Brief History of District Kangra – Himachal Pradesh

By | November 6, 2016

Before you dive into the world of reading History of District Kangra, we recommend you to understand or get an idea about the brief geography of District Kangra. We have published an article for you on this particular topic. 

Read here: Brief Geography of District Kangra

Ancient History of Kangra:

During ancient times, the name of Kangra was ‘Nagarkot’ or ‘Bhimkot’. Kangra was a part of ancient ‘Trigarta’ during the Mahabharata time which means the territory drained by three rivers; the Satluj, the Beas and the Ravi. The name Trigarta also finds mention in Puranas and Rajtaringini.

  • The Plain areas and Hill areas of Trigarta were called as Jallandhara and Nagarkot
  • Some evidence of Stone Age has been found in this region. G.C. Mahapatra found 52 stone axes in the village Rahaur on the bank of River Banganga.
  • More remnants of the Stone Age have been found in Nadaun on the bank of River Beas.
  • An almond-shaped stone axe has been found at the village Nandrool near Kangra.
  • Out of the 360 coins of Audumbaras, 103 coins have been found near Tripal and Jwalamukhi of Kangra district.
  • 4 coins of Kushanas rulers found in Kanihara and 3 coins of Kunindas in Jwalamukhi.
  • According to Sir A. Cunningham, Trigarta derived its name from the demon Jalandhara, the son of Ganga and Ocean, mention of which has been made in Padma Purana. His wife was Barinda and he was killed by Lord Shiva.
  • Sir A. Cunningham was the first to draw attention to the history of Trigarta in detail.
  • According to the second account, Jalandhara was killed by Vishnu.
  • The third account confines Jalandhara’s body to Kangra valley. The pine tree forests between Jadrangal and Palampur is called Brindavan or Bindravan after the wife of Jalandhara.
  • The first historical mention of Trigarta is found in the 5th century B.C. in the writings of Sanskrit writer Panini who called Trigarta as Ayudhajivi Sangha a warrior community.
  • According to Sir A. Cunningham, the first historical notice to Jalandhara is to be found in the work of Ptolemy, the Greek geographer where it is called Kalindarine.
  • Susharma Chandra (traditional founder of Trigarta), the 234th King from the founder of the dynasty Bhuma Chand (mythical progenitor), is identified with King Susharma of Mahabharata sided with Kauravas against Pandavas and attacked King Virata of Matasyadesa. The original seat of the family was at Multan.
  • Traditionally, the Nagarkot fort is said to have been founded by Raja Susharma Chandra.
  • In the Tarik-i-Yamini, Utbi the private secretary of Mahmud Ghazni called Nagarkot as Bhimnagar, but Farishta refers to it as Bhimkot.
  • Trigarta is identified as Katoch dynasty in recent times.

The Europeans travelers who visited Kangra were:

  • Thomas Coryat (1615 A.D.)
  • Thevenot (1666 A.D.)
  • Foster (1783 A.D.)
  • William Moorcraft (1832 A.D.)
  • Vigne (1835 A.D.)

Foster and Moorcraft did not visit Kangra but passed through the outer hills of Kangra.

  • The Chinese pilgrim Hieun Tsang visited Jalandhara in 635 A.D. and stayed in Kangra Hills as a guest of Raja Utitas and again stayed in 643 A.D. in Jalandhara on his return journey.

Read also: History of Kangra Fort

Medieval History of Kangra: 

Nagarkot fort was captured by Mahmud Ghazni in 1009 A.D in his fourth expedition to India and remained in his hands till 1043 A.D. During this attack, the Raja of Kangra was Jagdish Chand, 436th and 202nd descendent of Bhuma Chand and Susharma Chandra respectively. Tomar Raja Mahipal of Delhi liberated Nagarkot Fort in 1043 A.D. by defeating Modud, the grandson of Mahmud. Abdul Rashid a son of Mahmud appointed Hastagin Hajib as the governor of Punjab and recaptures the Nagarkot Fort in 1051-52. In 1060 A.D., Kangra Raja successfully recaptured the fort again.

Raja Jay Chandra: Reference about him is found on two slabs in the Shiva Temple of Baijnath (Vaidyanath) in the village Kiragrama. The name engraved of the Rana of Kiragrama was Laxman Chandra.   

Prithvi Chand (1330): During his reign, Mohammed Bin Tuglaq captured Kangra fort in 1337.

Rup Chand (1360-75):

  • His name is found in Dharam Chand Natak written by Manik Chand in 1562 A.D.
  • Raja Rup Chand of Kangra was participating in revengeful expeditions against the central authority, and he plundered the plains upto Delhi, was returning, he was encountered and lost all wealth to the Sultan of Kashmir Shahab-ud-din.
  • In order to teach a lesson to Raja Rup Chand of Kangra, Firoz Shah Tuglaq invaded Nagarkot and besieged the fort with his army in 1365 A.D.
  • We find references to this invasion in ‘Tarikh-i-Firoz-Farishta’ and ‘Tarikh-i-Firoz-Shahi’.
  • Raja Rup Chand and Firoz Shah reached an agreement in which Raja Rup Chand accepted the suzerainty of the latter.
  • After the agreement in 1365 D., Firoz Shah visited Jawalamukhi and took away with him 1300 books of Sanskrit and a book was translated into Persian by an eminent Persian writer ‘Ajjudin Khalid Khani’ and named the book ‘Dalai-i-Firozshahi’ which deals with Philosophy, Astrology, and divination.

