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Not to be confused with Pathan or Pathani.

Pathania is a Rajput clan.[citation needed] They mostly live in and around Himachal Pradesh, in North India. They established the kingdom of Nurpur in Himachal Pradesh during the 11th century and ruled there until 1849.[1]

Not to be confused with Pathan

Pathania is the name of the branch of the Tomara Clan of Chandravanshi, Rajputs, descended from Lord Arjuna, the hero of Mahabharata.[2][3] It is one of the ruling Rajput clans of India. They mostly live in and around Himachal Pradesh, in North India. The Pathania clan established the Kingdom of Nurpur in Himachal Pradesh, in the 11th century and ruled it until 1849, This clan has to its credit two Maha Vir Chakra winners in the Indian Army, among other war and peace time gallantry awards. This clan has also served valiantly in the British armed forces of India.[4]

Rana Jethpal: founder of the royal house of Pathania[edit]

Until 1164 a Tomara Dynasty reigned in the Rajput principality of Delhi. Anangpal II, the Tomara King claimed descent from the Pandavas, who founded Indraprastha, the ancient Delhi. He therefore presents the phenomenon of a King occupying a throne established by another ancestor, King Yudhishtra, 2250 years before him.[3][5][6]

The great Vikramaditya of the year 56BC is claimed to be an ancestor of the Tomara Pathania Rajputs.[8][9][10][11]

In the Hindu tradition in India and Nepal, the widely used ancient calendar is Vikrama Samvat or Vikrama's era. This is said to have been started by the legendary king following his victory over the Sakas in 56 BC.

Rana Jethpal (1100?), the younger brother of King Anangpal II of Delhi, came to Jallandhar Doab also called Bist Doab to conquer a territory for himself.[13] After crossing the Beas river he captured a fort called Bhet, and for this reason, he acquired the name Rana Bhet.[14] After this he came upon the city of Pathankot (possibly ancient Pratisthana), and following the customed tradition of Rajputs, in which the King almost in all instances took his name from the name of the country where he exercised his dominion, he came to be known as a Pathania Rajput, instead of a Tomara.

Brief history[edit]

The Kingdom of Nurpur had its capital at Pathankot, now in Gurdaspur district of Punjab, India. The kingdom included Pathankot and a large tract on the plains of the Punjab; also the whole of the present Nurpur Tahsil of Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, with the addition of Shahpurkandi, now in Gurdaspur , and also a small tract to the west of the Ravi, called Lakhanpur, now in Jammu & Kashmir State. The Kingdom was bounded on the north by Kangra and Chamba, on the south by the Punjab plains, and on the west by the Ravi river. The Capital was at pathankot, which was known as Paithan in the medieval times.[15] All through their history the Pathania clan rebelled against the foreign invaders, both Muslims and the British. Although sometimes the Pathania Kings held the high office's of Generals known as Mansabdar (Army Commander, reserved for Hindu and Muslim Princes of note) in the Mughal military and captured many a kingdom for the Mughal Emperor in Hindustan and beyond the Indus up till Uzbekistan,[16] yet repeatedly they rebelled against the forces of the Mughal's and other foreign invaders.

Some Forts/Castles of the Clan[edit]

Nurpur (Dhameri) Fort[edit]

Built in the 11th century. It was one of the primary strongholds of the Clan. It was also the main seat of the royal family.

Shahpurkandi Fort[edit]

This 16th century fort nestles at the foot of the Himalayas and overlooks the river Ravi. It was constructed by a Rajput chief, Jaspal Singh Pathania around 1505, who made it his capital to have control over the Kangra and the Nurpur regions. It was the refuge of Ram Singh Pathania who rebelled against the British during 1848. He was caught while offering prayer to the goddess Durga at a nearby place, Daula Dhar early in 1849.(Presently known as a Village of Dalla Near Dharkalan)

Kotla Fort[edit]

It is situated in the interior of Kangra. The fort of Kotla lies almost half way to Gaggal in Himachal pradesh from Pathankot. This fortress was originally built by the Guleria Rajputs. It was seized during the reign of Raja Suraj Mal Pathania, and a younger brother, Madho Singh, was made the Quiledar or the commander of the fort.[17] For more information on Kotla, see Kotla, Himachal Pradesh.

Taragarh Fort[edit]

This fortress was captured by Raja Jagat Singh Pathania from Chamba state and was secretly fortified by him and his sons in preparation for his infamous rebellion against Mughals(1640–42). This fort was never seized or captured.[18] However, Raja Jagat Singh Pathania was persuaded to stop the war against the Mughals. Shahjahan knew that Jagat Singh could not be browbeaten and he could use his help in times of war. Therefore he sent for a compromise on mutually agreed terms.

