HIMACHAL : AN INTRODUCTION
Himachal Pradesh is situated in the NW of Himalayas and is major state from geographical & historical perspective. The Himalayas are believed to have risen from Tethys sea, approx. 50 million years ago.
According to the Purans, Himachal is the Jalandhara Khand of the Himalayas. The Himalayas are described in ancient Sanskrit literature as Himavat, Himavan, Paravat Raja, Himagiri, Himachal, Himavant and HimaKoot etc.
Kalidas called Himachal as ‘Measuring Rod of Earth’.Rabindranath Tagore called it a ‘Bridge between Divinity & Mankind’.
Padam Puran mentions that Jalandhar was son of Ganga and Sagar.
Jalandhar Puran mentions about death of Jalandhar. Few theories are mentioned about his end.
Lord Shiva cut him into pieces and bury him in far-off places so that he not join back. His head and mouth (Shri Jwala ji) were strewn in the north of Beas river, body was dispersed in the area between Satluj and Beas, and feet at Multan.
Existence of human life has been proved in foothills of Nalagarh-Suketi and Kalpa (Kinnaur) area which is estimated to 2 million years old.
Archaeological surveys have confirmed evidences of tools from these areas and estimated to be 40,000 years old. Guler, Dehra, Dhaliyara at Kangra in Banganga – Beas Valley, Sirsa-Satluj Valley of Nalagarh-Bilaspur, Markanda Valley of Sirmour.
• H.L. Shuttleworth discovered a group of fifteen rock cut temples at Masrur (Called Pyramids/ Ellora of Himachal). Hargreaves believed that these temples belonged to 8th century AD.
• Until 16th century, Chamba had 130 inscriptions in copper plates which primarily dealt with the land grants. This system started in around 10th century AD.
• Earliest rock inscriptions are found at Pathiyar (Vayula temple) &Khaniyara (Kangra) which were in Brahmi & Kharoshthi (*PK=BK). Khaniyara inscriptions were of Kushan & Pathiyar inscription were of Mauryans time inscriptions (KK-PM=Kalyan Karo-Pradhan Mantriji).
• Captain Harcourt, Assistant Commissioner of Kullu (April 1869 to March 1871), in his book “Kooloo, Lahaul and Spiti, 1871”, edited Vanhsavali of the Rajas of Kullu.
Alexander Cunningham published genealogies (Vanshavalis) of Kangra, Nurpur, Mandi, Suket, Chamba, and Rajauri (J & K).
Maurayan influence is seen in coin discoveries at Arki (Solan) in 1969, Una & other parts of state.
Indo-Greek (Indo-Bactrian, 1-2 Century BC) coins found in Sarol & Lachori in Chamba.
Some 21 Appollodotus (approx.160 BC, founder of the proper Indo-Greek kingdom) coins found in Mewa, Hamirpur.
Chakli copper coins with pierced ear (dedicated to Yogi Charpat Nath), came into practice during the reign of Raja Sahil Varman (920-940 AD). However, they were in circulation much earlier than Sahil.
One Chakli coin was equal to fifth part of an Anna (20%) in olden days.
Migrations into Himachal Hills
- Kol (Dasyus/Das in Ved): They were the earliest migrants to Himachal Hills from present day’s Bihar/Jharkhand. Kols settled between 3000 BC until 1500 BC. Munda was a language spoken by them.
• In Vedic literature, Kols were called Das, Dasyus, Nishads and were known as Kinnar, Nag & Yaksh in post-Vedic literature.
• DNDKV (Das, Dasyu, Nishad @ Vedic Kaal): Do Not Disturb @ Kendriya Vidyalya
• KNYPVK (Kinner, Nag, Yaksh @ Post Vedic): Kal New Year Party Vahin Karengay
- Indo-Mangols (Bhot / Kirat): Indo-Mangols were 2nd race to enter in vicinity of Himachal in around 3,000-2,000 BC but got into regular interaction with natives from 7th century AD only.
- Khas Aryans (around 2000 BC): Khas was the 3rd race to enter Himachal Hills. They arrived from area near Caspian Sea (Central Asia) and entered Western Himalayas through the north-west region, even before the Rigved period. Khas occupied areas from J&K, HP, Gharwal, Kumaon, Nepal until Northeast. 43 Janpads (6-8 Century BC till 2-4 Century AD)
The tribal republics of Himachal were Sangh Janpads. Some were known as Ayudha-jivi-sangha Sangh (mentioned by Panini, means professional fighters) or Sastro-Pajivi (mentioned by Kautilya).