Sangara Chand (1375): During his reign, the successor of Feroz Shah Tuglaq, Nasir-ud-din (Mohammed Tuglaq) took refuge at Nagarkot, when he was ousted by his two brothers from Delhi and stayed here till 1388 and regained his Delhi throne in 1390.

Megh Chand (1390):

  • During his reign, a Mangolian invader Timur-i-Lung, on his return journey from Delhi in 1398-99, plundered the lower Sirmaur Hills, when Alam Chand was the chief of Hindur.
  • Pathankot and Nurpur (Dhameri) must have suffered his attack on his way back.
  • Timur-i-Lung wished to capture Nagarkot but couldn’t capture it.

 Hari Chand-I (1405):  

  • One day, he set out on hunting towards a jungle in Harsar, somehow got separated from his party and fell into a well. After making a diligent search, officials returned to the capital and performed his death ritual assuming him dead. Even the Ranis became Sati and his younger brother Karam Chand was installed as Raja.
  • However, he was alive when a passing merchant rescued him from the well after 22 days.
  • On hearing what had taken place in Kangra, he didn’t return to Kangra rather selected a place near the junction of Banganga, Kurali and Neugal rivers, founded the town Haripur and established a new independent state of Guler.
  • Down to the present time, Guler takes precedence of Kangra on all ceremonial occasions.

Sansar Chand-I (1430): An inscription of his reign exists in the Vajresvari Devi temple in Bhawan, tells us that he was tributary to Muhammad Shah, Sayid of Delhi.

Dharam Chand (1528):

  • After sitting on the Delhi throne in 1540 A.D., Sher Shan Suri sent his general Khawas Khan to Nagarkot to capture Hill country.
  • After the conquest, Hamid Khan Kakar was made the in-charge of Nagarkot Fort but many historians say that this fort was first captured by Jahangir in 1620.
  • Punjab was then under the rule of Sikandar Shah Sur, a nephew of Sher Shah Sur.
  • Akbar sent his army against Sikandar Shah and he sought refuge in the Maukot Fort in Mau Hills between Pathankot and Nurpur where he surrendered to Akbar and was allowed to retire to Bengal.
  • Akbar initiated the practice of sending hostages to the Mughal court, and in the reign of Jahangir, there were 22 young princes from the Hill States as hostages in the Mughal court.

Jai Chand (1570):

  • Akbar sent Raja Ram Chand of Guler to arrest Raja Jai Chand under some suspicion for some unknown reasons.
  • Bidhi Chand a minor at that time regarded his father dead, came to power and broke into the revolt against Akbar in A.D. 1572. Akbar sent his army under the Viceroy of Punjab Khan Jahan Hussain Quli Khan to subdue the territory and the territory was given to Birbal as Jagir by Akbar.
  • Now Birbal along with the Mughal forces moved towards Nagarkot fort to capture it. On the way, they captured Raja Bhakt Mal of Nurpur who was Bairam Khan at Lahore.
  • Kotla fort which was located 20 miles from Nurpur, captured by Raja of Kangra by force, originally belonged to the Raja Ram Chand of Guler.
  • Kotla fort was snatched by the Mughal army from Raja of Kangra and handed it over to the Raja of Guler.
  • When seize of the Kangra fort seemed favourable to the Mughals, news reached from the plains that Akbar’s relatives Ibrahim Hussain Mirza and Musud Mirza had invaded Punjab. The Mughal army now departed to Punjab to oppose the Mirzas.
  • Akbar was told that Kangra was famous for four things; (a) The manufacturing of new noses (b) the treatment of eyes diseases (c) Basmati rice and, (d) The strong fort.

Bidhi Chand (1585):

  • Bidhi Chand became Raja after the death of his father Jai Chand in 1585 A.D. formed an alliance of the states between Jammu and Kangra.
  • In 1588-89, the alliance broke into the rebellion and Akbar sent Zain Khan Koka who successfully suppressed the revolt.
  • After the surrender, Raja Bidhi Chand had to keep his son Trilok Chand as hostage in the court of Mughal Emperor Akbar.
  • Another rebellion broke out in 1594-95, led by Raja of Jasrota but Raja Bidhi Chand of Kangra and Raja Basu of Nurpur did not participate in it. Mirza Rustam Qandhari and Sheikh Farid suppressed this rebellion.

 Trilok Chand (1605): In 1605, Jahangir also succeeded to the throne in Delhi. The people of Kangra have a story that when Salim (Jahangir) and Trilok were together at Delhi, the latter had a parrot which Salim wished to possess but prince Trilok denied. As a result, Jahangir invaded Kangra on becoming the Emperor.

