerged as greater power. Their headquarters was at Garwhal.
- Raja Mahan singh invited Amar Singh Thapa to help him against Kangra ruler Sansar Chand.
- In 1805, Sansar Chand was defeated by Gurkhas forces under the command of Amar Singh Thapa at Mahal Morian (Hamirpur).
Raja Kharak Chand (1824-1839):
- His reign was marked as the darkest page in the history of Bilaspur.
- A revolt took place which was led by his uncle Jagat Chand who later seized the throne of state.
Raja Jagat Chand:
- One of the two Rani of Kharak Chand was pregnant when her husband died and gave birth to a son at her parental house Sirmaur.
- Rani returned to Bilaspur with an army in order to get back the throne.
- Raja Jagat Chand fled to Hindur.
- Later on, he was restored as Raja with the help of Raja of Ambala and Hindur.
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Raja Hira Chand (1857-1882):
- He extended support to the Britisher during 1857 revolt.
- His period is known as a golden age.
- He brought tax reform and reduced taxes.
- In 1882, he paid a visit to Shimla with his son Tikka Amar Chand.
- Raja developed serious illness on the way to state and he died at Mahal.
Amar Chand: In 1885, he got translated all literary sources of state in Devenagri script.
Raja Bijai Chand:
- He became Raja in 1889.
- He brought reforms in judicial system introduced system of court fee and non-judicial stamps were introduced for the first time.
- He constructed Rang Mahal Palace at Bilaspur.
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Raja Anand Chand (1928-1948):
- He succeeded throne on February 1927.
- He passed an Act to abolish Begar and Child marriage.
- He signed the instrument of accession to join Indian Dominion.
- Bilaspur was made Part-C state on 15 August 1948, and on 12 October 1948 Raja Anand Chand was appointed first chief commissioner of Part-C state and continued up to 1″April 1949.
- Siri Chand Chhabra became the second chief commissioner.
- On 1″ July 1954, Bilaspur was merged into Himachal as a new district.
- Raja Anand Chand remained Member of Constituent Assembly, Member of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and member of state legislative assembly.
- He wrote a book entitled,”Bilaspur Past, Present, and Future“.
- He died in October 1983 in London.
- His son Raja Kriti Chand became Raja in 1983, which died in 2013.
Raja Shubhendra Chand:
- He succeeded his father in 2013 and won the Bilaspur Palace.