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Bilaspur (Himachal Pradesh) District

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About the Bilaspur (Himachal Pradesh) district

Click on the following link to download district statistics as per NITI Ayog website
http://niti.gov.in/file/368/download?token=UX7laOI7

Brief About Bilaspur_Himachal Pradesh District
The Bilaspur district is situated in Satluj valley in the outer hills and covers area of 1,167 sq. Kms. Its boundaries touch Una, Hamirpur, Mandi and Solan districts. Satluj is the main river which passes through the middle of the district and divides it into almost equal parts.The New Township Bilaspur should be regarded as the first planned hill town of the country.The best months from visiting this place are from September to December.

The Bilaspur district lies between 310 12’ 30’’ and 310 35’ 45’’ North latitude and between 760 23’ 45’’ and 760 55’ 40’’ East longitude in the outer hills of the Himalayas next to the Punjab plains and forms a part of the basin of river Satluj which flows meandering across it for about ninety kilometers. It covers an area of 1,167 sq. kms. Its boundaries touch Una, Hamirpur, Mandi and Solan districts. Satluj is the main river which passes through the middle of the district and divides it into almost equal parts.

Pre Independence
Post Independence

Pre Independence : The erstwhile ruling family of Bilaspur claims its descent from Chanderwanshi Rajputs who reigned at Chanderi in the Bundelkhad region of Madhya Pradesh. The place now forms part of Guna district. It is said that the seventh ruler of Chanderi Kingdom Harihar Chand had a dream of Goddess Jawalamukhi. Thereafter, he decided to seek his fortune in a shrine. As a result of this, he handed over the kingdom to his youngest son Govind and then proceeded towards Jawalamukhi along with his remaining four sons and established themselves at Jindbari where they constructed a fort and settled there for some time before proceeding to Jawalamukhi. They paid a visit to Nadaun the then capital of Kangra. The Raja of Kangra arranged a tent pegging contest and promised his daughter to the men who succeeds in taking a certain peg. In reality this peg was the trunk of a tree, entered the fray. Sabir Chand lost the control of his horse and was killed and the deception practiced by the Kangra Raja was discovered. Thereafter the battle ensued and the Kangra forces were defeated. Kangra Tikka and the Chanderi King Hari Chand were both among the slain.

The remaining three Chanderi princes retired to the Jawalamukhi shrine. The reigning Goddess appeared and promised each of them a kingdom. In the fulfillment of her prophecy one of the three princes was adopted by the Raja of Kumaon and other prince Gambhir Chand took possession of Chamba and the eldest son Bir Chand got Jindbari at present in tehsil Anandpur Sahib in Rupnagar district of Punjab. It was Bir Chand who constructed the Naina Devi temple. He extended the Jurisdiction of his kingdom Kahlur during his 33 years of rule and subjugated about 15 neighboring princely states. His ambition of extending jurisdiction was ultimately halted by the Raja of Sirmaur with whom he concluded treaty of peace. Thus, he carved out a kingdom of Kahlur for himself. Bir Chand was followed by a number of his successors and last of them was Kahan Chand who conquered the Hindur state (Nalagarh) and gave it to his second son Surjeet Chand from whom the present ruling family of Nalagarh descends.

The Capital of ruling dynasty continued to be located at Kotkahlur till 1600 A.D. when the heir apparent Bir Chand fled to Sunhani across the river Satluj along with mother where he settled. His father,the then ruler, Gyan Chand embraced Islam at the behest of Mughal ruler at Sirhand who was so impressed with his fine appearance that he gave his own daughter in marriage. He returned to Kotkahlur after conversion. After the death of Raja Gayn Chand, Bir Chand returned to Kotkaklur and got himself installed as the King. He kept his capital at Sunhani on the right side of river Satluj. In 1650 A.D. when Deep Chand of the same dynasty succeeded as Raja of Kahlur state, he decided to shift his capital as he developed strong disliking for the place. It is generally said that accompanied by 2 Hindus and 2 Mohammdan faquirs he sought new site for the capital and finally settled at a place on the left bank of Satluj river traditionally called “Beas gufa” after the name of Rishi Vyas. He built a palace called ‘Dholar’ over looking the river and founded a town on the river bank which was named after Beas gufa and was later on called Bilaspur. Since then the capital of Bilaspur continued to be at Bilaspur though the original town which was established by the Chandel dynasty was submerged in the 'Govind Sagar’ on 1st July, 1954. A new township above the old one has come up at an elevation of 673 metres above sea level.

