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Kullu History notes
- Kullu History is very scanty and unreliable.
- Most Authentic information provided by Dr. Hirananda Shastri of ASI, Vamshavali, and Col. APF Harcourt in his book-Kooloo, Lahaul and Spiti, etc.
- Oldest historical records of country-legend on a coin of Raja of Kullu named “Viraysa”.
- Coin of King Viraysa of Kullu bears full Sanskrit legend in Brahmi and one word (Rana) in Kharosthi Character.
- It was published by A. Cunningham but the correct reading of the legend was established by the Swedish scholar Dr. AV Bergny.
- Original Name of Kullu – Kuluta.
- Kuluta name occurs in Sanskrit literature, Vishnu Purana, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Rajtarangni, Markandya Purana, Brihat Samhita, in Bana’s Kdambari.
- Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang (630-644 AD) visited Kullu and describes the country as “K” “iu” “lu” “te” situated 187 miles to the North of Jalandhara.
- He also mentioned Stupa by Ashoka in the middle of the valley to commemorate Buddha’s alleged visit.
- Oldest copperplate title deeds at Nirmand was granted by Raja Samudra Sen (He was not a Kullu raja).
- Copper plates of Chamba (11th century) also mentioned the subjection of Kullu, during the reign of Soma Varman and Asta Varman.
- In traditional folklore, Kullu was originally known by the name “Kulantpitha” which means the last point of the inhabited world.
- The name Kulantpith also occurs in the booklet-“Kulantapitha Mahatmya”.
- Some references also found in Tibetan chronicle of Ladakh, called ‘Gyalrab or book of Kings‘ and Kashmiri chronicle ‘Jonaraja’ also talked about Kullu.
Seven Waziris of Kullu
- Waziri Parol (Kullu Proper)
- Waziri Rupi (between Parbati and Sainj khad)(Kanawar Area)
- Waziri Lahaul (Lahaul area)
- Waziri Lag Sari (between Phojal and Sarvari khad)
- Waziri Lag Maharaj ( from Sarvari and Sultanpur to Bajaura)
- Waziri Bhanghal ( Chhota Banghal Area)
- Waziri Seraj (Jalori pass divided it into two parts)
Foundation of Kullu
- The founder of Kullu was Bihangmani Pal. He is said to have come from Prayag (Allahabad) accompanied by Rani, Purohit Udai Ram, and his son Pachch Pal.
- After the death of Biahangmani Pal. He was succeeded by his Pachch Pal who continued conquest of Ranas and Thakuras and consolidated kingdom.
- He(Pachch Pal) also defeated Gajan and Bebala Rana.
- During his reign, there was a small state name ‘Kothi Barsai‘ between Jagatsukh and Naggar whose chief Surat Chand died without male heir leaving a daughter named Rup Sundari.
- Rajendra Pal took it as an opportunity to acquire ‘Kothi Barsai’ by force but could not succeed and later Raja sent a marriage proposal to Rup Sundari which was accepted by her.
- During his reign, the capital of Kullu was Nast also known as Jagatsukh.
- During his time, Naggar was held by a Rana named Karam Chand, with whom raja waged a war. The Rana was killed in the battle and succeeded by his son, from whom raja extracted tribute.
- He followed Visad Pal.
- He shifted his capital to Naggar from Nast.
- He was recognized as Raja when Ranas were challenging to the throne. Later ranas were defeated in the battle and were made to pay tribute.
- Soon, Raja of Spiti, Rajendra Sen attacked Kullu and Rudra pal was forced to pay tribute yearly.
- He was Grandson of Rudra Pal and he declined to continue the payment of tribute and moved out with an army to oppose Chet Sen, the Spiti Chief.
- The battle took place in the area nearby Rohtang Pass and Prasidh Pal liberated his country from Spiti and Lahaul from Chamba (Lahaul was also captured when Spiti attacked Kullu).
Sri Dateshwar Pal
- During his reign, Meru Varman of Chamba (680-700 AD) invaded Kullu state. In the Battle, Kullu Chief was defeated and killed. After his death, his son Amar Pal took command of Kullu forces but he was also killed with his son.
- His second son, Sital Pal fled to Bushahr state to ask for help. There, his family seems to have remained for five generations. Meanwhile, Kullu seems to have been under the rule of Chamba.
