Shimla Hill States History
- The current district of Shimla includes many princely states.
- Most of these princely states are small hill states.
Shimla History Notes
- After Kashmir, Bushahr was one of the oldest Himalayan states.
According to the old tradition, it was founded by ‘Pradhuman‘ the son of Lord Krishan.
- He killed Banasur, the chief of Shonitpur, and marry his daughter. Thus, he became Raja of Bushahr and the regions of Kinnaur.
- According to another legend, describes Pradhuman had come from ‘Kanchanaapuri‘ on pilgrimage to ‘Bhimakali‘ temple at Sarahan.
- Due to the death of Raja without an heir, Pradhuman enters the palace gate first at a specified time as prescribed by Goddess Bhimakali.
- As stated by C.F. Kennedy, in AD 1412, Bushahr was founded by a Rajput Danbar Singh from Deccan.
- The capital of Bushahr at that time was ‘Kamru’.
- At the end of the 7th century, Shital Pal of Kullu run away to Bushahr, when Meru Varman of Chamba attacked him. In 780-800 AD, when Chamba was under the attack of the Tibetans(Kiras), Jareshwar Pal(6th descendent from Shital Pal) recovered his state from Chamba with the help of Bushahr.
- At the beginning of the 10th century, the capital of the state was shifted from ‘Kamru’ to ‘Sarahan’.
Raja Chattar Singh(110th from Pradhuman)
- He conquered the complete area of South of Sarahan including Kinnaur.
- At that time, there were three paramount powers in Shimla hill states-Bushahr, Bilaspur and Sirmour.
- Raja Chattar Singh was counted as good and supreme ruler of his time.
Raja Kehri Singh
- He was described as the highest skilled warrior of his time.
- He is said to be ‘Ajanbahu‘(i.e. he can touch his knees with his hands while standing straight) like Lord Rama.
- He also appeared in the great darbar of Aurangzeb in Delhi. A small cloud in the form of Chhatra(umbrella) sheltered him all time.
- When Kehri Singh was asked about this miracle, he replied that it is blessings of Goddesses who protected him from the heat of plain. On this emperor granted the ‘Chhatrapati‘ title to Raja Kehri Singh. (Important for Exams-asked in various exams of HP)
- He also reduced the tribute from Sirmaur, Garhwal, Mandi and Suket.
- Grajayadoke, the Raja of Tibet was his contemporary.
- At that time, a small territory of Tibet was conquered by the Raja of Ladakh.
- Kehri Singh concluded a treaty with Guldenchhen (a Tibetan Commander) and take back the territory from Ladakh.
- In the late 17th century, Kehri Singh also defeated Guldenchhen in a battle.
- In the end, an agreement was signed and Kailash was declared boundary between Tibet and Kinnaur.
- Also in this agreement, merchants from both sides would enjoy all facilities without any tax.
- In 1681-83 A.D., Tibetan-Ladakhi-Mughal war took place, in this war, Kehri Singh supported Tibet.
- For his services, he was provided Hangrang valley as a jagir.`
- Next important raja in the list is Raja Ram Singh.
Raja Ram Singh
- He shifted his capital to Rampur from Sarahan.
- During his time, Bidhi Chand of Kullu invaded Bushahr. Bidhi Chand subdued Kothis of Dhawal, Balramgarh, and Kot Kandi.
- Man Singh(son of Bidhi Chand) captured ‘taluka‘ which to date is part of Kullu district.
Raja Ugar Singh
- Raja Ugar Singh married the princess of Sirmaur. Earlier Sirmaur and Bushahr were unfriendly to each other from a long time.
- He had a son Mohinder Singh from Rani from Dhami, who at the age of eight, succeeded Raja Ugar Singh.
Raja Mahinder Singh
- During the minority of Mahinder Singh, the state was invaded by Gurkhas and compelled raja to run away with his mother to the Kamru region.
- Gurkhas tried to reach the treasure of ‘Kamru’ but retreated by the guerilla force of Kinnaur at Chholtu bridge.
- In 1814 Gurkhas were attacked by Britishers, the wazir of Bushahr “Tikka Ram” and “Badri Dass” provided good direction to state troops and supported English.
- Under the command of these two leaders, Gurkhas were defeated at Chholtu Bridge.
- After the Gurkhas retreat, Raja with his mother returned to Sarahan in 1815.
