Brief History of District Sirmaur – Himachal Pradesh General Studies

By | November 6, 2016

First Read this: Geography of District Sirmaur

The earliest mention of Sirmaur by the Muhammadan historians occurs in the Taba-quat-i-Nasiri under the year 634 A.D.

According to Kanwar Ranzor Singh in his book ‘Tarikh-i-Riyasat Sirmaur’ the Sirmaur state was founded by Raja Rasaloo who was from Jaisalmer.

Sirmaur’s old name was Surughna’.

The inhabitants of human existence were “Kunindas” who were identified with Modern “Kanets“.

Madan (1046 A.D.):

  • Madan Singh, a Surajbansi Rajput, was King of Sirmaur.
  • During Madan Singh’s reign, a woman, expert in necromancy, presented herself before the Raja and boasted of her skill of acrobat.
  • He was skeptical of her powers and challenged her to cross the Giri river between the Toka and Poka ranges by means of an acrobat’s rope, called ‘Bharat’ in the tumbler’s language, promising her half of his kingdom if she crossed the river and returned by this means.
  • She succeeded in crossing and was returning on the rope when one of the Raja’s officials treacherously cut the rope to prevent her from claiming half the kingdom and the woman fell into the river and was drowned.
  • This act of treachery resulted in a flood that swept away the town, and the Raja with all his kin perished. The country was thus left without a ruler.

Then Pandits of Sirmaur visited Jaisalmer and requested Raja to send one of his Ranis who was pregnant at that time to Sirmaur. When Rani entered the boundary of the state, she gave birth to “Badan Singh” under “Dakh Tree”.

Badal/Badan: He was the chief of Pargana. He gave away his land to “Devas” (Brahmins) and “Rawats” (Rajput’s) for their living. A fight took place between Brahmin headed by Kama and Rajput headed by “Kir Chand” in which the Kama was killed. Kama’s wife collected a small army decided to revenge the death of her husband, beheaded “Kir Chand” with her own hands.

According to another account;

  • It is said that Raja of Jaisalmer, Ugar Sen Rawal, who happened to visit “Haridwar” on pilgrimage. He met Hoshang Rai Nath, a Bhat by caste, of Sirmaur invited him to assume the sovereignty of the kingdom.
  • Ugar Sen Rawal sent his son “Sobha Rawal” who gained the throne and made Rajban his capital.
  • He took the title “Subhans Parkash”.
  • His rule lasted only four years, and he died in 1099 A.D.
  • Ever since the title Parkash continued to be suffixed with the names of the descendants of Soba Rawal.

Mahe Parkash (1108 to 1117 A.D.): 

  • He was the son of Raja Subhans Parkash.
  • He was a good ruler, religious and charitable.
  • He built the Lakshmi Narayan temple.

Raja Udit Prakash (1227 A.D.):

  • He shifted the capital from Rajban to Kalsi (now in Dehradun).
  • When Nizam-ul-Mulk Mohammed Khan rebelled against Razia Sultan he took refuge in the hills of Sirmaur (Bardhar).

Raja Somer Parkash:

  • He captured the fort of Ratesh, now in Keonthal, and made it his capital.

Raja Suraj Parkash:

  • He shifted his capital from Ratesh to Kalsi.
  • During his reign people of Sirmaur raised a revolt.
  • Upon this, Suraj Parkash hastened from Kalsi and subdued the rebels and also overcame the Thakurs of Jubbal, Balsan, Kumharsain, Ghond, Sahri, Theog, Rawain and Kotgarh, making them pay tribute, and appointing his brother Kalyan Chand as their in charge.
  • It is said that his daughter played an important role to suppress the revolt.

Read also: Census 2011 Highlights of District Sirmaur

Raja Bhakat Parkash:

  • During his reign, Sirmaur was made a tributary by “Firoz Shah Tuglaq” of Delhi.

Raja Veer Parkash:

  • Under Raja Jagat Parkash, the Thakurs of Jubbal, Balsan, Kumharsain, Sahri, Rawain, and other chiefs revolted, owing to the Raja’s mal-administration, but Veer Parkash, an energetic ruler, reduced them to obedience and built the fort of Hatkoti on the boundary of Sahri, Rawain, and Jubbal.
  • He built a Devi temple dedicated to Goddess “Durga” on the bank of river Pabbar in the area of “Hatkoti” (Now in Shimla district).
  • He also built a fort known as Rawingarh.