Sri Jareshwar Pal
- He was sixth descendent from Sital Pal.
- In about AD 780-800, he liberated Kullu from Chamba with the help of Bushahr ruler, when Chamba was invaded by Kiras or Tibetans and the Raja of Chamba was killed.
- During his reign, Kullu fought a twelve-year war against Chamba which was stopped by signing a peace treaty.
- The forces of Sahil Varman reached up to Majnakot village near Manali where he also built a fort.
- Then the truce was arranged between two forces. For that, a social gathering was arranged to which Chamba people were invited.
- But later a great part of the Chamba army (Gaddi army) was deceitfully drowned in the river Beas near village Kothi and fled back to their country.
- He was 43rd in succession and was contemporary of Bir Sen of Suket(founder).
- Bir Sen of Suket, led an army into Saraj and defeated Bhup Pal and made him prisoner.
- Later he was released on a condition to pay tribute yearly.
- He was freed from a tribute on the condition of giving aid to Suket in a civil war (Then Suket raja-Bikram Sen).
- Suket Raja Bikram Sen after ascending to the throne, went on pilgrimage to Haridwar leaving his younger brother ‘Tribikram Sen’ in charge of the state.
- Tribikram Sen proved unfaithful to his elder brother and planned against his brother. To secure the assistance of Bhup Pal, he restored his state on the condition that Hast Pal would render support on Bikram Sen’s return.
- When Raja Bikram Sen returned after two years, and hearing on the way what had happened, sought the aid of Rana of Keonthal and a pitched battle took place at ‘Jiuri’ on the bank of Satluj, in which Hast Pal and Tribikram Sen were both killed.
- Then Bikram Sen then advanced into Kullu and took possession of the country. Hast Pal’s three descendants were only jagirdars.
- In the third generation from the time of Bikram Sen of Suket, Lakshaman Sen (a minor) succeeded to the throne and it came as a great opportunity for the Kullu Raja Surat Pal to free the country.
- 14 years later, Suketi Raja Laxman Sen again subdued Kullu.
- He conquered Baltistan by killing the chief, named ‘Mohammed khan’ and making his son a tributary (authenticity of these statements is doubtful).
- Raja Tegh Pal was succeeded by Uchit Pal.
- He invaded Tibet, but on his death, the Rajas of ‘Lahasa'(Tibet) captured the Raja’s son while engaged in performing his faher’s funeral ceremonies and put him in jail in Mohangarh (in Kothi chaparsa, near Bubu Pass).
- This event took place in the reign of ‘Lha Chen Utpala‘,C.A.D. 1125-50. On that occassion, the king of Kullu bound himself by oath to pay tribute in ‘dzos‘ and ‘iron‘ to the king of Ladakh, which remained in force down to the reign of ‘Sengge Namgyal‘ (A.D. 1590-1620) even later.
- He went to Delhi and complained against Chinese aggression. The raja of Delhi came in person with an army which passed through Kullu and conquered ‘Gya Mur Orr’, ‘Baltistan and Tibet’ as Mantilac’ (Mansarovar) lake. The lake Mansarovar, in olden days, was called Mantilac.
- The Rajas of ‘Gya Mur Orr‘, Baltistan and Tibet were made to pay tribute to Delhi through the Kullu raja, who was restored to his dominions.
- During his period the Raja of Bushahr invaded Kullu and after extracting tribute, left the country.
- This tribute continued to be paid during the next Raja Sasi Pal’s reign but his son, Gambir Chand(Pal), succeeded in freeing his country from Bushahr.
- Narinder Pal, in whose period Kullu was captured by ‘Banghal’ and remained subject to that state for ten years.
- Nand Pal in whose time Kullu became tributary to Kangra and continued so till the reign of Dharti Pal.
- Inder Pal, however, recovered his independence and threw off allegiance to Kangra.
- In Keral Pal’s reign, Kullu was again invaded by the Raja of Suket.
- Suket captured the area between the Siunsa nala and Bajaura.
- Raja Urdhan Pal built the temple of Sandya Devi at jagatsukh. He was 72nd Raja of Pal dynasty and ruled between 1418 to 1428 AD.
- Kailash Pal was the last Raja of Kullu who bore the surname of Pal and probably ruled till about AD 1450.
- He was driven out by a revolt by a Ranas and Thakurs, and retired to Haridwar.
