Garhwal is a district in the beautiful state of Uttarakhand, which is known for its lovely snow-clad Himalayan Mountain ranges. Ethnic people belonging to this region are known as Garhwalis. We know that this part of the Indian Subcontinent is a famous tourist destination, but do you know about the rich History of Garhwal? Let’s take a quick look at how the state was formed and which dynasties ruled over this territory.
Garhwal Kingdom has been mentioned in ancient Hindu Scriptures such as Kedarkhand. In 2nd Century BC, it was a part of Kuninda Kingdom. From 6th to 11th Century AD, Katyuri Kings ruled over Kumaon and Garhwal regions from Katyur Valley, Baijnath, and present-day Uttarakhand. Some 4th century AD inscriptions and literary evidence suggest that Katyuri Kings ruled over Far Western Nepal and present-day Uttarakhand. Both these regions talk about a Katyuri Princess named Jiya Rani. After 11th Century AD in Garhwal history, Chand Kings in Kumaon took over. The territory was later split into several parts and a famous Chinese traveller named Huen Tsang mentioned in 629 AD that Brahampura was a part of this region. Chand Dynasty ruled Garhwal until 15th Century, after which the Shah Dynasty took over from 1815 to 1949.
A new chapter in the history of Garhwal began when the prince of Malwa Kanakpal founded the kingdom in 823 AD. Kanakpal met Raja Bhanu Pratap of Chandpur Garh during his visit to Badrinath Temple. He married Raja Bhanu Pratap’s only daughter and the fortress town came under Kanakpal. He along with other Agnivansha Rajputs from Panwar dynasty slowly conquered all the 52 forts in the region and continued to rule till 1804. Since the Kingdom is home to so many forts, it’s called Garhwal, which literally means “country of gadh” or forts.
Garhwal kingdom became a part of ‘Punjab Hill States Agency’ under the British Regime. The region was also ruled by Gorkhas for 12 years. However, they were very unjust and imposed heavy taxes on their subjects, which eventually led to the Anglo-Nepalese war in 1814. On 21 April 1815, the Treaty of Sugauli was signed, and the British took over half of the Kingdom of Garhwal and the remaining half was turned into a subsidiary princely state.
After Independence, Garhwal State became a part of India in 1949. Now that you have read about the history of Garhwal, the next time you visit this part of India, you will have a fair idea about its wonderful past.