Brief History of District Solan – Himachal Pradesh

By | November 6, 2016

First Read this: Geography of District Solan

The district in its present form comprises of the erstwhile princely states of Bhagal, Bhagat, Kunihar, Kuthar, Mangal, Beja, Mehlog, Nalagarh, and parts of Keonthal and Koti and hilly area of the composite Punjab State which were merged in Himachal Pradesh on 1st November 1966 on the reorganization of composite Punjab on the linguistic basis.

Solan district sprang up on the administrative map of the State by merging Solan and Arki tehsils of erstwhile district of Mahasu, Kandaghat, and Nalagarh tehsils of then Shimla district.

Baghat

The name Bhagat is derived from Bau or Bhau said to be hilly word meaning many and ghat meaning a pass. The state headquarters of the Bhagat state was initially located at Bhoch in the Bhuchali Pargana but it was shifted to Solan after the construction of cantonment at that place.

The founder of the ruling family is said to be “Basant Pal” or ‘Hari Chand Pal; a Panwar Rajput from Dharnagiri in Deccan. He settled at a place which the named Basantpur and at present, it is called “Bassi” near the temple “Jiaonaji”.

Basant Pal found the country in the hands of Mawis and laid the foundation of the state by taking Keonthal pargana from its Mawi by force of arm. His son, Bakhsh Pal annexed the parganas of Basal, Bhuchali and Gharoli.

In the 16th generation, Rana Inder Pal added the Parganas of Basal, Ghar, and Taksal. The State was named Bhagat in his time.

Rana Mahendra Singh: 

  • During twelve years of Gurkha’s rule, Rana remained undisturbed because he was an ally of the Bilaspur Raja who invited Gurkhas.
  • Mahender Singh died issueless in A.D. 1839 and then the state was lapse to government.

Vijay Singh:

  • He gained the throne in 1842.
  • He also died without male issues and the state was annexed by Britisher under Dalhousie’s “Doctrine of Lapse”.

Umed Singh:

  • He was the cousin of Vijay Singh.
  • He claimed for the lost kingdom which was accepted in 1862 on the recommendation of Lord Canning.

Durga Singh:  

  • He was the Rana of Baghat from 1911 to 1948.
  • He was elected as a member of the Chamber of Princes in 1933.

Kasauli Pargana, on which stands the existing cantonment was taken over by Britisher from Baghat in 1942. 

Read also: Economy of District Solan

Baghal

The capital of the princely State was Arki and a larger part of the state is formed by the basin of one of the tributaries of the Gambhar river.

Baghal was founded by “Aje De” a Panwar Rajput who came from Ujjain. He came and settled in village Sairi. The earlier of state was Damras which was later on shifted by his son Nand Dev from Damras to Darla.

Rana Sabha Chand: He made “Arki” the capital of the state in 1643.

Mehr Chand:

  • He was a patron of painters.
  • The main characteristic of these paintings is the ‘Aquiline nose’ which is a generic feature in the Arki family.

Jagat Singh (1778-1828):

  • During his reign, Arki became headquarters of Gurkhas where they fought against Britishers and Sikhs forces.
  • Rana Jagat Singh lived in exile for seven years in Nalagarh.
  • After the Gorkha campaign, the State was restored to him by the Britishers bounding him to assist the troops at the time of war and to keep his roads in order.

Rajinder Singh: He was the last Raja of state from 1945 to 1948.

Also read: Census 2011 – District Solan

Kunihar

  • This state was founded by Abhoj Deo who came from Akhnur in Jammu in 1154 A.D.
  • The approximate area of the State was 7 square miles.
  • Most of his descendants were keen warriors and they assisted Nalagarh and Bilaspur rulers in their various wars mainly against Kullu.
  • During the reign of Keso Rai who ruled over the state during 1600 AD, the affairs of the State began to fall as the ruler was a week and indolent with the result the neighbouring States seized a portion of the territory.
  • Rana Hardeo Singh was the last Raja from 1905 to 1948.

