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Hamirpur District

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Hamirpur District is found in the southwestern part of Himachal Pradesh. It has a total area of 4,121.9 square kilometers, which are populated by some 412,009 people, according to the Indian census taken in 2001. The population density is 369 people per square kilometer and the aggregate literacy rate is fairly high, at 83.16%. Hamirpur district is surrounded by Kangra district to the north and northwest, Mandi district to the east, the district of Bilaspur to the south and the district of Una to the west. The district headquarters is the town of Hamirpur.

In the old days, the district was ruled by the Katoch dynasty, who had dominion in the area between the Ravi and Satluj rivers. According to passages from the Puranas and Ashtadhyai, Hamirpur was part of the Jallandhar-Trigarta empire during the Mahabharata period, and its people are often described as great warriors and fighters. Evidently, this still holds true even today because a large percentage of the Indian defense forces comes from this region; Hamirpuris can be found among the Indian forces of Dogra, Granadiers, JAKRIF and even the paramilitary forces such as the Assam Rifles.

During the ancient periods, the region belonging to the modern-day Hamirpur district was under the rule of several dynasties and kingdoms such as the Guptas, Timurlang, the sultans and, in later years, several warring tribes. However, it was the Katoch dynasty who put these tribes under control and ensured an orderly society. Thus, it came to be that the district is closely associated with the Katochs.

The district (as well as the town’s) present name is derived from Hamir Chand, one of the rulers of the Katoch dynasty who reigned from 1700 to 1740. He was the one who built the fort at Hamirpur. However, the place only became prominent during the reign of Raja Sansar Chand II, who made Sujanpur Tira as his capital and constructed temples and palaces there. He ruled from 1775 to 1823, when he was ultimately defeated. The area was then under the control of the Sikhs until they were defeated by the British army in the first Anglo-Sikh war. Hamirpur district became a part of the British Empire and became a part of the district of Kangra. Kangra was annexed in 1846 and Nadaun was made its administrative subdivision, which was transferred to Hamirpur in 1868. Hamirpur remained a part of the Punjab until November 1, 1966 when Himachal Pradesh was formed. On September 1, 1972, the districts were rearranged and Hamirpur was finally created as a separate district, with the original tehsils being Hamirpur and Barsar. Over the years, several more tehsils were added.

The district’s economy is largely agriculture based, with the major crops being wheat, gram and barley. Rice and maize are also abundant. The people speak dialects of western Pahari, with the dialects akin to those spoken in the adjoining districts of Mandi, Kangra and Bilaspur. The nearest broad gauge railway station is located in the district of Una while the nearest narrow gauge is found at Ranital. By land, Hamirpur can be approached from Shimla, Pathankot and Chandigarh.


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