History Of Tehri Garhwal

The history Tehri Garhwal that originally consisted of fifty two garhs or forts is mired with alliances, invasions, acquisitions and battles. The principal ruler of Tehri Garhwal was Kanakpal of Malwa who forged an alliance with the erstwhile king of Chandpur Garhi. He was instrumental in the raising of the Panwar Dynasty that ruled Tehri until the nineteenth century.

Historical evidence indicates that Kanakpal called upon the Chandpur Garhi headman and married his daughter. He later fought battled with all other headmen in the vicinity and brought all the fifty two Garhs under his control. The descendants of Kanak Pal held onto the throne of Tehri until 1804. The last ruler of this dynasty was Ajay Pal and the last capital was Srinagar in Garhwal. It is commendable that even the Mughal Empire that ruled almost all of India at a point in time, could not gain access to this Garhwali province.

The fall of the Pal dynasty led to the rise of the Shah dynasty. The Shah dynasty had control over the regions covering the present day Narendra Nagar, Pratap Nagar and Kirti Nagar. Tehri became the capital of this dynasty and ruled by King Sudershan Shah. The Shah dynasty has been coveted with the rare honour of defeating the mighty army of Jahangir and later Shah Jahan. It is believed that Aurangzeb managed to develop an alliance with the Shahs. The Shahs were in control of Tehri until 1949 after which it acceded to the Indian Union.

The defeat of Fateh Shah to Guru Gobind Singh in the battle of Bhangani in 1688 led to the establishment of the Sikh Empire in this province and the development of Dehra Dun.

There were several attempts to lay siege by the Gorkhas from Nepal. The Gorkha attack and the defeat of the Shah King led to his fleeing and subsequent killing. It was over the control of the Gorkhas over the terrain of Tehri Garhwal, that the British waged the Anglo-Nepalese war in 1814. Thus, the province witnessed one of the fiercest power struggles in which the allied forces led by the British had to concede defeat. The conquer of Dehradun and later the victory in Kumaon was ensured by the British to establish control over this hilly terrain.

This battle victory, in fact, paved the way for the British to lead an onslaught over the Gorkhas even in Kumaon. The victory in the hills of Kumaon put the British Empire in complete authority over both the hills province for a long time to come. This led to the formation of the princely state of Tehri and the present district of Tehri Garhwal.

Even though Tehri was under Monarchial rule until the independence, there was significant contribution from this area during the freedom struggle. After the country became independent, there was a severe opposition from the populace of this area to get free from the clutches of the King.

The last ruler of the Shah dynasty, Manvendra Shah succumbed to the pressure from the public as well as the Indian Government. Hence, in 1949, the Government raised the district of Tehri Garhwal and made it a part of Uttar Pradesh. Some parts of this district were branched out and made a part of the Uttarakashi District.