The ruling family of Chamba claims descent from Raja Marut, a younger brother of the Raja of Udaipur who reigned twenty-one centuries ago. He left Rajputana and established himself at Brahmapura, in the foothills of the Himalayas. Raja Meru Varma Deva eighth in descent from Marut, reigned during the eighth century. His descendant, Raja Sahila, removed his capital to Chamba, close by the Kashmiri border in 900 AD, where it has remained ever since. The state fell to the Afghan Durranis, after the transfer of the Punjab to them in 1752, and came under Sikh control in 1770. In 1786 the state came under the control of Raja Sansar Chand of Kangra, but returned to Sikh rule after his defeat at the hands of Ranjit Singh in 1809. The state came under British protection after the first Sikh War in 1847.
The state had become heavily indebted due to the usual extortion by the Sikhs. The Raja found himself unable to manage the demands of his creditors and consequently voluntarily placed his state under a government appointed superintendent in 1863. Immediate reforms followed, including the severe reduction in military expenditure, closure of forts at the borders, and retrenchment in the excessive number of state employees. The first primary school and a postal service opened in late 1863, the forests were leased to the Imperial government in 1864, roads and a hospital built in 1866, and Dak bungalows constructed in 1870-1871. Both internal and external trade expanded rapidly and the state debts gradually paid off.
The successive rulers continued the good modernisation and improvement policies begun under the period of administrative rule. All branches of the administration improved over the years and state revenues increased, enabling considerable investment in educational and health facilities, public works, construction of roads and communications. Raja Sham Singh and his brother Raja Bhuri Singh were regarded as model rulers, who looked after the welfare of their subjects and stood as examples to their fellow rulers.
ARMS: Argent, a gutty de sang a falcon rising vert within a bordure vairy. Crest: A lion's face rayonnant proper. Supporters: Goorul proper. Lambrequins: Argent and vert.
STYLES & TITLES:
The ruling prince: Raja Shri (personal name) Singh, Raja of Chamba, with the style of His Highness.
The consort of the ruling prince: Rani Shru (personal name) Sahiba, Rani of Chamba, with the style of Her Highness.
The Heir Apparent: Sri Tikka Sahib.
The consort of the Heir Apparent: Sri Tikkarani Sahib.
The younger sons of the ruling prince: Rajkumar Sri (personal name) Singh.
The daughters of the ruling prince, by senior wives: Rajkumari (personal name) Sahiba.
The daughters-in-law of the ruling prince: Rani (personal name) Sahiba.
The grandsons of a ruling prince, in the male line: Kunwar Shri (personal name) Singh.
The granddaughters of a ruling prince, in the male line: (personal name) Kumari.
ORDERS & DECORATIONS:
RULES OF SUCCESSION:
Male primogeniture, with the right of adoption by the recognised head of the family, on the failure of natural heirs.
B. Ch. Chhabra. Antiquities of Chamba State, Part II. Delhi, 1957.
G.L. Chopra. Chiefs and Families of Note in the Punjab. 3 Volumes. Superintendent of Government Printing, Lahore, 1940.
Major W.L. Conran and H.D. Craik. Chiefs and Families of Note in the Punjab. 3 Volumes. Government of the Punjab, Lahore, 1910-1911.
J. Hutchinson, and J. Vogel. "History of the Chamba State", Journal of the Punjab Historical Society, Volume X, Part II, 1929, pp 5-70.
J. Hutchinson, and J. Ph. Vogel. History of the Panjab Hill States. Volumes I & II. Superintendent of Government Printing, Lahore, 1933.
Waman P. Kabadi (ed.), Indian Who's Who 1937-38.Yeshanand & Co., Bombay, 1937.
List of Ruling Princes and Chiefs, Leading Men and Principal Officials. Punjab States Agency. Manager of Publications, Delhi, 1938.
Memoranda of Information regarding certain Native Chiefs. Volume II, Madras, Bengal, North-West Provinces, Punjab. IOR (L/PS/20/F76/2), Oriental & India Office Collection, British Library, St Pancras, London.
Memoranda on The Indian States 1940 (Corrected up to the 1st January 1940). Manager of Publications, Government of India, Delhi, 1940.
Northern India Who's Who. Lahore, Punjab, 1942.
M.S. Randhawa. Chamba Painting. Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, 1967.
Vogel, J. Antiquities of Chamba State: Memoirs Archaeological Survey of India, No 36, Calcutta, 1911.
Mahesh Sharma. "State formation and cultural complex in western Himalaya: Chamba genealogy and epigraphs--700-1650 C.E.", Indian Economic & Social History Review, Vol. 41, No. 4, 387-432, SAGE Publications, 2004.
Thacker's Indian Directory, Thacker's Press & Directories, Ltd., Caltutta 1863-1956.
A. Vadivelu, The Ruling Chiefs, Nobles & Zamindars of India. G.C. Loganadham Bros., Madras, 1915.
Father Lawrence Ober, SJ.
I would be grateful to hear from anyone who may have changes, corrections or additions to contribute. If you do, please be kind enough to send me an e-mail using the contact details at: CopyrightęChristopher Buyers