- Modern Mandi district of today includes ancient states of Suket and Mandi.
- According to J. Hutchinson, derived from Sukshetra which means ‘the good land’.
- Before its foundation, the whole tract was under the title of Ranas or Thakuras.
- According to Sir A. Cunningham Suket was founded in an early period (A.D. 765).
Bir Sen (A.D. 765)
- He fought with Thakuras and Ranas and gained mastery over them easily.
- the first to oppose him in the field was the “Thakur of Korali”, but was subdued and lost his fort.
- He also built a palace on the ‘Kunnu Dhar’ and named it ‘Narol’.
- He built two forts of Kajun and Magra.
- Rana of Sanyarto was captured and later provided with Jagir which remained under the control of his family till the reign of Shyam Sen(1627-58).
- In the Surhi Ilaqa, he built a palace and made it the capital of the Mandi.
- He captured Bhup Pal of Kullu and held him as a prisoner.
- Bir Sen fixed the boundary with Kangra by constructing a fort at Sheer khad called Bira.
- He was of religious nature. Soon after his brother, he installed his brother ‘Tribikram’ as he went to Haridwar on pilgrimage.
- Kullu under Hast Pal was tributary of Suket state.
- Tribikram plotted a plan against Bikram Sen. For this, he gained the help of Kullu chief(Hast Pal).
- After two years Bikram Sen came back, he got help from Keonthal and defeated both Tribikram and Hast Pal at Jiuri and also annexed Kullu again.
- After that, Bikram Sen continued as Raja of Suket.
- A minor of two years of age was made Raja.
- Taking advantage of his minority, Kullu declared its independence.
- After 14 years, Lakshman Sen invaded Kullu and made Kullu again a tributary of Suket.
Sahu Sen (A.D. 1000)
- Around 1000 AD, Sahu Sen succeeded to the throne.
- Sahu Sen and his brother Bahu Sen were not in good terms. So Bahu Sen retired to ‘Manglor'(Kullu).
- His(Bahu Sen) descendants in the twelfth generation founded Mandi state.
- He was a man of tyrannical attitude and was poisoned after four years of his oppressive rule and his brother Samudra Sen’ was installed Raja by officials.
- He left an infant son, named Sewant. His mother fled to Saraj and found refuge with a Zamindar. Samudra Sen’s two sons left no heirs to the throne.
- After that, a search was instituted to find out Bilas Sen’s son.
Semant Sen (A.D. 1120)
- After his installation to the throne, He offered Jagir to Zamindar for his kindness.
- In the same village, he built a fort and named it’Rani Ka Kot’. He died after a long and prosperous reign.
Madan Sen (A.D. 1240)
- He was 6th king after Semant Sen.
- He built a fort and called it ‘Madankot’. He also defeated the Rana of Drang and captured the salt mines.
- He defeated ‘Sri Mangal’ Rana of Batwara who later founded a small principality of Mangal.
- Temple of ‘Asthambnath’ in Pangna was built by him.
- He was the most powerful ruler of Suket.
- He shifted his capital from Pangna to Lohara(in Balh Valley)- in his dreams a Devi told him to build a palace there.
Mahan Sen (A.D. 1480)
- He had a bad character and was killed by a Brahmin with whose wife Raja had an affair.
Parbat Sen (A.D. 1500)
- He was uttered a curse(Shap) by a Purohit, who committed suicide after being disgraced for having affection with a bandi or slave girl.
- Raja sought to expiate Brahmin’s son by conferring them the Waziris of Lag and Sari and this area came under the elder son of Brahmin Sultan Chand.
- The city of Sultanpur was founded by him.
Kartar Sen (A.D. 1520)
- During his reign, the capital was shifted from ‘Lohara’ to ‘Kartarpur(in 1520 AD) now called Purana Nagar.
Arjun Sen (A.D. 1540)
- He was contemporary of Raja Bahadur Singh of Kullu.
- Due to his arrogant and overbearing nature, many ‘Ranas’ and ‘Thakurs’revolted against him.
- Half of his territory was lost during his reign as he was arrogant to Ranas and local chiefs.
Udai Sen(A.D. 1560)
- He tried to restore the lost glory of Suket.
- He subdued the rebellious ranas, especially the Rana of ‘Cheddi’.
Shyam Sen(A.D. 1620)
- He had two Ranis, one from ‘Bushahr’ and other from ‘Guler’.
- Bushahri Rani made a plot to kill prince Ram Sen (the elder of two princes) who was born from Guleri rani. Because she wants her own son Prithi Singh as the successor of Shyam Sen.
- Bushahri Rani appointed Mian Jughanun for this task.
