Chand Kingdom
11th century–1790 CE
StatusSovereign state
CapitalBaijnath (600–1200)
Champawat (1200–1563)
Almora (1563–1791)
Common languagesKumaoni, Sanskrit
Raja (King) 
• 700 CE – 721 CE (legendary)[2]
Som Chand (legendary)
• 1374–1419 CE[2]
Garur Gyan Chand
• 1488–1503 CE[2]
Kirti Chand
• 1560–1568 CE[2]
Balo Kalyan Chand
• 1638–1678 CE[2]
Baz Bahadur Chand
• 1788–1790 CE[2]
Mahendra Chand
• Established
11th century
• Disestablished
1790 CE
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kuninda kingdom
Katyuri kings
Khasa Malla Kingdom
Kingdom of Nepal
Today part ofIndia
Fort and the capital city of Kali Kumaon, Champawat, 1815.

The Chand dynasty was a Hindu dynasty that ruled the Kumaon area in present-day Uttarakhand state of India, after the decline of the Katyuri rule.[3] At times, their rule also extended to the western parts of present-day Nepal.[4] Somchand, who claimed Chandravanshi Rajput ancestry, established the dynasty, establishing his capital at Rajbunga in present-day Champawat.[3]

The traditional genealogical lists of the Chand dynasty date their founder's ascension to as early as the 7th century, but historical evidence suggests that the Chand rule began only in the early 11th century.[5] Their rule ended in 1790, when Bahadur Shah of Nepal invaded the region, forcing the last king - Mahendra Chand - to flee.[6]



Several traditional genealogical lists (vamshavalis) of the Chand dynasty are available, but these are not completely reliable, having been compiled in the mid-19th century.[7] According to such traditional lists and chronicles, Som (or Soma) Chand established the Chand dynasty in the 7th century. Based on this, an 1849 British Raj-era report assigned the start of the Chand rule to 685 CE (742 VS). However, historians dispute this date, as it contradicts the chronology of the Katyuri dynasty, who are known to have ruled Kumaon until the third quarter of the 10th century.[8] For example, the Pandukeshwar copper-plate inscription attests that the Katyuri king Lalita Sura Deva was ruling Kumaon during the 9th century, and held the imperial title Parama-bhattaraka Maharajadhiraja Parmaeshvara. It also attests that his descendants continued to rule the region in the 10th century.[9]

By the first quarter of the thirteenth century, the Chand kings appear to have been ruling in Kumaon as feudatories. For example, the 1223 CE Baleshwar Temple inscription of Krachalla Deva, a conqueror from present-day Nepal, lists his ten counsellors and feudatories. The names of three of these men suggest that they may have belonged to the Chand family: Chandra Deva, Vinaya Chand and Vidya Chand. Vina Chand, whom the three principal genealogical lists name as the 8th Chand king, was probably same as Vinaya Chand of the inscription.[10]

The tradition states that Som Chand was an immigrant from Jhusi, a relative of the king of Kannauj, and a contemporary of the last Katyuri king Brahma Deva.[9] Based on this, historian Krishna Pal Singh theorizes that Som Chand may have migrated to Kumaon amid the political upheaval resulting from the Ghaznavid invasion of the Kannauj kingdom during 1018-1019 CE. Singh, therefore, dates the beginning of the Chand rule to 1019-1021 CE. This dates aligns with Katyuri chronology and with the placement of the eighth Chand king Vina (Vinaya) Chand in 1223 CE.[11]

Early rule

Som Chand continued to call his state Kurmanchal, and established its capital in Champawat in Kali Kumaon, called so, due to its vicinity to river Kali. Many temples built in this former capital city, during the 11th and 12th century exist today, this include the Baleshwar and Nagnath temples.[12][page needed] Later their capital was shifted to Almora by Raja Kalyan Chand in 1563, when he laid the foundation of a town name 'Alam Nagar', which was also called, 'Rajapur',[13][14] a name that still used and has been found inscribed on a number of copper plates of the time.[15]

In 1581, the Chand King, Rudra Chand (1565–1597), son of Raja Kalyan Chand seized Sira defeating Raika king Hari Malla and attacked the Garhwal Kingdom for the first time, though this attack was repulsed by then king, Dularam Sah,[16] and so were his subsequent attacks. Rudra Chand was a contemporary of Akbar, and even paid him a visit in Lahore in 1587, as a mark of his obeisance. Akbarnama mentions him as "one of the great landlords of India", and further talks about his initial hesitation in approaching the court of Akbar, it was only Raja Todar Mal himself, sent his son Kalyan Das to assure him, did his proceed to meet Akbar. Subsequently, the two met and agreed on a concord,[17] and thus Ain-e-Akbari, written during period of Akbar, also mentions the Sarkar of Kumaon, containing 21 Mahals (a geographical unit of the times) and the revenue collected.[18]