Hari Chand-II (1612):

  • In 1615 A.D., Jahangir sent his allies Raja Suraj Mal of Nurpur (Dhameri) and Sheikh Farid or Murtaza Khan to capture Kangra, but some controversy broke out between the two. The plan to capture Kangra was postponed after the death of Farid Murtaza Khan.
  • Raja Suraj Mal was recalled by Akbar and sent to Deccan to help the prince Shah Jahan in 1616 A.D.
  • In another attempt in 1616 A.D., Raja Man Singh of Jaipur was sent to capture Kangra but he was killed by a Zamindar Sangram of the hilly area.
  • Again in the year 1617 A.D., Jahangir sent his allies Raja Suraj Mal of Nurpur and Shah Quli Khan Muhammad Taqui to capture Kangra.
  • The same story was repeated again as some controversy broke out between Suraj Mal and Shan Quli Khan and as a result, Shan Quli Khan was asked by Jahangir to retreat back.
  • Now Raja Suraj Mal started sending away imperial troops to his Jagir and broke out into the rebellion against Mughals.
  • Jahangir sent his able man Raja Raiyan Sunder Dass (also called as Bikramjit) to suppress the rebellion.
  • Raja Suraj Mal fled away to Mankot fort, from there to Nurpur fort and then fled to Taragarh fort in Chamba where he died in 1619 A.D.
  • Kangra fort came under the Mughals in 1620 A.D. Raja Jagat Singh younger brother of Raja Suraj Mal helped the Mughals to capture Kangra fort.
  • Nawab Ali Khan was appointed as the first Governor of Kangra Fort and the Mughals ruled the fort till 1783 A.D. His son Humrat Khan was the second governor.
  • On 20th November 1620, new of the capture of Kangra fort reached the Jahangir.
  • Jahangir visited Dhameri (present-day Nurpur) in 1622 A.D. and renamed Dhameri as Nurpur before the name of his wife ‘Nur-Jahan’.
  • Jahangir constructed a Mosque inside Kangra fort and named one of the doors of Kangra fort as ‘Jahangiri Darwaza’.
  • Most of the areas in the Hills were given to Itimad-ul-Daulah (Noor Jahan’s father) as a Jagir.

 Chandar Bhan Chand (1627):

  • He continued guerilla warfare against the Mughals.
  • The only territory he was left with was above Alampur including Lambagram, Jaisinghpur, and Bijapur which is often called as Rajgir on the bank of river Beas.
  • He built a fort near Nirwanah east of Dharmshala. Before his capture, he lived at a place on the outskirts of Dhauladhar called ‘Chander Bhan ka Tilla’.

Read also: Legendry Personalities of District Kangra

 Vijay Ram Chand (1660): He founded the town Bijapur which remained the residence of Rajas till the reign of Raja Ghamand Chand.

Bhim Chand (1690): He followed a policy of ‘pacific recourse’ and regular attendance at Mughal court for which he was called ‘Diwan’. His brother Kripal Chand made Bhawarnawali Kuhl (watercourse) from the snow-fed Dhauladhar above Bandla (Palampur).

Alam Chand (1697):  In 1697 A.D. Raja Alam Chand founded Alampur near Sujanpur Tira.

Hamir Chand (1700): In 1700 A.D., Hamir Chand son of Alam Chand founded Hamirpur town.

 Abhay Chand (1747): He built the Thakurdwara in Alampur and a fort called Abhayamanpur or Tira in 1748.

Ghamand Chand (1751):

  • Ahmad Shah Durrani attacked the territory of Punjab ten times between 1748 A.D and 1788 A.D. In 1752, Delhi Emperor ceded Punjab along with the Hill States to Ahmad Shah Durrani.
  • Kangra Fort was still under the reign of Mughals and the last Mughal Governor of the fort was Nawab Saif Ali Khan.
  • Taking advantage of Durrani’s attacks; Raja Ghamand Chand captured areas of Kangra and Doab.
  • In 1751 A.D. Ghamand Chand founded Sujanpur town.
  • In 1759 A.D., Ahmad Shan Durrani transferred Jalandhar doab and the areas between River Satluj and Ravi to Raja Ghamand Chand, thus made him the governor of Jalandhar doab.
  • The use of dual name Sujanpur-Tira dates back to his reign.

