- Kangra district was originally a part of Trigarta of Ancient times. The territory of Trigarta was drained by the rivers- the Ravi, the Beas and the Satluj. Trigarta was divided into two provinces, the headquarters were at Jalandhara and the other at Nagarkot(Kangra).
- Prehistoric Life evidence- 52 stone axes at village Rahaur on Banganga river bank – discovered by Dr. G.C. Mahapatra.
- At village Nandrool, an almond-shaped stone axe has been found, probably belongs to the early or mid stone age.
- Out of the 360 coins of Audumbaras, 103 coins have been found in Jwalamukhi(Kangra).
- Four coins of Kushanas rulers at Kanihara
- Three of Kunindas at Jwalamukhi.
- Sir A Cunningham, was the first to talk about- Jalandhara and Trigarta in detail.
- According to him, the famous ‘Danava'(monster Jalandhara), was the son of the Ganges by the Ocean(mentioned in ‘PADMA PURANA’).
Ganga + Ocean
Jalandhara(Danva) – Vrinda(wife)
- Vrinda or ‘Bindra’ was his wife’s name. He(Jalandhara) was killed by Lord Shiva.
- His body covered a circuit of 48 kos or about 64 miles.
- According to another version, Jalandhara was killed by Vishnu.
- The pine tree forests between Jindrangal and Palampur is called ‘Bindravan’ or ‘Vrindavan’ (wife of Jalandhara).
- The Jalandhara district is called ‘Bist Jalandhara’ in the ‘Ain-i-Akbari book.
- “Trigarta” also found mention in the ‘Mahabharta’, the ‘Puranas as well as in the ‘Rajtarangini’.
- starting from the founder ‘Bhuma Chand’, Vamshavali contains about 500 names.
- The first historical mention of Trigarta is to be found in the 5th century B.C. in the writings of Panini(Sanskrit writer).
- Panini mentioned Trigarta people as ‘Ayudyajivi Sangha’.
- According to Cunningham, the first historical notice is to be found in the works of the Greek geographer, Ptolemy, who called it as KALINDARINE.
- In Sanskrit literature, Trigarta is repeatedly referred.
- Susharama Chandra, the 234th king of the dynasty has been identified with the king Susharma of the Mahabharta. In the Mahabharata war, Susharma Chandra, in the Mahabharta war sided with the Kauravas and attacked the king Virata of Matasyadesa.
- The original seat of the Susharma Chandra’s family is said to have been at MULTAN.
- After the Mahabharata war, Susharma Chandra retired to the district of Jalandhara and built the Kangra fort.
- Independent Trigarta(in 2nd century B.C.) is indicated by a coin bearing the legend ‘Traketa-Janapadsa’ in Brahmi character.
- ‘Rajtarangani’ also have a reference about Trigarta.
- Hiuen Tsang(Chinese pilgrim) traveled Jallandhar in the second quarter of the 7th century and described it as a kingdom, 267 miles in length, and 213 miles in breadth.
- The capital Nagarkot (Kangra) finds mention when captured by Mahmud of Gazni in 1009 A.D.
- Utbi(secretary of Gazni) in his book ‘Tarikh i-Yamini’, called it as Bhimnagar, but referred as Bhimkot by Farishta.
- The name Nagarkot is mentioned by Alberuni in A.D. 1017-31.
- The European travelers who visited Kangra were
- Thomas Coryat in A.D. 1615,
- Thevenot in 1666
- Vigne in 1835,
- Foster in 1783
- Moorcraft in 1832
- Both Foster and Moorcra did not visit Kangra but passed through the outer hills.
- Farishta’s references relate to the events to the first century of the Christian era. Trigarta is mentioned in the Rajtarangini, when Sreshtha Sena of Kashmir bestowed the land of Trigarta in A.D. 470 and again in A.D. 520 when Praversena II conquered Trigarta.