- Except ‘Rawin and Kotgarh’, all territories were restored to Raja. (Later Britishers were transferred ‘Rawin and Kotgarh’ to Keonthal in exchange for Shimla).
- In 1850, Mahinder Singh died at the age of 47. and was succeeded by his son Shamsher Singh, a minor.
- The three wazir families(Kanait) of the Bushahr are Pawari, Kohal and Shua.
- Ran Bahadur Singh of Pawari family claimed the independence of ‘Dodra Kawar’.
Raja Shamsher Singh
- Shamsher Singh succeeded Raja Mahinder when he was a minor.
For state administration, Mansukh Dass and then Shyam Lal (Tehsildar of Nurpur) were appointed.
- In the revolt of 1857, Raja showed his anger against interference Britishers and did not pay his tribute.
- For this William Hay (Deputy Commissioner), wanted to teach Shamsher Singh a lesson.
- But on the advice of Sir John Lawrence(Chief Commissioner), did not support this idea.
- In 1854, Munshi Ram Lal introduced a new revenue payment system. Fateh Singh (illegitimate brother of raja) revolted against the new revenue payment in 1859.
- The farmers of the state revolted against the new system, till their demands were not accepted.
- To settle the dispute, Mr. G. Barnes, the Superintendent, Shimla Hill States, and restored the old payment system.
- In 1887, Shamsher Singh was compelled to retire the seat of state in favor of his son Raghunath Singh.
- He managed the state well with success for a few years until he died in 1898.
- In 1883, he did not want to marry Mandi princess and fled to Sirmaur.
- Ran Bahadur Singh(Wazir) was his trusted official.
- His only son died within a year after his death.
- 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 Garhwal Raja’s younger brother ‘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 supported Padam Singh to acquire the throne and 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.
- In 1864, the forest of Bushahr was leased for a period of fifty years to the British Government.
- In 1929, a fresh agreement was made with effect for twenty-five years.
Vir Bhadra Singh
- Since 1947, He was Raja of Bushahr.
- In April 1948, Bushahr became part of the centrally administered Chief Commissioner’s province of Himachal Pradesh.
- Later, Raja Vir Bhadra became the CM of the Himachal Pradesh.
- Area – 51 square miles (nearly 83 sq. kilometers).
- The area is fertile and beautifully wooded with fine forests of Deodar.
- It was an offshoot of former Sirmaur.
- Before the 12th century, it was founded by ‘Alak Singh’ from the old Rathore family of Sirmaur.
Rana Jog Raj Singh
- In 1805, Balsan under Jog Raj Singh was subordinate to Kumharsain. Jog Raj Singh supported British forces against Gurkhas.
- He handed Nagan fort to General Ochterlony.
- He was granted an independent Sanad on 15 Sept 1815.
- Jog Raj Singh remained loyal and provided invaluable help to the Europeans by giving them protection.
- In 1858, for these services, he was given a ‘Khilat‘ in public Darbar.
- He was also conferred by the hereditary title of Rana.
- In 1867, Jog Raj Singh died at the age of 87.
Bhup Singh II
- He died in 1918 without any heir.
- His brother Rana Attar Singh succeeded him.
- He died on 19th May 1936.
- He was succeeded by his son Ram Bahadur Singh.
Rana Ran Bahadur Singh
- He also wrote the History of Balsan state.
- He was given full power of administration, only the control of death sentences was not given.
- In order of precedence amongst the Shimla hill states, Balsan was ranked 11th.
- He was not entitled to pay a formal visit to the Viceroy.
- Bur he was allowed to attend an informal interview on once during the Viceroy’s term of office.
- The state was subject to pay the ‘nazarana‘ up to 1911.
- Tikka Vidya Bhushan Singh was last Rana of Balsan.
Vidya Bhushan Singh
- He was Rana of Balsan from 1943 to 1948.
- He succeeded to the Gaddi on the retirement of his father in 1943.
- He died on 17th July 1979.
- On 15th April, 1948, the state of Balsan was integrated with Himachal Pradesh.
- At present Shimla district, Balsan is a part of ‘Theog’ tehsil.
- The state of Bhajji was situated on the banks of small river Nauti Khad and the river Satluj and close to the Shali peak.
- It is said that the descendants of Kutlehr founded the Bhajji state.
- The founder’s name was Cheru. He changed his name to Udai Pal after the foundation of Bhajji.
- Sohan Pal (29th descendent from Cheru) founded the Sunni village.
- He changed his state’s capital to ‘Sunni’ from ‘Mul Bhajji’.