Raja Nekat/Wakat Parkash:

  • He made village Neri as his palace of residence and seat of government.
  • Later his successor Raja Garbh Parkash shifted royal residence from Neri to Gajari (Gargah) situated in “Ratesh” which is at present in the Shimla district.
  • Bubhal Parkash moved the capital to Kalsi again.

Raja Braham Parkash:

  • He made Kot Deothal his capital.

Raja Bhakhat Prakash: 

  • During his reign there was a jagir named “Kotaha” which was given earlier by Sirmaur Raja to ancestors of Thakur Man Chand.
  • When Bhakhat Parkash ascended the throne he demanded from Man Chand his daughter for marriage but he refused.
  • In fear of Raja’s attack, he fled to Delhi gave his daughter to “Jahangir” and adopted Islam with the new name Raja Mohan Murad.

Raja Budhi Parkash:

  • He made his capital Rajpur.

Raja Karam Prakash:

  • He laid the foundation of the city and fort of “Nahan”.
  • He was the disciple of “Baba Banwari Dass”, whose descendants still hold the temple of “Jaganath” at Nahan.
  • Raja Karam Prakash helped Nijabat Khan faujdar of Shah Jahan with horses and army to invade Srinagar.

Mandhata Prakash:

  • He was the contemporary of the “Emperor Shah Jahan“.

Raja Subhag Parkash:

  • He helped Shah Jahan to conquer Srinagar.
  • For his valuable services, Mughal Emperor granted him the illaqa of Kotaha, and the Raja accordingly expelled the Zamindar of Kotaha and annexed that territory.
  • He was a good administrator, who improved and encouraged agriculture.
  • This led the emperor Alamgir to confer upon him the illaqa of Kalakhar (modern Kolagadh) by Farman, on the ground that its Zamindars had mismanaged it.

Raja Mahi Parkash or Bidhi/Budh Chand Parkash:

  • He demanded a daughter in marriage from Raja Rup Chand of Keonthal but he refused.
  • Raja Mahi Parkash attacked Rup Chand with the help of his father-in-law and Raja of Guler and got married to the princesses.
  • Raja Budh Prakash used to sent musk, wild pomegranates, Ice or snow and game to Begam Jahan Ara, eldest daughter of Shah Jahan, and receiving valuable Khillats in return.

Jog Raj/Mast/Medni Parkash (1678):

  • He became Raja under the title of Mast or Medni Parkash. He ruled between 1684 to 1701 A.D.
  • During his reign, Guru Govind Singh came to Sirmaur because he was expelled from “Anandpur” by Kahlur Raja Bhim Chand because Bhim Chand demanded a white elephant from the Guru.
  • From Nahan Guru migrated to Paonta Sahib in “Kiardun” and stayed there for years.
  • The marriage of a son of Raja Bhim Chand was settled with the daughter of Fateh Shah Chief of Garhwal and friend of Guru.
  • On this occasion when Guru sent gifts to Fateh Shah but Raj Bhim Chand warned Fateh Shah that marriage would not take place if the friendship between Guru and Fateh continued.
  • Consequently, Fateh Shah returned all gifts, Guru took it as an insult, and a battle was fought at Bhangani near Paonta Sahib.

Read also: Churdhar Peak – The Highest Peak of Shiwalik Himalaya

Raja Bhup Parkash (1703 A.D.):

  • He was honored with Khillat and the title of Bhim Parkash by the Delhi emperor.

Biji Parkash:

  • His Rani brought the idol of Kali from Kumaon which was installed in a temple at “Kalistan“.

