Ancient History of Himachal Pradesh

Ancient History of Himachal Pradesh

(A)Prehistoric and Vedic Period

(I)    Prehistoric Himachal

  Prehistoric period script was not developed.  We have not found any written sources of humans of this time.  We depended only on archaeological sources for this period.  This period is divided into Palaeolithic period (30 Lakh to 10 thousand BC), Megalithic period (1000BC – 4000BC) and Neolithic period (7000BC – 10000BC).
The Proto-historic period is called the period in which there was script, but still unreadable, such as – Harappan period 

(1)   Palaeolithic sources

Olaf Prufer in Nalagarh on the right of Sirsa, a tributary of Sutlej, in 1951, has received stone tools such as Spud (Khurpe) etc.  In 1955, B.B.  Lal has obtained samples of equipment of 72 Adisohan type stones from Guler, Dehra, Dhaliyara and Kangra.  Among them are chapar, hand ax and vedani.  Dr.  GC Mahapatra has also found the remains of stone tools of the Late Stone Age (30 lakh-4 lakh years ago) in the Sirsa river valley and Kangra.  Remnants of this period have been found in 1974 in the Suketi region of Markanda River at Sirmour. 

(2) Megalithic and Neolithic sources –

this period (10000BC – 1000BC) has been considered as one in India.  Permanent agriculture and civilizations originated during this period.  Evidence of Neolithic age has been found at Kotla-Nihang in Ropar.  In the foothills of the Saraswati-Yamuna rivers, brown images have been found made in pottery. 

(3) Half-century (at the time of Indus civilization) resident of Himachal

Kol –
Kol Are natives of who laid the foundation of Neolithic culture in Himachal Pradesh.  In the Western Himalayas, the present-day Koli, Hali, Dum, Chanaal, Badhe etc. are from the Kol caste.  Kol caste Settling in Himachal Pradesh is found from the rocks of the Chandeshwar valley of Kumaon. 
Kirat –
Kirat (Mongol) was the second caste to come here after the Kol caste.  The sage Vashistha calls him ‘Shishnadeva’ (worshiper of the linga deity).  In the Mahabharata, the Kirat are said to be residents of the Himalayas.  Chapter 140 of Vanparva (Mahabharata) describes his residence.  There were people who had to drive the people from the mountain foothills to the high mountains.  Manu has also described the Kirat.  Kinnars are mentioned in Kalidasa’s Raghuvansh. 
Naga –
People of this caste used to live everywhere in the hills of Himachal.  There are 10 feet high statues of serpents in the Panchavaktra Shiva temple of Mandi.  The snake deity is depicted in the seals of the Harappan civilization.  In Mahabharata, Arjuna did Gandharva vivah to Naga king Vasuki daughter named Ullopi.  Vasuki Nag is worshiped in Chamba, Kullu etc.  Takshak Nag established the Nag state in the Himalayas. 
Khas –
The third branch of Aryans which spread from Central Asia through Kashmir to the entire Himalayas, is called Khash caste.  His residence is found in a village named Khashkandi, Khash Dhar in Rohru region.  The Bhunda festival is celebrated as the victory of the Khash over the Naga caste, in which sacrifices are offered to a family member of the ‘Beda Janis’ who are considered descendants of the Naga caste.  ‘Budhi Diwali’, celebrated by Khash in Nirmand, is also a symbol of their victory over the primitive castes here.  In this, the Khash-Nag war is staged.  The Kanait (Kulind) people descended from the Khash caste are famous by the name of Khasia.  This caste is mentioned repeatedly in the Mahabharata.  These people also fought the Mahabharata war on behalf of the Kauravas.  Descriptions of Khash have also come in Vayu Purana and Vishnu Purana.  The chieftains of these same people later formed small state associations which were called ‘Mabana’. 

