Kinnaur History Notes

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Kinnaur history

  • According to various historical evidence, the present district of Kinnaur was part of the Rampur Bushahr state.
  • In famous Sanskrit Classic ‘AMARKOSA’, many tribes and castes such as Gandharvas, Yakshas, Kinners, Rakshasas, etc. are mentioned.
  • ‘Kinners’ are described as a distinct race of demigods in various mythological accounts.
  • Kinners-horse’s head and the human body.
  • Tibetans called the area of Kinnaur as ‘Khunu’. The area of Kinnaur is also known as ‘Maon’ in Leh. The name Mone or Maon was also used for the state of Bushahr.
  • They are also known as Khas or Khasia.
  • The Pandavas of Mahabharata spent a good part of their 12-year exile in Kinnaur.
  • Kalidasa has also made a mention of Kinners in his famous book ‘Kumarasmbhava’.
  • Kinners are said to be the inhabitants of the ‘Mahanand mountains’.
  • It is only in the post-Vedic literature we find a mention of Kinners.
  • It appears that the Khasas were already living in the area before Vedic-Aryans reached here.
  • The people living in Hangrang valley and some other villages lying near the Indo-Tibet border speak dialects quite akin to Tibetan.
  • Whereas lower parts kinnauras speak dialects quite different from Tibetan.
  • The people who lived in Kinnaur are Khasas, Jads, Kunaits, and Aryans.
  • By the 7th century A.D., the people of this area took a settled life and established a peaceful and trade contacts with the ‘Bhoteas’ of Tibet and Also with Rampur Bushahr.
  • Rampur Bushahr and Sangla became two such markets in these two territories. Therefore, Rampur Bushar became the birthplace of the ‘Lavi fair’.
  • Kinnauras came under the strong ‘influence of Buddhism’and the Bhotea language in between 7th to 10th century AD.
  • The entire area of Kinnaur came under the Guge empire of Tibet.
  • By the end of the 12th century, the Guge empire came to end.
  • After that, then every valley or group of villages became a separate ‘Thakurai’.
  • At the start of the 16th century, the Thakur of ‘Mone’ defeated all other Thakurs and extended his domain to Rampur Bushahr.

According to a legend- 3 Gods(devtas) crop out forth in Mathura-Anna Puran Vrindavan.

3 Gods stayed – 1) Tapa Puran at ‘Badri Nath

2) Anna Puran at ‘Tehri Gharwal

3) Deva Puran at ‘Kamru Badri Nath

  • Deva Puran killed the Thakurs of Kamru, Sangla, and Chini and reached Sarahan, where Banasur was the ruler and Deva Puran killed him.
  • Then Praduman Singh(a Chandervanshi) an ancestor of Dashratha from Varanasi was made raja at Kamru.
  • Since then Kamru had been accepted as crowning place.

Raja Chatar Singh(110th ruler)

  • He made the Bushahr state one of the three paramount powers in the Shimla Hills(remaining two were ‘Bilaspur and ‘Sirmaur’).

Kehri Singh

  • Raja Chatar Singh was succeeded by his son Kehri Singh.
  • He is said to be an ‘Ajanvahu’ (i.e. he can touch his knees with his hands while standing straight) like Lord Rama.
  • He was given the title of ‘Chattarpati’ by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.
  • In the Tibetan-Ladakh Mughal war, Kehri Singh sided with Tibet and emerged victorious.
  • For this help, he received the Hangrang valley as a Jagir. He also got the right to free trade between Tibet and Bushahr State. This system continued till 1962 when the international border was sealed.
  • Raja Kehri Singh died in 1811.

Raja Mahender Singh

  • Raja Kehri Singh was succeeded by his minor son Mahender Singh.
  • From 1803 to 1815, Bushahr faced the terror of Gurkha invasions.
  • Mahender Singh was a minor ruler and fled to Kamru with his mother.
  • The Kinnaras fought a fierce battle with Gurkhas. Good leadership was provided by Wazir “Tikka Ram’ and ‘Badri Prasad’.
  • To stop the march of Gurkhas, Wangtu bridge on the Satluj was destroyed. At this moment, the British also entered the scene.
  • After the Gurkhas defeat, Raja Mahender Singh returned to Sarahan.
  • A sanad was granted to him by the British on 6 November 1815.
  • He was restored all former territories except ‘Rawin’and Kotgarh’which were kept as British possessions and later transferred to Keonthal in exchange for Shimla.
  • Raja Mahender Singh died in 1850 at the age of 47.

Raja Shamsher Singh

  • Raja Mahender Singh was succeeded by his minor son Shamsher Singh.
  • As Raja Shamsher Singh became capable, he was unhappy with the unwanted interference of the British.
  • He did not offer help to the British in the first war of Indian Independence 1857.
  • Then Deputy Commissioner of Shimla Hill states, Mr. William Hay, want to punish him. But the issue was overlooked later on.
  • In 1854, Munshi Ram Lal introduced a new revenue payment system. People of the state revolted against the new revenue payment in 1859.
  • Then Superintendent of Shimla Hill States, Mr. G. Barnes, settle the dispute.
  • In 1887, Raja Shamsher Singh was forced to surrender the gaddi in favor of his only son Tikka Ragunath Singh.
  • Ragunath Singh administered the state affairs well. But died in 1898.
  • Ragunath Singh left an infant son who died within a year.
  • British installed ‘Rai Sahib Mangat Ram’ as Chief Wazir with the full powers of a ruler. Raja Shamsher Singh also tried to regain the throne but denied by the British.
  • Raja Shamsher Singh adopted the younger brother of Garhwal Raja ‘Surender Shah’ as his son. Shamsher’s only son ‘Padam Singh’ from a concubine, was considered illegitimate.

Raja Padam Singh(AD 1914-47)

  • In 1914, the British recognized Padam Singh as a legitimate son and also installed him as ruler of Rampur Bushahr.
  • He was the ruler of Rampur Bushahr till 1947.
  • Master Annu Lal, a freedom fighter, headed the merger movement here. At that time, Baldev Singh was Dewan of the State.
  • In March 1948, Rampur Bushahr became part of Himachal Pradesh.

Read also : Shimla History Notes

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