Prehistoric era in Himachal Pradesh

Prehistoric era in Himachal Pradesh

The prehistoric era of Himachal Pradesh is marked by the migration of people from Central Asia and the Indian plains. The Indus Valley Civilization flourished during this period, estimated to have developed between 3000 and 1750 BC. Covering a vast area from the Arabian Sea to the Ganga Valley in the east, and extending to Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat in the north and west, this civilization co-existed with the Munda-speaking Kolerian people in the foothills of the Shivalik Hills. . Himalaya.

Cole and migration of early inhabitants

The first migrants to the Himachal hills were the Kols, also known as Mundas. Various tribes like Koli, Hali, Dam, Chanal, Chamang and Damag reside in different regions of Himachal Pradesh. According to the Rig Veda, the hills were ruled by a powerful king, Shambar, who had 99 forts between the Beas and Yamuna rivers.

Arrival of the aryans

The Aryans migrated from Central Asia in search of new lands and pastures. A branch of the Aryans entered Kashmir and gradually moved into the middle belt of the Himalayas, turning the Kolarian lands into Khasha lands. They spoke a language similar to Sanskrit and organized themselves into family-based villages, each village ruled by a leader called Mavi or Mawana.

Vedic Aryans and their settlements

As the Indus Valley Civilization expanded into the Gangetic plains, the Kolarian people moved north towards the Himachal Valley. Referred to in the Vedas as Dasas, Dasyus, Nishadas and later as Kinnaras, Nagas and Yakshas, these tribes settled in different parts of Himachal Pradesh. Many Vedic saints also established settlements in the region, including sage Jamadagni near Renuka Lake and sage Vashishtha near Vashishtha Kund in Manikaran.

Early historical period

Around 1000 BCE, the Himalayan region, now Himachal Pradesh, was divided into several small tribal republics according to the Mahabharata. These republics, known as Sangha Janapadas, functioned as both political and cultural units.

Tribal Republic of Himachal

1. Odumbara

The Audumbers, descendants of the sage Vishwamitra, were a prominent tribal community settled on the trade routes from Taxila to the Ganges valley and from Magadha to Kashmir. They are mentioned in ancient texts such as the Mahabharata and the Shatapatha Brahmana, known for their Shaiva affiliation, trade in cotton, wool and medicinal plants, and their famous embroidered clothing called Ketumbra.

2. Trigarta

Trigarta, corresponding to modern Kangra, was located in the area drained by the Ravi, Beas and Sutlej rivers. It is believed that it was an alliance of six kingdoms, founded by Susarman Chand of the Katoch dynasty. The Trigartas built the Nagarkot Fort, also known as the Kangra Fort, which holds importance in the history of Himachal.

3. Kulutha

The Kuluta region located in the upper Beas valley (present-day Kullu valley) is mentioned in various ancient texts. They were closely associated with the Audumbaras and were known for their prosperous trade and a unique copper coin bearing the name of their king Virayasa.

4. Kulinda

The Kulindas inhabited the area between the Beas, Sutlej, Ganga and Yamuna rivers, with their capital at Naggar on the Beas River. They were mentioned in the Mahabharata, Vishnu Purana, and were known for their independent republican form of administration. The Kulindas were prosperous, issuing copper and silver coins bearing inscriptions indicating their sovereignty.

In conclusion, the prehistoric and early historic periods of Himachal Pradesh display a rich tapestry of migrations, settlements and diverse tribal republics that laid the foundation for the cultural and historical heritage of the region.


Prehistoric period in Himachal Pradesh:
Early settlers came from Central Asia and the Indian plains.
The Indus Valley Civilization flourished between 3000 and 1750 BC.
The Munda-speaking Kolarian people lived in the Shivalik Hills.
Migration of early inhabitants:
The first migrants were Kol or Munda.
Various tribes like Kolis, Halis and Dums settled in Himachal.
Shambara ruled with 99 forts in the hills.
Arrival of Aryans:
Aryans started migrating towards new lands and pastures.
They converted Kolarian land into Khasha land.
Villages were led by leaders called Maavi or Mawana.
Settlements of Vedic Aryans:
The Kolarian people moved north into the valleys of Himachal.
Described in the Vedas and settled in various areas.
Vedic saints established settlements in various areas.
early history:
By 1000 BC the region was divided into tribal republics.
The Sangha Janapadas functioned as both political and cultural units.
Tribal Republic of Himachal:
Audumbara: Tribe famous for trade and embroidery.
Trigarta: Alliance of six kingdoms, Kangra region.
Kulutha: Unique coin field in the Kullu Valley.
Kulindas: Independent tribe with rich administration.
The prehistoric and early historic periods laid the foundation for the rich cultural and historical heritage of Himachal Pradesh through migration, settlements and diverse tribal republics.