Sansar Chand-II (1775):

  • He succeeded to the throne at the age of 10.
  • Jassa Singh Ramgarhia was the first Sikh to attack the Kangra, Chamba, and Nurpur.
  • Sansar Chand wanted to capture Kangra Fort which was then under the garrison of Mughal governor Saif Ali Khan. He requested Jai Singh Kanheya to help him against Mughals. The combined forces of Jai Singh Kanheya and Sansar Chand captured the Kangra fort in 1781-82.
  • After the conquest, in 1783D. Jai Singh Kanheya took over Kangra fort under his control and denied to give it to Sansar Chand. But eventually, in 1786 A.D., Jai Singh Kanheya returned Kangra fort to Sansar Chand in exchange of the territory in the plains.
  • Another account says that Jai Singh Kanheya bribed Jewan Khan, son of Saif Ali Khan, who was then dead to vacate the fort, and thus got possession of it till 1786.
  • After Kangra fort acquisition, Sansar Chand demanded from the Hill Chiefs their surrender to him. He demanded Rihlu area from Chamba Raja. On his refusal, Sansar Chand attached Raja Raj Singh of Chamba and defeated him in a battle at ‘Nerti Shahpur’ in 1786.
  • He also attacked Mandi, and made captive the minor Raja Ishwari Sen and kept him as a prisoner at Nadaun, Hamirpur for 12 years.
  • 1787 A.D. to 1805 A.D. was the golden period for Sansar Chand. Raja Sansar Chand was regarded as Hatim of that age and, in generosity, the Rustam of that time.
  • His court used to be held at Amtar near Nadaun in the earlier part of his reign.
  • In 1803-04, he invaded the plains near Hoshiarpur and Bajwarah but was defeated by Ranjit Singh.
  • Then he moved towards Kehlur in 1794 A.D. and annexed the part lying right bank of Satluj. This act led to the downfall of his kingdom.
  • Raja of Kehlur Mahan Chand in “alliance with the other Hill rulers” invited Gurkha Amar Singh Thapa to counter Raja Sansar Chand.
  • Chamba Raja Jit Singh sent a force under Wazir Nathu to assist the Gurkhas.
  • A battle took place at Mahal Morian (in Hamirpur) in 1805, in which Amar Singh Thapa defeated Raja Sansar Chand. Gurkhas on reaching Nadaun also liberated Raja Ishwari Sen.
  • Sansar Chand took the position at Tira Sujanpur after the defeat. He made a request for help to Ranjit Singh through his brother Fateh Chand against Gurkhas and offered Kangra Fort as the price of help.
  • Ranjit Singh accepted his request, and month-long negotiations took place at Jwalamukhi temple between Sansar Chand and Ranjit Singh and a treaty was signed on July 20, 1809 known as Jawalamukhi Treaty.
  • In 1809, Ranjit Singh with his army advanced towards Kangra, defeated Gurkhas and pushed them to the east of Satluj River.
  • In order to make Sansar Chand fulfill all conditions under the Jawalamukhi Treaty of 1809, Ranjit Singh kept his son Anirudh Chand as a hostage under the charge of Fateh Singh Ahluwalia.
  • On 24th August 1809, Kangra Fort and 66 villages in the Kangra valley came under the possession of Ranjit Singh.
  • Desa Singh Majithia was appointed as governor of Kangra Fort, succeeding Naurang Wazir.
  • Sansar Chand died in December 1824.

Once Fateh Singh brother of Sansar Chand was taken ill and all hope of his survival was gone. Even preparations of his funeral had started and Ranis being ready to become Sati when Mr. Moorcraft with his medicinal skills able to save his life. Fateh Singh exchanged his turban for Moorcraft’s hat and made him his brother by adoption.

 Anirudh Chand (1824):

  • Ranjit Singh demanded 2 Lakh rupees were Nazrana from Anirudh Chand to accede the gaddi but he could pay only 1 lakh and rest was remitted.
  • Prince Kharak Singh (son of Ranjit Singh) exchanged turbans in token of brotherhood with Anirudh Chand.
  • In 1827, when Anirudh Chand visited Ranjit’s court, he was asked for the hand of one of his sisters to the Hira Singh son of Raja Dhian Singh of Jammu who was the Prime Minister of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
  • This proposal was unacceptable to Anirudh Chand but he accepted it under pressure.
  • Anirudh Chand delayed the marriage for one year intentionally, and then Ranjit Singh marched towards Nadaun to speed up the marriage, if necessary by means of force.
  • On hearing this, Anirudh Chand sent his family across the river Satluj and himself fled into British territory.
  • When Ranjit Singh reached Nadaun, Fateh Chand, the younger brother of Sansar Chand offered his own granddaughter in marriage to Raja Hira Singh. In return, he received Rajgir pargana as Jagir.
  • Anirudh Chand married his two sisters to the Raja to Tehri Garhwal.
  • On 9th March 1846, Kangra directly came under British control.

Read also: District Kangra Highlights of 2011 Census

The offshoots of the Kangra were Guler, Jaswan, Datarpur, Siba, Nurpur, Kutlehar, and Bara Banghal. Without these states, the history of Kangra will remain incomplete.

 Jaswan State:

Jaswan was founded by Purab Chand in 1170 A.D. with its capital at Rajpura. It was the first offshoot of Kangra and the clan name is Jaswal. Una district was formerly known as Jaswan Doon drained by river Swan.

Gobind Chand: In 1572, Gobind Chand was made guardian of Bidhi Chand a minor son of Raja Jai Chand of Kangra when he was taken as a prisoner by Akbar. He took part in both revolts against Mughals in 1588-89 and 1594-95.