Kirat Singh Prakash:

  • He made great reforms in the state.
  • He was victorious over the Raja of Srinagar, and after routing him turned his arms against the Sikhs, taking Naraingarh, Rampur, Thanadhar, Ramgarh, Morni, Pinjaur and Jagatgarh.
  • Having consolidated his power and secured internal peace, he entered into an alliance with Raja Amar Singh of Patiala and recovered Saifabad from him.
  • He attacked the Pinjaur Fort with the help of Raja of Patiala and killed Ganga Ram who was appointed in-charge of the fort by Gharib Dass.
  • Gharib Dass was the founder of the “Mani Majra” family who possessed 84 villages from his father who was a revenue officer of the Delhi Empire.
  • Again, when Ghulam Qadir Khan, Rohilla, invaded Kahlur, Kirat Parkash sent an army to its assistance, and he led his forces in person to aid the Garhwal Raja against the Gurkhas.
  • Garhwal Raja the ally of Kirat Prakash abandoned the field, leaving the Sirmaur forces alone but Kirat fought against Gurkhas single-handed and the battle concluded with a peace treaty.
  • This treaty fixed the Ganges as the boundary between their kingdoms.

Jagat Singh:

  • The old friendship between Sirmaur and Patiala Rajas helped him to defeat Ghulam Qadir Rohilla in the battle of Katasan (near Nahan).
  • In commemoration of victory he built a temple of Devi of Katasan.

Dharam Parkash:

  • He was the younger brother of Jagat Singh a battle was fought between Ram Singh of Hindur and Dharam Parkash at “Chhalra Bhaira”.
  • In this fight an ally of Ram Singh, Raja Jagat Singh of Baghat fell into the hand of Raj Dharam Parkash.
  • To secure his release Ram Singh was forced to sign a peace treaty.
  • Dharam Parkash left no issue and was succeeded by his brother Karam Parkash.

Karam Parkash: 

  • Assuming the title Karam Parkash, the younger brother of Dharam Parkash ascended the throne. He was an inexperienced ruler.
  • Raja Ram Singh of Hindur started interference in the internal affairs of Sirmuar.
  • Dharam Parkash’s officials, Ajib Singh, Prem Singh, and Kishan Singh, conspired with Kanwar Ratan Singh, the Raja’s brother, whom they desired to place on the throne.
  • They besieged the Raja in the Dun, some 32 miles from Nahan. In the fighting that ensued, one Cholu Mian, who closely resembled Karam Parkash in appearance, was killed and the rumour spread that the Raja had been slain.
  • Taking advantage of this, the Raja managed to escape with his family from the fort and reached Tanoru, whence, aided by Jhanju headman, he fled to Kalsi.
  • Ratan Parkash then seized the throne, but Karam Parkash met Amar Singh Thapa and asked for his help to regain the throne which was accepted by Amar Singh Thapa.
  • Gurkhas expelled Kanwar Ratan Singh but set up their own government leaving Karam Parkash in no better position than before.
  • Amar Singh Thapa appointed his son Ranzor Singh as an administrator of Sirmaur and constructed the “Jaitak” fort.
  • Raja Karam Parkash took asylum at “Buria” in Ambala District, where Rani appealed to Colonel Ochterlony, then a political agent at Ludhiana to help Raja.
  • In 1815, Sirmaur was occupied by Britisher after the Anglo-Gurkha war.
  • Britisher provided Sanad to Raj Kumar Fateh Parkash (minor, 6 years old) instead of Karam Parkash because of his notorious behavior.
  • Karam Parkash continued to reside at Buria till his death in 1826.

Raj Kumar Fateh Parkash:

  • Guler Rani was appointed regent during the minority Raj Kumar Fateh Parkash.
  • Aziz-Ullah-Khan was appointed as administrator of the state for the minority period of Raj Kumar Fateh Parkash.
  • He built “Sheesh Mahal” and “Moti Mahal” for the use of his Rani from Kahlur.
  • Raja Fateh Parkash remained loyal to the British government in an expedition against “Afghanistan” and the first Anglo-Sikh war.

Read also: What is Polyandry?

Raja Shamsher Parkash: 

  • Ascended to the throne in 1856 at the age of ten and ruled till 1898. He inaugurated a new era in the State.
  • During his minority the administration was carried on by the State officials.
  • He provided assistance to Britisher during 1857 revolt who entitled him to a salute of seven Guns.
  • He was married to a daughter of the Raja of Keonthal, a lady of great beauty and ability, who used to conduct the judicial and administrative business of the State in his absence.
  • Raja laid the Garden known as Ranital Bagh in the memory of his Rani, who was efficient in judicial and administrative skills.
  • After her death, in her memory he laid out the garden known as the Rani Tal Bagh at Nahan.
  • By way of social reforms, the Raja prohibited the custom of Siyapa (Bewailing at the time of death).