- One day he(Mian Jughanun) found favorable opportunity and pushed Ram Sen into a cellar.
- Diligent search was made and Raja’s younger brother ‘Naurang Singh’ found Ram Sen and got to know plot against the prince.
- After this, Bushahri Rani was banished from the state, and the whole family of Mian Jughanun (except a pregnant woman) were executed.
- Shyam Sen and his brother Naurang Singh were summoned by Aurangzeb to Lahore and were ordered to capture forts.
- For capturing the forts, Raja(Shyam Sen) was honored with ‘Khillat’ and was allowed to issue his own coins.
- Due to some unknown reasons, Suraj Sen fought a battle against Kalian Chand of Kahlur and Suraj Sen od Mandi. Both were defeated in a battle at ‘Mahadeo’.
- Suraj Sen fled and wounded Kalian Chand was ordered to bring to Suket in a Palki, But he died on the way at a place still called Kalian Chand Ki Dwari’.
- Raja Shyam Sen was contemporary of Raja Jagat Singh of Nurpur.
- Suket was attacked by Jagat Singh and Raja Shyam Sen with his brother Naurang Singh were imprisoned at Delhi along with Raja Man Singh(Guler).
- It is said that Shyam Sen during his captivity, prayed to ‘Mahun Nag’. Mahun Nag emerged to him in the form of a bee and promised an early release.
- When Raja Jagat Singh revolted against Mughals in AD 1641. This paved the way for the early release of Shyam Sen.
- On the way back to home, Raja of Bushahr attacked Shyam Sen, but Shyam Sen won the battle.
- In acknowledgment for his deliverance, a jagir was granted to the temple of Mahun Nag of Rs. 400 per year. Later this grant was reduced to Rs. 300 per year.
Ram Sen (A.D. 1650)
- During his reign, the conflict between Mandi and Suket began for the Balh area.
- For the protection of people of Madhopur, he(Ram Sen) erected a fort and called it Ramgarh.
- He removed his sister to Pangna on the suspicion of her chastity. His suspicion was false and she poisoned herself.
- Soon, Raja became insane and died.
Jit Sen (A.D. 1663-1721)
- Due to his father’s insanity, He was appointed as Raja.
- The dead princess in Pangna was worshipped as a malevolent spirit.
- His 22 children died in infancy, and most of the territory was lost.
- He fought a battle against Shyam Sen of Mandi in Balh plain.
- Jit Sen was defeated and fled from the field and was chased by a Katoch Mian and was given a quantity of salt from the Drang Mines.
Garur Sen (A.D. 1721)
- In 1721 A.D., Jit Sen died childless.
- Hari Singh’s grandson, son of Rani of Bushahr was supported and gain kingdom by the help of Kullu and Kangra.
- He founded the city of ‘Baned’ now called Sundernagar which became the capital during the reign of Bikram Sen.
- His rani constructed the “Suraj Kund Temple”.
Bhikam Sen (A.D. 1748)
- During his reign, Ahmad Shah Durrani attacked India in 1747.
- In 1758, for a short period of time, all the Eastern hill states and even Mughal Governor of Kangra were subject to Adina Begh Khan.
- From 1765-70, many hill states declared independence.
- Adinanagar near Pathankot was built by Adina Begh Khan.
- At that time, the Sikhs had been emerging a strong force.
- Sikhs under Jassa Singh Ramgarhia invade the Kangra Hills for the first time. His son Ranjit Sen succeeded him in 1762.
Ranjit Sen (A.D. 1762)
- He sent his younger brother Kishan Singh to recover Nachan from Mandi.
- During the Battle, his brother Kishan Singh grew short on power and sent a messenger to Suket, who proved disloyal and create confusion into the Raja’s mind against his younger brother.
- With no supplies, Kishan Singh went to Sansar Chand of Kangra and burnt Suket.
- Narpat was his faithful and able minister, but prince Bikram Sen was not in good terms with Narpat. Once in anger, Bikram drew his sword to strike Narpat but his father intervened.
- Prince Bikram fled to Mahal-Morian (now in district Hamirpur) and resided there till his father’s death in 1761 A.D. from poison, accidentally administered by a physician.
Bikram Sen (A.D. 1791)
- After his succession, he imprisoned Wazir Narpat in the ‘fort of Batwara”, where he(Narpat) was executed.
- Mandi Raja was invaded by Sansar Chand in 1792. Sansar Chand made Ishwari Sen (a minor) prisoner for twelve years.
- He made Baned his capital from Nagar.
- In 1805, Wazir Ablu persuaded Bikram Sen to go for Gurkhas’ invitation of Kehlur. He was trapped and prisoned for 6 months.
