History of Uttarakhand


The history of Uttarakhand sings the glorious past of the territory. Uttarakhand has a long history of its genesis, and evolution, that highlights the great emperors, such as the Kushanas, Kudinas, Kanishka, Samudragupta, Katuria, Palas, Chandras and Pawaras.

Talking about the history of Uttarakhand, it can be said that Uttarakhand finds reference in many holy Hindu scriptures. But the history of Uttarakhand can be best understood through the history of Garhwal and Kumaon:

Garhwal:

  • The ancient history of Garhwal says that it had once been a part of the Mauryan Empire.
  • The history of Garhwal began as a unified whole in the 15th century, when king Ajai Pal merged the 52 principalities of the Garhwal region.
  • Garhwal remained a consolidated kingdom for about 300 years, with Srinagar as its capital.
  • But during the British Period, the territories of Pauri and Dehradun went under the British domain: the two region were given to the Britishers in return of their help during the Gurkha invasion in the 19th century.

    Kumaon:
    • The history of Kumaon can be traced back to the Stone Age.
    • Moreover, the early medieval history of Kumaon started with the Katyuri dynasty that ruled from 7th to the 11th century.
    • Under the Katyuri dynasty, as the ancient history of Uttarakhand suggests, art and architecture flourished tremendously. Many new architectural buildings and designs flourished during this period.
    • However, like all kingdoms that fall after a period of time, Katyuris also lost to the Chands of Pithoragarh.
    • The history of Uttarakhand bears witness to the many temples that were built under the Chands of Pithoragarh.
    Thus, it can be said that the history of Uttarakhand is, indeed, a record of the genesis and evolution of Uttarakhand.

    To know more about the Uttarakhand history:

    Stone Age

    The evidences of the people living in the Stone Age has been found in the state of Uttarakhand in India. The archaeologists opine that there were human settlements in and around the Kumaon region in Uttarakhand from a very ancient time.

    The ruins have been unearthed from the various places of the Uttarakhand especially from the rock shelter at Lakhu Udyar which form the testimonials of the civilization dating back to the Stone Age. The paintings that were discovered from this region certainly belong to the Mesolithic period.

    Hindu Legends of Uttarakhand

    In the Hindu legends of Uttarakhand you will find mention of the divine origin of Ganga. As the legend goes, sage Bhagiratha, by the power of his penance could succeed in making the river to come down off her heavenly abode in order to bless the ashes of his forefathers.

    Puranic Period

    In the Puranic period, the mid Himalayan region of Garhwal and Kumaon in the present state of Uttarakhand used to be known by the name Kedarkhand and Manaskhand. It was variously known as:
    • Uttarpanchal by the poets who have compiled the Upanishads
    • Uttarkaushal by Valmiki
    • Uttarkuru by Ved Vyasa who wrote the epic Mahabharata
    • Uattarapatti for Panini and Kautilya
    • Kiratmandal for Kirats
    • Khashadesh for the Khas
    • Kartipur for Katayurs
    • Parvatkaran and Giryavali for the early historians

    United Province of Agra and Awadh

    Also known to be 'United Province', the United Province of Agra and Awadh previously served to be a province that was under the administration of the British during the period between 1902 to 1947. Prior to that, the United Province of Agra and Awadh were addressed as the 'North-Western Province' from the year 1835 to the year 1902.

    The Mughal conglomerate was suffering a severe drubbing at the hands of the Marathas, Afgans accompanied by the British from Bengal as their authority and power were gradually getting augmented at a truly alarming pace.

    Eventually, in the year of 1765, the Mughal juggernauts in alliance with the battalion of Awadh met with the British at the popular Battle of Buxar.

    Break away from Uttar Pradesh

    Post its break away from Uttar Pradesh on the 9th of November 2000; Uttarakhand developed into the 27th state to be integrated in the colossal and opulent country of India. Tibet, Nepal, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh in the quadruple directions border the territorial dominion of Uttarakhand.