(4) Arya and Himachal –

A branch of Aryans entered India via Central Asia.  These were called Vedic Aryans.  These people brought their livestock, deities and household goods and headed towards the Sapta Indus region.  It took them 400 years to settle down completely.  On the move from Sapta Sindhu (Punjab) towards Shivalik, the Vedic Aryans faced the ancient inhabitants of Kol, the people of Kirat and Nag caste here.
Shambar – Divodas war –
Dasyu king “Shambar” had 99 forts in the hills between Yamuna to Beas river.  According to the Rigveda, there was a 40-year war between the Dasyu king Shambar and the Arya king Divodas.  In the end, Divodas killed Shambar at a place called Udvajr.  Rishi Bharadwaj was the chief advisor to the Arya king Divodas. 
Khash and Arya –
Khash were also driven away by the Aryans towards the inaccessible hills, who settled there, the Aryans took those Khash in their possession or made them slaves.

(II) Vedic Period

(1)   Vedic Arya –

The powerful king of the Vedic Aryans ‘Yayati’ laid the foundation of his kingdom on the banks of the river Saraswati.  After that his son ‘Puru’ became the ruler of this state.
Dashrag War – According to the Rigveda, the battle of the son of Divodas, Sudas, took place between the ten Arya and non-Aryan kings, which is called Dashrag war.  ‘Sudas’ army was led by his mentor and minister Vasistha, while the other ten kings’ armies were led by Vishwamitra.  Sudas’s army defeated the army of ten kings (Puru kingdom).  After this Sudas became the most powerful king of the Rigvedic period.  This war took place on the banks of river Ravi.

(2)   Vedic sage –

Mandi to Mandavya, Rishi to Bilaspur to Beas, Nirmand to Parashurama.  Manali is associated with Manu Rishi and Vashistha Kund hot water glasses located near Manikaran in Kullu Valley are associated with Vedic sage Vasishta.
Jamadagni Rishi –
Jamadagni Rishi is worshiped in the village of Malana as Jamlu Devta.  The place where the sage Jamadagni resided was called ‘Jamu ka Tibba’.  It is located near Ranuka in Sirmaur district.  Jamadagni was the wife of the sage Renuka.  The temple of Parashurama, son of Jamadagni Maharishi, is located near Renuka Lake.  Agastya and Gautam Rishi also built their ashrams around Renuka and later went to reside in other places. 
Sage Parashurama –
When Vedic Arya King Sahastra Arjuna (Kirtavirya) reached Renuka, he was welcomed by the sage Jamadagni.  Sahastra Arjun asked Jamadagni sage to ‘Kamdhenu’ the cow which the sage refused to give.  Enraged at this, he destroyed the ashram of the sage Jamadagni and looted his cows.  Parshuram formed a union of local kings and castes and attacked and killed Arjuna.  Jamadagni Rishi was killed by the sons of Sahastra Arjuna.  This provoked Parashurama and started attacking all the Kshatriyas. 

(3)   Mahabharata period and H.P.  In the four ancient districts of the Rigveda –