- Hieun Tsang visited Jalandhara in March AD 635 and remained in the Kangra as the guest of Raja Utito for four months before leaving for Kannauj and again stopped at Jalandhara on his return journey in A.D. 643. When Hiuen Tsang visited Trigarta, it was subject to king Harsha Vardhana of Kannauj.
- Another mention of Trigarta is found after a long interval in Rajatarangini in A.D. 883-903 when Sankara Varman, Raja of Kashmir, was on conquest expedition to Gurajara (Gujarat) and it was opposed by Prithvi Chandra, the Raja of Trigarta, who was perhaps an ally of Gurajara.
- In A.D. 1001 Mahmud of Gazni invaded India. In an expedition A.D. 1009, he defeated Anand Pal of Ohind and Lahore on river Indus, then he advanced into Punjab and laid seize to Nagarkot.
- The fort was then called Bhimnagar from the Bhim Sen, the hero of Mahabharta.
- Kangra fort was famous for its strength all over Northern India. Mahmud of Gazni after defeating Brahman Pal, the son of Anand Pal, captured the fort and looted the whole wealth and returned to Ghazani.
- According to Farishta, Mahmud in Bhimkot found 700,000 Dinars, 700 mans of gold and silver plates, 200 mans of pure gold in ingots, 2,000 mans of silver bullion, and 20 mans of various jewels.
- Raja Jagdish Chand is said to be the ruler of that time, who was 436th in descent from Bhuma Chand. Fort was under a garrison of Mahmud till A.D. 1043.
- In that year, the Raja of Delhi, of the Tomar line, drove them out.
- The Katoch rulers were successful in recovering the fort in about 1060 A.D.
- In A.D. 1170, the Raja Padam Chand’s younger brother Parab Chand founded the state of Jaswan.
- The next reference – occurs on two slabs in the Shiva temple at Baijnath in the Kangra valley. The name of the Rana of Kiragrama was Lakshman Chandra.
- Raja of that time was Jaya Chandra who ruled in A.D. 1200-20 according to Hutchinson and Vogel.
- Next mention – Prithvi Chand found mentioned in the Vamshavali, who succeeded to the throne about A.D. 1330.
Prithvi Chand (A.D. 1330)
- During his reign, Kangra fort is said to have been captured by Mohammed Tughlaq in AD 1337.
Parab Chand (A.D. 1345)
- In AD 1351, Firoz Shah Tughlaq succeeded to the throne.
Rup Chand (A.D. 1360)
- Rup Chand succeeded in A.D. 1360. His name is found in the ‘Dharam Chand Natak’ written by Manik Chand, in A.D. 1562.
- Rup Chand set out on a raiding expedition for the plains and plundered almost to the gates of Delhi.
- On his return journey, he was looted by ‘Shahab-ud0-din’ of Kashmir (A.D. 1363-86) who was out on a similar adventure. Then, Feroz Shah Tughlaq marched with his army from Delhi towards Nagarkot and seized the fort of Kangra.
- After the submission of Katoch ruler(Rup Chand), Feroz Shah Tughlaq visited Jwalamukhi temple.
- At that time there existed a library containing 1300 books in the temple. The Sultan had some of them translated into Persian.
- The famous writer Izzudin Khalid Khani, translated a book into Persian – Dalail-i-Firozshahi”.
- Rup Chand died about A.D. 1375. He was succeeded by his son Sangara Chand.
Sangara Chand (A.D. 1375)
- Some events that happened during his reign mentioned him.
- In AD 1387, Feroz Shah Tughlaq’s son Nasir-ud-din was driven out of power by his own cousin and fled for safety to hills of Sirmaur and took refuge in Nagarkot till 1389.
- In AD 1390 he regained the throne under the name of Mohammed Tughlaq. Sangara Chand died about A.D. 1390.
- His son Megh Chand succeeded him.
Megh Chand (A.D. 1390)
- During his reign, Mongol raids took place in 1398 A.D., under the Timur-i-Lang.