- In 1803-15, Gurkhas invaded the Bhajji state.
- In 1815, the British expelled the Gurkhas. Rana Rudra Pal was restored and was provided a sanad for help during the war.
- In 1842, he abdicated the throne to his son Ran Bahadur Singh and died 14 years later.
Rana Ran Bahadur Singh(AD 1824-75)
- He was formally installed as Rana of Bhajji on April 1844.
- He was provided a ‘Khilat‘ of Rs. 1,100/- in 1855.
- He was succeeded by his son Durga Singh.
Rana Durga Singh(AD 1875-1913)
- He was succeeded by his infant son Inder Singh (Veer Pal Singh).
- He died in 1913.
Rana Birpal(AD 1913-1940)
- He succeeded to the throne on 9th May 1913 as an infant.
- The last Rana of the State was Ram Chand Singh Pal.
Rana Ram Chandra Pal Singh
- He was Rana of Bhajji from 1940 to 2012.
- He was given full reigning powers on 17th April 1947.
- He joined IAS and retired in 1982.
- He was last rana of Bhajji.
- Bhajji was created as a tehsil of Himachal Pradesh, in 1948.
- Now Bhajji is a portion of present Sunni tehsil.
- Like Bhajji, it was established by the successor of Kutlehar state of Kangra.
- Both ‘Bhajji’ and ‘Koti’ were founded together.
- Koti was founded by Chand (real brother of Bhajji founder ‘Cheru’).
- For a long time, ‘Mool Koti’ was the capital of the state.
- It was Tara Chand Thakur, who changed the ruling seat (capital) from ‘Koti’ to ‘Kayar Koti’.
- From 1809, Koti remained under the control of Gurkhas. Gurkhas extracted Rs. 2000/- from Koti.
- After the retreat of Gurkhas, Koti was subdued by Keonthal.
- Hari Chand of Koti helped Britishers during the 1857 revolt and provided protection.
- For this help, he has conferred the title of Rana.
- For the ‘Shimla Water Supply’scheme’, he rented a part of his territory.
- In 1948, Koti was made a part of Kasumpatti tehsil and a part of Mahasu district.
- Later Koti became part of Shimla tehsil.
- Darkoti was a small state, founded by Durga Singh, who is said to come from the house of Marwar.
- The history of the Darkoti state is available in some references only.
- When Gurkhas were expelled, Rana Sateesh Ram was made ruler of the state.
- He died in 1854 and succeeded by Paras Ram Singh (1854);
- Ram Singh (1856); Ram Saran Singh (1883); Rana Ragunath Singh (1918); and Shiv Singh.
- The state forests were managed by the government, the net profit being paid to the Rana.
- In the settlement made in 1839 Sosum village was erroneously included in Kotkhai, district of Shimla, but was restored to Darkoti in 1843.
- Darkoti was accountable for the operation of the Nazarana up to 1911. But these were abolished on the occasion of the coronation Darbar.
- On 15th April 1948, when Himachal Pradesh came into existence, Darkoti was merged with Mahasu district.
- It was earlier a part of Sirmaur state. This area was given to Sisodhia Rajput Kishan as a jagir in about 15th century.
- Kishan Singh was the descendent of Deo Karan (prince of Udaipur).
- When Gurkhas attacked Tharoch, Thakur Karam Singh was its ruler.
- He was a nominal ruler, his brother Jhobu held the administration because of his great age.
- In 1819, Jhobu was conferred a sanad, when his brother died.
- In 1838, Ranjit Singh (son of Karam Singh) claimed the throne.
- Jhobu was not liked by the people. Thus compelled to abdicate the throne to his son Shyam Singh.
- But Jhobu and Ranjit Singh united their interests and Shyam Singh was required to abdicate in AD 1841.
- Ranjit Singh’s claim was acknowledged and he was installed on Gaddi in 1843
- A sanad was granted to Ranjit Singh on 6th October 1843 and also the title of ‘Thakur’.
- In 1877, Thakur Ranjit Singh died and was succeeded by grandson Kedar Singh.
- He got his full administrating powers in 1883.
- He died in 1903 and his elder son Surat Singh succeeded to the throne.
- Tharoch was accountable to the operation of the Nazarana upto 1911.
- In 1929 Thakur Surat Singh was conferred the title of Rana.
- Tharoch maintained a force of 6 Armed Police.