Fortunately, he freed him and reached his territory safely.
- Wazir Ablu did this treachery because his brother was shot dead by Raja’s cousin Mian Bishan Singh while hunting.
- After the treaty of Jwalamukhi in 1809, Suket came under Sikhs and decided tribute money(Dhal) of Rs 15000.
- William Moorcraft (1820 A.D.) was the first European to visit Suket.
- His son Ugar Sen succeeded him.
Ugar Sen (A.D. 1838)
- When he was raja of Suket, he played the role of a good neighbor, when a revolt took place in Kahlur.
- In 1839, ‘Mr. Vigne’ visited Suket.
- After the death of Ranjit Singh, Nau Nihal Singh(grandson of Ranjit Singh) succeeded.
- In 1840, Nau Nihal Singh ordered General Ventura sent a force to attack Suket, Mandi and Kullu.
- Raja Ugar Sen was treated kindly because he accepted the submission, due to the undertaking attack of Tibet.
- Ugar Sen’s son Rudra Sen had issues with his father and run away from him on 3 occasions. On the last occasion, GC Barnes worked out a compromise.
- In 1845, Sikhs invaded British territories and they demanded troops from Suket. Rajas of Suket And Mandi met Mr. Erkshine(Superintendent of Shimla Hill States) on 21 Feb 1846.
- On 9 March 1846, a treaty was signed between British and Sikhs. After this treaty, Mandi and Suket came directly under British Control.
- A sanad was granted to Ugar Sen in October 1846.
- In 1857, Rudra Sen(prince) had a conflict with Wazir Narottam because of his supreme influence with the Raja.
- Wazir Narottam Made a law that widows can be sold.
- He(Narottam) also built Durga Temple.
- Ugar Sen built the temple of Shiva at Amla Bimla and died in 1876 after the attack of Paralysis.
Rudra Sen (A.D. 1876)
- ‘Colonel Davies’ Commissioner of Jalandhar, after the death of Raja Ugar Sen, installed Rudra Sen as Raja of Suket.
- Rudra Sen was an oppressive ruler.
- He appointed Dhaungal as Wazir and ‘Ramditta Mal’ to examine the state accounts.
- Taxes and land revenue increased at exorbitant rates.
- An inquiry was set up against his oppression.
- Rudra Sen was deposed in 1879, settled in Hoshiarpur, and died in 1887.
Arimardan Sen (A.D. 1879)
- At the time of installation, He was only 15 years old.
- In the same year, he died at ‘Dharamshala’.
Dusht Nikandan Sen (A.D. 1879)
- He was the younger brother of Arimardan Sen.
- During his minority, the state remained under Superintendent Sardar Hardyal Singh till his retirement in 1884. Then ‘Mr. Donald’ was appointed Wazir till 1891.
- He opened School at Bhojpur in 1893, Post Office in 1900, and Telegraph Office in 1906.
- The construction of a bridge over the Satluj at Jiuri was completed in 1889.
- During his reign, a significant reduction in tax was observed.
Bhim Sen (A.D. 1908-19)
- Bhim Sen was the elder son of Dusht Nikandan.
- Bhim Sen built the King Edward Hospital at the capital ‘Baned’.
- A motor road from Suket to Mandi is also built by Bhim Sen.
- He was invested with full powers by ‘Sir Louis Dane’ on 1st Jan 1918.
- He died in 1919 due to pneumonia and left no heir.
- he succeeded his brother Bhim Sen.
- He introduced reforms in land revenue settlements and the judiciary.
- During his period ‘Lakshman-Bhim Club’, ‘the Prince of Wales Orphan Home’, and Chief Court Buildings were constructed.
- On 1st November 1921, Suket was transferred from the political control of the Government of India till 15th August 1947.
Mandi History notes
- The Rajas of Mandi, Suket, Keonthal, and Kishtwar belongs to the Chandravanshi line of Rajputs of Sen dynasty(Bengal).
- They are said to be descendent of ‘Pandavas’ from the Mahabharata. The separation of Mandi from Suket-1200 A.D.
- Mandi got its name from Mandavya Rishi
- It is said that Raja of Suket at that time was Sahu Sen. His younger brother was Bahu Sen.
- Bahu Sen left Suket because of a quarrel with Sahu Sen and settled in Manglan(Kullu). They lived there for eleven generations.
- His Eleventh descendent, Kranchan Sen died in battle against Kullu Raja.
- When Kranchen Sen died, his rani was pregnant, she fled to her father, the chief of ‘Seokot’ in Mandi.
- On her way, Rani gave birth to a child under a Ban tree.
- Her father had no son and gave the child the name of Ban Sen.