- In Malfuzat-i-Timuri, Timur mentions that on his return journey from Delhi in A.D. 1399, he went through Haridwar.
- Pathankot and Nurpur, then called Dhameri, lay right in his way and must have suffered at his hands. There is no mention anywhere that Nagarkot was one of them.
- Raja Alan Chand (1356-1406 A.D.) was the ruler of Hindur when Timur plundered lower Sirmaur Hills.
Hari Chand-I (A.D. 1405)
- Hari Chand succeeded to the throne of Kangra, after few years of Mongols invasions.
- One day the Hari Chand went on a hunting expedition in the direction of HARSAR (Guler), he somehow got separated from the party and fell into a well.
- A search was made for several days but in vain.
- He was believed to be dead and his funeral rites were duly performed, even his Ranis becoming Sati.
- After twenty-one days, he was rescued by a passing merchant. when he came to Kangra he saw his Karam Chand(younger brother) was installed as Raja.
- He founded a site near the junction of the Banganga, Kurali, and Neugal rivers and founded the fort and town of Haripur and established an independent state(Guler).
- The merchant who rescued Hari Chand was rewarded with remitting all duties on his goods in perpetuity.
Suvira Chand (A.D. 1480)
- His father Narendra Chand died childless. But at the time of his death, one of his Ranis was pregnant.
- Feared Rani escaped to her parent’s house in Poona. Later with the help of his-maternal grandfather, he set up his authority over Kangra.
Ram Chand (A.D. 1510)
- Mughals under Babur attacked Delhi(under Lodhi Dynasty).
Dharam Chand (A.D. 1528)
- In A.D. 1540, Sher Shah ordered Khawas Khan(his general), to capture Nagarkot. After capturing Nagarkot, Hamid Khan Kakar was made in charge of Nagarkot.
- At that time Punjab was under the rule of Sikandar Shah Sur (nephew of Sher Shah).
- In AD 1556, Akbar became at the age of 14 years. In A.D. 1557, Akbar advanced against Sikandar Shah. He(Sikandar Shah) took refuge in the strong fortress of Maukot, nearly halfway between Pathankot and Nurpur.
- Sikandar Shah surrendered after eight months and promised to remain faithful and so was allowed to retire to Bengal.
Jai Chand (A.D. 1570)
- For unknown reasons, Akbar got suspicious of Jai Chand and ordered Ram Chand of Guler to arrest him.
- His minor son Bidhi Chand, assumed his father dead and revolted against Akbar in A.D. 1572.
- An army under Khan Hussain Quli Khan(Viceroy of Punjab), was sent to suppress the revolt.
- The Kotla fort located near Nurpur was under Nurpur. Raja Dharam Chand and Jai Chand had occupied Kotla fort by force.
- Mughal Army helped Raja Ram Chand of Guler in the battle and the fort was handed over to him.
- In A.D. 1583 when Akbar visited up to ‘Dasuha’ (near Hoshiarpur) but returned without seeing Nagarkot fortress.
- Ram Chand about A.D. 1585.
Bidhi Chand (A.D. 1898)
- Raja Jai Chand was succeeded by Bidhi Chand.
- In AD 1588-80, Bidhi Chand formed a secret confederation with the states between Jammu and Kangra and broke into rebellion. This revolt was suppressed by ‘Zain Khan Koka’.
- All the thirteen hill chiefs on their submission had their territories and honors restored.
- But ‘Trilok Chand'(son of Bidhi Chand) was taken as a hostage at the Mughal court. In A.D. 1594-95, Raja of Jasrota with other hill chiefs revolted against Mughals, but neither Bidhi Chand of Kangra nor Raja Basu of Nurpur was involved in it.
- A force under ‘Mirza Rustam Qandhari’ and ‘Shaikh Farid’ suppressed the revolt. Shaikh Farid received the title of ‘Murtaza Khan, for his services at the seize of Kangra fort, in A.D. 1615.
- Raja Bidhi Chand died about A.D. 1605.