Umed Chand: He helped Gurkhas against Sansar Chand in 1805. Later his state was annexed by Ranjit Singh in 1815. In the second Anglo-Sikh war in 1848, he joined hands with Sikhs against the British for which he and his son Jai Singh were deported to Almora where both died.

Ran Singh: He received the Jagir of Ramkot in Jammu when he married the Princess of Jammu. The title of Raja was not recognized by the British for him.

Guler State:

The original name of the state was Gwalior derived from the word ‘Gopala’ or ‘Gwala’ meaning a cowherd. Gwala pointed out the Hari Chand, the site where a tiger and goat were seen drinking water together. The name of the clan was Guleria.

Hari Chand-I (1405): He founded the Guler State in A.D. 1405. It was the same Hari Chand-I who was the ruler of Kangra. He built Haripur fort near Banganga River.

Ram Chand (1540): He was the 15th descendant of Hari Chand and said to have captured Raja Jai Chand of Kangra following the orders of Akbar.

Jagdish Chand (1570):

  • Raja Bidhi Chand of Kangra in 1588-89 A.D. formed an alliance of the states between Jammu and Kangra and broke into the rebellion against Mughals but Raja of Guler didn’t participate in this revolt.
  • As a reward, Akbar restored the areas of Guler state i.e. Kotla fort and nearby areas which were seized by Jai Chand of Kangra.

Rup Chand (1610):

  • He was the most notable chief of Guleria clan and said to have participated in the final seize of Kangra Fort in the reign of Jahangir.
  • He received the ‘title of Bahadur’ and ‘Khillat’ from Jahangir for his service.

Man Singh (1635):

  • From his time the suffix of the family was changed to ‘Singh’ by the order of Shah Jahan who admired him for his valour and named him ‘Sher Afghan’.
  • He helped Mughals in seize of Maukot and Taragarh in A.D. 1641-42.
  • He built the fort ‘Mangarh’.

Bikram Singh (1661): He was famous for his physical strength and could break a coconut into pieces with his hands.

Raj Singh (1675):

  • Raja Raj Singh, Raja Chatar Singh of Chamba and Raja Dhiraj Pal of Basholi made an alliance to save their territory against the Viceroy of Lahore Khwaja Riza Beg used to make inroads in the hill states.
  • He also defeated the Mughals forces under Hussain Khan the governor of Kangra and saved Mandi and Kehlur from similar oppression.

 Dalip Singh (1695): His father Raj died in 1695 when he was just 7 years old. Raja Udai Singh of Chamba was appointed his guardian.

 Goverdhan Singh (1730): He had a quarrel with Adina Beg Khan, governor of Jalandhara doab, over a horse, in which Guleria chief emerged victorious.

 Prakash Singh (1760): In 1758, Guler came under the control of Ghamand Chand of Kangra. In 1785, Wazir Dhian Chand of Guler was able to capture the Kotla ilaqa which was under the control of Mughals and even repulsed Sansar Chand of Kangra.

Bhup Singh (1790):

  • He was the last ruling chief of Guler.
  • He joined the combined forces of Hill States under the leadership of Amar Singh Thapa against Sansar Chand in 1805.
  • In 1811, Guler was the first state to be annexed by Ranjit Singh under the command of Desa Singh Majithia.

Shamsher Singh (1826): He liberated Haripur Fort from the Sikhs in the first Sikh war.

Baldev Chand:  He was the first Viceregal Darbari in the Kangra district.

Siba State:

  • Siba was an offshoot of Guler founded in D. 1450 by Sibran Chand younger brother of Guler chief.
  • Jahangir and Noor Jahan visited Siba in A.D. 1622.
  • Siba state remained under the rule of Sansar Chand from 1786 to Gurkha’s invasion in 1806. The Raja of Siba was Gobind Singh at that time.
  • In 1808 Raja Bhup Singh of Guler invaded Siba and annexed it.
  • In 1809, it came under Ranjit Singh and in 1830; he restored 1/3rd part of the state called Koi branch to Raja Gobind Singh, 1/4th part called Kotla branch to Mian Devi Singh (nephew of Gobind Singh) and the Siba fort remained under his jurisdiction.
  • When Gobind Singh died, his son Ram Singh came became Raja and he fought against Sikhs in the second Anglo-Sikh war and was able to take Siba Fort from Sikhs. He also ousted his cousin Mian Devi Singh from his jagir of Kotla branch.
  • In 1848, British incorporated Siba jagir (Kotla branch), Datarpur, Jaswan and Guler.
  • Raja Ram Singh with the help of his brother Sunder Singh retained the State and royal chair of Raja.
  • In 1858, the British restored Kolta branch to Vijay Singh son of Mian Devi Singh but didn’t acknowledge him, Raja. Later on, British created Dada-Siba and appointed Vijay Singh son of Mian Devi Singh as Raja but the Siba state remained an Independent state.
  • Ram Singh died without an heir in 1874 and his Jagir was transferred to Vijay Singh.
  • Sunder Singh, brother of Ram Singh who was looking after the seat of wazir fo Siba, went to Lahore in a horse race and stood first there.
  • The last ruler of the Siba was Sham Singh.