- At the age of 15, chief of ‘Kilti’ was killed by Ban Sen. He(Kilti Chief) used to loot travelers.
- When his maternal grandfather, he settled at Bhiu’, near Mandi town.
Ajbar Sen(AD 1527)
- He was nineteenth in descent from Bahu Sen.
- Ajbar Sen succeeded his father in 1527. He was called the first Raja of Mandi.
- Mandi town was founded by him. He also built the old palace with four towers(Chauki) and the temple of Bhootnath in Mandi.
- He defeated Ranas of ‘Maratu’, ‘Sadiana’, ‘Kunhal’, and ‘Gandharba’.
- He was the first Chief of Mandi who assumed the title-Raja.
- Saultana Devi(Rani) built the Trilokinath temple.
- Ranas who had to surrender paid a tribute which was called Magni in those times.
- He died in 1534.
Sahib Sen(AD 1554-75)
- Sahib Sen formed an alliance with Raja Jagat Singh of Kullu and they together defeated Jai Chand, the Raja of Waziri Laksari’and annexed the area which is today known as portion Saraj Mandi.
Suraj Sen(AD 1637-64)
- The Boundary between Mandi and Kullu was fixed at the villages of Ber and Apju.
- He tried to recover territory lost earlier but the Kullu army took possession of salt mines, which reduce the economic condition of Mandi.
- Due to which peace was made between Kullu and Mandi and boundaries fixed as earlier.
- He built ‘Kamlagarh’ fort in 1625. Damdama palace of Mandi was built by him.
- During his lifetime, his eighteen sons died. Then he made an image of “Madho Rai”(silver image) and assigned his kingdom to it.
Shyam Sen(AD 1664-79)
- He was the brother of Suraj Sen.
- He succeeded to the throne in 1658.
- He visited various places like Banaras, Jaganath, and Nepal.
- Shama Kali temple on “Dhar Tarana” above Mandi town was built by him.
- He also a tank suburb beyond Beas.
- He defeated Jit Sen of Suket and captured Lohara Garh.
An image of God from Jagannath was brought by him.
In a battle against Kangra he supported Kahlur, the result of this battle is unknown.
- He succeeded to the throne in 1678 A.D.
- Jippu(illegitimate brother of Gur Sen), was a great minister during Sifh Sen rule.
- Mandi became very powerful under his reign.
- He captured areas from Bangahal, Suket, and Kullu.
- He was believed to have supernatural powers.
- He built a fort known as Sidhkot.
- Mandi was defeated and lost Darang salt mines to Raja of Kullu Man Singh, who presented a Dagger to Sidh Sen.
- He won Nachan, Hatli, Madhopur, and lad from Suket.
- Sidh Sen invited son-in-law Prithvi Pal of bangahal and killed treacherously after a month.
- He built temples of Sidh-Ganesh and Trilokinath.
- Guru Govind Singh was respectfully received by Sidh Sen. Guru Govind Singh blessed Mandi by saying-‘Mandi ko jab lootenge, Asmani gole chutenge’.
- Raja Raj Singh of Kullu imprisoned Govind Singh at Sultanpur with help of Mughals. From there, Guru escaped by using Miraculous powers.
- He died at age of hundred years and his only son Joala Sen died and succeeded by grandson Shamsher Singh.
Raja Shamsher Sen
- During his reign, Mandi remained constantly at war with its neighbors.
- He conquered Madhopur from Kullu.
- When Raja Jai Singh of Kullu was at Lahore, he took the advantage and conquered ‘Chaboroi’, ‘Ramgarh’, ‘Deogarh’, ‘Hashtpur’ and ‘Sarni’ from Kullu state.
Ishwari Sen(AD 1779-1826)
- He was only five years old when his father died in 1779 A.D.
- Raja Sansar Chand of Kangra, without losing time, invaded Mandi and plundered the town(Mandi).
- He captured Ishwari Sen to Kangra and kept him at ‘Nadaun’ as a prisoner for twelve years.
- When Raja Mahan Chand invited Gurkhas to invaded Kangra, Ishwari Sen gave his submission to Amar Singh Thapa.
- Sansar Chand of Kangra took refuge in Kangra fort.
- when Gurkhas were pushed back in 1810 and Kangra fort was occupied by Raja Ranjit Singh. Ranjit Singh appointed Sardar Dessa Singh Majithia the governor of all hill states including Mandi.
- Ishwari Sen paid a tribute of Rs. 30,000 annually till 1815.
- Tribute was hiked in 1815 when Zalim Sen(Brother of Ishwari Sen) to obtain the throne for himself and went to Lahore to sought Ranjit Singh’s help.