- On 15th April 1948, Tharoch became part of Himachal Pradesh and when it was merged with Chaupal.
- Dhadi–offshoot of Tharoch– founded by a Sisodia Rajput– settled near confluence of ‘Tons’ and ‘Pabbar’.
- Dhadi- located on right side of Pabbar river.
- Earlier, Dhadi was under Tharoch and then Bushahr.
- During the Gurkha supremacy, Dhadi was under the control of Rawingarh.
- After Gurkhas- no reference of Dhadi as a independent state.
- It is British who separated the Rawingarh and Dhadi as independent states.
- Later, in 1896 both Rawingarh and Dhadi were vassal to Jubbal state.
- On 15/04/1948, Dhadi became part of Jubbal tehsil of Mahasu district.
- In 1897, Thakur Bir Singh– ascended to the Gaddi and ruled till 1905.
Rana Sahib Dharam Singh
- He succeeded to the gaddi on 16 oct 1905.
- During his period thakurai was merged with HP, after the independence.
- He died in 1953.
Rana Sahib Jai Singh
- He remained the head of the thakurai from 1953 to 1977 till his death.
Rana Sahib Narender Singh
- He succeeded to the gaddi in 1977 until he died in 2002.
Rana Sahib Surender Singh
- He succeeded to the gaddi on 31st March 2002.
- Approximate area of the state- 90 square miles (nearly 150 square km).
- The territory of the Kumharsain lies on- left bank of the Satluj.
- According to the tradition- ‘Kumharsain’, ‘Khaneti’, ‘Delath’, ‘Karangla’ and Kotkhai rulers had same ancestor.
- Kumharsain– founded by Kirat Chand (from Bihar) in the 11th century.
- The territory was ruled by by Koteshwar Devta, before Kirat Chand.
- Kirat Chand (Singh) along with his four brothers settled at Karnangla.
- Because of the fear of Mahmud Ghazani, he came from Gaya and settled at Karnangla.
- Ajmer Singh- one of the famous ruler of Kumharsain.
- The forts of Shari and Shangri was also captured by him.
- At that time, Shangri was under the control of Kullu.
- Man Singh of Kullu attacked the Kumharsain but Ajmer Singh deafeated him at Karangla and force Kullu Raja to flee across the Satluj.
- During Gurkha invasion, Kumharsain was a tributary of Bushahr.
- Also thakurais of Balsan, Bharauli and Madhan was under Kumharsain.
- Later it became independent of Bushahr and also lost its own tributaries.
- When Gurkhas attacked the hills, Rana Kehar Singh took refuge in Kullu.
- He returned from kullu in 1815 after the Gurkha expulsion.
- It is General Ochterlony who refused the rights of Kumharsain over Balsan, Bharauli and Madhan.
- A tribute of Rs. 1440/ was extracted from the state.
- Kehar Singh died in 1839 without any child. Due to no heir, state was lapsed to the government.
- During British and Nepal war- Pritam Singh was allowed to succeed in 1840.
Rana Pritam Singh(1840-1858)
- At the time of 1857 revolt Pritam Singh provided help to the British.
- During his succession, the annual tribute of the state was increased from Rs 1440 to Rs 2000.
- He died in 1858.
- His son Bhawani Singh succeeded him.
Rana Bhawani Singh(1858-1874)
- His son Hira Singh succeeded to the throne.
- But due to his mental incapacity, a Council of Manager was appointed during the forty years of his chiefship.
Rana Hira Singh
- He succeeded on 12th November 1874.
- During his reign(1874-1896), the Council of Regency controlled the state.
Rana Vidyadhar Singh
- He succeeded to the throne from 1914-1945. He was educated of Aitchison’s College Lahore.
- In 1920, he received the full powers.
- Kumharsain was liable to the operation of the Nazarana rules upto 1911.
- In 1927, land settlement was re-introduced in the Kumharsain state.
Rana Sumeshwar Singh
- He ascended the throne in 1945 and continued to the head of Kumharsain royal family till 1996.
- Rana Samsher Singh died in 1996.
Rana Surender Singh
- In 1996, when Rana Sumeshwar Singh died, the only male member alive in the family was Rana Surender Singh, son of Kanwar Inder Singh, so he was installed ceremonial rana of the Kumharsain State.
- On 15th April 1948, Kumharsain was merged with the then Mahasu district and now is the part of Shimla district.
Read Also : Kinnaur History Notes
Read Also : Shimla-the Capital History Notes