Reforms and Achievements of Raja Shamsher Parkash:

  • Raja Shamsher Parkash’s policy was to modernize the administration of the State.
  • He toured throughout India, making himself minutely acquainted with the administration of public offices.
  • He established regular police, judicial and revenue courts, a district board and a public works department, and gave Nahan a municipality.
  • Dispensaries, schools, and post-offices were opened and an attempt made to develop the iron mine at Chehta.
  • He established the foundry at Nahan where the well-known equipments and tools were manufactured.
  • His greatest achievement, however, was the colonization of the Kiarda Dun, hitherto a wild and densely forested tract.
  • The land revenue of the State was also settled and proprietary right conferred on the zamindars.
  • The forests were preserved and became a source of revenue.

Other achievements of Raja Shamsher Parkash:

  • Raja Shamsher Parkash received a khillat for services rendered in 1857.
  • In Lord Lytton’s Viceroyalty he was appointed a member of the Imperial Legislative Council.
  • He received the K.C.S.I. in 1876 and the G.C.S.I. in 1886; his salute was raised to 13 guns as a personal distinction.
  • He was also accorded the honour of a return visit from the Viceroy.
  • In 1896 the State was removed from the political control of the Superintendent, Simla, Hill States, and placed under that of the Commissioner of Delhi.

Surinder Bikram Singh (1898):

  • Raja Surendra Bikram Parkash, who was installed by Sir Mackworth Young in 1898.
  • In 1901 the Raja received the K.C.S.I. and in 1902 he was appointed a member of the Imperial Legislative Council for 5 years.
  • The Raja made a present of 20,000 lbs., of tea to the Government for the soldiers engaged in the South African War.
  • He was a strict disciplinarian and effectively checked bribery and corruption by his personal vigilance.
  • He died at Mussoorie in 1911.

Maharaja Amar Parkash:

  • He was formally installed Raja by Sir Louis Dane, Lt.-Governor of Punjab in 1911.
  • His smart little army 400 strong, of sappers and Miners, was sent in 1914 to Mesopotamia to fight for the King-Emperor.
  • In 1915 the Maharaja received the distinction of K.C.S.I.
  • In 1918, he was given the title of Maharaja by Britishers and he was made a Lieut. Col.
  • In 1921 he earned the title of K.C.I.E., and in 1931 his salute was raised from 11 Guns to 13 as a personal distinction.
  • He inaugurated the Mahima library and got the road metalled from Nahan to Kala Amb which was completed in the year 1927.
  • He breathed his last in Vienna on 13th Aug 1933.

Maharaja Rajender Parkash:

  • He was the last Raja of Sirmaur from 1933 to 1948.
  • He was a great sportsman and was especially fond of Hockey, Polo, Cricket and Tennis.
  • After initial agitation the ruler signed the merger document on March 13, 1948 at Nahan.
  • But the merger of the state with Himachal was legally recognized from 15″ April 1948.
  • The Praja Mandal of Sirmaur was founded in 1935-36.
  • It was only in 1937 that regular Praja Mandal was found under the presidentship of Chaudhary Sher Jung.
  • Some of the other important leaders of Praja Mandal of Sirmaur are Sarv Shri Nagender Singh, Rajender Dutt, and Devender Singh, etc.
  • During 1943-45, Praia Mandal became a force under the leadership of Dharam Narayan and Pandit Shiva Nand Ramoul.

Read also:

  1. Pajhota Movement (Aandholan) of Sirmaur (1942)
  2. Major characteristics of the district Sirmaur
  3. The Economy of District Sirmaur
  4. Places of tourist interest in District Sirmaur
  5. Places of Religious Interest in District Sirmaur
  6. Places of Historical Interest in District Sirmaur
  7. Fairs and Festivals of District Sirmaur
  8.  History of District Kullu

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