    The term Uttarakhand has been extracted from the Sanskrit dialect and means 'northern city' if roughly translated into the regional tongue. Initially between the span of seven years stretching from 2000 to 2006, the state was reckoned as 'Uttaranchal' which served to be its provisional alias. But with the advent of 2007, it has been officially renamed as 'Uttarakhand'.

    Kanishka

    The mightiest of the Kushana rulers in India was Kanishka. He was in power from 78 AD to 120 AD. It was Kanishka who initiated the Saka Era in 78 AD. He had his capital in Purushapura or Peshawar. Kanishka is also known to have built the city of Kanishkapuram.

    Kashmir was conquered by Kanishka. The most significant campaign that he had made was against China. He managed to cross the Pamirs and won over the Chinese. Among the notable places that Kanishka conquered are:

    • Khotan
    • Yarkhand
    • Kashgar


    Kanishka is known to have defeated the Saka rulers of Malwa and Gujarat.

    There were two important physicians in Kanishka's time namely Charaka and Susruta. Kanishka patronized both of them. Charaka was a scholar as well and versed in various Sastras. He was the writer of the Charaka Samhita. The other medical scholar, Susruta is known for his book, the Susruta Samhita, related to surgery. It has a list of a large variety of surgical instruments.

    Katuris

    The Katuris ruled the district of Kumaon in the state of Uttarakhand in India for quite a long period of time. If you look for the early medieval history of Kumaon, you will get the details of the rulers of the Katuris. The Katuri kings were dominating the northern regions of the country from the 7th to the 11th century. They were very powerful rulers and ruled over the vast areas in Uttarakhand. The areas that came under the reign of the Katuris included the regions of Kumaon, Garhwal and western Nepal. This shows that the kingdom of Katuris was quite widespread.

    Kushanas

    The Kushanas of Uttarakhand arrived in India as early as in the first century AD. They owe their ancestry to Yuch-chi tribe of China. Later on they had shifted towards the west. The Kushana Dynasty was founded by Kujula Kadphises, who had been the chief of the Yuch-Chi and who had already made his establishment in Kabul and Kashmir. Vima Kadphises was the name of his son who is known for the Kushana coins which were very similar to those of the Indians.

    The most powerful of the Kushana rulers was the great king, Kanishka. He was on the throne from 78 to 120 AD. He was the initiator of the Saka Era which began in the 78 AD.

    Mauryan Empire

    The Mauryan Empire in India saw its glorious days under Chandragupta Maurya, who ruled from 324 to 301 BC. He was the man who made the foundation of the first Indian imperial power. The Mauryan Empire had its capital in Pataliputra.

    The capital of the Mauryan Empire was a place of wondrous palaces, temples, university, library, gardens and parks. All these are known from the records of Megasthenes. He was the 3rd century BC. Greek historian and ambassador who came to the Mauryan court.

    History tells us that behind Chandragupta's success was his adviser Kautilya. He was the author of the Arthashastra. This is a book which forms the guideline of governmental administration and political strategy.

    Pauravas

    With reference to Uttarakhand, the Pauravas constitute an integral element of their resplendent history. The Pauravas are in fact the designation dowered to petite kingdoms as well as tribes that hail from the north western frontiers of India.

    The Pauravas were at their prime during the 4th and 5th century BC although there had been evidence of their glorious existence in the ages dominated by the Vedas.

    At that point, the Pauravas are thought to be under the apt guidance of the emperor Sudas. It was the boisterous King Sudas who took his rivalry with the Iranian invaders to the battle field in the 'Battle of Ten Kings'.