Post Independence : Himachal Pradesh came into being as a part ‘C’ State of the Indian Union on 15th April, 1948 as result of merger of 30 Punjab and Shimla Hill State in the Indian Union viz. Baghat, Bhajji, Baghal, Beja, Balson, Koti, Kumarsain, Kunihar, Kuthar, Mandi, Bushahr, Chamba, Darkoti, Delath, Dhadi, Dhami, Ghund, Jubbal, Khaneti, Keonthl, Madhan, Mahlog, Mangal, Ratesh, Rawringarh, Sangri, Sirmaur, Suket,Tharoach, Theog. At that time the state had 4 districts viz. Chamba, Mahasu, Mandi, Sirmaur and its area was 2,716,850 hectares. The State was taken over under the Central administration on the12th October, 1948.By an act of Parliament the 31st state of Bilaspur which was till then a separate entity under the control of Chief Commissioner, was integrated with Himachal Pradesh on 1st July, 1954 thereby adding one more district with an area of 106,848 hectares.

Initially, it consisted of two tehsils namely, Ghumarwin and Bilaspur Sadar. In January, 1980 the state government created a separate sub-tehsil called Naina Devi with headquarters at Swarghat out of Bilaspur Sadar Tehsil. In 1984 one new sub-tehsil namely, Jhandutta was created by carving out some areas of tehsil Ghumarwin. Jhandutta sub-tehsil was given full tehsil status in January, 1998. Administratively, the district is divided into two sub-divisions, 3 tehsils, 1 sub-tehsil, 3 community development blocks, 136 panchayats, 2 municipal committees and 2 notified area committees.

Bilaspur had been a town in 1891 and 1901 Censuses but was declassified thereafter in the year 1911. In 1931 Census, it was again classified as town and has been continuing as such since then. Naina Devi a place of religious importance was declared as town for the first time in 1953. A small town committee was setup to look after the affairs of this place till 1960. In the year 1961 it was notified as municipal committee. After 1981 Census, one more place Shah Talai has been classified as notified area committee.

The Bilaspur district lies between 310 12’ 30’’ and 310 35’ 45’’ North latitude and between 760 23’ 45’’ and 760 55’ 40’’ East longitude in the outer hills of the Himalayas next to the Punjab plains and forms a part of the basin of river Satluj which flows meandering across it for about ninety kilometers. It covers an area of 1,167 sq. kms. Its boundaries touch Una, Hamirpur, Mandi and Solan districts. Satluj is the main river which passes through the middle of the district and divides it into almost equal parts.

Tourism
Fort of Kotkahlur :
The fort is situated at a distance of few Kms. from Ganguwal Hydro Electric Station. Its lies in Naina Devi Hill. Amongst the places of historical interest, the fort of Kotkahlur occupies the first position. Raja Bir Chand, an ancestor of Raja Kahal Chand, built a palace-cum-fort called Kot Kahlur. It is in ruin now. The state was called Kahlur till such time the seat of Government was shifted to Bilaspur. Among the local population the district is still known as Kahlur.

The fort is a square structure built of stones, each side about thirty meters long and as much high. Its walls are about two metres thick. It has two storeys each about fifteen metres high. The floor of the second storey, supported on numerous high stone pillars. About twelve meters above the floor of the second storey there were certain window shaped places with small peeping holes for the garrison to reconnoitre and, if need be to shoot at besiegers. Most of these hollows have now been closed with cement or iron-mesh. Within the fort, in the upper storey, is a small temple to Naina Devi with a stone idol. There are seven small ancient fortresses in the district at Bacchretu, Bahadurpur, Basseh, Fatehpur, Sariyun, Swarghat and Tiun. Sunhani is small village on the bank of Seer Khad is yet another place which claims the distinction of being a state headquarters for some period.

Fort of Bahadurpur : On the top of a hill known as Bahadurpur the highest point (1,980m) in the district, near Tepra Village in Paragana Bahadurpur tehsil Sadar, distant about 40-kms from Bilaspur, is the site of Bahadurpur fort. The range derives its name from the Bahadurpur fort. Due to its comparatively greater height it receives occasional snow fall in winter.

The range is embellished by a beautiful small wood of deodar and ban trees. Almost in the centre of this range, in picturesque surroundings, is perched a rest-house. The fort is said to have been built by Raja Keshab Chand (c A.D. 1620). It is just 6-km above Namhol. From this high place the Ratanpur Fort, Swarghat, the Fatehpur Fort, the Naina Devi hill, plains near Ropar and the mountains of Shimla can be seen and look beautiful.

Baron Charles Hugel, a German traveler, passing through Bilaspur in 1835 has left on record a vivid picture of this fort. It is, therefore, obvious from the account that this fort was built prior to 1835, but now is in its ruins.

