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Katoch is a Rajput clan of the Chandravanshi lineage. Their traditional area of residence was in the Trigarta Kingdom, based at Jalandhar[1] and at Kangra Fort. The members of the Katoch clan claim the dynasty to be the oldest surviving royal dynasty in India.[2][a]


There are two possible origins for the word Katoch. Members of the clan say it comes from the words Kat (army) and uch (upper class)[4] but other sources say that it comes from kot (fort). The Kangra fort was known as Nagarkot or Kot Kangra, and since the administrators/rulers resided within that particular kot they were vernacularly called "Kot'ch" or कोट चा, which means those within the fort.[5] This over time became Katoch.


The strategic Kangra fort commanded the respect of the region.[5]

The main branch of the Katoch clan were the rulers of the Kangra State, which was, by some accounts, the most prominent kingdom between the Ravi and Sutlej in the pre-modern period.[6][7] The Kangra State was also known as Trigadh, a name derived from the ancient Trigarta Kingdom mentioned in the Mahabharata.[8] The tradition holds that the Katoch were the rulers of Kangra from the times of Mahabharata till the pre-independence era.[9]

In the pre-modern period, the hill states of the modern Himachal Pradesh are said to have constantly warred with each other, despite relations of kinship and intermarriage. Then they were brought under the Mughal suzerainty by the emperor Akbar. The Mughal control was limited, however. The rulers of the states retained a fair degree of independence. Emperor Jahangir captured the Kangra fort in 1610, annexing the surrounding area and reducing the Katoch rajas to the status of vassals.[7]

After the decline of the Mughal power, Raja Ghamand Chand (r. 1751–1823) recovered most of the territory earlier ceded to the Mughals. Raja Sansar Chand (r. 1775–1823) established the supremacy of Kangra over all the surrounding hill states. During his reign, Kangra became a major centre for the arts and several palaces were built.[7]

In the year 1805, the neighbouring hill states rebelled, with the aid of the Gurkha army. Raja Sansar Chand was forced to seek the help of Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Lahore. The Gurkha army was expelled but Ranjit Singh also annexed the most fertile party of the Kangra valley, reducing the Katochs of Kangra as well as the neighbouring rajas to the status of vassals. After the First Anglo-Sikh War of 1846, the whole area was ceded to the British East India Company, eventually integrated into the Punjab province. The Katochs and the surrounding hill rajas were assigned small jagirs over which they had the rights of revenue and magisterial authority.[7]

Clans and surnames[edit]

The Katoch clan has four branches: the Jaswal, Guleria, Sibaia and Dadwal. [10] Dadwal stems from Dada, a place in Siba. Sibaia also stems from Siba. Guleria stems from Guler region. The four branches came into existence after the 11th century CE.[11]

Each sub-clan has several subordinate surnames, which number 24 in total.[10] Katochs suffixed 'Chandra' to their names until the rise of the Sikh dynasty in Punjab, after which some clan members started suffixing 'Singh' also. However, most clan members today, including in the sub-clans, suffix Chand.[12]

Caste and kinship[edit]

Until the reforms of 1930s, the Katoch women were only married westward, generally to the Pathania and Jamwal/Jamuwal men. The higher the sub-clan rated its own status, the farther away towards the west they tended to marry. [13]

Regions ruled by the clan[edit]

In past centuries, the clan and its branches ruled several princely states in the region of Trigarta. Trigarta refers to the land between three rivers, namely, Beas, Sutlej, and Ravi.[14] However, the clan lost lands and by the 17th century had been reduced to a small hill state. The originator of the clan was Rajanaka Bhumi Chand.[15] Their rulers include Sansar Chand II and Rajanaka Bhumi Chand, the latter being the founder of the Jwalamukhi temple in Himachal Pradesh.


