Himachal Pradesh is undoubtedly one of the most scenic hill stations of north India. The name itself describes its beauty i.e. the land of the snow or ‘him’. Covered in verdant forests, lush trails, a unique selection of high altitude flora and fauna, and an omnipresent vibe of spirituality accompanied with the humble, warm, and welcoming locals this place seems like a place straight out of a fairytale. It displays panoramic snow-covered fields and lush green mountains to the expansive brown cold desert devoid of tree cover. Walk on the peaceful and awe-inspiring trails which line the entire state and ranks it among one of the top destinations for trekking and hiking not just in India but across the globe as well.
Geographically speaking this state is tucked away in the extreme northern end of the Indian subcontinent. Due to its location, it serves as a gateway to its neighboring regions of Jammu and Kashmir, Tibetan autonomous region, Uttarakhand towards the northeast, and the state of Punjab in the west. Every step you take here you will be awe and wonder.
However, there is more to this place than what meets the eyes. Behind the incredible and unmatched beauty lies a very dynamic and interesting historical account. Here is a basic history of Himachal Pradesh which makes this place truly one of a kind:
Pre History of Himachal Pradesh
Historians, explorers and archaeologists have done some intense research in order to trace the history of this wonderful. Evidences show that the foothills of Himachal were inhabited by early men around 2 million years ago. They occupied the regions of Kangra Valley, Sirsa valley along with parts of Markand valley. Some scientists even conclude that around the time period of 22250 – 1750 BC there are evidences of Indus valley people occupying some parts of the foothills. The tracing of original history does not stop here, it is said that even prior to these people of different civilizations like those of the dooms, the Hollis and the Kolis, or even the Channels used to call these parts their home. Its mention can also be found in the ancient text of Rig-Veda which mentions the Great War that ensued between the Aryan king Devodas and Kirat’s king Shambhar, who is said to have owned around 99 different forts in the middle region of the Himalayas that form the current day Himachal. This legendary war is said to have gone on for 40 years.
Medieval History of Himachal Pradesh
The medieval historical account of Himachal dates back to 883 AD when the ruler of Kashmir, Shankar Varma, used to exercise his powers and influence over this state. It was in 1009 AD that this place was invaded by Mahmud Ghazni who was responsible for looting and robbing the wealth that was stored in the temples here. Later on, by 1043 AD the rule was overtaken by the Rajputs. They ruled for a long time until in 1773 AD when the Rajputs were attacked by Maharaja Ranjit Singh who successfully had crushed the Rajput rule entirely by 1804. The state enjoyed the pinnacle of their independence up until the eve of Muslim invasions of the region. The foothills were completely destroyed and devastated by Mahmud Ghaznavid who is responsible for conquering the Kangra valley region of Himachal during the beginning of the 10th century. After all this on the other hand, the Gurkha of Nepal came to power in the year 1768 who created and consolidated their army with an aggressive expansionist view. The Gurkhas quickly marched and captured this region and gradually grew to annex Shimla and under the active leadership of Amar Singh Thapa, they laid a siege of Kangra. Finally, in 1806 they defeated Sansar Chand and captured Kangra and Kangra fort that in 1809, later on, cam under Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
British rule in Himachal Pradesh
The Anglo – Gurkha war marks the British rule in Himachal and a step into the different phase of history. It was after the Gurkha war of 1815-1816 British was successful in defeating the rising powers of the Gurkhas and came to power in Shimla. In 1857 the first war of independence took place as a result of the buildup caused due to the social, political, and religious changes which did not bode well with the local people here. However, due to their largely inactive attitude towards political affairs, several rulers even offered help to the British rulers during the revolt. During British rule, several hill states like Mandi, Chamba, and Bilaspur showcase good and rapid progress in various fields. Rulers of the hill state showed loyalty towards the British even by contributing to the people during the World War 1 like the rulers of Kangra, Chamba, Suket, Mandi, etc.
Post Independence in Himachal Pradesh
In 1948 Himachal Pradesh became a province and consisted of 30 different princely states which were administered by the chief commissioner, who also served as the representative for the government of India. Until 1971, when it finally achieved statehood, Himachal went through very dynamic administrative changes. By 1954 the state included Bilaspur and by 1956 it was officially granted the form of a union territory. Later on by 1966, the size of Himachal was further enlarged with the inclusions of numerous hilly regions in the neighboring state of Punjab, Shimla, Kangra, and Kullu. Other regions also include the far-flung districts of Lahaul and Spiti, Ambala, Hoshiarpur, and Gurdaspur. During the early months of 1971, Himachal Pradesh achieved the status of a full-fledged 18th state of India with Y.S. Parmar as the 1st chief minister of this state.
People have asked for returning the states under the name of greater Nepal, that includes the regions which were previously usurped by Nepal and annexed by the British rulers but very little support exists for this motion in the said regions as people are content and satisfied with the current form of administration.