After death of Rudra Chand in 1597, his son, Lakshmi Chand, also continued attacks of Garhwal for many years, though he too was repulsed. He also constructed the 'Bagnath temple' at Bageshwar in 1602.[citation needed]


One of the most powerful rulers of the Chand dynasty was Baz Bahadur (1638–78), who met Shahjahan in Delhi, and in 1655 joined forces with him to attack Garhwal, which was under its king, Pirthi Sah, and subsequently captured the Terai region including Dehradun, which was hence separated from the Garhwal kingdom. Baz Bahadur extended his territory east to Karnali river.

In 1672, Baz Bahadur started a poll tax, and its revenue was sent to Delhi as a tribute. Baz Bahadur also built the Golu Devata Temple, at Ghorakhal, near Bhimtal,[19] after Lord Golu, a general in his army, who died valiantly at war.[20] He also built the Bhimeshwara Mahadev Temple at Bhimtal.[21]

Towards the end of 17th century, Chand Rajas again attacked the Garhwal kingdom, and in 1688 Udyot Chand erected several temples at Almora, including Tripur Sundari, Udyot Chandeshwer and Parbateshwer, to mark his victory over Garhwal and Doti. The Pabateshwar temple was renamed twice, to become the present Nanda Devi temple.[22] Later, Jagat Chand (1708–20), defeated the Raja of Garhwal and pushed him away from Srinagar, and his kingdom was given to a Brahmin.[23] However, a subsequent king of Garhwal, Pradip Shah (1717–72), regained control over Garhwal and retained Doon till 1757, when Rohilla leader Najib-ul-Daula established himself there, though he was ousted soon by Pradip Shah.

The Chand kings also defeated the Rajwars of Askot, though the latter were allowed to hold their land on the payment of a tribute.[24]

The hill station of Binsar, 30 km from Almora was a summer retreat of the Chand kings.[25]

In the coming years, Jagat Chand's successor, Debi Chand (1720-6) took part in the wars of Rohillas of Rohilkhand, and was defeated by the British troops.[19]


In 1744, Ali Mohammed Khan, the Rohilla leader, sent a force into the Chand territory and penetrated through Bhimtal in the Nainital district to Almora; the resistance of Chand army, under its ruler, Kalyan Chand, was weak and ineffective, and Almora fell to the Rohillas, who stayed here for seven short months, though they were ultimately driven out, an exit made possible by paying them a sum of three lakh rupees, and hastened by the harsh terrain of the region.

This peace didn't last long as after just three months, unhappy over his lieutenants, Ali Mohammed Khan attacked again, though this time, he was stopped right at the entrance to the hills, at Barakheri, and defeated; and he made no further attempts to conquer the Kumaon kingdom, nor did the Muslim rulers of Delhi, and this remained the first and the last attack by Muslim rulers on the region. Reconciliation subsequently came into effected; troops from the hills, under Dip Chand, fought side by side with the Rohillas at Third Battle of Panipat in 1761.[19]

In 1760, he renamed the old Parbateshwer temple as Dipchandeshwar temple.[22]

During British rule, then divisional commissioner of Kumaon, George William Trail, got the statue of the Nanda Devi, which had been relocated to the Udyot Chandeshwar temple, from the 'Malla Mahal' (Upper Court) of Chand kings, where the present collectorate exists, and in time, the temple started being called the 'Nanda Devi temple'. The 'Talla Mahal' (Lower Court) of Chand rulers now houses the District Hospital.[26]

Due to internal strife, in the coming thirty years the kings lost most of the land they had previously ruled in the plains, and retained only the Bhabhar region.

In early 1790, the Gurkhas invaded the Kumaon hills and Almora, they advanced by crossing River Kali, through Gangoli; and the Chands, under the titular Chand Raja, were driven to the Bhabhar and finally expelled.

The Terai and Kashipur were ceded to the British by the Nawab of Awadh in 1801, along with the rest of Rohilkhand.

Nepalese rule lasted for[27] twenty-four years. The end came because of their repeated intrusion into British territories in the Terai from 1800 onwards. Lord Moira, the Governor-General of India, decided to attack Almora in December 1814, marking the beginning of the Anglo-Nepalese War.[14] After the war, the old Lal Mandi fort, near Almora (present cantonment), was renamed ‘Fort Moira’.[28]

Harak Deo Joshi, the minister of the last Chand Raja,[29] took the side of the British, a force of 4500 men marched from Kashipur in February, 1815. Champawat was first taken in March from Pilibhit, through the Kali River. Within two months, a strong British army under Colonel Nichols attacked and captured Almora, on 26 April 1815.[30] A truce was called the same day, and with the ratification of Treaty of Sugauli on 4 March 1816, Kumaon and Garhwal became a part of the British Raj.