Trilok Chand (A.D. 1605)
- Trilok Chand ascended the throne of Kangra in 1605, in the same year, Jahangir succeeded to the throne of Delhi.
- Bidhi Chand had kept Trilok Chand in the court of Delhi as a hostage when he was only a boy.
- Trilok Chand had a parrot that was demaded by Salim(Jahangir), but the young Trilok Chand refused to give parrot to Salim.
- On this account, Jahangir on becoming Emperor marched against Kangra on becoming Emperor.
- Trilok Chand died about A.D. 1612.
Hari Chand -II (A.D. 1612)
- In A.D. 1615, Jahangir sent Sheikh Farid(Murtaza Khan) and Raja Suraj Mal Kangra fort to capture Kangra.
- Shortly afterward, both were quarreling and Suraj mal was recalled. Soon, Murtaza Khan was taken ill and died at Pathankot.
- In A.D. 1616, Raja Man Singh, a Rajput of Jaipur, was appointed to capture the fort. But he was killed by Punjabi Zamindar Sangram Singh.
- In A.D. 1618, Prince Shah Jahan recommended Suraj Mal and Shah Quali khan to capture Nagarkot fort. but they quarreled again and this time Quali khan was recalled.
- After some time, Suraj Mal of Nurpur revolted against Mughals.
- Then Shah Jahan sent Sundar Dass Rai to suppress the revolt of Suraj Mal.
- Suraj Mal fled to Chamba where he was killed by Raja Janardhan of Chamba in 1619.
- In 1620, Nawab Ali Khan was appointed the first kiladar of Kangra fort under Mughal and it continued to be held till 1873.
- Most of the area ravaged by Suraj Mal in lower hills was granted to Itimad-ud-daulah(father of Noor Jahan) as Jagir.
- In 1622, Jahangir visited Kangra with Noor Jahan in return Dhameri and Pathankot. During this Journey, Dhameri was renamed as Nurpur in honor of Noor Jahan.
- He was killed by Jahangir before A.D. 1627, the year in which Jahangir died.
Chander Bhan Chand (A.D. 1627)
- Raja Hari Chand died childless.
- He was a descendent of Kalyan Chand(younger brother of Dharam Chand).
- He continued to prosecute guerilla warfare against the Mughals.
- After capture of the Kangra fort, only the Jagir of Rajgir was assigned to the Katoch family.
- In AD 1660, Chander Bhan Chand is said to have been finally captured in the reign of Aurangzeb. Before his capture by Mughals, he retired to the lofty hill of the Dhauladhar, which ever since been called “Chander Bhan ka tilla‘(9000 feet).
Vijai Ram Chand (A.D. 1660)
- He was son of Chander Bhan Chand.
- Bijapur town was founded by him, which remained the home of the Katoch family till the reign of Ghamand Chand.
- He was succeeded by his brother Udai Ram Chand.
Udai Ram Chand (A.D. 1687)
- There is nothing special to be mentioned about his reign.
- He died in A.D. 1690.
Bhim Chand (A.D. 1690)
- He was called ‘Diwan’ for regular attendance at the Mughal court.
- He also built a temple at Bijapur town. The Bhawarnawali Kuhl (watercourse) was made by his brother Kirpal Chand.
Alam Chand (A.D. 1697)
- He succeeded his father Bhim Chånd in 1697.
- Alampur was founded by him which is located near Sujanpur.
- He reigned for 47 years.
Hamir Chand (A.D. 1700)
- Hamir Chand succeeded his father Alam Chand.
- Hamir Chand built a fort near the place now called ‘Hamirpur’.
- During his reign, ‘Nawab Saif Ali Khan’ was appointed to Kangra fort in about A.D. 1740, he was fated to be the last Mughal governor of Kangra.
Abhaya Chand (A.D. 1747)
- In Alampur, a Thakurdwara’ was built by him.
- In 1748, he also built a fort called ‘Abhayamanpur’ or ‘Tira’ on the hill above Sujanpur.
