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
: 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.