  1. ^ Royalty and its associated titles were legally abolished after India became a republic.[3]


  1. ^ Brentnall, Mark (2005), The Princely and Noble Families of the Former Indian Empire: Himachal Pradesh, Indus Publishing, p. 312, ISBN 978-81-7387-163-4 
  2. ^ Dharam Prakash Gupta, "Seminar on Katoch dynasty trail". Himachal Plus. On line., Chandigarh Tribune, 3 November 2009
  3. ^ 1. Ramusack, Barbara N. (2004). The Indian princes and their states. Cambridge University Press. p. 278. ISBN 978-0-521-26727-4. , "Through a constitutional amendment passed in 1971, Indira Gandhi stripped the princes of the titles, privy purses and regal privileges which her father's government had granted." 2. Naipaul, V. S. (2003). India: A Wounded Civilization. Random House Digital, Inc. pp. 37–38. ISBN 978-1-4000-3075-0.  Quote: "The princes of India – their number and variety reflecting to a large extent the chaos that had come to the country with the break up of the Mughal empire – had lost real power in the British time. Through generations of idle servitude they had grown to specialize only in style. A bogus, extinguishable glamour: in 1947, with Independence, they had lost their state, and Mrs. Gandhi in 1971 had, without much public outcry, abolished their privy purses and titles.".
  4. ^ Anthropological Survey of India (1998). Singh, Kumar Suresh, ed. India's Communities. 5. Oxford University Press. p. 1613. ISBN 978-0-19563-354-2. KATOCH They derive their nomenclature from the word Kat (army) and uch (upper class) 
  5. ^ a b Jeratha, Aśoka. Forts and Palaces of the Western Himalaya (2000 ed.). Indus Publishing. p. 20. ISBN 9788173871047. The Kangra fort is situated at a peculiar strategical situation overlooking deep furrows leading to wide spanned stream. The fort, now in ruins, once commanded respect among the hill chieftains... It was popularly known as Nagarkot or Kot Kangra. Kot denotes a fort and Nagar denotes a town, so collectively it meant the fort of the town. The clan who ruled Kot Kangra was named Katoch after Kot. In fact, this fort was so peculiar in its situation and formidable features that it became a unique structure among the prevailing forts. So the clan ruing this fort was known as Katoch. 
  6. ^ Prasad, Shankar (2005), The Gallant Dogras: An Illustrated History of the Dogra Regiment, Lancer Publishers, pp. 16, 21, 34, ISBN 978-81-7062-268-0 
  7. ^ a b c d Parry, Jonathan P. (2013), Caste and Kinship in Kangra, Routledge, pp. 11–13, ISBN 978-1-136-54585-6 
  8. ^ Chakrabarti, Dilip K.; Hasan, S. Jamal (1984), The antiquities of Kangra, Munshiran Manoharlal, p. 7 
  9. ^ Jeratha, Aśoka. Forts and Palaces of the Western Himalaya (2000 ed.). Indus Publishing. p. Preface. ISBN 9788173871047. 
  10. ^ a b Charak, Sukh Dev Singh (1978). History and culture of Himalayan states Himachal Pradesh Volume I. Light & Life Publishers. p. 17. Retrieved 9 January 2017. 
  11. ^ Jeratha, Ashok. Dogra Legends of Art & Culture (1998 ed.). Indus Publishing. p. 22. ISBN 9788173870828. 
  12. ^ Jeratha, Ashok. Dogra Legends of Art & Culture (1998 ed.). Indus Publishing. p. 22. ISBN 9788173870828. These rajput clans suffixed their family names after their proper names for instance Katoch rajas suffixed Chandra. Chambials suffixed Varman, Suketias suffixed Sen while as Jaswal and Sibials suffixed Chand. 
  13. ^ Parry, Jonathan P. (2013). Caste and Kinship in Kangra. Routledge. p. 220. ISBN 9781-1-3654-585-6. Retrieved 7 January 2017. 
  14. ^ Jeratha, Asoka. Forts and Palaces of the Western Himalaya (2000 ed.). Indus Publishing. p. 21. ISBN 9788173871047. Trigarta, meaning land of three rivers. The three rivers referred are the Ravi, the Beas, and the Sutlej 
  15. ^ Charak, Sukh Dev Singh. History and Culture of Himalayan States, Vol. 1 (1978 ed.). pp. 134–136.