Advent of Maukharis & Foundation of Chamba
Chamba was one of the oldest principalities of the western Himalayas founded by Raja Maru (not Meru Varman, 680 AD) in about 550 AD and its old capital was at Brahmapura. Shortly after, Maru gave his kingdom to his son Jai-Sthambh and retired to Kalpagram to become a Sadhu.
Aditya Varman (620 AD): Aditya Varman was the first Raja to adopt the title ‘Varman’.
Meru Varman (8th from Raja Maru): Reigned from 680-700 AD. He was famous as Shahjahan of Chamba. He utilised the services of master metal-smith Gugga(Pir) for crafting the brass idols of the deities present in many temples. Meru Varman also subjugated Kullu when it was being ruled by King Dateshwar Pal.
Ajay Varman (760 AD): Rajputs and Gaddi Brahmins came from Delhi and settled during his reign. He retired for meditation and abdicated the kingdom in favour of his son, Swarn Varman.
Mushan Varman (820 AD): When the Raja Laxmi Varman was defeated by Kir community. On the way to their escape, the Rani gave birth to a son and the baby was left in a cave. The name Mushan Varman was given because of the protection given by the mice in the cave. Raja of Suket married his daughter to Mushan. Killing of mice was banned in the Chamba royal family.
Sahil Varman (920-940 AD): He transferred his capital from Brahmpura to Champa, now called Chamba.He was issueless and once 84 yogis visited him and they blessed him with 10 sons & a daughter Champavati. Chaurasi temple complex is a dedication to 84 Yogis. Chamba town was founded on the place suggested by Champavati and named after her. Rani Naina Devi offered herself to be buried alive in order to get divine intervention for water supply from Sarohta stream. During the reign of Sahil Varman ‘Suhi’ mela was started in Chamba in the memory of his Rani Naina Devi for her sacrifice. Constructions during Sahil Varman Region: Champavati (Chamesni) Temple and Laxmi Narayan Temple, Chandragupt, Kameshwar, and Vishnu Chander Shekhar (at Saho) temples in Chamba. He had sent his 9 sons to fetch marble for idols, but a frog’s impression was found in slab brought by them. Frog being an inauspicious sign was unfit for use and they went again for fresh marble but got killed by robbers. Ultimately, he sent Yugankar Varman, who brought marble successfully, after defeating robbers with the help of Gosain Sanyasis.
Yugankar Varman (940-960 AD): He had married Tribhuvan-Rekha Devi, who granted land in a copperplate for Narsimha Temple at Bharmour (a stone Shikhar styled shrine) which is also associated with Meru Varman. Oldest copperplates of Chamba belong to his reign.
Ganesh Varman (1512-59 AD): He built fort of Ganeshgarh at Mothila. Ganesh & his son Pratap Singh were contemporaries of RBS of Kullu (1537-72 AD) and three Princesses of Kullu were married to Pratap Singh Varman.
Pratap Singh Varman (1559-86 AD): From 1559 AD, future kings, including Pratap, started putting ‘Singh’ before ‘Varman’.Copper mines were also found in the Hul region in his state, which helped him to get the resources to work for the rest.Pratap was contemporary of Akbar and Chamba might have become a tributary and remained loyal to the Mughal Empire.
Balbhadr Singh Varman (1589-1613 AD): He was a generous King. For his large heartedness, he was called Bali-Karan (for Raja Bali & Karan like magnanimity). His charity can be gauged from 42 copperplates (highest amongst Chamba kings), where he granted land to people is mentioned. Mother of Trigart King Hari Chand (who lost Kangra fort in 1620 AD) was the Princess of Chamba.
Janardhan Singh Varman (1613-23 AD): He faced a 12-year intermittent war with Suraj Mal of Nurpur. Ironically, after revolting against Jahangir, Suraj Mal had to take refuge in Chamba in 1618-19 AD.In 1623, Jagat Singh of Nurpur attacked Chamba and defeated them with the support of Mughal forces at Dhalog. Raja Janardhan lost the battle and his brother Bishambhar. He had to flee.Chamba came under Jagat Singh from 1623 until 1641.
Prithvi Singh (1641-1664): After the attack of Jagat Singh in 1623 AD, Dai Batlu, the wet nurse of 4-year-old Prithvi, smuggled him out safely. After attaining adulthood, he took support from Raja of Mandi (Suraj Sen AD 1637-64) and attacked Chamba for his restoration as the King. Surname ‘Varman’ was dropped during his reign. Prithvi Singh built a wooden palace known as Bharmour State Kothi. Prithvi Singh’s wet nurse Batlu (who saved his life in infancy) had constructed and repaired some temples: Khajinag at Khajiar, Hadimba at Mehla, and Sita-Ram at Chamba.
Chatar Singh (1664-90 AD): It was during the Chatar Singh’s reign that Lahaul was divided between Chamba and Kullu and the state territory extended upto Tandi. Aurangzeb ordered King Chatar Singh to destroy all the temples in Chamba in 1678 AD. The king not only refused to do so.
Raj Singh (1764-94 AD): He was a minor (9 Yrs) at the time of Umed Singh’s death. Opportunist King Ghamand Chand of Kangra seized the fort of Pathiyar.In 1782 AD, Raj Singh invaded and conquered Basholi. In 1794, Raj Singh countered MSC forces and lost his life during the battle. A fair was also associated with him in Nerti (called Dehra then) but was shifted to Rait near Shahpur. Moreover, his son built a Shiva Temple at Nerti in the year 1796 AD.
Bhuri Singh (1904-1919 AD): Private Secretary to the Raja 1885-1898, and later Wazir (1898-1904). Succeeded on the abdication of his elder brother, 22nd January 1904.He also established a fine museum in 1908 and also constructed the first hydro-electric plant during the same year. Bhuri Singh attended Vice-regal Darbar at AgraBhuri Singh died suddenly from a cerebral haemorrhage, at the Akhand Chandi Palace, Chamba, 23rd September 1919.
Lakshman Singh (1935-1948 AD): He was a minor and as such the state was run by council of administration till 1945, when Lakshman Singh achieved adulthood. On the 8th March 1948, Chamba merged with the India and became a district of Himachal.
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