General Geography & History of Hamirpur

                                                                                          

 

Temples
   
Rest Houses
 
Beas River near Sandhol
 
Murali Manohar Temple at Sujanpur
 
 
   
       Physical        History
      Languages Spoken       Living & Food Habits
      River System       Fauna & Flora
   


Physical: The Hamirpur district is situated between  76-17-50  to  76-43-42 east longitudes  and  31-24-48  to  31-53-35  north latitudes.  It is located in the south western part of Himachal Pradesh.  It is covered by lower Himalayas, the elevation varies from the 400 meters to 1,100 meters.  The main hill ranges of the district are known as Jakh  Dhar &   Sola Singhi Dhar. The  Jakh dhar runs in continuation of Kali Dhar range in the Kangra district.  It enters in  Hamirpur  district  near  Nadaun  and transverses it  into southeastern direction.  The town of Hamirpur lies to the east of this range where the country is undulating but in  the north  and  north  east  bare  and  rugged  hills,  deep ravines with    precipitous  sides  transform  the  landscape  into  what  has   been described as an agitated sea suddenly arrested and fixed stones. The Chabutra  hills  have the same dip and strike as in the Jakh Dhar and are continued beyond the Beas to what is known as the Changar, a mass of rugged and broken hills.  The Sola  Singhi  Dhar  is  the  longest  range  of  the  tract  and  is  known  under  various  names  such as Chintpurni and Jaswan Dhar in Una and by  Sola  Singhi  in  Hamirpur. Thus  Dhar  enters Hamirpur to the east of Tappa Daruhi and traverses it in a south-easterly direction more or less parallel  to  the  Jakh  Dhar and terminated on the Satluj. Hamirpur district is bounded in the north by river Beas which separates it  from Kangra district.  In the east Bakar and Seer Khads separate it from Mandi district.  In the  south, It  is  bounded  by Bilaspur district and in the west by Una district.  

History: The history of Hamirpur is closely associated with the Katoch dynasty which ruled the area between the Ravi and Satluj rivers in the olden days. It is evident from the “Puranas” and Panini’s “Ashtadhyai” that during the Mahabharta period, Hamirpur was a part of the old Jallandhar-Trigarta empire. Panini referred to the people of this kingdom as great warriors and fighters. The tradition of those people seems to have continued till today, as is evident from the large number of people from the region in Indian defence forces. It is believed that in the ancient period, the rulers of Gupta dynasty had set up their sovereignty over this part of  the land. During the middle ages, Presumably the area fell under the control of Mohammed Gazani, Timurlang and later Sultans. But with the passage of time, all the aforesaid rulers went away and at the time of Hamir Chand, a Katoch ruler, the area was under the control of  ‘Ranas’ (Feudal hill chiefs). Some of the prominent Ranas were, ranas of Mewa, ranas of Mehalta and Dhatwal. There was no time when these feudal chiefs were not in quarrel against each other.  It was only  the Katoch dynasty which put these Ranas under its control, to ensure an orderly society. The Katoch dynasty became predominant during the period of Hamir Chand who ruled from 1700 A.D. to 1740 A.D.