Chand princes used Maharajkumar , Kunwar or Gusain as title. Maharajkumar was at the start of the name, while Kunwar or Gusain was used at the end. Doti princes used Rainka and Katyuris used Rajwar as titles.

The Kings used titles such as Sri Raja, Sri Rajadhiraj or Rajadhiraja Maharaj and sometimes Maharajadhiraj Sri Raja etc. and name ended with Deo . This Deo was used by Katyuris as well.[31]

List of rulers

Badri Datt Pandey, in his book Kumaun Ka Itihaas lists the Chand kings as following.[2] Pandey, relying on Pandit Rudra Datta Pant, places Som Chand's ascension to 700 CE (757 VS). However, this date does not tally with the Katyuri chronology, and historical evidence suggests that Som Chand's rule began much later, probably around 1019-1021 CE.[32]

King Reign Notes
Som Chand 700–721
Atm Chand 721–740
Purn Chand 740–758
Indra Chand 758–778 Opened Silk Factories
Sansar Chand 778–813
Sudha Chand 813–833
Hamir Chand 833–856
Vina Chand 856–869 Lost to Khas Kings
Vir Chand 1065–1080
Rup Chand 1080–1093
Laxmi Chand 1093–1113
Dharm Chand 1113–1121
Karm Chand 1121–1140
Ballal Chand 1140–1149
Nami Chand 1149–1170
Nar Chand 1170–1177
Nanaki Chand 1177–1195
Ram Chand 1195–1205
Bhishm Chand 1205–1226
Megh Chand 1226–1233
Dhyan Chand 1233–1251
Parvat Chand 1251–1261
Thor Chand 1261–1275
Kalyan Chand II 1275–1296
Trilok Chand 1296–1303 Conquered Chhakhata
Built a fort at Bhimtal
Damaru Chand 1303–1321
Dharm Chand 1321–1344 Defeated One Lakh Army of Delhi Sultan Muhammad Bin Tughluq under Khusrau Malik in his Qarachil Expedition
Abhay Chand 1344–1374
Garur Gyan Chand 1374–1419 Established authority over Bhabar and Terai; later lost them to nawab of Sambhal, Recaptured it by defeating Turkish Nawab of Sambhal under General Nilu Kathait
Harihar Chand 1419–1420
Udyan Chand 1420–1421 built Baleshwar Temple at Champawat
Captured Chaugarkha
Atma Chand II 1421–1422
Hari Chand II 1422–1423
Vikram Chand 1423–1437 Completed Baleshwar Temple
Bharati Chand 1437–1450 Defeated Doti
Ratna Chand 1450–1488 Defeated Bams of Sor,
defeated Doti again
Kirti Chand 1488–1503 annexed Barahmandal, Pali and Faldakot, Conquered Garhwal by defeating Ajaypal and made it vassal state of Kumaon
Pratap Chand 1503–1517
Tara Chand 1517–1533
Manik Chand 1533–1542
Kalyan Chand III 1542–1551
Purna Chand 1551–1555
Bhishm Chand 1555–1560 laid foundation stone of Alamnagar
lost Barahmandal to Khas Sardar Gajuwathinga
Balo Kalyan Chand 1560–1568 recaptured Barahmandal
moved capital to Alamnagar and renamed it Almora
Annexed Mankot and Danpur
Rudra Chand 1568–1597 Successfully defended Terai from nawab of Kath and Gola
founded the city of Rudrapur
Annexed Sira- Battle of Basantpur
Laxmi Chand 1597–1621 built Laxmeswar and Bagnath Temple at Almora and Bageshwar respectively
Dilip Chand 1621–1624
Vijay Chand 1624–1625
Trimal Chand 1625–1638
Baz Bahadur Chand 1638–1678 Captured Dehradun and Hindu Pilgrimage Kailash Mansarovar defeated Garhwal and Tibet, has his kingdom from ton river till karnali
Udyot Chand 1678–1698 Defeated combined armies of Garhwal and Doti Kumaon invasion of Garhwal (1678)

Kumaon invasion of Chandpur garh (1679)