Kuthar

  • Surat Chand, the founder of the ruling family is said to have come from Kishtwar and acquired the state by conquest.
  • The State of Kuthar was comprised of five ‘Parganas’ viz. Rihani, Ghar, Shil, Dharuth, and located opposite side to Sabathu of Kuthar river valley.
  • At the time Gurkha’s invasion, Kuthar was tributary to Keonthal and ruled by Rana Gopal Chand.

Mehlog

  • The ruling family of the state traces its origin to Bir Chand, Raja of Ajudhia who visited Man Sarover Lake on the directions from Lord Shiva in a dream.
  • On his way back, he expelled the Mawis in the neighborhood of Bhawana and established the kingdom of his own.
  • The capital of the State was at Patta which lies at the foot of Kasauli hills.

Beja

  • Beja was a small state of 4 sq. miles lying on the western slopes of the Kasauli Hills.
  • The ruling family of the State was described as Rajput of Tunar Got.
  • The family tree of the rulers of Beja started with Raja Dhol Chand.
  • His descendants were Shamsher Chand, Ram Chand, Garbh Chand, Bishan Chand, Man Chand, etc.
  • Beja remained tributary to Bilaspur for many years but became independent in 1790.

Mangal

  • Mangal was the most inaccessible of all the hill States. Mangal state was lying on the bank of Satluj near Bilaspur.
  • It was founded by Attri Rajput, came from Marwar who was in service with the Raja of Kehlur.
  • The state acquired its name from the name of Mangal Singh, the son of the founder Raja.
  •  It was a tributary to Bilaspur and was declared independent at the end of the Gorkha War.
  • On 15th April, Mangal was merged with Arki and became part of Himachal Pradesh.

Also read: Fairs & Festivals of Solan॥ Shoolini Temple – Solan

Nalagarh or Hindur

Hindur or Nalagarh was founded by Ajit Chand who was the younger brother of Ajay Chand who succeeded to the throne of Kahlur (Bilaspur) state.

Vijay Chand:  At the time of his father’s death he was only four months old and Rani took control over the administration and suppressed the revolt of Kanets successfully.

Laxman Chand: Ascended the throne at the age of eleven.

Alam Chand: During his reign in 1398, Taimur Lang invaded India. He raided Delhi, Merrut, Haridwar, Kiar-Da-Doon and then reached to Hindur. Raja Alam Chand extended full help to the invader.

Raja Narayan Chand (1477-1522): Raja of Nurpur proposed his daughter’s marriage with the Raja of Hindur, which he refused to accept. Later on, Nurpur Raja got his daughter married to the Raja of Kehlur and provoked him to attack Hindur. It was then “Satgarh Fort” was occupied by the Kahlur.

Ram Chand (1572-68): 

  • He was a great lover of architecture.
  • He built the fort of Ramgarh and made Ramshahr as the summer capital.
  • When Kalian Chand came to power in Bilaspur in 1630, he built a fort on the border of Hindur which caused battle in which Raja of Hindur was killed.
  • Rani along with her infant throwing herself Kalian Chand protection.

Raj Ram Saran (1788-1848):

  • He was in alliance with Sansar Chand of Kangra, helped him during the Gurkha’s attack.
  • Raja of Kahlur and Gurkhas jointly broke Ram Saran’s Power. He lost Ramshahr and started residing at “Palas” till the British force under Ochterlony attacked Gurkhas near “Malaon fort”.
  • Gurkhas commander Bhakti Thapa was slained.

Raja Surender Singh:

  • He was the last Raja from 1946 to 1948. During his reign on 2nd may 1948 “Kalsia and “Nalagarh” states were merged with eastern Punjab states.
  • On 15th July 1948, Nalagarh was merged with PEPSU.
  • Finally in 1966, Nalagarh was merged with Himachal Pradesh and became part of Solan.

Read more:

  1. Contribution of the district Solan in various fields
  2. Places of Religious, Historical, Archaeological and Tourist Interest in District Solan
  3. History of District Kullu

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