Tehri Garhwal State in a Map of the United Provinces from The Imperial Gazetteer of India
Narendra Nagar 1925-1949
|Languages||Garhwali, Sanskrit, Hindi|
Princely state (1815–1949)
|Today part of||Uttarakhand, India|
|Outline of South Asian history|
Garhwal Kingdom (Hindi: गढ़वाल राज्य), also known as Tehri Garhwal, was a princely state in north-western Uttarakhand, India, ruled by a Rajput dynasty. It was founded in 888 AD. During the time of British India it was one of the States of the Punjab Hills which became part of the Punjab Hill States Agency although it was not under the Punjab Province administration. The Garhwal Kingdom consisted of the present day Tehri Garhwal district and most of the Uttarkashi district. This former state acceded to the Union of India in August 1949.
Traditionally the region finds mention in various Hindu scriptures as Kedarkhand being home to the Garhwali people. Garhwal kingdom was dominated by Kshatriyas. The Kuninda Kingdom also flourished around 2nd century BC. Later this region came under the rule of Katyuri Kings, who ruled unified Kumaon and Garhwal regions from Katyur Valley, Baijnath, Uttarakhand, starting 6th century AD and eventually fading by the 11th century AD, when they were replaced by Chand Kings in Kumaon, while Garhwal was fragmented into several small principalities. Huen Tsang, the Chinese traveller, who visited the region around 629 AD, mentions a kingdom of Brahampura in the region.
Garhwal state founded in 823 AD, when Kanakpal, the prince of Malwa, on his visit to the Badrinath Temple, met the King Bhanu Pratap, a chieftain of Chandpur Garhi. The King later married his only daughter to the prince and subsequently handed over his kingdom, the fortress town. Kanakpal and his descendants of Parmar dynasty, gradually conquered all the independent fortresses (Garhs) belonging to its 52 small chieftains, and ruled the whole of Garhwal Kingdom for the next 915 years, up to 1804 AD.
In 1358, the 37th ruler, Ajay Pal, brought all the minor principalities for the Garhwal region, under his own rule, and founded the Garhwal kingdom, with Dewalgarh as its capital, which he later shifted to Srinagar. Balbhadra Shah (r. 1575–1591), was the first Raja of Garhwal to use the title Shah. The capital was shifted to Srinagar, Uttarakhand by Mahipat Shah who ascended to the throne in 1622, and further consolidated his rule over most parts of Garhwal, though he died early in 1631, though his seven-year-old son, Prithvi Shah ascended to the throne after him, the Kingdom was ruled by Mahipat Shah's wife, Rani Karnavati for many years to come, during which she successfully defended the kingdom against invaders and repelled an attack of Mughal army led by Najabat Khan in 1640, and in time received the nickname of 'Nakti Rani' as she used to chop off the noses of any invader to the kingdom, as the Mughal invaders of the period realised. Monuments erected by her still exist in Dehradun district at Nawada.
Next important ruler was Fateh Shah, remained the King of Garhwal from 1684 to 1716, and is most known for taking part in the Battle of Bhangani on 18 September 1688, where combined forces of many Rajas of the Shivalik Hills (Pahari rajas) fought with Gobind Singh's army. During his reign, Sikh Guru and the ex-communicated eldest son of Har Rai, Ram Rai settled here, upon recommendations of Aurangzeb, which eventually led to the establishment of modern town of Dehradun. Fateh Shah died in 1716, and his son Upendra Shah died within a year of ascending to the throne in 1717, subsequently Pradip Shah ascended and his ruled led to rising fortunes of the Kingdom, this in turn attracted invaders, like Najib-ud-daula Governor of Saharanpur, who invaded in 1757 along with his Rohilla Army and captured Dehradun. However, in 1770, the Garhwali forces defeated the Rohillas and retrieved possession of the Dun region. .
Other descendants ruled over Garhwal and the adjacent state of Tehri in an uninterrupted line till 1803 when the Gorkha Kingdom invaded Garhwal. Garhwal forces suffered heavy defeat, and King Pradyuman Shah first escaped from Srinagar to Dehradun and then to Saharanpur to organise forces, but was eventually killed in the Battle of Khurbura (Dehradun) in January 1804; while his brother, Pritam Shah, was taken in captivity to Nepal by the Gurkhas, and the Garhwal chiefs were driven into the plains, as Gurkhas began their 12-year-long tyrannical rule. Sudarshan Shah son of the later King, spent the next decade at Jwalapur, near Haridwar under British protection.
Formation of Tehri Garhwal state
The occupation of the kingdom by the Gurkhas rule went unopposed from 1803 to 1814 until a series of encroachments by the Gurkhas on British territory led to the Anglo-Nepalese War in 1814. At the termination of the campaign, on 21 April 1815, the British established their rule over the eastern half of the Garhwal region, which lies east of Alaknanda and Mandakini river, which was later on known as British Garhwal and Dun of Dehradun, along with Kumaon, which was merged with British India as a result of the Treaty of Sugauli. The former Kumaon Kingdom was joined with the eastern half of the Garhwal region and was governed as a chief-commissionership, also known as the Kumaon Province, on the non-regulation system. Meanwhile the western part of the erstwhile Garhwal Kingdom was restored to Sudarshan Shah. Since Srinagar was now part of the British Garhwal, a new capital was established at Tehri, giving the name of Tehri state (popularly known as Teri Garhwal).
Sudarshan Shah died in 1859, and was succeeded by Bhawani Shah, who in turn was succeeded by Pratap Shah in 1872. The kingdom had an area of 4,180 square miles (10,800 km2), and a population of 268,885 in 1901. The ruler was given the title of Raja, but after 1913, he was honoured with the title of Maharaja. The King was entitled to an 11 gun salute and had a privy purse of 300.000 Rupees. In 1919, Maharaja Narendra Shah shifted the capital from Tehri to a new town, which was named after him, Narendra Nagar.
During the Quit India Movement people from this region actively worked for the independence of India. Ultimately, when the country was declared independent in 1947, the inhabitants of Tehri Riyasat (Garhwal State) started their movement to free themselves from the clutches of the Maharaja Narendra Shah (Panwar).
Due to this movement, the situation became out of his control and it was difficult for him to rule over the region. Consequently the 60th king of Parmar Vansh, Manvendra Shah, the last ruling Maharaja of the Garhwal Kingdom (1946–1949), accepted the sovereignty of the Union of India. Tehri Riyasat was merged into the Garhwal District of United Provinces (later renamed to Uttar Pradesh) and was given the status of a new district, the Tehri garhwal district. Subsequently, on 24 February 1960, the state government separated one of its tehsils which was given the status of a separate district named Uttarkashi. It is currently part of the Garhwal Division of the Uttarakhand state of India which was carved out of Uttar Pradesh in 2000. Former royal palace of the Maharaja of Tehri Garhwal at Narendra Nagar, now houses the Ananda–In the Himalayas spa, estb. 2000.
Descendants of Maharaja Narendra Shah are scattered all over the world. His great grandson Kunwar Nakul Bikram Shah now lives in Australia.
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