Himachal is called ‘Himvant’.  In the Mahabharata, the Pandavas had spent unidentified time in the upper hills of Himachal.  Bhim sen married Hidimba, the total goddess of Kullu during the exile period.  Trigarta king Sushma fought on behalf of the Kauravas in the Mahabharata war.  The rulers of Kashmir, Oudumbar and Trigarta taxed Yudhishthira.  The Kulind princely state accepted the subjection of the Pandavas.  In Mahabharata, description of 4 districts – Trigarta, Oudumbar, Kulind and Kulut is found. 
Oudumbar –
According to Mahabharata, Oudumbar was a descendant of Vishwamitra who is related to Kaushik Gautra.  Oudumbar state coins have been found in the areas of Kangra, Pathankot, Jwalamukhi, Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur confirming their habitat.  These people used to worship Shiva.  The description of Oudumbar caste is also found in Panini’s ‘Ganpath’.  Due to the multiplicity of Adumbar tree, this district is called Oudumbar.  In the Brahmi and Kharosthi script the word ‘Mahadevasa’ is found on the coins of Oudumbar which symbolize ‘Mahadev’.  Trident is also inscribed on coins.  The Oudumbar carried copper and silver coins.  Oudumbar was a devotee of Shiva and a sheep maker, who may have had connections with the Gaddi tribe of Chamba. 
Trigarta –
Trigarta district was founded by Bhumichand.  Susarma was the 231st king of his generation.  Susharma Chandra assisted the Kauravas in the Mahabharata war.  Susharma Chandra attacked Matsya King ‘Virat’ (Haatkoti), which was his neighboring kingdom, giving shelter to the Pandavas in the unknown.  Trigarta was a stretch between Ravi, Beas and Sutlej rivers.  Susharma Chandra built the Kangra Fort and made Nagarkot its capital.  Kanishka described the 6 kingdoms as part of the Trigarta Kauravas Shakti, Jalmani, Janaki, Brahmagupta, Dandki and Kondopratha were part of Trigarta.  Panini has called Trigarta as the Ordnance Association, which means – the union that survives on war.  Trigarta is also mentioned in Ashtadhyayi of Panini, Rajatarangini of Kalhan, Vishnu Purana, Brihatsahita and Dronaparva of Mahabharata. 
Kullut – The Kullut state was the area above the river beas, whose description is Ramayana, Mahabharata, Vrihat Sanhita.  Markandeya is found in Purana, Mudrarakshas and Matsya Purana.  Its ancient capital was ‘Naggar’, which is found in Panini’s ‘Katrayadi Ganga’.  In the Kullu valley 100 BC in the name of King Viryas, the oldest coinage is found.  It has been written in ‘Prakrit’ and ‘Kharosthi’ languages.  The Kullut princely state was founded by ‘Vihangamani Pal’ who came from ‘Prayag’ (Allahabad).
Kulind – According to Mahabharata, Kulind was conquered by Arjuna.  The Kulind princely state was the land between Beas, Sutlej and Yamuna which included the areas of Sirmaur, Shimla, Ambala and Saharanpur.  The “kunait” or ‘kanait’ of the present day is believed to be related to Kulind.  The name of King ‘Amoghbhuti’ is inscribed on the silver coin of Kulind.  The mythical name of the river Yamuna is ‘Kalindi’ and the area along it is called Kulind.  Due to the abundance of ‘Kulind’ (Behera) trees that grow in this region, the name of this district is became Kulind.  In the Mahabharata, Arjuna conquered the Kalinda’s.  Kulind Raja Subahu presented gifts to Yudhishthira in the Rajasuya Yajna.  Kalinda have got the ‘Bhagavatam Chatreshwar Mahatma’ posture of the second century.  The Kulindas had a ‘republican system of governance’.  The Kulindas, along with the Punjab warriors and Arjunayan, had succeeded in driving away the Kushanao.

(B)Maurya Period and Post Mauryan period.

(1)Maurya Period

Alexander’s invasions –

Alexander invaded India in 326 BC and reached the Beas river.  Alexander’s troops refused to go beyond the Beas river.  The chief of this was his commander ‘Koinos’.  Alexander built twelve stupas on the banks of the Beas river as a sign of his India expedition, which are now destroyed.

Chandragupta Maurya –

Chandragupta Maurya, along with the hill king Parvatak and his Prime Minister Chanakya, took steps towards the establishment of the Maurya Empire.  The treaty between Parvatak and Chanakya is found in Visakhadatta’s Mudrarakshas and the Jain texts Appendix.  According to ‘Mudrarakshas’, Chandragupta recruited Kirat and Khash in his army.  The mountain must have been a three-way king.  Among the hill kings, only King Chitr Varma of Kulut and King Pushkraksa of Kashmir opposed Chandragupta.  323 BC with the help of Chanakya.  In Chandragupta destroyed the Nand Dynasty and sat on the throne and established the Maurya Empire.  The kingdom of Kulind was called Shirmourya in the Mauryan period because the Kulind state was situated at the apex of the Maurya Empire.  Over time, it became the Sirmour.

