Capitals: Chandpur, Devalgah, Srinagar, Tehri, Pratapnagar, Kirtinagar, Narendranagar
Official Languages: Garhwali, Sanskrit
Established: 888 AD/CE
Disestablished: 1949 AD/CE
Traditionally the region finds mention in various Hindu scriptures as Kedarkhand being home to the Garhwali people. Garhwal kingdom was dominated by Kshatriyas. The Kuninda Kingdom also flourished around the 2nd century BC. Later this region came under the rule of Katyuri Kings, who ruled unified Kumaon and Garhwal regions from Katyur Valley, Baijnath, Uttarakhand, starting 6th century AD and eventually fading by the 11th century AD, after their fall Kurmanchal was divided into numerous small principalities and they eventually lost the control over garhwal region and the region fragmented into several small forts(garh). Huen Tsang, the Chinese traveller, who visited the region around 629 AD, mentions a kingdom of Brahampura in the region.
Based on the testimony of inscriptions (the earliest dating back to the 4th century AD), literary accounts, and local traditions it may be suggested that Far Western Nepal and Uttarakhand formed one single polity for centuries under the Katyuri Kings. Therefore, both regions inherit a shared past or collective memory. The Bhārata/Jāgara of Maulā alias Jiyā Rānī, a Katyūrī princess, as narrated in Doti (modern-day Nepal) and Uttarakhand (present-day India) is an example of this common heritage.
In the book of Rahul Sanskrityayan, Garwahl (Allahabad 1953) it is written that, "The kings of Kumaon-Garwahl were called, Kedare Khasamandale which means Kedar region as the residence of Khasa people".
The royal dynasty of Garhwal started with Kanakpal. Garhwal Kingdom was founded in 823 AD, when Kanakpal, the prince of Malwa, on his visit to the Badrinath Temple, met Raja Bhanu Pratap, the ruler of Chandpur Garh one of the 52 Garhs of Garhwal. Raja Bhanu Pratap had no sons. The King married his only daughter to the prince and subsequently handed over his kingdom, the fortress town. Kanakpal and his descendants of Panwar dynasty, gradually conquered all the independent fortresses (Garhs) belonging to its 52 small chieftains, and ruled the whole of Garhwal Kingdom for the next 915 years, up to 1804 AD.
In 1358, the 37th ruler, Ajay Pal, brought all the minor principalities for the Garhwal region, under his own rule, and founded the Garhwal kingdom, with Devalgarh as its capital, which he later shifted to Srinagar. Balbhadra Shah (r. 1575–1591), was the first Raja of Garhwal to use the title Shah. The capital was shifted to Srinagar, Uttarakhand by Mahipat Shah who ascended to the throne in 1622, and further consolidated his rule over most parts of Garhwal, though he died early in 1631, though his seven-year-old son, Prithvi Shah ascended to the throne after him, the Kingdom was ruled by Mahipat Shah's wife, Rani Karnavati for many years to come, during which she successfully defended the kingdom against invaders and repelled an attack of Mughal army led by Najabat Khan in 1640, and in time received the nickname of 'Nakti Rani' as she used to chop off the noses of any invader to the kingdom, as the Mughal invaders of the period realised. Monuments erected by her still exist in Dehradun district at Nawada.
The next important ruler was Fateh Shah, remained the King of Garhwal from 1684 to 1716, and is most known for taking part in the Battle of Bhangani on 18 September 1688, where combined forces of many Rajas of the Shivalik Hills (Pahari rajas) fought with Gobind Singh's army. During his reign, Sikh Guru and the ex-communicated eldest son of Har Rai, Ram Rai settled here, upon recommendations of Aurangzeb, which eventually led to the establishment of modern town of Dehradun. Fateh Shah died in 1716, and his son Upendra Shah died within a year of ascending to the throne in 1717, subsequently Pradip Shah ascended and his ruled led to rising fortunes of the Kingdom, this in turn attracted invaders, like Najib-ud-daula Governor of Saharanpur, who invaded in 1757 along with his Rohilla Army and captured Dehradun. However, in 1770, the Garhwali forces defeated the Rohillas and retrieved possession of the Dun region.
'Harshdev' a former minister of kumaon kingdom and king Lalit Shah joined forces to attack kumaon and captured almora the seat of kumaon kingdom, expelled the ruling king mohan Chand and placed his own younger son on the throne.However later Mohan Chand on(1786-1788)Overthrew Pradyumn Shah and retained kumaon.
in 1791 Gorkhali forces of the Kingdom of Nepal, invaded Kumaon and took control of most of the hill country, expelling or subduing most of the rajas.
after defeating kumaon ,Gorkha Kingdom attacked garhwal and Garhwali forces suffered heavy defeat, and Pradyuman Shah first escaped from Srinagar to Dehradun and then to Saharanpur to organise forces, but was eventually killed in the Battle of Khurbura (Dehradun) in January 1804 while his brother, Pritam Shah, was taken in captivity to Nepal by the Gorkhas. The Battle of Khadbuda took place on Magh 20, 1860 V.S. (January 1804) where the Gorkhalis were under the command of Bada Kaji Amar Singh Thapa, while Garhwali forces had a Gujjar commander, Sardar Ram Dayal Singh of Landhaur, who led 12,000 soldiers of Ramghads, Pundirs, Gujjars and Rajputs. Pradyumna Shah was killed by a shot fired by Kaji Ranajit Kunwar, the grandfather of later Maharaja and Prime Minister of Nepal Jung Bahadur Rana, and his dead body was respectfully covered with a shawl by Bada Kaji Amar Singh to be sent to Haridwar.
