Medieval Principalities in Himachal Pradesh

 Medieval Principalities in Himachal Pradesh

|| Medieval Principalities in Himachal Pradesh|| Medieval Principalities in HP||

Medieval Principalities in Himachal Pradesh

Medieval period of Himachal Pradesh remained an important period for various principalities (state ruled by princes) of that time. Many independent principalities tried to establish their influence on the other hill states. Some of these are discussed below:

  • Bilaspur (Kahlur):-This state was founded by Bir Chand (in 617 AD), the elder son of Harihar Chand who came from Chanderi in Bundelkhand. It was located in the lower Sutlej valley. Before Bir Chand, this region was under the rule of local Chiefs called Ranas and Thakurs. In the plains, he found a town called Naina Devi and declared it as his capital. In this town, he built a temple of Naina Devi. At one end of the hill, he also built a fort called Kot Kahlur.

  • Kangra:-This state was established in the ancient period by Katoch Kshatriya Rajputs of Chandervanshi lineage. It was the capital of Trigarta and known as Nagarkot. Later it was known as Kangra principality/state. Kangra was a very important region in the Western Himalayas. Its name was changed many times-Bhimkot, Susharmapura, Katoch and Nagarkot. It was also known as Trigarta and Jalandharyan. There is mention of this place in Rajatarangini, Padam Puran, Hiuen Tsang's travelogue, Ptolemy's references and Alexander Cunningham's Ancient Geography of India'. After the Muslim invasions in the territory of Kangra, several small states became independent, e.g. Jaswan, Guler, Siba and Datarpur. 
  • The state of Jaswan was founded by Raja Purab Chand, in 1170 AD as an independent state.
  • Guler state was founded by Hari Chand in 1405 AD. He built a town and fort of Haripur in Guler and founded Guler state.
  •  Siba state was founded by Sibran Chand, a younger brother of Guler Chief, Hari Chand, in the middle of the 15th century.
  • Datarpur state was founded by Datar Chand in 1550 AD. He was a descendent of Siba family.

  • Kutlehr:-Raja Jaspal establish Kutlehr state on the border of Kangra and Hoshiarpur in the 10th or 11th century. He set his capital at Kot Kutlehr. He was a Brahmin but after gaining power he came to be recognised as Rajput. It is believed that he came from Sambhal, near Moradabad, but his family records reveals that he was a descendant of a Raja of Poona. Bhajji and Koti, two small states in the Shimla hills were founded by his descendents.


  • Nurpur:-The state of Nurpur was founded by Tomar Rajput, Jhetpal of Delhi, who settled in Pathankot in 1095 AD. Therefore, the Chiefs of Nurpur are known as Pathania clan. Nurpur included present tehsil of Kangra along with area of Shahpur and Kandi. Its capital was Pathankot (Pratishthana). The state was conquered by Sikhs in 1809 and became a part of Lahore kingdom.

  • Nalagarh (Hindur):-The king of Bilaspur, Kahn Chand's son Ajai Chand invaded the Handu territory,(the Brahmin Thakur of Hindur) and established the Nalagarh state after defeating Handu in about 1100 AD. 

  • Sirmaur:-There is not reliable information about the history of Sirmaur. It is believed that the rulers of this state belonged to Rathore clan and their capital was Sirmaur or Sirmauri Tal. But it is now a district surrounded by extensive ruins in the Kiarda Dun.During 12th century, a heavy flood occured in Giri river which destroyed the capital of the ruler of that time, Raja Ugra Chand and his principal officers. Thus, the throne remained vacant. Salvahan-II, who belonged to Jaisalmer clan invited by Sirmaur's Minister Hoshang Rai to succeed the throne. Salvahan-II sent his son Sobha to Sirmaur to occupy the vacant throne. Thus, in 1195 AD Sobha, by holding a title of Shubhansh Prakash became the ruler of Sirmaur state. 

  • Baghal/Bhanghal:-This state was founded by a Brahmin around 1200 AD, who after gaining power came to be known as Rajput. His descendents rule the state for twenty generations. After murder of Prithvi Pal, the power of this state declined. Its capital was at Bir in Bir Bangahal. Raja Rajendra Pal was the last ruler of Bhanghal.

  • Suket:-The state of Suket was founded by Bir Sen, grandson of Bengal ruler, Lakshman Sen. When Bakhtiyar Khilji attacked on Bengal in 1198-99 AD, Lakshman Sen escaped from his capital Nadia. At last, he was killed in 1210 AD. Bir Sen on his expendition, first crossed the Sutlej river and came to Jiuri, then he conquered the neighbour small principalities and founded the state of Suket with his capital at Pangna in 1241 AD.

  •  Mandi:-It is located on the banks of Beas river and was considered a big market place. During 1330 AD, when Sahu Sen was the ruler of Suket, his younger brother, Bahu Sen quarreled with the ruler and went to Manglore in Kullu. His eleven generation lived there until Karan Chand Sen, the then head of the family, was killed during a war with a Kullu raja. His queen was the daughter of Rana, the Chief of Seokot in Mandi. As Rana had no male heir, he declared his daughter's son, Ban Sen, the Chief of Seokot. Ban Sen built a new residence for himself at Bhinuli in Mandi. Thus Mandi became an off-shoot of Suket and it formed into a separate state. The 19th descendent of Bahu Sen, namely Ajbar Sen, built a town of Mandi in 1527 AD.

  • Kullu:-The mention of Kullu (Kuluta) is there in ancient historical records. Vihangmani Pal founded Pal dynasty in Kullu in 2nd century AD which continued till 1450 AD. After this it was taken over by Ranas and Thakurs the Singh dynasty was established in Kullu around 1510 AD by Sidh Singh which continued till the Anglo-Sikh War in 18th century. Lahaul and Spiti valleys were also a part of Kullu.

  • Chamba :-Ancient Sangha Kols and Audambars inhabited the Chamba region in 2nd century BC. A prince from Kannauj Maru is believed to establish Chamba with its capital at Brahmapura in 550 AD. Descendent of Maru, Aditya Varman founded Varman dynasty in Chamba in 620 AD. From 1641 with Prithvi Singh the title of Varman was dropped and its rulers had to accept Mughal rule and paid tributes to them. In 1770 AD, Chamba came under the Sikhs.

Read More: -   Himachal Pradesh General Knowledge

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