- He waited for an opportunity to make a comeback, but did not happen for three generations-50 years gap between Kailash and his successor.
Sidh Singh (AD 1550)
- He himself originally bore the Pal suffix. It is not certain what relation Sidh Pal(Singh) had with Kailash Pal.
- Sidh Singh had to put forth strenuous efforts to subdue the ‘Ranas’ and ‘Thakurs’, who during a long period of complete Independence, had regained full powers all over the country.
- At the beginning of Sidh Singh’s reign, both banks of the beas above Jagatsukh were held by a powerful chief named ‘Jhinna Rana‘, his chief strongholds were at ‘Madankot‘ and ‘Manali‘ and was too powerful to be attacked openly.
- Jhinna Rana had a groom of Dagi caste bearing the name of ‘Muchiani‘, on account of the length of his moustache, who was a noted sportsman with bow and arrow.
- Rana Jhinna had strong dislike for his long moustache and so ordered the groom to cut it earnestly, which he did not. By late, both were not in good terms.
- This came to Sidh Singh as an opportunity and he sent for the Muchiani and bribed him to kill the Rana. One day, when the Rana had gone to look at his rice fields at ‘Kumanu’ and ‘Ramabar’ below Vashist, and he was riding back, the Muchiani shot him dead.
- On hearing this bad news, the Rani set fire to the fort, perishing with all her woman including the Muchiani’s wife. After her sati, the Rani is believed to have become a ‘Jogin‘(goddess), and her shrine is in the ruin of “Madankot’. The Muchiani’s wife also worshipped as Jogin.
- For his services, Muchiani was rewarded by Sidh Singh with the Kumanu rice fields. At the time of Jhinna Rana’s death, one of his wives was pregnent , and the Rani sent her out of the fort before setting fire to it.
- In due course, a boy was born. He founded ‘Nuwani family‘, famous for erecting memorial stones for its dead, a royal privilege in Kullu, Suket and Mandi.
- The Nuwani family had strong strong hatred for the Badani Rajas of Kullu.
- The fort of Baragarh was captured by Sidh Singh which was under control of Suket garrison.
- Sidh Singh died probably in AD 1532 and was succeeded by his son, Bahadur Singh.
Bahadur Singh (AD 1532)
- The sunjugation of the Ranas and Thakurs was started by Sidh Singh and completed by Bahadur Singh. The Raja Arjun Sen of Suket was contemporary of Bahadur Singh of Kullu.
- ‘Waziri Ruppi‘ was still in the possession of Suket and Thakurs of the area paid tribute to Suket.
- The Raja of Suket was notorious for his arrogance. Once he called the Thakurs of Waziri Ruppi as ‘Crows of Ruppi‘ and refused to grant their request.
- On their way back from Suket, they decided to offer their allegiance to Bahadur Singh, who treated them respectfully by designating as ‘Lord of Ruppi’.
- On ascending to throne, Bahadur Singh settled at ‘Makarsa’, where he built a palace for himself and rehabilitated the town.
- It is generally believed that the place Makarsa initially was founded on the left of the Beas by ‘Makas’, one of the two sons of ‘Vidura’ of ‘Mahabharata’, who had married a daughter of Tandi, the local demon chief in the south of the Rohtang Pass.
- Makas was brought up by ‘Vyasa Rishi‘. The capital of the state, however, remained at Naggar.
- The territory of Kullu state remained extended and unchanged upto the accession of Raja Jagat Singh in AD. 1637.
- In AD 1559, towards the end of Bahadur Singh’s reign, a marriage took place between the royal families of Kullu and Chamba. The Raja of Chamba of that time was probably Ganesh Varman and the bridegroom Pratap Singh , his son and heir of Chamba throne to whom three Kullu princesses were married at the time.
- It is probable that Kullu like other states were subjugated by Akbar in 1556 AD. All the Rajas of hills in that period used to pay tribute to the Mughal emperor of Delhi.
Jagat Singh (AD 1637-72)
- He was the most powerful ruler of the dynasty.
- He annexed the whole of the ‘Lag area‘ which was under control of two brothers Jai Chand and Sultan Chand from whom he captured Sultanpur and shifted his capital from Naggar to Sultanpur in 1660.
- He also captured ‘Outer Saraj‘, which was formed the part of Suket and Bushahr.