The folklore associated with the siege of fort goes that the Mughals forces cordoned the fort for such longtime that they planted mango plants which fruited before the end of siege (this place near taragarh fort today is called Amb ka Bagh literally meaning Mango orchard). Yet this long siege could not break the will of Raja jagat Singh and his men whose ration had diminished. According, to folklore the men of Raja Jagat Singh one day to fool cordoning forces used milk of female dog (who had given litter inside fort but fed in Mughal camp) to prepare a kheer (milk pudding) and threw it out side the fort. When the cordon commander of Mughal forces saw this he died of shock and the news reached the Mughal emperor who was forced to negotiate with Raja Jagat Singh Pathania.

Mau or Maukot Fort[edit]

It was nearest to the plains, almost half way to Nurpur from Pathankot, situated on a low hill of Shiwalik range running east to the Chakki river. It was an enclosure surrounded by dense forests, a Castle of great strength. It was a legend in its times, a saying was in vogue: Mau Ki Muhim Yaro Maut Ki Nishani Hai, 'The expedition to Mau, friends is a call to death'.[19][20]

Isral Fort[edit]

This fort was exactly half way to Taragarh from Nurpur fort. It was founded by Raja Nag Pal, in honour of victory of Sukh Pal his brother. Raja Nag Pal was crowned in this fort about 1397. It was an ideal fort commanding the splendid view of the surroundings. It was rich in buildings like palaces, Diwankhana and stable for the horses of the royal family. Now nothing is left. But the site is still known as Diwankhana by the local people. The site is lying in dense forests south of Sulyali village.[21]

There were some other forts situated in the territory of the Pathania Kingdom, but they were either destroyed by the massive earthquake which struck this region in April 1905, or were completed destroyed by the Mughal armies.[citation needed]

The Rebellion Of Ram Singh Pathania[edit]

Keeping in tune with their valorous tradition, the last battle fought by the Rajputs of the Kingdom of Nurpur was in 1848 against the British by Ram Singh Pathania, for his King who was still a minor.

Ram Singh Pathania's Campaign (1845–1849)[edit]

In 1845 after death of Raja Bir Singh, ruler of Nurpur (then a hill state in present Himachal Pradesh), the natives wanted to name Prince Jaswant Singh Son of Bir Singh as their new King. Therefore, King's Minister Sham Singh (Father of Ram Singh Pathania) escorted Prince Jaswant from Chamba to a Camp at Kushinagar near Nurpur. Since the prince was a minor the British objected to his being named as new king and sought to take over administration of the Nurpur state. Minister Sham Singh along with other ministers approached Colonel Lee of British Army to recognize minor Prince as their new King. However, Colonel Lee mocked and insulted this delegation led by Sham Singh on their authority to declare new King. Ram Singh Pathania angered by insult of his father Sham Singh pledged to avenge it. In defiance to British Raj he declared Prince Jaswant as new king. This was the start of Guerilla campaign led by brave Ram Singh Pathania. On the morning of 15 Aug 1845 after a fierce battle he evicted British troops from the fort of 'Shahpur Kandi'.

Ram Singh had organized his main defenses around hilly terrain of 'Kumni da Pail' area. This is from where he led guerilla raids to frustrate the several attempts undertaken by British troops to recapture forts of 'Nurpur' and 'Shahpur Kandi' which were under Ram Singh.

Finally then Lt Governor of Punjab, John Lawrence sent a strong contingent led by Gen Wheeler to capture Ram Singh dead or alive. Ram Singh shifted his defences from 'Kumni da Pail' to further deeper into hills of 'Dallah dhee Dhar'. Here in a major battle with the troops of 51 Sikh Light Infantry in January 1849 Ram Singh's men inflicted heavy losses on British troops. Following words are inscribed on the grave of British officer killed in this action:-

In the sacred memory of Lieutenant John Peal, 51st Sikh Local Infantry:- He succumbed on 17th Jan 1849 to wounds received in action near Dallah on 16 Jan 1849 when engaged with insurgents under Ram Singh while gallantly leading his men. This tablet is placed in his memory by the officer (51st Sikh F.F.)

Such was the intensity of Ram Singh Pathania's campaign against the British that locals still sing a ballad praising his courage:

Killa Pathania Khoob Ladayya, Balley Pathania Khoob Ladayya, Dallay di Dhara Dafale Jo Bajdi, Kumni Bajjay Tamur...

Translation: Pathania fought valiantly alone, When Dafli (a one-sided percussion instrument) sounded in 'Dallay di Dhara' (the area where the battle took place), Who hit drums...

After the battle of Dhaula Dhar the British realized that it would be impossible to defeat and capture Ram Singh in a Military operation, therefore they used another means to capture him. They bribed a local Priest to tell them when and where Ram Singh could be found alone and unarmed. Based on this information British soldiers laid an ambush and captured Pathania while he was offering prayer on the banks of the Ravi river near the Shahpurkandi fortress. Some historians[22] believe that he was betrayed by the Raja's of Jammu and Guler, and handed over to the British.