Read also: Fairs and Festivals of District Kangra

Datarpur State:

  • It was an offshoot of Siba, founded by Datar Chand in A.D. 1550; the clan name is Dhadwal’.
  • In 1786, the state came under the control of Sansar Chand.

Gobind Chand:

  • In 1806, Gobind Chand sided with the Gurkhas in their invasion of Kangra.
  • In 1809, Datarpur was reduced to a jagir and became the subject of Ranjit Singh. After the death of Gobind Chand in 1818, Ranjit Singh annexed it.

Jagat Chand:

  • In 1818, he surrendered his state to Sikhs and received a Jagir of Rs 4600 per annum revenue for his maintenance.
  • He rebelled with Katoch princess in 1848 against British and deported to Almora where he died in 1877.

Nurpur State:

The original capital of Nurpur was ‘Pathankot’ which was called Paithan during the reign of Mughals. The clan name Pathania was derived from Paithan.

  • According to Vishnu Purana and Brihatsamhita, Audambara was the ancient name of the whole district probably because of the abundant growth of Udumbara tree (ficus gloerata) in the region.
  • The old Hindu name of the Nurpur wasDhameri’ and its name was changed during the reign of Raja Jagat Singh by Jahangir in the honour of his wife Noor Jahan.
  • The Raja of Nurpur and Pathankot were called as ‘Pandi’ or descendant of the Pandavas and Tomar Rajas of Delhi.
  • The coins found in Pathankot are made up of copper having a square or oblong shape with a temple on one face and an elephant on the other. Besides the temple, are symbols of Swastik and Dharama and underneath is a snake. These coins state that Pratishthana was the ancient capital of Nurpur.
  • On Dharaghosha coins ‘Mahadevasarjna Dharaghosha Audumbaras’ was written which means ‘of the great lord’ king Dharaghosha, Prince of Audumbara. These coins were written in Kharosthi and Brahmi
  • During the reign of Shah Jahan, the state was called ‘Mau and Paithan’.

 The Nurpur state was founded by Raja Jhet Pal, younger brother of Delhi king in A.D. 1000.

Kailash Pal (1353): He defeated Tatar Khan a Mohammedan General who invaded Punjab. He also constructed the irrigation canal from the Ravi to Pathankot.

 Nag Pal (1397): He received his name from the fact that a snake was born along with him which was ultimately put into a baoli (well) and is still regarded as the Kulaj (family deity) of the Pathania clan.

 Bakht Mal (1513):

  • Islam Shah Sur son of Sher Shah Sur constructed Maukot Fort during the reign of Bakht Mal.
  • Sikandar Shah Sur after being defeated by Humayun in 1555 fled to Shivalik Hills and took refuge at Maukot Fort. He was supported by Bakht Mal.
  • In A.D. 1557, Akbar advanced towards the hills and both Sikandar Shah and Bakht Mal had to surrender against the mighty forces of Mughals.
  • Sikandar Shah was allowed to retire to Bengal whereas Bakht Mal was taken as a prisoner to Lahore where he was executed in A.D. 1558 by Bairam Khan. Bakht Mal was succeeded by his brother Takht Mal.
  • Bakht Mal is said to have built the fort of Shahpur on the river Ravi.
  • Expedition against Maukot Fort (6 miles north Pathankot) at that time was regarded as a call to death. ‘Mau ki muhim yaro maut ki nishani hai’.

 Pahari Mal or Takht Mal (1558): He wanted to shift his capital from Pathankot to Dhameri (Nurpur) but he died away before he could transfer it.

Bas Dev or Basu (1580):

  • He shifted his capital from Pathankot to Dhameri, which his son Jagat Singh renamed as Nurpur in the honour of Jahangir’s wife Noor Jahan in A.D. 1622.
  • Raja Basu revolted against the Mughals a number of times and most of these revolts were instigated by Jahangir against his father Akbar. When Raja Basu revolted against Akbar for the first time, Akbar sent Hassan Beg Umri to capture Basu. Before anything could happen, Basu approached the Todal Mal for mercy which was granted.
  • In his 2nd revolt against Akbar, Mirza Rustam and Asif Khan were being sent to capture him but they refused owing to their old friendship with Raja Basu.
  • Since Jahangir had a good friendship with Raja Basu, he deputed him to capture Khurram (Shah Jahan) in March A.D. 1606.
  • In A.D.1611, Jahangir sent Raja Basu on the recommendation of Abdullah Khan to capture Rana of Mewar (Udaipur) but he died in 1613 before achieving victory over Rana.