- Kulut (Kullu): Kulut was located in today’s Beas Valley in Kullu. This Republic used to elect its King (Rajan) and his influence at times was non-military only. Kautilya called Kulut as ‘Rajsubdin Sangh’. Megasthenese also mentions people named Colubae who were the Kuluts.
- Kulind/Kunind: They were possibly the most ancient inhabitant tribe of Himachal Hills. The Mahabharat mentions that the Kulinds people who lived in the areas between the rivers Beas, Satluj and Yamuna (Sirmour and Shimla Hills) & between Ambala and Saharanpur in plains. The ethnic name Kulind might have been derived from the river Kalindi (Yamuna). The Greek historian
Ptolemy linked the origin of the Kunind to the country where the rivers Ganga, Yamuna, and Beas originate. A great ruler of the Kulind, Amoghabhuti reigned during the first half of the first century BC.
- Audumbur: This tribe had its existence as early as 5th century BC. Their region was present day areas of Kangra, Hoshiarpur & Gurdaspur. Prsyluski describes Audumbars as non-Aryans and calls them Austro-Asiatic race. Ketumbra were famous embroidered clothes of Audumbar.
Audumbars were known for trade of Cotton, Wool & Udumbar tree medicines.
They were also inclined to Buddhism and little towards Christianity.
They were prosperous as their territory was in the route of trade between Takshashila & Ganga Plains, and they were able to collect taxes.
Name might have been derived from Udumbra, a type of Fig (Anjeer/Guler; Ficus Glomerata). Their coins also bore image of a tree, probably Fig.
- Trigart: It finds mention in Mahabharat, Puran, Panini’s ‘Ashtadhyayi’ and Hemchandra’s ‘Abidar Chintamani’.
The original habitat of Susharma Chandra’s family is said to have been at Multan, which was shifted after the defeat in Mahabharat. However, alternate theory suggests that during the invasion by Ashok, the Great it was shifted.
Susharm Chandra sided with the Kauravs in Mahabharat. Kangra was possibly named as BhimKot (fort of Bhim) after Bhim, followed by defeat in Mahabharat. After Susharm Chander’s death, capital had to be changed from Jalandhar to Nagarkot (Kangra).
• It was a Shatdruj Republic (Gan), which participated in Mahabharat battle. They lived in the plains of the Punjab between Satluj and Yamuna, including areas of Bilaspur and Nalagarh.
• Yugandhar was also called as Avyav Sangh. Like Kulinds, the Yaudheyas also established their republic on the ruins of the Kushan
Empire. Jagadhari (Yamunanagar, Haryana) might possibly be modified name of Yugandhar.
• Yudheyas coins were also found in Uttrakhand, Nahan, Mandi and Rampur in Himachal Pradesh.
Cunningham also reported Yudheyas coins all over the country between the Yamuna and Satluj.
• Yugandhars defeated Kushans in 3rd century AD with the help of Kuninds and other Janpads. Due to this arrangement the title of ‘Maharaja’ was granted to King of Yugandhars.
• Samudragupt mentioned in his Allahabad pillar inscription that the Yudheyas, locating them probably along the boundary of his Kingdom. He subjugated Yudheyas in 4th century AD.
Surnames/Suffixes of Kings & States associated
Chander = Kangra/Trigart
Sen = Suket, Mandi, Keonthal&Spiti
Varman = Chamba, Hiuntal (Himta/Hiunta) or later Chanehni
Chand = Kehlur/Bilaspur
Pal = Kullu (Later Singh dynasty in 1500 AD) and Bhanghal
Prakash = Sirmour
Pathanias = Nurpur, Gulerias=Guler, Jaswal=Jaswan, Dadwal=Dada/Datarpur,
Sibaia = Sibba
Dev & Varman = Kashmir, Balauria = Balor (Vallapura, Capital of Basohli),
Brahmin King (later became Rajputs) = Bhanghal, Hindur (Nalagarh) Kutlehar, Bhajji and Koti
States that associate their origin to Pandavs = Nurpur, Basholi, Kullu, Bhadu, Bhadarwah, Mandi & Suket.