Fort of Sariun : To the eastern side of the Tiun range, on the lifty range and peak of Sariun like this stronghold at an elevation of about 1,500m above mean sea level. It is about 58-kms.from Bilaspur. This fort is played its usual role, in the struggle between the erstwhile State of Bilaspur and Kangra during the minority rule of Mohan Chand.

Nothing now remains of the fort except its ruin. It appears to be rectangular edifice made of stones. Its main gate faces west. From the relics it can be said that the fort was about twelve meters high. The thickness of the walls is about one metre. Within its walls a part of the area is marked by the ruins of what might be once the living rooms numbering about fifteen. The walls of the fort contain places shaped like a window with certain holes across the wall to facilitate showering of lead upon the besiegers. Tradition holds that the fort was originally built by the same Raja of the erstwhile Suket State and was subsequently wrested by the ruler of Bilaspur, the local people entertain a superstition according to which, the stones once forming part of the Fort are not used in any residential building.

Fort of Tiun : Relics of this fort is situated on the top of a hill known as the Tiun range,17 Kms. in length, at distance of about 45-Kms.from Bilaspur, on the Ali Khad crossing Ghumarwin-Ladraur motorable road. It is about 10-km from Ghumarwin proper still serves to remind of the ancient turbulent times when wars in this area were perhaps a routine feature. Raja Kahn Chand got it constructed in 1142 Vikrami. The area of the fort around 14 hectare. It is rectangle in shape. The length of the fort was 400 meters with a breadth 200 meters. The height of the wall is varies from 2 meters to 10 meters. The main gate of the fort is 3 meters height and 5 and a 1/2 meters breadth. There were two water tanks inside the fort. Also there were two granary which contains 3000 kg grain. The fort is said to have once served as a prison to an uncle of Raja Kharak Chand.

Fort of Bachhretu : Bachhretu is a peaceful, nice place located on western slope of Kotdhar just 3 kms southward to Shahtalai. It is 3000 ft above sea level. There is small ancient fort in the district Bilaspur at Bacchretu. The well Known fort of Bacchretu lies in Kot Hill. Kot Hill is 30 Kms in length. The site commands a magnificent and sweeping view of Gobind Sagar and the surrounding hills. The fort was constructed by Raja Ratan Chand of Bilaspur who ruled from 1355 to 1406. Obviously the relics are as old as about six hundred years and indicate that the stronghold was of a rectangular shape, the longer arms about 100 metres and shorter about 50 meters, built of hammer-dressed stones. From the portions of the enclosing walls, still existing here and there, it can be assumed to have been about 20 meters in height. The thickness of its walls must have been one metre tapering towards the top. The space inside was, perhaps, divided into numerous room-shaped compartments out of which about fifteen can be traced even now. Walls of one of the room are exceedingly high, measuring about ten to twelve metres. A water tank is also said to have existed. A very interesting small temple, housing two busts of the goddess Asht Bhuja (eight armed) and some other deities is still extant. A pipal tree has now grown within the fort.

Thakurdwara of Sunhani : Shunhani is very attractive & historical place located on the bank of Seer Khad, just 3 kms behind Barthin, on Bhager- Barthi & Ghumarwin road. It is just 8 kms away from Ghumarwin. Raja Vikram Chand (1555-1593 AD) made Sunhani its capital this area got the credit of being Kehloor’s capital for more than 100 years.

Chandel kings have a tradition that where ever they went & settled, they constructed temple of Nahar Singh Ji (Nar Singh Devta) and worshiped the deity. According to this tradition they made Thakurdwara of Sunhani where they made Narsingh Devta (there Istdev) temple. On the doors of thakurdwara, there is Gupta period architecture & drawing. There are many jarokhas on the backside of thakurdwara where sculptures of various gods & goddesses are made.

Today also, people of this area offer new harvest as Nasrawan. Buffalo milk’s ghee is firstly offered here newly married couple move around Ficus (Pipple) tree. Shitla Mata’s temple is present near it though now this region is not that famous,its popularity still persists.

Thakurdwara of Auhar : Auhar is a town situated in the middle of the district Bilaspur. It was an important town of the princely state Bilaspur. Due to its importance Rani Naggar Dei built the famous Thakurdwara of Auhar. She also constructed on water tank with roof known as chhatwain and an inn for the stay of the travelers. In the Thakurdwara idols of ‘Shaligram’ and ‘Narsingha’ were installed. The walls of the temple have beautiful mural paintings. The Language and Culture department has given financial assistance for the repair of the Thakurdwara.

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