Several causes are attributed to this defeat. Garhwal was perpetually in political turmoil since the time of Raja Jai Krit Shah and this was sapping the vitality of the kingdom. Nature also played havoc in the form of a famine before the Gorkha onslaught from 1795–1795. Garhwal had not yet recovered from the famine when a devastating earthquake struck the region.
The Garhwal kings went into exile in British territory as the Gorkhas began their twelve-year rule over Garhwal region.
The Gorkhas ruled Garhwal with an iron fist. Their excessive taxation policy, iniquitous judicial system, slavery, torture and lack of civilised administrative set up made the Gorkha rulers extremely unpopular amongst their subjects. Cultivation declined rapidly and villages were deserted. During the Gorkha rule, a revenue settlement for Garhwal was undertaken in 1811. The rates were so high that the land-owners found it difficult to honour, and the Gorkhas sold hundreds of their family members into slavery in satisfaction of the arrears. If a person or his family members were not purchased as slaves in auction, such people were sent to Bhimgoda near Har Ki Paidi, Haridwar for selling. The Gorkhas are said to have established a slave market at Das Bazar in Haridwar. Harak Deb Joshi, a prominent minister from the Kumaon court wrote letters to Fraser, the resident at Delhi describing the atrocities committed by the Gurkhas on the Garhwali people.
The Mukhtiyar (prime minister) of Nepal, Bhimsen Thapa imposed a general restriction on human trafficking in Garhwal, Sirmur and other areas in 1812 A.D. Anti-bribery regulations were issued against regional governors and declared it illegal to give or take any form of bribes or gifts from people. He established Hulak (postal) system through a relay of porters up to Yamuna river in Garhwal.
The occupation of the kingdom by the Gorkhas went unopposed from 1803 to 1814 until a series of encroachments by the Gorkhas on British territory led to the Anglo-Nepalese War in 1814. Sudarshan Shah, son and heir of the defeated ruler of the Kingdom of Garhwal who was in exile in British territory, saw his chance and entered into an alliance with the British in 1812. When the expected war erupted, he joined forces with them in the conquest of the hill territories. At the war's end on 21 April 1815, as a result of the Treaty of Sugauli, the British annexed half of the Kingdom of Garhwal (Pauri Garhwal) and converted the other half (Tehri Garhwal) into a subsidiary princely state.
Sudarshan Shah, the heir to the Kingdom of Garhwal received approximately half his ancestral territories, limited to western Garhwal region and received recognition as Raja of a new princely state of Garhwal. The British established their rule over the eastern half of the Garhwal region, which lies east of Alaknanda and Mandakini river, which was later on known as British Garhwal and Dun of Dehradun, along with Kumaon, which was merged with British India as a result of the Treaty of Sugauli. The former Kumaon Kingdom was joined with the eastern half of the Garhwal region and was governed as a chief-commissionership, also known as the Kumaon Province, on the non-regulation system.
Since the capital Srinagar was now part of the British Garhwal, a new capital was established at Tehri, giving the name of Tehri state (popularly known as Teri Garhwal).
Sudarshan Shah died in 1859, and was succeeded by Bhawani Shah, who in turn was succeeded by Pratap Shah in 1872. The kingdom had an area of 4,180 square miles (10,800 km2), and a population of 268,885 in 1901. The ruler was given the title of Raja, but after 1913, he was honoured with the title of Maharaja. The King was entitled to an 11 gun salute and had a privy purse of 300.000 Rupees. In 1919, Maharaja Narendra Shah shifted the capital from Tehri to a new town, which was named after him, Narendra Nagar.
During the Quit India Movement people from this region actively worked for the independence of India. Ultimately, when the country was declared independent in 1947, the inhabitants of Tehri Riyasat (Garhwal State) started their movement to free themselves from the clutches of the Maharaja Narendra Shah (Panwar).
Due to this movement, the situation became out of his control and it was difficult for him to rule over the region. Consequently, the 60th king of Panwar Vansh, Manvendra Shah, the last ruling Maharaja of the Garhwal Kingdom (1946–1949), accepted the sovereignty of the Union of India. Tehri Riyasat was merged into the Garhwal District of United Provinces (later renamed to Uttar Pradesh) and was given the status of a new district, the Tehri Garhwal district. Subsequently, on 24 February 1960, the state government separated one of its tehsils which was given the status of a separate district named Uttarkashi. It is currently part of the Garhwal Division of the Uttarakhand state of India which was carved out of Uttar Pradesh in 2000. Former royal palace of the Maharaja of Tehri Garhwal at Narendranagar, now houses the Ananda in the Himalayas spa, established 2000.