Friday, September 10, 2010

Pathania...who are we?

Pathania is the name of the branch of the Tomara Clan of Chandravanshi Rajputs, descended from Lord Arjuna & Lord Krishna, the hero of Mahabharata. 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 A.D., This clan has to its credit three 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

Rana Jethpal: founder of the royal house of Pathania

Until 1164 A.D 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.

The Kingdom of Delhi was founded by Anangpal Tomar, whose dynasty, by virtue of descenzfrom the Pandavas, claimed to be Lords Paramount of India

The great Vikramaditya of the year 56BC is claimed to be an ancestor of the Tomara Pathania Rajputs.

The principal era to which the luni-solar system is exclusively adapted is that of Vikramaditya, called Samvat. The prince from whom it was named was of the Tuár dynasty, and is supposed to have reigned at Ujjain (Ujjáyini).

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? A.D.), the younger brother of King Anangpal II of Delhi, came to Jallandhar Doab also called Bist Doab to conquer a territory for himself. After crossing the Beas river he captured a fort called Bhet, and for this reason, he acquired the name Rana Bhet. After this he came upon the city of Pathankot (possibly ancient Pratisthana), and following the costumed 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

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. 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 asMansabdar (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, yet repeatedly they rebelled against the forces of the Mughal's and other foreign invaders.


There is a book "Twarikh Rajgan-E-Pathania-E-Nurpur, Zila Kangra" i.e. History of Pathania Rajas of Nurpur by Mian Rughnath Singh Pathania. The English version of this book was first published in 2004 by the Department of Language and Culture, Himachal Pradesh, Shimla 171 009 Himachal Pradesh, India.

The author has traced the origin of the Pathania dynasty of Nurpur to Lord Arjuna, the Hero of Mahabharata with the help of a calendar from King Yudhishthira to King Anang Pal II of Delhi. The book was originally written in mixed persianized Urdu and Devanagari, and the English version was prepared by Mr. AN Walia.

Written in 1904 A.D., the book documents eight hundred year's history of the Pathania Royal house of Nurpur from the year 1138 A.D. to 1885 A.D. The author Mian Rughnath Singh Pathania of Rey (Aghar), a small village in the vicinity of Indora in District Kangra of Himachal Pradesh, traces the origin of the Pathania Rajputs to the last of the Hindu Emperors of Hindustan, King Anangpal II of the Tomara (Tanwar, Tuar) dynasty of Delhi.

Late Pandit Jwala Prasad had been maintaining the family trees of the Pathania Clan. He lived in Haridwar. Currently his grandson, pandit Ganesh Sharma takes care of such requirements. Kangra Temple at Haridwar, which contains records for the last 10 generations is under a legal dispute and lies in sealed condition.

List of rulers

  • Raja Jai Pal, About 1095 AD establishes Pathania branch of the Delhi Tomar Kings. His brother Raja Bhu Pal lived in Paithan, modern day Pathankot.
  • Raja Ghatr Pal
  • Raja Sukin Pal
  • Raja Jagrat Pal
  • Raja Ram Pal
  • Raja GoPal Pal
  • Raja Arjun Pal
  • Raja Varsha Pal
  • Raja Jatan Pal
  • Raja Vidurath Pal
  • Raja Jokan Pal, married a Tirharan Rani
  • Raja Kirat Pal, also called Rana Kirat
  • Raja Kahko Pal
  • Raja Jas Pal 1313/1353
  • Raja Kailas Pal 1353/1397
  • Raja Nag Pal 1397/1438
  • Raja Prithvi Pal 1438/1473
  • Raja Bhil Pal 1473/1513
  • Raja Bakht Mal 1513/1558 Fought along Sikandar Sur(son of Shershah Suri against Emperor Akbar)
  • Raja Pahari Mal 1558/1580
  • Raja Vasu Dev 1580/1613 Rebelled against Akbar time and again, Paithan taken away from him
  • Raja Suraj Mal 1613/1618 Rebelled against Jehangir
  • Raja Jagat Singh 1618/1646 Patronized by Jehangir, rebelled against Shah Jehan but restored, accompanied Dara Shikoh to Kandahar.
  • Raja Rup Singh 1646/1661 Taragarh taken from him, granted 1500 mansab
  • Raja Mandhata Singh 1661/1700
  • Raja Dayadhata 1700/1735
  • Raja Fateh Singh 1735/1770
  • Raja Prithvi Singh 1770/1805
  • Raja Bir Singh 1805/1846, born 1785, last ruling Chief of Nurpur, married a daughter of Raja Jit Singh of Chamba, and had issue. He died in Battle in, 1846 AD.
  • Raja Jaswant Sngh 1846/1898
  • Raja Gagan Singh 1898/1952, 6th Viceregal Darbari in Kangra District, an Honourary Magistrate in Kangra District, the Hereditary title of Raja was conferred 15 March 1909 by the Viceroy, married and had issue. He died 1952.
  • Raja Devendra Singh 1952

Some Forts/Castles of the Clan

Nurpur (Dhameri) Fort

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

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 A.D., 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

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.[16] For more information on Kotla, see Kotla, Himachal Pradesh.

Taragarh Fort

This fortress was constructed by Raja Jagat Singh Pathania where he used to spend the spring season. This fort was never seized or captured. 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 some mutually agreed terms.

Mau or Maukot Fort

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'.

Isral Fort

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 A.D. 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.

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 A.D., or were completed destroyed by the Mughal armies.

The Rebellion Of Ram Singh Pathania

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

Ram Singh Pathania's Campaign (1845–1849)

In 1845 after death of King Veer Singh, ruler of Nurpur (then a hill state in present Himachal Pradesh), the natives wanted to name Prince Jaswant Singh Son of Veer 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 lead 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 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 believe that he was betrayed by the Raja's of Jammu and Guler, and handed over to the British.

Because of this rebellion, which locals believed was first armed revolt against British Raj, Ram Singh Pathania was sentenced to life imprisonment and deported to Rangoon (Burma). He died there on 11 November, 1856.

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 Dhauladhar, near Shahpurkandi, Pathankot, where the sword and Armour of the lionheart, Ram Singh Pathania is displayed.