Gyan Chand 1698–1708 Defeated Garhwal and expelled fateh shah from Srinagar
Jagat Chand 1708–1720 Invaded Garhwal and captured its capital Srinagar, defeated army of Garhwal
Devi Chand 1720–1726 Made Afghani Daud Khan General of Kumaon, looted Moradabad, Mughal Empire and captured villages of Mughals
Ajit Chand 1726–1729
Kalyan Chand V 1729–1747 Defeated Rohillas
Deep Chand 1747–1777 Defeated Garhwal King Pradip Shah left him embarrassed
Mohan Chand 1777–1779 Defeated by King Lalit Shah of Garhwal due to treason of Joshis
Pradyumn Chand 1779–1786 Son of king Lalit Shah of Garhwal
Mohan Chand 1786–1788 Overthrew Pradyumn Shah; Became king for second time
Shiv Chand 1788
Mahendra Chand 1788–1790 Defeated by Gorkhas


Five Clans namely: Deopa(Village Roba, Garkha Paspa), Serari (Village Sangor, Sorari Talli Malli), Puruchuda (Village Rundakot, Garkha Puruchudi), Chiral (Village Chhawati Chiral) and Paderu (Garkha Paderu) were known as Panch-purviyas. They were brought from Doti and settled in Kumaon by King Ratan Chand (1450–1488) after granting them jagirs. These Five kind of Rajputs were relatives of the Chand kings and had matrimonial relations amongst each other. They are considered to be subcastes/clans of the Chands . After some time the Chiral family went back to Doti but other clans stayed.[33][page needed]


The first capital of Chand rulers, Champawat, in the stronghold popularly known as Kali Kumaon, is now a district headquarters town, and hold many remnants of once powerful Chand reign, including a medieval fort, Baleshwar temple, Nagnath Temple, etc. Other temples of their reign are Golu Devata Temple, at Ghorakhal, near Bhimtal, and Bhimeshwara Mahadev Temple at Bhimtal.

See also


  1. ^ Schwartzberg, Joseph E. (1978). A Historical atlas of South Asia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 37, 147. ISBN 0226742210.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Pandey 1993, pp. 197–332.
  3. ^ a b Tyagi, Nutan (1991). Hill Resorts of U.P. Himalaya. Indus. p. 63. ISBN 9788185182629.
  4. ^ Acharya, Baburam (1976). "King Prithvi Narayan Shah" (PDF). Regmi Research Series: 225.
  5. ^ Krishna Pal Singh 1973, pp. 88–90.
  6. ^ Handa 2002, p. 103.
  7. ^ Krishna Pal Singh 1973, pp. 88, 90.
  8. ^ Krishna Pal Singh 1973, p. 88.
  9. ^ a b Krishna Pal Singh 1973, p. 89.
  10. ^ Krishna Pal Singh 1973, p. 90.
  11. ^ Krishna Pal Singh 1973, pp. 89–90.
  12. ^ Handa 2002.
  13. ^ History of Almora city Archived 25 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ a b Champawat Archived 9 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine British Library.
  15. ^ Kumaon Archived 13 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine Official website of Almora district.
  16. ^ Garhwal history
  17. ^ Rudra Archived 9 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine Akbarnama of Abu Fazl, Volume 3, chpt. 196.p807, "On 9 Āẓar he received the felcity..."1588
  18. ^ Sarkár of Kumáon Archived 9 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine Ain-e-Akbari Vol II, pp. 289.
  19. ^ a b c History of Nainital District The Imperial Gazetteer of India 1909, v. 18, p. 324-325.
  20. ^ Chitai Temple Archived 13 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Bhimtal Archived 18 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine British Library.
  22. ^ a b Almora Temples Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ History of Garhwal District The Imperial Gazetteer of India 1909, v. 12, p. 165-166.
  24. ^ Askot The Imperial Gazetteer of India 1909, v. 6, p. 14.
  25. ^ Almora Archived 13 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine Almora city official website.
  26. ^ . Devi Temple Nanda Devi Temple Archived 25 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine website of Almora city.
  27. ^ Cruel Gurkha Regime Archived 7 September 2017 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ Almora Archived 9 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine British Library.
  29. ^ "Chand Rajas in Kashipur". Archived from the original on 16 April 2009.
  30. ^ History of Almora District The Imperial Gazetteer of India 1909, v. 5, p. 245-246.
  31. ^ Pandey, Pawan (2022). A Concise History of Uttarakhand (2nd ed.). Dehradun: Aflatoon Publishing. p. 109. ISBN 978-81-955862-0-2.
  32. ^ Krishna Pal Singh 1973, p. 88-90.
  33. ^ Pandey 1993.


  • Krishna Pal Singh (1973). "The Chand Epoch". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 34 (1). Indian History Congress: 88–92. JSTOR 44138597.
  • Pandey, B. D. (1993). History of Kumaun. Almora, India: Shyam Prakashan : Shree Almora Book Depot. English version of "Kumaun ka itihas".
  • Handa, Umachand (2002). History of Uttaranchal. Indus. ISBN 81-7387-134-5.

Further reading