 Suraj Mal (1613):

  • In 1615 A.D., Jahangir sent his allies Raja Suraj Mal of Nurpur (Dhameri) and Sheikh Farid or Murtaza Khan to capture Kangra, but some controversy broke out between the two. The plan to capture Kangra was postponed after the death of Farid Murtaza Khan.
  • Raja Suraj Mal was recalled to Delhi and sent to Deccan to help the prince Shah Jahan in 1616 A.D.
  • Again in the year 1617 A.D., Jahangir sent his allies Raja Suraj Mal of Nurpur and Shah Quli Khan Muhammad Taqui to capture Kangra.
  • The same story was repeated again as some controversy broke out between Suraj Mal and Shan Quli Khan and as a result, Shan Quli Khan was asked by Jahangir to retreat back.
  • Now Raja Suraj Mal started to send away imperial troops to his Jagir and broke out into the rebellion against Mughals.
  • Jahangir sent his able man Raja Raiyan Sunder Dass and Jagat Singh younger brother of Suraj Mal who was invited from Bengal to suppress the rebellion and capture Kangra Fort.
  • Raja Suraj Mal fled away to Mankot fort, from there to Nurpur fort and then fled to Taragarh fort in Chamba where he was killed by Raja Janardhan in 1619 A.D.

Read also: Places of religious, historical or archaeological importance and Tourist Interest in District Kangra

 Jagat Singh (1619):

  • Kangra fort came under the Mughals in 1620 A.D. Raja Jagat Singh younger brother of Raja Suraj Mal helped the Mughals to capture Kangra fort.
  • On 20th November 1620, news of the capture of Kangra fort reached the Jahangir.
  • Jahangir visited Dhameri (Nurpur) in 1622 A.D. and renamed Dhameri as Nurpur in the honour of his wife ‘Noor-Jahan’.
  • In A.D. 1623 ‘Battle of Dhalog’ near Dhalousie was fought between Raja Jagat Singh of Nurpur assisted by Mughal forces and Raja Janardhan son of Balbhadra in which Bishamber brother of Janardhan was killed. Later on, Janardhan was killed by deception by Jagat Singh.
  • Basholi was the first state to come under the rule of Jagat Singh. In 1627, when Raja Bhupat Pal of Basholi expelled the Nurpur garrison and recovered the state. When Bhupat Pal went to Delhi to pay his regards to the Emperor, Jagat Singh assassinated
  • Raja Jagat Singh wanted to establish himself as an undisputed authority and revolted against the Mughals in D. 1640. Shah Jahan sent his youngest son Murad Baksh to suppress the revolt. Jagat Singh had a stronghold over Nurpur, Maukot, and Taragarh but had to surrender against the mighty Mughals army.
  • After appearing in the Delhi Darbar, he submitted for the clemency which was granted to him by Shah Jahan and restored his honours.
  • Najabat Khan was appointed ‘Faujdar’ of the hill country of Kangra.
  • In A.D. 1642, Jagat Singh accompanying prince Dara Shikoh to Qandahar (Afghanistan).
  • In A.D. 1646, he died at Peshawar on this return journey.
  • During the reign of Raja Jagat Singh, Nurpur state reached the zenith of its prosperity.
  • A poem is written on Raja Jagat Singh – “The Rhapsodies of Gambir Rai- the Nurpur bardin A.D.1650.
  • Jagat Singh used to address Begum Noor Jahan as ‘Beti’ (daughter).

 Rajrup Singh (1646):

  • Shah Jahan gave him the title of Raja. He spent the last years of his life in the service of Aurangzeb.
  • In 1650, Shah Jahan gave Bhau Singh younger brother of Rajrup Singh a portion of Nurpur State because he rendered his services to the Mughals in the campaign in Badakhshan.
  • In 1686 A.D. younger son of Raja Jagat Singh, Bhau Singh embraced Islam receiving the name Murid Khan from Emperor Aurangzeb.

Mandhata (1661): He was the last Pathania Raja to hold office under the Mughal emperors.

Prithvi Singh (1735):

  • In 1770, Jassa Singh Ramgarhia succeeded in making several Hill states his tributaries including the Nurpur.
  • In 1785, Nurpur succeeded in acquiring from Basholi a portion of territory to the west of the River Ravi called ‘Lakhanpur’.

 Bir Singh (1789):

  • He was the last ruling chief of Nurpur.
  • When Ranjit Singh acquired the Kangra Fort from Raja Sansar Chand, he also subjugated other Hill Staes including Nurpur.
  • Ranjit Singh in 1815 called for a military assembly of Hill chiefs at ‘Sialkot’ which Raja of Nurpur and Jaswan failed to attend. For this, they were fined heavily and as a result, their territories were subjugated by Ranjit Singh.
  • In 1816, Bir Singh with the help of Shah Shuja (exiled Amir of Kabul) was plotting against Ranjit Singh for which he was forced to settle at ‘Arki’.
  • In 1826, Bir Singh reached Nurpur and raised a revolt against Sikhs. Ranjit Singh sent Desa Singh Majithia to suppress the revolt. Bir Singh fled to Chamba where he married the sister of Raja Charhat Singh.
  • Fearing the consequences of giving refuge, Raja Charhat Singh delivered Bir Singh to Ranjit Singh and he kept him in confinement for 7 years at Gobindgarh Fort. Later Raja Charhat Singh paid Rs. 85000 for this release to Ranjit Singh.

