Hamirpur – History

Hamirpur derives its name from the Katoch dynasty ruler Hamir Chand who ruled from 1700 A.D. to 1747 A.D. It was this ruler who built the fort at Hamirpur. Hamirpur came to much limelight only during the period of Raja Sansar Chand-II. He made ‘Sujanpur Tira’ his capital and erected palaces and temples at this place. Raja Sansar Chand ruled from 1775 A.D. to 1823 A.D. He dreamt of establishing the old empireof Jalandhar-Trigarta, which his ancestors had held at one time and he tried twice unsuccessfully. The rise of Rana Ranjit Singh proved a great hurdle for his ambitions. Therefore, he diverted his attention towards the local hill chiefs and he attached Mandi state and made Raja Ishwar Sen a prisoner for 12 years at Nadaum. Becoming alarmed by the advancement of Sansar Chand, all the hill chiefs joined hands and invited the Gurkhas to stop the uncontrolled might of the Katoch ruler. The combined armies fought against Sansar
Chand’s army at Mahal Morian in hamirpur near Kharwar in Bhoranj tehsil. Raja Sansar Chand’s army forced a crushing defeat on the combined forces and compelled them to retreat. By, that time Raja Sansar Chand, on the advice of this General Gulam Mohammed tried to affect economy in the army by replacing the existing ones with Rohillas. This proved a self-defeating folly on his part. On hearing about the weakness of Katoch’s army, the combined forces again attacked the forces of Kangra at Mahal Morian in the second battle and forced a crushing defeat in 1806 A.D. Raja Sansar Chand along with his family took shelter in the Kangra fort.

The Gurkhas sieged the Kangra fort and roothlessly looted the area between the fort of Kangra and Mahal Morian and virtually destroyed the villages. Ishwari Sen was liberted by the Gurkhas from the Nadaun jail. The seige on the fort continued for three years. Raja Ranjit Singh on the request of Sansar Chand waged war against the Gurkhas and defeated them in 1809 A.D. But Sansar Chand had to pay a heavy price whereby he had to lose Kangra fort and 66 villages to the Sikhs.

The Sikhs maintained their sovereignty over Kangra and Hamirpur till 1846, when they were defeated by the british army in the first Anglo-Sikh war. Ever since, the supremacy of the British continued in the area which became a part of the British empire. Sansar Chand died as a most disillusioned man. His successor (Grandson) Raja Pramudh Chand in alliance with the Sikhs and other rulers tried vainly to dislodge the British. The British made Kangra, of which Hamirpur formed a part, a district of which Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti were also merged to form the part of the district. In 1846, after the annexion of Kangra, Nadaun was made the tehsil headquarters. This settlement was revised in 1868, and as a result the tehsil headquarters was changed from Nadaun to Hamirpur. In 1888, Palumpur tehsil was created, merging part of the areas of Hamirpur and Kangra tehsils. Hamirpur remained a part of Punjab Province until the 1st of November 1966, when these areas were merged in Himachal Pradesh consequent on the reorganisation of the Punjab. As a result of rearrangement of the Districts in the merged areas on 1st September 1972, Hamirpur was created as separate district with two tehsils of Hamirpur and Barsar. In 1980 three more tehsil viz. Tira Sujanpur, Nadaun and Bhoranj were created with the further reorganisation of the tehsils.

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