- He died childless.
Ghamir Chand (A.D. 1750)
- He was younger brother of Hamir Chand.
- He died in 1751.
Ghamand Chand (A.D. 1751)
- When he came to power, the Mughal empire Mughals struggle against ‘Ahmad Shah Durrani’ from the North and the Marathas from the South.
- In 1752, Punjab was ceded along with the hill states to Ahmad Shah Durrani.
- Ghamand Chandtake advantage of the situation and recovered all the lost territory of his ancestors except Kangra fort.
- Ahamed Shah Durrani appointed him(Ghamand Chand) Governor (Nizam) of the Jalandhar Doab.
- He captured ‘Chauki’ from Kutlehr state and seized the taluka of ‘Palam’ from Chamba.
- He founded Sujanpur and the double name Tira Sujanpur started from his reign.
- He died in 1774.
Sansar Chand-II (A.D. 1775)
- He was the most powerful ruler of Kangra.
- He succeeded to the throne when he was only ‘ten years’ of age.
- From the middle of the 18th century, the Sikhs had been rising into power.
- Kangra hills, and Kangra, Chamba, Nurpur was first invaded by “Jassa Singh Ramgarhia’.
- In 1775, Sansar Chand was defeated by ‘Jai Singh Kanheya’ in the plains.
- In 1781-82, Sansar Chand and Jai Singh Kanheya laid seize to ‘Kangra Fort, which was then occupied by ‘Saif Ali Khan’. The fort was surrendered in 1783, after the death of ‘Saif Ali Khan’. But Sikhs captured the fort.
- In 1787, Sansar got the Kangra fort from Jai Singh Kanheya in exchange of territory of the plains.
- With supreme power in the hills, Sansar Chand demanded ‘Rihlu’ area from Chamba, and on refusal, he attacked Chamba, and Chamba raja died in the battle at ‘Nerti’.
- The state of Mandi was also attacked and its capital was sacked.
- The minor Raja Ishwari Sen was captured and retained as a prisoner at Nadaun for twelve years. He also annexed other states like Kutlehr.
- In ‘Tarikh-i-Punjab’, Ghulam Muhai-ud-din writes that the Raja Sansar Chand was regarded as the ‘Hatim’ of that time.
- In 1803-04, Sansar Chand invaded the plains twice but was defeated by Ranjit Singh. Then, he attacked Kahlur and captured the area lying on the right bank of the Satluj river. At this time all hill chiefs turned against him. The annexation of the territory of Kahlur led to the downfall of his kingdom.
- At that time, the Gurkhas of Nepal emerged a powerful force and also developed similar ambitions like that of Sansar Chand.
- All hill chiefs sent a united invitation, through the Bilaspur Raja to the Gurkha commander to invade Kangra. Their invitation was accepted by the Gurkhas.
- Gurkha commander, Amar Singh Thapa crossed the Satluj at ‘Bilaspur’ and ‘Jiuri’ in Suket.
- Jit Singh of Chamba sent a force under ‘Wazir Nathu’ to assist the Gurkha forces.
- In first battle at Mahal Morian near Hamirpur, Gurkhas forces were defeated. But in the second battle, Kangra forces were defeated.
- Then Gurkhas then advanced and on reaching Nadaun they liberated the Ishwari Sen of Mandi.
- Sansar Chand after this defeat sought refuge in Kangra fort.
The Gurkhas plundered and laid waste the country for four years.
- Finally, Raia Sansar Chand sent his younger brother Fateh Chand for the help of Maharaja Rajit Singh, he offered Kangra fort as the price of his help.
- Sansar Chand, then secretly left the fort as a peasant with his family.
- In May 1809, Ranjit Singh moved from Lahore. After a month, Sansar Chand and Maharaja Ranjit Singh met at the temple of Jwalamukhi where Sansar Chand’s terms were accepted and the Maharaja.
