Category Archives: TRAVEL AND CUISINE

All about Indian travel, Indian cuisine and state of Himachal, and its beautiful capitol Shimla.

History of Kinnaur-2


Kalpa Kinnaur roadLet us continue our journey of retracing the history of Himachal Kinnaur. In the last article we discussed rulers, who controlled the northern Himalayas of which Kinnaur was a part. Let us see who followed them.

When the Kushan Empire declined, India again went into chaos and was divided into small principalities. In those times, the Guptas’ started to grow in power and established an Empire. The Gupta period was the golden period of India. Among Guptas, Chandragupta-2 hailed as the greatest ruler and a legendry hero. He was a powerful emperor who ruled from 375-415 Century AD.

He extended the boundaries of the Empire to a great extent. He defeated the Persians, Huns and the Kamboja tribes located in the western and eastern Oxus Valleys. Chandragupta-2 then drove deep into the Himalayan areas and defeated the Kinners, bringing the present day Kinnaur of Himachal Pradesh under his control.

In 606 AD, king Harsha rose to power at Thaneshwar. He conquered the northern kingdoms of India like Kashmir, Ladakh and Himachal Kinnaur. After the death of king Harsha, India was again divided into small states.

The area of Himachal Kinnaur and its surrounding places were ruled by the Thakkers from a very long time. Most of the rulers were known by their place of rule; like ruler of Chinni was called Chinni Thakur and the ruler of Kamru was called Kamru Thakur. Among these, Thakur of Kamru was the strongest and he prevailed over others and established the state of Bushair. Himachal Kinnaur was a part of Bushair state.

(The remaining part would be published in future after information gathering)


History of Kinnaur-1


Tranda dhank (cliff) in Kinnaur

There is no authentic historical record of Kinnaur. Their reference is collected from mythological accounts and their legends. The reference dates back to 6th century B.C, when India was divided into sixteen great janapadas and many smaller ones. Janapadas mean ‘semi-nomadic tribe controlled area’. The kingdom of Magadha under Bimbisara was the first one, who tried to bring smaller kingdoms under its rule, later on this continued under the Sunga and Nanda dynasties.

Nanda dynasty brought a lot of kingdoms under their empire. Later on, king Nand of theNand dynasty was overthrown by Chandragupta Maurya, thus started the great Mauryan Empire in Magadha. Kingdom of Magadha started to grow rapidly. Chandragupta Maurya extended his empire in the northern India and got control up to inner Himalayas. He forged friendship with heads of some local tribes and hill kings to consolidate his empire further. Kinnaur must have been made a part of Maryuan Empire during his reign.

After Chandragupta, in his lineage came the rule of Emperor Ashoka. He is the most revered and has been considered one of the greatest kings, who have ruled India. Ashoka extended his empire considerably in the west. He got control of a vast region of the Himalayas; kinnaur was a part of his empire. When, victorious king Ashoka saw the massive death and destruction during Kalinga war, he was filled with remorse. He saw the futility of war- which brought only miseries and grief to the people. This incident changed his life. He renounced  his kingdom and became a disciple of Lord Buddha.

In the early 2nd century AD, The kushans, a race, which had its origin in Central Asia and later had an empire in northern part of Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, started expanding into India. King kanshika, who was the most famous kushan ruler, penetrated deep into northwestern part of India bringing the area of Kinnaur under his rule and he extended his empire up to Saketa and Sarnath (Benares).

-To be continued

History of Shimla-2


Shimla Mall Road-2

In the last article, we mentioned how Shimla changed from a small hamlet to a popular town; Let us continue the journey into the past of Shimla.

Now, as ‘Shimla’ was the summer capital of ‘British India’, the building activity also reached its zenith. Some of the finest buildings of colonial architecture were built in Shimla during this time and those structures still exist on its seven hills. Shimla had municipal governance from very early since 1851. A lot of other facilities were also introduced, such as- from 1880s piped water supply was available in Shimla, hydro-electric power was available in the early 20th century.

Nobel laureate, Gurudev Rabindernath Tagore also came to Shimla in 1893 and stayed in the ‘Wood field’ building, where he wrote some of his finest literary pieces. A great engineering feat- the Kalka-Shimla railway line was completed in 1903 and in 1922 Shimla got its one of the world’s earliest automatic telephone exchange system. Since British made Shimla its summer capital, they ushered in all possible modern facilities of those times to Shimla.

Shimla was very popular amongst the national leaders also. Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Maulana Azad and many other National Leaders often visited this place. Some of the most important historic decisions were finalized in Shimla. The most important being-“Partition of India” and carving of independent state of Pakistan in 1947, “The Shimla Agreement” signed by India and Pakistan on 3rd July, 1972.The agreement declared “to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations.”

Shimla served as the state capital of Punjab from 1947 to 1956. In 1966, Shimla was finally transferred to the state of Himachal Pradesh, to become its state capital.

History of Shimla-1


Shimla Mall Road

Shimla, the queen of hills is one of the most important hill stations of India. It is still prominent among all the hill stations, largely due to the fact that Shimla has a very long and interesting history. The town was liked very much by the British during their rule, in fact, Shimla was discovered and further developed by the British. Shimla was perfect for the British to escape the heat of Indian plains during summers because of its cool climate, the place later became a favorite destination for them . The British colonial architecture of old buildings is a reminiscent of that era.

Present day Shimla was initially a very small village known by various names as- Shimlu, Shemlah, semla, Shumla. Its being came into notice in 1815-16 when ‘Gurkha Wars’ came to an end and the British decided to keep it as a military outpost and sanitarium. Its existence is also connected to the name of Goddess Kali, who is worshipped with high reverence by the people living in the hills.

Charles Prat Kennedy, the newly appointed political officer to the hill states was the first to build ‘Kennedy House’ his residence in 1822. After him many political leaders built their houses in Shimla as Lord Anherst in 1827, then the ‘Commander-in-Chief’ Lord Combermere and others. The Governor General Lord Bentinck acquired the areas from the States of Patiala and Keonthal, who were given the land for their services in fight against the Gurkhas.

In 1864, Shimla was made the summer capital of ‘British Empire’ in India, which it continued to do so for a very long period of time even after India’s independence. Shimla, being the summer capital, the Government of free India used to spend more time in its hills than in the real capital of India. Such a vast country like India, which extended up to Aden in the west and Myanmar in the east, was ruled from these heights.

To be continued……………..