- During his reign a Brahmin residing at “Tippari” said to have about three pounds of pearls. When Raja was on his way to ‘Manikaran’, he ordered Brahmin for the pearls. But on the approach of the royal party, he (Brahmin) set fire to his house and perish all his family.
- The Raja then went on to ‘Makarsa’ and on food be before him, it all turned to worms. This caused much restlessness Brahmin of reputed piety was sent from Suket, who came unwilling matter being laid before him, he told the Raja that it had been revealed in a dream that the sin of Brahmin’s murder could be expiated only by the image of ‘Raghunathji‘ from Ayodhya.
- The Idol brought by one ‘Damodar Das‘ (a Brahmin) from ‘Ayodhya’ in 1653 on the order of Raja Jagat Singh of Kullu, so that he may be relieved from the curse which had fallen upon him. On receiving, the image was placed on the ‘gaddi’.
- Having subdued the whole of the upper Kullu valley, Jagat Singh transferred the capital from ‘Naggar’ to ‘Sultanpur‘, probably about AD 1660 and built a palace for himself and a temple for Raghunathji.
- Aurangzeb, the Mughal emperor, was the only one to recognise Jagat Singh as the ‘Raja of Kullu’. Twelve farmans addressed to Jagat Singh before Aurangzeb from Mughal court, called him “Zamindar of Kullu“.
- Jagat Singh died after 35 eventful years and succeeded by his equally capable son Bidhi Singh.
Raj Singh (AD 1719-1731)
- It was about this time that Guru Govind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, visited Kullu to seek Raj Singh’s help against Moahammadans, but Raja was unfavourably disposed towards towards the Guru.
- Raja Raj Singh’s reign was short one, and he died about AD 1731.
Jai Singh (AD 1731-1742)
- Raja Raj Singh was succeeded by his son Jai Singh.
- He was not in good term with his Wazir ‘Kalu of Diyar‘ and expelled him from the country. The wazir then retired to Kareti and stirred up a revolt. On hearing of the revolt, Raja fled to Lahore along with 500 servants to seek Mughals viceroy’s support.
- Hearing of this, ‘Samsher Sen‘ of Mandi invaded the state and took possession of Chauhar territory.
- From Lahore, Jai Singh did not return to Kullu, but went on pilgrimage to ‘Ayodhya’ and lived at Ramdarbar, devoting himself to the worship of ‘raghunathji’ till his death.
Tedhi Singh (AD 1742-1767)
- He succeeded his elder brother Jai Singh.
- His reign was famous for revolts on one or other pretexts.
- It was probably during this period that invaion of kullu took place and images on the Bajaura temple were mutilated, probably by Moahammadan mercenaries.
- Tedhi Singh had no legitimate son, but there were three sons by concubines, named Pritam Singh, Charan Singh and Prem Singh.
Pritam Singh (AD 1767-1806)
- Tedhi Singh was succeeded by Pritam Singh.
- Soon after his accession, he inavded and recovered the forts of ‘Deogarh’, ‘Mastpur’, ‘Sari’ and ‘Amargarh‘.
- In AD 1778 by the ruler of Mandi, Raja Shamsher Sen, Raja Sansar Chand of kangra and Raj Singh of Chamba attacked Kullu and seize Banghal and divide it equally among them.
- Wazir of Kullu, named ‘Bhag Chand’, had also been captured. He was released later, on the payment of Rs. 15000.
- Pritam Singh died in AD 1806.
Bikram Singh (AD 1806-1816)
- Pritam Singh was suceeded by his son Bikram Singh.
- In the early part of his reign, Mandi invaded Kullu and retook the forts of Deogarh, Mastpur and Sari.
- With the possession of Kangra fort by Ranjit Singh in AD 1809, Kullu and other hill states also became part of subjection.
- In 1810 AD, Rs 40,000 tribute was paid by Kullu to a Sikh force.
- In 1813, ‘Mokham Chand‘ entered the valley by the ‘Dulchi Pass‘ and asked for Rs. 50,000 which was refused. On this, the Sikhs plundered the territory and looted treasury.
- Raja Bikram Singh fled to the village ‘Samgla‘ up to the mountains. But ultimately Rs. 3 lakh is said to have been paid.
- The Raja died in about AD 1816.