 Jaswant Singh (1846):

  • In 1846, the British captured the Kangra valley and local chiefs were subdued. Jaswant Singh was conferred a Jagir of Rs. 5000 per annum and Nurpur was merged with Kangra.
  • In 1848, Ram Singh son of Shyam Singh the last wazir of Nurpur, took forces from Jammu, crossed Ravi and captured Shahpur Fort and declared Jaswant Singh as Raja of Nurpur and himself as his Wazir.
  • British Army gave Wazir Ram Singh a huge blow and he fled to the Sikh army in Gujarat.
  • In 1849, Wazir Ram Singh again took a position on ‘Dalle ka Dhar’ near Pathankot, where he was betrayed by his Brahmin friend ‘Pahar Chand’ and was captured by British and banished to Singapore or Rangoon, where he died.
  • Nurpur was the first state to rise in rebellion against the British.

Read also: Contribution of the district Kangra

Nurpur Fort:

  • Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri mentions that Nurpur Fort was founded by Raja Basu.
  • In the western end of the fort, there is a Thakurdwara ‘a shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu (Thakur=Lord) built by Raja Mandhata. There exists an image of Lord Krishna called Brajraj made up of ‘Black Marble’.
  • There is an image of Devi, the pedestal of which bears an inscription in Sanskrit and in the Nagari
  • In 1886, C.J. Rodgers (Archeological surveyor of Punjab Govt.) excavated the ruins of a temple in the fort. In 1904, this structure was dismantled by Mr. Farley, Executive Engineer, Kangra on the suggestion of Dr. Vogel. After research, it was found that this temple was made up of Red Sand Stone, consists of three chambers; Mandapa (outer), Antralaya (central), and Garbha Griha (inner). Such a temple was not found in any part of Punjab and this was similar to Gobind Dev temple at Brindaban and Hari Dev temple at Goverdhan near Mathura.

Banghal State: 

  • The Banghal state included the territories of Bara Banghal, Chhota Banghal, Landoh, Paprola, and Rajjer. Bir was the capital of the state in Bir Banghal.
  • The founder of the state is said to have been a Brahim of Chandervanshi lineage who ranked as Rajput on becoming the Raja and the clan name was Bangahalia.
  • In A.D. 1240 Raja Madan Sen of Suket and in A.D. 1554 Raja Sahib Sen of Mandi probably had annexed the state of Banghal.

Prithi Pal (1710):

  • He was the son-in-law of Sidh Sen of Mandi and his sister was married to Raja Man Singh of Kullu.
  • Once Sidh Sen invited Prithi Pal to Mandi and executed him at Damdama Palace and ordered to capture Banghal state.
  • Prithi Pal’s mother requested to Man Singh of Kullu for help and he drove back Mandi forces and kept a big territory under his control.

Raghunath Pal (1720): During his reign, Raja Sidh Sen tried to capture Banghal but driven back with the help of Kullu.

Dalel Pal (1735): During his reign, a combined attack was made on Banghal by Mandi, Kullu, Nalagarh, Kehlur, Guler, and Jaswan in which Dalel Pal was killed and most of his territory was kept by Mandi and Kullu.  

 Man Pal (1749):

  • He was the last ruling chief of Landoh, Paprola, and Rajjer areas of Banghal state.
  • He died on his way to Delhi when going to secure Mughals’ assistance.
  • In Raja’s absence, the state was captured by Kangra and Guler. Landoh and Paprola are kept by Kangra and the remaining territory is kept by Guler.
  • Nihal Pal son of Man Pal was given refuge by Raja Raj Singh of Chamba.
  • In 1758, Raja Sansar Chand of Kangra married the daughter of Man Pal and helped his son Uchal Pal to recover his territory but he failed.
  • Uchal Pal soon died and left three sons and a daughter under the Sansar Chand’s protection.

Kutlehar State: 

  • Kutlehar is the smallest of all principalities of the Kangra area founded by a Brahmin who ranked as Rajput on becoming the Raja and the clan name was Kutlehria.
  • Raja Jas Pal conquered Talhati and Kutlehar and established his capital at ‘Kot Kutlehar’.
  • The two states of Bhajji and Koti in the Shimla hills were founded by his sons and grandson respectively.
  • In A.D. 1758, Raja Ghamand Chand annexed the Northern Province of the state ‘Chauki’.
  • In A.D. 1786, Raja Sansar Chand annexed the whole state and in 1809 the state came under Sikhs.

Read also: Economy of District Kangra

8 thoughts on “Brief History of District Kangra – Himachal Pradesh

  1. Rajnish Parashar

    huge round of applause for ur consistent endeavours n commendable compilation for this docu

  2. Dharam singh

    You are doing a great work. We want more article for upcoming allied mains exam


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