Hill States

Hill States

The term hill states means states in a hilly area. In particular it is used for two northern border regions of colonial British India.


Raj period Punjab

During the Raj period, two groups of princely states in the Indian part of the colonial province of Punjab (after independence split in the republic's constituent states of Punjab (proper), Haryana and Himachal Pradesh) were included into British India later than most of the Mughal Empire, in the context of two wars and an uprising.

For its princely rulers the term Hill Rajas (not an actual title) has been coined.

Simla Hills

Map of some states 1911

28 petty princely states (including feudatory princes and zaildars) in the promontories of the western Himalaya, known in full as the Simla Hill(s) States, mainly Hindu, a few Buddhist; the local languages are Hindu, Punjabi, Urdu and various Pahari dialects.

Three quarters of the about 4,800 square miles (12,000 km2) was the territory of the Raja (earlier Rana) of Bashahr, on both sides of the Sutlej river. Its direct tributaries were:

  • the Thakur of Khaneti
  • the Thakur of Delath.

The other, all far smaller, princely states, including a few with some petty dependencies of their own, were further south, on Sutlej's left bank:

  • the Rana of Balsan
  • the Thakur of Beja
  • the Rana of Bhaji = Bhajji
  • a prince of Bhagat
  • HH the Raja of Bilaspur (formerly Kahlur = Kehloor), entitled to an 11-guns salute
  • the Rana of Darkoti(i) = Darkoti
  • the Rana (Shri) of Dhami
  • the Raja Rana (ex Rana) of Jubbal. The Jubbal state had two tributaries:
    • the Thakur (sahib) of Dhadi, initially tributary to Tharoch, then to Bashahr and finally in 1896 to Jubbal.
    • (title?) Rawin = Rawingarh
  • The Raja (formerly Rana) of Keonthal. Furthermore the feudal pyramid included five Keonthal zaildars (jagirdars collecting a special tax):
    • a jagirdar Gundh
    • (since 1815) the Rana Sahib of Koti
    • a jagirdar Madhan = Kiari
    • the Thakur saheb (also styled Rana) of Ratesh (popularly known as Kot, 'fortress')
    • the Rana ?) Theog
  • the Thakur of Kunahair
  • the Rana of Kuthar
  • the Thakur of Mahlog
  • the Rana of Mangal
  • the Raja of Nalagarh
  • the Thakur (or Rai Mian?) of Sangri
  • the Thakur (Originally titled Rana up to the occupation by the Gurkhas, and Thakurs from 1815 to 1929) of Tharhoch = Tiroch

Remark that for various of the entities above the authentical title of the chief is missing- while some of the lowest ranking may have none, for the princes that can merely be due to insufficient sources available

They too were all to be joined as the modern Indian state Himachal Pradesh.

Punjab Hills States

Nearby, some Hindu ?&sikh states, including:

  • HH the Raja (saheb) of Chamba = Chamba, entitled to an 11 guns-salute
  • HH the Raja of Mandi, entitled to an 11 guns-salute
  • HH the Raja of Suket, entitled to an 11 guns-salute
  • HH the Maharaja (until 1913 Raja) of Tehri-Garhwal (in Uttar Pradesh), entitled to an 11 guns-salute
  • etc.
  • HH the Raja of Siba,No Salute,as Siba was not fully captured by the Britishers,only Siba Jagir(Jagir of Mian Devi Singh) up to Kotla was captured.Present titled Sibaia Raja is Raja Dr.Ashok K. Thakur,.

Meghalaya (formerly Assam)

The Khasi Hills (east of the Garo Hills) and (even further to the east) the Jaintia Hills were mainly part of Tribal Assam in colonial British India, now in the present Indian constitutive state of Meghalaya, especially Jaintia district, capital Jowai, East Khasi district, capital Shillong, and West Khasi district, capital Nongstoi.

Jaintia Hills

The 12 Chiefs of the elaka (tribal province) of the Jaintia, a Khasi subtribe of the) Pantars = Syntengs tribes, are styled Dolloi, and the land is called after them in Khasi: KA RI KHADAR DOLLOI ‘Land of 12 Tribal Chiefs‘) - they are in Nartiang itself (see the Raja, uniquely also styled, as premier Chief: U Kongsong), and in Amwi, Jowai, Lakadong, Mynso, Nongbah, Nongjngi, Nongphyllut, Nongtallang, Raliang, Shangpung, Sutnga (see below; also cited as seat of a Syiem)

Above them is the only true princely ruler of the area, the Raja of Jaintiapur, actually his winter capital, now in Bangladesh, with his summer residence shifted from Sutnga (where the family started as Syiems) to Nartiang; also a palace in the commercial center Borghat.

Khasi Hills

Khasi states, 1947

The other Khasi tribes don't have princes but their 20 petty states (hima), and sometimes even smaller tribal divisions, are led by one or two Chiefs -selected in various ways- usually styled Siem, Syiem. The names of these chiefstainships are: Bhawal, Cherra (or Sohra; capital Cherrapunji), Dwara (capital Hat Dwara), Jirang, Khyrim, Langrin, Lungiong, Maharam, Malai Sohmat, Marriw, Mawdon, Mawiang, Mawlong, Mawphlang, Mylliem (including Shillong city, the colonial capital of all Tribal Assam), Nobosohphoh, Noglwai, Nongkhlaw, Nongspung, Nongstoin, Pamsanggut, Rambrai, Shella, Sohiong. or Sardar ...

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