Because of this rebellion, which many believed was the first armed revolt against British Raj, Ram Singh Pathania was sentenced to life imprisonment and deported to Rangoon (Burma)[according to some historians he was deported to Singapore]. He died there on 11 November 1850.

During the main Hindu festivals such as Dusshera Durga Puja, the Baren or Martial Ballads of Ram Singh Pathania are sung to the accompaniment of dafale[music of Himachal Pradesh] by singers known as Adavale and folk artists. These songs are sung in all the districts of Himachal Pradesh as well as the Gurdaspur district of Punjab.

Every year on 17 August, a fair honoring Ram Singh is held at dhaula dhar, near Shahpurkandi, Pathankot, where the sword and Armour of the lionheart, Ram Singh Pathania is displayed.


Post Independence and after the creation of Himachal Pradesh the 'Pathanias' have played a very active role in the political sphere of Himachal Pradesh. Pathania politicians from the Kangra-Chamba belt of Himachal have contributed immensely in development of the state.[citation needed]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ The Princely and Noble Families of the Former Indian Empire: Himachal Pradesh V. 1 by Mark Brentnall, Indus Publishing, p. 352
  2. ^ History of the Panjab Hill States By J. Hutchison, J.P. Vogel,Asian Educational Services,p219
  3. ^ a b Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan Or the Central and Western Rajput States of India,Col James Tod,Asian Educational Services,p29,p48,p80
  4. ^ The Princely and Noble Families of the Former Indian Empire: Himachal Pradesh V. 1 By Mark Brentnall,Indus Publishing,p352
  5. ^ Advanced History of Ancient India By Shiri Ram Bakshi
  6. ^ Annals of Rajasthan Annals of Mewar: The Annals of Mewar By James Tod, Tod Payne C. H, C H Payne,Asian Educational Services,p39
  7. ^ A Pageant of India by Adolf Simon Waley, Houghton, 1927, p123
  8. ^ Essays on Indian Antiquities by James Prinsep, Edward Thomas, Henry Thoby Prinsep, J.Murray 1858, p250
  9. ^ Pre-Mussalman India by M. S. Nateson, Asian Educational Services 2000, p131
  10. ^ The cyclopædia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia by Edward Balfour, B. Quaritch 1885, p502
  11. ^ Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan by James Tod, William Crooke, 1920, p912
  12. ^ Essays on Indian Antiquities, Historic, Numismatic, and Palæographic, of the Late James Prinsep by James Prinsep, Edward Thomas, Henry Thoby Prinsep, Publ. J.Murray, 1858, p157
  13. ^ Wooden Temples of Himachal Pradesh By Mian Goverdhan Singh,Indus Publishing,p39
  14. ^ History of the Panjab Hill States By J. Hutchison, J.P. Vogel,Asian Educational Services,p220
  15. ^ History of the Panjab Hill States By J. Hutchison, J.P. Vogel,Asian Educational Services,p213
  16. ^ The Princely and Noble Families of the Former Indian Empire: Himachal Pradesh V. 1 By Mark Brentnall,Indus Publishing,p351
  17. ^ Forts and Palaces of the Western Himalaya By Aśoka Jeratha, Indus Publishing, p52
  18. ^ Dogra Legends of Art & Culture By Aśoka Jeratha, Ashok Jerath,Indus Publishing,p172,173
  19. ^ History of the Panjab Hill States By J. Hutchison, J.P. Vogel,Asian Educational Services,p237
  20. ^ Forts and Palaces of the Western Himalaya By Aśoka Jeratha,Indus Publishing,p46
  21. ^ Forts and Palaces of the Western Himalaya By Aśoka Jeratha,Indus Publishing,p51
  22. ^ Social, Cultural, and Economic History of Himachal Pradesh By Manjit Singh Ahluwalia,Indus Publishing,p44
  • Twarikh Rajgan-E-Pathania-E-Nurpur (History of the Pathania Rajas) - Mian Rughunath Singh Pathania
  • DOGRAS: Handbook for the Indian Army - Lieut. -Colonel W.B. Cunningham, M.C., 2nd Battalion, 17th Dogra Regiment. 1932
  • The Martial Races Of India - Lieut. -General Sir George MacMunn K.C.B., K.C.S.I., D.S.O. (Colonel commandant of The Royal Artillery) 1933
  • History of the Punjab Hill States - John Hutchison, Jean Philippe Vogel, J. Ph Vogel
  • Annals and Antiquities of Rajast'han or the Central and Western Rajpoot States of India - Col James Tod
  • Forts and Palaces of the Western Himalayas - Aśoka Jeratha
  • Dogra Legends of Art and Culture - Aśoka Jeratha
  • History and Culture of Himalayan States - Sukhdev Singh Charak
  • The Princely and the Noble Families of the Former British Empire - Mark Brentnall
  • Advanced History of Ancient India - Shiri Ram Bakshi
  • Legends Of The Panjab Vol. II - R.C. Temple
  • Report of a Tour in the Punjab in 1878-79 -Alexander Cunningham