Medieval Principalities in Himachal

To gain in-depth information about the medieval princely states of Himachal Pradesh

The medieval period in Himachal Pradesh was characterized by a mosaic of independent principalities, each with its own distinct identity and history. These princely states, ruled by local chieftains or princes, played an important role in shaping the socio-political landscape of the region. Let’s begin our detailed exploration of these medieval bastions of power.

Bilaspur (Kahlur)

Bilaspur, originally known as Kahlur, traces its origins to the 7th century AD when Bir Chand, son of Harihar Chand, established the principality. Bir Chand, a resident of Chanderi in Bundelkhand, chose Naina Devi as the capital of his empire. He strengthened his territory by building the formidable Kot Kahlur fort and established the city of Naina Devi as a center of political and religious importance, marked by the construction of the Naina Devi temple.


The princely state of Kangra, located in the Western Himalayas, boasts of a rich historical heritage dating back to ancient times. Founded by the Katoch Kshatriya Rajputs, Kangra, initially known as Nagarkot, witnessed a series of transformations over the centuries. With references in ancient texts such as Rajatarangini, Padma Purana and Hiuen Tsang’s travelogues, it served as an important center in the region. Despite its glorious past, Kangra faced many challenges, including invasions by Muslim armies, which led to its fragmentation into smaller states such as Jaswan, Guler, Siba and Datarpur.

• Jaswan: Established by Raja Purab Chand in 1170 AD, Jaswan emerged as an independent princely state.
• Guler: Founded by Hari Chand in 1405 AD, Guler flourished under his rule, with the construction of Haripur town and fort.
• Siba: Founded by Sibaran Chand in the 15th century, Siba carved its own identity as a separate kingdom.
• Datarpur: Established by Datar Chand in 1550 AD, Datarpur extended the influence of the Siba family in the region.


The state of Kutlehar, situated on the border of Kangra and Hoshiarpur, originated in the 10th or 11th century. Kot Kutlehar, the capital of Kutlehar, founded by Raja Jaspal, became the center of political and cultural activity in the region. Despite Jaspal’s Brahmin origins, he was eventually recognized as a Rajput ruler, further strengthening his hold on the region.


Nurpur, founded in 1095 AD by the Tomar Rajput Jerpal of Delhi, emerged as an important principality in the region. The rulers of Noorpur, who belonged to the Pathania clan, settled in Thathankot and expanded their territory to include present-day Kangra, Shahpur and Kandi. However, the principality eventually came under Sikh control in 1979, ending its independent rule.

Nalagarh (Hindur).

Nalagarh, founded around 1100 AD by Ajay Chand, son of Raja Kahan Chand of Bilaspur, holds a prominent place in the history of Himachal Pradesh. Ajay Chand’s conquest of the Handu region resulted in the establishment of Nalagarh, which led to a significant expansion of Bilaspur’s influence in the region.


The history of Sirmaur is shrouded in mystery, with stories suggesting that its rulers belonged to the Rathore dynasty. However, the accession to the throne of Salvahana-II in 1195 AD marked a turning point in the history of Sirmaur, ushering in a new era of rule under the Jaisalmer clan.


Founded around 1200 AD by a Brahmin, who later adopted Rajput identity, Baghal/Bhangal witnessed a period of prosperity under successive generations of rulers. However, the assassination of Prithvi Pal led to a decline in the princely state’s fortunes, ultimately leading to its disintegration.


Established by Bir Sen in 1241 AD, Suket originated from the famous dynasty of Bengal ruler Laxman Sen. Bir Sen’s conquests and strategic alliances enabled Suket to be established as a major principality, with Pangana as its capital.


The history of Mandi became linked with that of Suket when Ban Sen, a descendant of the ruling family of Suket, established a new residence in Bhinoli. This led to the emergence of Mandi as a separate state, whose capital was established by Ajbar Sen, the 19th descendant of Bahu Sen in 1527 AD.


Kullu’s ancient roots trace back to the establishment of the Pala dynasty in the 2nd century AD. The Singha dynasty, established by Siddha Singh around 1510 AD, ushered in an era of prosperity and cultural richness in the region.


The origins of Chamba can be traced back to the 2nd century BCE, where there were settlements of Sangha Kols and Audambhars. The establishment of the Varman dynasty in 620 AD marked the beginning of a glorious chapter in the history of Chamba, with Brahmapura as its capital. Despite facing challenges from external forces, Chamba retained its distinct identity and cultural heritage.

Ultimately, the medieval princely states of Himachal Pradesh represent a tapestry of diverse cultures, heritages and historical narratives, each contributing


Discovery of Medieval Princely States of Himachal Pradesh
The medieval period saw the emergence of several independent principalities in Himachal Pradesh, each with its own unique rulers. These institutions were instrumental in shaping the historical narrative of the region. Let us know about them in depth:

Bilaspur (Kahlur)
Established by Bir Chand in 617 AD.
Capital: Naina Devi; Reinforcement from Kot Kahlur Fort.
Originated in Chanderi, Bundelkhand.
Katoch founded by Kshatriya Rajputs.
Ancient Capital: Nagarkot.
Disintegrated into small states due to Muslim invasions:
Jaswan by Raja Purab Chand in 1170 AD.
Guler by Hari Chand in 1405 AD.
Siba by Sibaran Chand, 15th century.
Datarpur by Datachand in 1550 AD.
Established by Raja Jaspal in the 10th or 11th century.
Capital: Kot Kutlehar.
Situated on Kangra-Hoshiarpur border.
Established in 1095 AD by Tomar Rajput Jerpal of Delhi.
Capital: Thathankot.
Later in 1979 it came under Sikh control.
Nalagarh (Hindur).
Established by Ajay Chand around 1100 AD.
Increased influence of Bilaspur.
Uncertain history, possibly Rathore rulers.
Important changes under Salvahan-II.
Established around 1200 AD, later disbanded after the assassination of Prithvi Pal.
Established by Bir Sen in 1241 AD.
The lineage traces back to Lakshman Sen, the ruler of Bengal.
Emerged as a separate state in 1527 AD, which is linked to the history of Suket.
Under the Pala dynasty in the second century BC. The ancient roots of.
Flourished under the Singh dynasty from around 1510 AD.
The settlements date back to the 2nd century BC.
Varman dynasty was established in 620 AD.
Capital: Brahmapura.
Finally, the medieval princely states of Himachal Pradesh offer a glimpse of its diverse history, each of which contributes to its rich cultural heritage.