           It was this ruler who built the fort at Hamirpur and the present town of Hamirpur  derives its name from this ruler. Hamirpur came to much lime–light 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 empire of Jallandhar-Trigarta, which his ancestors had held at one time, Perhaps according to some historians he tried twice unsuccessfully. The rise of Raja Ranjit Singh proved a great hurdle for his ambitions. Therefore, he diverted his attention towards the local hill chiefs. He attached Mandi state and made Raja Ishwari Sen a pioner for 12 years at Nadaun. He also obliged the Suket ruler to pay an annual tribute and annexed parts of Bilaspur state on the right bank of Satluj. Becoming alarmed by the advancement of Sansar Chand, all the hills chiefs joined hands and invited the Gurkhas to stop the uncontrolled might of Katoch ruler. The combined armies fought against Sansar Chand’s  army at Mahal Morion in Hamirpur. Raja Sansar Chand army gave a crushing defeat to the combined forces and compelled them to retreat on the left banks of river Satluj. By that time, Raja Sansar Chand, on the advice of his General Ghulam Mohammed tried to effect the 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 family took shelter in the Kangra fort. The Gurkhas sieged the Kangra fort and ruthlessly looted the area between the fort of Kangra and Mahal Mohrian and virtually destroyed the villages. Ishwari Sen was liberated by the Gurkhas from Nadaun jail. The siege of 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 Pramodh 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 in which Kullu and Lahaul-Sipiti were also merged to form the part of the district. In 1846, after annexation 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, Palampur tehsil was created, merging part of the areas of Hamirpur and Kangra tehsils.    Hamirpur remained a part of Punjab province until 1st November 1966, when these areas were merged in Himachal Pardesh consequent upon the reorganization of the Punjab. As a result of re-arrangement of the districts in the merged areas on 1st September 1972, Hamirpur was created as a separate district with two tehsils of Hamirpur and Barsar. In 1980  three more tehsils viz. Tira Sujanpur, Nadaun, Bhoranj were created with the further reorganization of the tehsils. Of these Nadaun and Bhoranj have  become  full tehsils at  the  1991  census.   Presently, district has five tehsils viz,  Hamirpur,  Barsar,  Bhoranj,  Nadaun  and  Sujanpur   and   one sub-tehsil i.e.   Dhatwal  at  Bijhari.  It consists of three Revenue Sub-Divisions namely, Hamirpur, Barsar  and  Nadaun.    The  Hamirpur Sub-Division comprises of Tehsils Hamirpur, Bhoranj and Sujanpur, the Barsar Sub-Division comprises Barsar Tehsil and Sub-Tehsil Dhatwal at Bijhari,  whereas  Nadaun  Sub-Division  comprises  only  one  Tehsil Nadaun.  This District has been divided into six  Development  Blocks such  as  Hamirpur,  Bijhari,  Bhoranj,  Nadaun,  Sujanpur  and newly created Bamsan at Touni Devi.    

Languages Spoken: People  of  the  Hamirpur  district speak dialects of western Pahari.  These dialects are akin to  other  dialects  spoken  in  the adjoining areas  of  Mandi ,Bilaspur and Kangra districts.  According to the classification languages made  by  the  Linguistic  Survey  of India, Pahari  comes under Indo-European family of languages.  It has further been classified as a language belonging to  Aryan  Subfamily, Indo-Aryan  Branch,  Inner Sub-Branch,Pahari Group and Western Pahari Sub-Group (Census of India 1961, Vol.I.India,Part II-C (ii)  Language Tables,p.CLXX).    Western  Pahari  includes  a  number  of  district dialects.  Besides Western Pahari, bulk of the population of Hamirpur district can speak Hindi.

Living & Food Habits: Generally,  people  have the pucca houses in the district and are double storeyed. This is primarily because stone  is  available in  abundance  and  slates  for  roofs  are  also available in nearby quarries in the adjoining districts.  People, indeed, have developed a taste for good  houses  and  the  traditional  stones  are  getting replaced by bricks corrugated sheets and marvel fastly. About 92% population of this district live in the Rural areas and they are agriculturist. They grow wheat, Barley, Gram, Masar etc. in the Rabi season and Maize, Paddy, Blackgram, Kulth etc. in  the Kharif season.  People like Wheat, Rice as well as Maize Roties with Lassi and Sarson Ka Sag. They also like Curry. Some people  also  eat meat and  drink.  Fish is easily available in the Rivers, khads and Nullahs, which flow through the district. Population  living  in  the rural  areas keep Goats and Sheep and some people in rural as well as urban areas are also running Poultry  Forms  which  easily  meet  the demand of  the district. To meet out the heavy demand of the fish in  the urban areas, Fishery Department also import  the  fish  from  the neighbouring districts viz; Bilaspur and Una. 

River System: The  river  is drained by a number of perennial streams which are tributaries of either river Beas or river Satluj. Bakar  Khad, Kunha  Khad  and Man Khad drain into river Beas, while sukar Khad and Mundkhar Khad drain into Seer Khad which ultimately mingles into  the  river Satluj.

Fauna & Flora: The  various species of plants and forest trees are generally found in the districts such as  Kikar,  Khair,  Bil,  Sirish,  Ambla, Neem, Karal,  Taur,  Kasmal,  etc. The species of animals commonly found in the district are namely leopard,  hare,  wild  boar,  jackal kakar, monkey and sambhar.  Among the birds commonly found are namely chakor,  crow,  jungli  murga, kala titar, safed titar and woodpecker etc.