    Puranic period

    In the Puranic period, the mid Himalayan region of Garhwal and Kumaon in the present state of Uttarakhand used to be known by the name Kedarkhand and Manaskhand. It was variously known as:

    • Uttarpanchal by the poets who have compiled the Upanishads
    • Uttarkaushal by Valmiki
    • Uttarkuru by Ved Vyasa who wrote the epic Mahabharata
    • Uattarapatti for Panini and Kautilya
    • Kiratmandal for Kirats
    • Khashadesh for the Khas
    • Kartipur for Katayurs
    • Parvatkaran and Giryavali for the early historians


    Rulers

    The land of Uttarakhand has witnessed the rulers from great many dynasties over a long period of historical times. The most notable of these rulers are:

    • King Som Chand of the Chand dynasty from Rajasthan who founded the kingdom in the 7th century that later became Kumaon. 9th-11th century saw the Katyuri Dynasty.
    • In 869-1065, Khas chieftains went against the Chand dynasty and succeeded.
    • In 1065, Vir Chand gets back to Champawat and secured the lost kingdom.
    • In the 12th century, Mallas of Dullu in western Nepal broke down the Katyuri kingdom.
    • In 1358, King Ajay Pal of the Parmar dynasty ascended the throne of Chandpur.
    • In the 1500s, Mughal rulers came here; Garhwal maintained her independence while Kumaon started paying tribute.
    • In 1591, there was Battle of Gwaldam .
    • In 1631, Mahipat Shah was no more. Queen mother Karnavati succeeded the throne for her young son, Prince Prithvi Pat Shah.
    • In 1638, King Baz Bahadur Chand sits on the Kumaoni throne. Then the Kumaon was a tributary state of the Mughal Empire.
    • In 1650, King Prithvi Pat Shah became adult and ascended the throne.
    • The years of 1667-1715 marks King Fateh Shah's reign.
    • 1716-72 marks the rule of Pradip Shah.
    • 1780-1781 was the rule of Lalit Shah's eldest son, Jai Krit Shah.
    • In 1803-04, there was the Gurkha attack.


    Samudra Gupta

    Samudra Gupta, the great ruler of India was the son of Chandragupta I of the Gupta dynasty. He is known to have ascended the throne after his father Chandragupta I died in 335 AD.

    We can get the information regarding the rule of Samudra Gupta from an inscription engraved on a pillar at Allahabad. Harishena recorded the matter of this inscription. He used to be the court poet of Samudra Gupta. The inscription is partly lost. The inscription of Harishena tells the stories of Samudra Gupta's rule and his conquests. The coins of Samudra Gupta are the other useful sources to tell us about his days.

    Samudragupta was undoubtedly a brave warrior. He had a passion for conquest. He went on conquering the following kingdoms one by one:

    • the neighboring kingdoms of Shichchhatra (Rohilkhand) and Padmavati (in Central India)
    • the kingdom of Kota kings
    • the kingdoms of Malvas
    • the Yaudheyas
    • the Arjunayanas
    • the Maduras
    • the Abhiras


    Uttar Pradesh

    The Indian state referred to as Uttar Pradesh is bequeathed with the reputation of being the most inhabited dominion and also ranks fifth with regard to its mammoth area. The state of Uttar Pradesh is so spacious that it can accommodate countries like France, Germany and Holland with absolute ease.

    Most of the vast and tedious stretches of landscape that constitutes the state of Uttar Pradesh falls under the category of Gangetic plains. Uttar Pradesh is securely guarded by adjoining Indian states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand.

    The throbbing locale of Lucknow serves to be the nerve center of Uttar Pradesh as it functions as its administrative and legislative capital. Whereas, on the other hand, Kanpur cherishes the coveted appellation of being its financial and industrial capital.

    Previously, Uttarakhand used to be an integral element of Uttar Pradesh until it was scraped out and bestowed with the status of being an independent territorial dominion.

    Uttar Pradesh is dowered with historic spots that virtually explode with the frenzied mobs of anxious visitants like Chaukhandi Stupa that is recognized as the rendezvous spot of Lord Buddha and his maiden disciple, the Dhamek Stupa at Sarnath and many more intriguing venues.

    The regional dialects that are most frequently spoken in Uttar Pradesh are Awadhi, Bagheli, Bhojpuri, Braj, Bundali, Hindi and Urdu.

    In the recent 2007 elections, Mayawati hailing from the Bahujan Samaj party was appointed to the authoritative position of the honorable Chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh hosts the famous 'Kumbh Mela' at an interval of 12 years.

    Last Updated on 4 March 2013



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