- Army of Ranjit Singh advanced towards Kangra in August 1809 AD and Gurkhas were defeated. Gurkhas were pushed to other side(east) of the Satluj river.
- On the advice of one of his(Ranjit Singh) officers, Anirudh Chand, son of Sansar Chand, was taken as a hostage for the fulfillment of the treaty.
- The moment fort was liberated from the Gurkhas, it was under the command of Naurang Wazir. Maharaja Ranjit Singh then took possession of the Kangra fort along with 66 villages and the remaining part of the Kangra was returned to Raja Sansar Chand.
- Ranjit Singh appointed Desa Singh Majithia as Governor of the fort. Maharaja Ranjit Singh after receiving nazrana returned to Jalandhar.
- After that, Sansar Chand retired to Tira Sujanpur.
- When Moorcraft visited Kangra, Sansar Chand’s younger brother, Fateh Chand was taken seriously ill and all hope of his survival was gone. Preparations had begun for his funeral, even the Ranis being ready to become Sati but Mr. Moorcraft by his medical skill was able to save Fateh Chand’s life.
- For this insisted on exchanging his turban for Moorcraft’s hat and making him his brother by adoption.
- Sansar Chand died in 1824. His son Anirudh Chand succeed to the throne on the payment of one lakh rupees.
Anirudh Chand (A.D. 1824)
- On his father’s death, Anirudh Chand was installed as Raja of Kangra.
- Maharaja Ranjit Singh demanded two lakh rupees from Anirudh Chand, as nazrana on his accession to his father’s gaddi. At last, One lakh rupees was paid and rest was omitted.
- Prince Kharak Singh son of Ranjit Singh is stated to have exchanged turbans with the Katoch chief Anirudh Chand.
- In 1827, when Raja Anirudh Chand made his visit to the Ranjit’s court, who put an unacceptable demand. Raja Dhian Singh of Jammu(prime minister of Ranjit Singh) asked for one of the sisters of Anirudh Chand for marriage with Hira Singh(son of Dhian Singh).
- Anirudh Chand accepted the proposal under pressure, but he delayed the marriage. He considered the proposed alliance as an insult to the family honor expressed his willingness and gave a written engagement, but in reality, he considered the proposed alliance as an insult to the family honor as Dhian Singh was a Raja only by favor of his master.
- When Ranjit Singh’s force proceeds towards Nadaun, Anirudh Chand sent his family across the Satluj and he himself fled into British territory.
- When Ranjit Singh came to Nadaun, Fateh Chand married his granddaughter to Raja Hira Singh. To Jodhbir Chand(a younger son of Sansar Chand), Nadaun was granted in Jagir.
- He(Anirudh Chand) got his two sisters married to the Raja of Tehri Garhwal.
- In the treaty of 9th March 1846- between Sikh and Britishers, Kangra came directly under British control.
- Later the wazir of Nurpur and Pramudh Chand son of Anirudh Chand, along with the Rajas of ‘Jaswan’ and ‘Datarpur broke into revolt.
- Their revolt was suppressed by Mr. Lawrence and was sent to jail where he(Pramudh Chand) died in 1851.
Pratap Chand (A.D. 1857)
- Pratap Chand succeeded to the family title in 1851 when Raja Pramudh chand died.
- He died in 1864.
Jai Chand(A.D. 1864)
- Pratap Chand’s son Colonel Maharaja Sir Jai Chand, K.C.I.E (Knight Companion in the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire) was made Raja in 1864.
- He was partly educated at Mayo College, Ajmer, and partly by private tutors.
- He was conferred with the title of ‘Maharaja’ for his loyal services to the British during the First World War.
Dhruv Dev Chand Katoch
- After his father’s death, Dhruv Dev Chandra ascended to the throne, who was the last ruler of the Kangra.
- He was made the Raja of Lambagraon (on the right bank of Beas, near Sujanpur) from 1935 to 1948.
Aditya Dev Chand Katoch
- He succeeded as head of the clan in 1988.
Read also: Hamirpur History Notes