- In 1826, Zalim Sen came to power When he was fighting against Ishwari Sen, he took refuge at Kangra.
- Zalim Sen died in 1839.
- Ishwari Sen handed the state to Balbir Sen(nephew).
- Maharaja Ranjit Singh died in 1839.
- Nao Nihal Singh before an expedition taken to the Chinese territory and Ladakh attacked the states ‘Suket’, ‘Mandi’, and ‘Kullu’.
- Sikh army in 1840, under Command of General Ventura (a French). Balbir Sen was summoned to attend the General of the Sikhs.
- When Balbir Sen arrived, he was taken imprisoned in Govindgarh fort, Amritsar.
- In 1841, ‘Sher Singh’ became the new Raja of Sikhs.
- Sher Singh ordered the release of Balbir Sen. Sher Singh also allowed him to take the image of Goddess Devi.
- Before the Anglo-Sikh war in 1845, the Balbir Sen showed his eagerness to obtain British protection.
- Britishers were supported by Mandi along with Suket in the Anglo-Sikh war.
- After the battle, Balbir Sen was granted sanad, but with many restrictions and conditions.
- Rana Bhup Sen, son Tegha Sen was hardly 10 years old when he started his claims on the throne but refused by Britishers.
- Balbir Sen was granted ‘Sanad’ on 24th October 1846 to Balbir Sen, defining his rights and obligations.
- Bhup Sen with his 3,000 men army attacked Mandi, destroyed property, and plundered Gumma Salt mines.
- On the request of the Balbir Sen, Bhup Sen was imprisoned for a short period and released him on the promise of good conduct.
- Raja Balbir Sen wants to remove Wazir Gasaon from state administration because of his interference in state administration.
- Raja Balbir Sen could not do so, because of the British control and direction over the state’s administration.
- In 1851, Raja Balbir Sen died.
- His son was Bijai Sen(4 years old).
Bijai Sen(AD 1851)
- He was under the protection of Wazir ‘Gasaon’.
- Due to disturbing conditions prevailing in the state, the Britishers decided to constitute a council to run the state.
- Council appointed Wazir Gasaon to run the state.
- During this period, reforms such as the reduction of forced labour’ and free marriage of widows were introduced.
- In May 1861, the Commissioner visited Mandi and fined
- Purohit two thousand rupees for not doing their responsibilities.
- In 1863, ‘Mr. Clarke'(Education department officer), was appointed to the education of Raja.
- In 1864, Raja was honored with a salute of eleven guns for his support to the British during 1857 revolt.
- Raja Bijai Sen constructed a good mule road from Baijnath to Sultanpur Kullu.
- He(Raja) came under influence of evil counsel men and the administration of Mandi soon fell into the greatest confusion.
- In 1870, Raja was provided with a new adviser ‘Mr. E. Harrison’.
- Mr. Harrison’s appointment marked improvement in the state’s administration.
- In 1871, Lord Mayo(Viceroy), paid a visit to Mandi.
- He attended Palampur Darbar and also Delhi Darbar.
- He also constructed the Victoria suspension bridge over the Beas at Mandi.
- In 1877, younger brother of the Raja, Mian Man Singh, was appointed as Wazir.
- In 1881, a suspension bridge was built over the Uhl river, a tributary of the Beas.
- In 1899, Lord Elgin visited Mandi state.
- Raja was bestowed upon the title of ‘Rai Bahadur’ by Britishers.
- He died in 1902. He left no legitimate heir to the throne.
Raja Bhawani Sen (A.D. 1903)
- Kunwar Bhawani Sen was the illegitimate son of Bijai Sen and was recognized as a successor.
- Sir Charles Rivaz(Lt. Governor of Punjab), installed Bhawani Sen as Raja of Mandi in 1903.
- For minor Raja, Mr. Miller, I.C.S. was appointed Superintendent of the state.
- On 7th October 1905, the Raja was formally invested with full administrative powers by Mr. H.A. Anderson.
- In 1905, to meet the Prince of Wales, Raja visited Lahore.
- In 1907, the reduction of the duty on salt came into effect.
- Raja Bhawani Sen attended the coronation Darbar at Delhi in 1911.
- Bhawani Sen died in 1912. The Raja had left no direct heir to succeed him.
Raja Joginder Sen(AD 1913-48)
- Mian Joginder Singh, the cousin of Raja, was formally installed as Raja.
- From 1st November 1921, State’s political control was transferred from to the Government of India till 15th August 1947.
- Earlier it was under Punjab Government.
- Mandi State became part of the newly formed Himachal Pradesh on 15th April 1948.
Read Also: Kangra History Notes