Ashoka –

Ashoka, grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, sent Majhimum and 4 Buddhist monks to propagate Buddhism in the Himalayas.  According to Hiuen Tsang, Ashoka had built Buddhist stupas at Kullu and Kangra.  Stupas built of Ashoka are located in Kalath of Kullu and Chaitadu of Kangra.  Ashoka period inscriptions have been found in Kalsi (Uttarakhand).  The promotion of Buddhism in the Himalayan region was supported by 4 Buddhist monks – Kassapgota, Dhundibhisara, Sahadeva and Mulakdev. In 242 B.C.  Buddhism had entered itself in H.P.  210 B.C.  The Mauryan Empire began to decline around 185 BC, which was completed by the establishment of the Sunga dynasty in 185 BC. 

(ii) Post-Mauryan period (Sunga, Kushan dynasty) –

After the decline of the Maurya’s, the Sunga dynasty could not keep the hill republics under them and they became independent.  The Sunk’s invasion began around the first century.  In the reign of Kanishka, the most prominent king of the Kushanas after the Sank’s, the hill states surrendered and accepted Kanishka’s subjugation.  40 Kushan coins have been found on the Kalka-Kasauli road.  A coin of Kanishka is found in Kanihara in Kangra.  The hill kings were free to run their coins with the Kushanas.  In the late second and early third centuries, the Yudhayas, Arjunayans (Punjab) and Kulindas, together, weakened the power of the Kushans and pushed the Kushanas across the Sutlej and carried coins as a symbol of their independence.

(C)Gupta period

Srigupta’s grandson Chandragupta laid the foundation of the Gupta Empire in 319 AD.  Napoleon ‘Samudragupta’ of India conquered the mountainous districts in 340 AD and took over them.  The Allahabad (Prayag) commendation of Harisen mentions the conquest of Samudragupta over the districts of ‘Bhadra, Trigarta, Oudumbar, Kullut and Kartikpur.  All the kings accepted his subjugation and made him like a vassal.  Skandagupta, the son of Kumar Gupta defeated the Huns and maintained the prestige of the Gupta empire.  After Skandagupta, the influence of the Gupta Empire began to decline and was disbanded.  The invasion of the Huns was the main reason for the decline of the Gupta Empire.  Kalidas composed Kumarasambhava and Meghdoot in this period, in which the description of the Himalayas is found.  During the Gupta period, the influence of Hinduism increased in the mountainous regions and many temples were built.

(D)Gupta period (Hun, Harshavardhana)

(i)  Huns invasions –

521 A.D.  The Huns invaded the western Himalayas under the leadership of Toramaan.  Even before this, between 480-90, the Toramaan invaded the Gupta Empire.  After Toramaan, his son Mihirkul, who was called ‘Attila of India’, in 525 ADS occupied the area from Punjab to Central India.  Magadha emperors Narasimha Baladitya and Yashovarman defeated Mihirkul and forced him to flee to Kashmir.  The Gujjars consider themselves descendants of the Huns.

(ii) Harshvardhan and Hiuen Tsang-

Harshvardhan 606 AD sat on the throne of India.  During his reign, Hiuen Tsang took over India in 629-644 AD.  Traveled till Hiuen Tsang 635 AD I came to Jalandhar (the capital of Jalandhar – Trigarta) and was the guest of King Uitas (Udima) for 4 months.  643 ADS at the time of China’s return to India.  I also stayed in Jalandhar.  Hiuen Tsang had traveled to Kullu, Lahaul and Sirmaur after Jalandhar.  Harshvardhan’s 647 AD Died in in the book ‘Rajatarangini’ of ‘Kalhan’, there is a description of the war between King Lalitaditya of Kashmir and Yashovarman.  Details of Yashovarman’s influence on Trigarta, Brahmapura (Chamba) and other mountainous regions are found.  In the ninth century, the state of Kashmir became the possession of the Trigarta and Upper Sutlej regions

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