Ajit Singh (AD 1816-1841)
- Raja Bikram Singh had no legitimate son. Ajit Singh was the son of a concubine, but in the absense of a legitimate heir, he was acknowledged as Raja and installed by the Raja of Mandi acting as deputy.
- During Ajit Singh’s minority, affairs of the state were administered by the Wazir ‘Sobha Ram‘, who was an intelligent man.
- His uncle Krishan Singh defeated him with the help of Kangra.
- Ajit Singh fled to Mandi, but he came back again and recaptured his kingdom from Krishan Singh. Krishan Singh was overpowered and made prisoner.
- Sometime in 1816-1817, he gave asylum to ex-Amir of Kabul, ‘Shah Shuja‘. On hearing, this Maharaja Ranjit Singh asked for his surrender, but he fled over the high ranges into Kullu.
- On hearing that, Shah Shuja had been allowed to escape, Ranjit Singh imposed a fine of Rs. 80,000 (or 30,000) on Kullu, which was paid.
- All these exorbitant demands from the Sikhs exhausted the State treasury of Kullu. The Kullu army plundered the monasteries, looted the villagers, and returned with heavy booty.
- Immediately after this in 1818-19, Lahaul helped Kullu in a similar raid on Zanskar from where again the Kullu army returned with heavy loot.
- In 1820, Mr. Moorcraft was first European to visit Kullu on his way to Ladakh.
- In 1820 Kullu also raised a trade dispute with Ladakh. The case was brought for decision before Moorcraft. He remarks: The object of Kullu wazir, whatever might be pretended, was, no doubt, to raise means for paying the exactions of Ranjit Singh.
- In 1839, a portion of the Sikh army under the ‘Sindhianwala Sardars‘ captured Ajit Singh and forced him to surrender the state.
- When Sikh force was coming back from outer Saraj by the ‘Basloh’ pass, they were ambushed by the Sarajis and Raja Ajit Singh was caught up and carried swiftly up the mountainside.
- Later on, approximately 1000 men of the Sikh force were mercilessly massacred by them.
- This happened in the spring of AD 1840. Meantime, Raja Ajit Singh was conveyed across the Satluj to his small of Shangri, which was under British protection. There he died in September AD 1841.
- Kullu state along with capital Sultanpur remained under the Sikhs.
- On Ajit Singh’s demise, the Superintendent of the Shimla hill states, ‘Mr. Erskine‘, enquired as to the succession to the fief of Shangri, said to have reported in favor of ‘Ranbir Singh’ minor son of Mian ‘Jhagar Singh’, first cousin of Ajit Singh.
- The Ranis of Ranjit Singh and Sikhs disputed the succession. But before anything could be done, the child (Ranbir) fell sick and passed away.
- Thakur Singh the first cousin of Ajit Singh, was then selected by the Sikhs and made Raja with ‘Waziri Ruppi‘ in ‘Jagir’. The fief of Shangri, however, remained in the hands of Jagir Singh.
- Thakur Singh was invited to Lahore in the reign of Maharaj Sher Singh and installed as Raja.
- By the treaty of 9th March 1846, after the first Anglo-Sikh war, the hill country between the Satluj and Indus was ceded to the British Government. Kullu was also within the ceded territory.
- Thakur Singh was confirmed in his Jagir of ‘Waziri Ruppi‘, with sovereign powers and Ladakh was made part of the Kangra district.
- In the meantime, Spiti was separated from Ladakh and annexed to Kullu.
- Thakur Singh died in 1852 and succeeded by his illegitimate son ‘Gyan Singh’. And for that, the Government changed his title to ‘Rai‘ and withdrew all political powers.
- Shortly before the first war of independence in 1857, a man calling himself Pratap Singh
- son of Kishan Singh, appeared in Kullu and on the outbreak of 1857 struggle, put
- forward his claim to ‘Gaddi’ and aroused trouble.
- Thereupon he was arrested by ‘Major Hay‘, the Assistant Commissioner, and after the trial was hanged at ‘Dharamshala’.
- Since then (1846 A.D.) Kullu became a subdivision of the Kangra district.
- Kullu appeared as a separate district of Punjab state in 1963.
- Till 31st October 1966, it continued as part of Punjab state.
- It is only when Punjab re-organization took place that Kullu with other hill areas was transferred to Himachal Pradesh.