Trigarta (also spelled Trigart or Trigartha) kingdom was an ancient Indo-Aryan kingdom of western South Asia whose existence is attested during the Iron Age (c.1200–535 BCE). It had its capitals at Prasthala (modern Jalandhar), Multan and Kangra.[1]

Trigarta kingdom in Punjab in 500 BCE

The state was originally founded by Bhuma Chandra. Susharma Chandra, 234th king of the dynasty fought with Pandavas on behalf of Kauravas during Mahabharata.

Mention in Mahabharata

Trigarta was a kingdom mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. Mahabharata mentions two different Trigarta kingdoms, one in the west close to the Sivi Kingdom and the other north to the Kuru Kingdom. Modern Kangra is one of the ancient town in North Trigarta, extending westward to the Punjab area. Multan was the capital of Trigarta with its original name that is Mulasthan. The territory of Trigarta Kingdom is around the three rivers of Satluj, Beas, and Ravi. These Trigarta kings were allies of Duryodhana and enemies of Pandavas and Viratas. Their capital was named Prasthala. They attacked the Virata Kingdom aided by the Kurus to steal cattle from there. The Pandavas living there in anonymity helped the Viratas to resist the combined forces of Trigartas and Kurus. Trigarta kings fought the Kurukshetra War and were killed by Arjuna, after a ruthless and bloody conflict. Arjuna also annihilated an Akshouhini (a large military unit) of Trigarta warriors called the Samsaptakas. These warriors had vowed to either die or kill Arjuna as part of a larger plan by Duryodhana to capture Yudhishthira alive.[2]


First Written Reference

Historically, Trigarta first finds mention in the works of Panini from the 5th century B.C. who calls the inhabitants of Trigarta as "Ayudhjeevi Sangha" or a martial republic. Also mentioned as a confederation of six states known as 'Trigarta-Shashthas'.

Mention in Mahabharata of Trigarta and Susarma

Trigarta next finds mention in the Mahabharata's Sabha Parv,[3] where it is included along with a number of other states of the time. According to the historical consensus, the Mahabharata was first penned down around the 4th century B.C. and continued to be written until the 4th century A.D. having existed in oral form prior to this.[4][5] The founder of Trigarta is mentioned as Susarma/Susharman in the Mahabharata.[6] He was credited with building the Nagarkot/Kangra fort.

Kangra being called Susarmapura and Kalindarine

Kangra was called Susarmapura by a variety of Sanskrit, Buddhist, Jain, and later Islamic scholars. In fact, the first mention of 'Nagarkot' comes from Islamic scholars documenting the region since they mainly referred to the fort. Prior to that, it was mainly documented as Susarmapur.[7][8] After that, they are mentioned in the works of the Greek geographer Ptolemy who calls Kangra as Kalindarine.

Alexander and Porus of Trigarta

As mentioned by the Greeks, the ruler of Trigarta at the time of invasion by Alexander were The Kshatriaioi (Kshatris). This is also verified from the fact that Alexander had altars near modern-day Indaura which lies in Kangra.[9]

Samudragupta's invasion

Along with the Greeks, the following were mentioned as vratya kshatriyas or mlechhas: Dravida, Abhira, Sabara, Kirata, Malava, Sibi, Trigarta, and Yaudheya. Historians provide multiple historical mentions during the period between when Panini(5th Century B.C.) penned the existence of Trigarta and the 5th Century A.D. when Samudragupta invaded Trigarta and various other kingdoms.[10]

Hiuen Tsang visits Jallandhar

After Samudragupta, the next mention of Trigarta is from Hieun Tsang who mentions Jallandhar being ruled by Udito. Hiuen Tsang visited Jalandhara in 635 A.D. and gave details that it was a country 1000 li (about 267 km) in breadth from north to south.[11]

The Chamba Inscription and Invasion by Ghazni

Then, in the 8th century A.D, the Trigarta rulers acknowledged supremacy of the Karkota rulers of Kashmir. This is also mentioned in the Rajtarangini. From the 9th century to the 11th century, there are various mentions, one of the important ones being the 10th century Chamba inscription which mentions the Trigarta raja being subdued by Sahilavarman and then becoming an ally. It was also during this time that Ghazni entered the Kangra fort (1009 A.D.) while the Kangra forces were away on war. The ruler of the time was Jagdish Chandra. From that point on, save one or two rulers, all rulers of the Katoch dynasty vanshavali can be traced down to the last king.[12]

Shifting of Capital from Jalandhar to Kangra

The Trigarta capital was moved from Jalandhara to Nagarkot(Kangra) in 1070 A.D. as mentioned due to constant contact in Jalandhar with various ambitious invading forces who usually were en route to middle India.[13]

Ferishta's writings

Ferishta mentioned another account of the 1st century A.D. when the king of Kanauj, Raja Ram Deo, went on conquest and overran the hills. He spared Kumaon raja after getting his daughter in marriage, then he spared Nagarkot raja after the ruler offered his daughter in marriage.[14]

Antiquity of Katoch Rulers and Nagarkot

Nagarkot (Kangra fort) was the citadel of Katoch lords who ruled Trigarta for thousands of years, right from Mahabharata period till pre-independent era and in modern days Trigarta Rulers have their five divisions Katoch clan, Guleria clan, Jaswal clan Sibaia clan Chib clan and Dadwal clan. .[15]

Katoch dynasty

The Katoch dynasty is an offshoot of Trigratraje Dynasty. It is claimed to have ruled this area and the above story from the Mahabharata is recorded in their history. Maharaja Susharma Chand had fought against Arjuna. His son built the Kangra Fort. Katoch Dynasty, in Kali Yuga, has also its famous sub clans as Dadwal Dynasty, Jaswal Dynasty, Guleria Dynasty, Sibaia Dynasty, Chib Dynasty.


See also


  1. ^ Saklani, Dinesh Prasad (1998), Ancient Communities of the Himalaya, Indus Publishing, pp. 45–, ISBN 978-81-7387-090-3
  2. ^ Narayan, R. K. (2000). The Mahabharata: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic. University Of Chicago Press. pp. 151–166.
  3. ^ Gadkari, Jayant (1 October 1996). Society and Religion: From Rugveda to Puranas. Popular Prakashan. p. 65. ISBN 9788171547432. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  4. ^ Hopkins, Edward Washburn (1 June 1968). Epic Mythology. Biblo & Tannen Publishers. p. 1. ISBN 9780819602282. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  5. ^ Hiltebeitel, Alf (30 October 2001). Rethinking the Mahabharata: A Reader's Guide to the Education of the Dharma King. University of Chicago Press. p. 15. ISBN 9780226340531.
  6. ^ Saklani, Dinesh Prasad. Ancient Communities of the Himalaya (1998 ed.). Indus Publishing. p. 45. ISBN 9788173870903. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  7. ^ Kapoor, Subodh. Encyclopaedia of Ancient Indian Geography, Volume 2 (2002 ed.). Genesis Publishing Pvt Ltd. p. 633. ISBN 9788177552997.
  8. ^ Deambi, Bhushan Kumar Kaul. Corpus of Śāradā Inscriptions of Kashmir: With Special Reference to Origin and Development of Śāradā Script (1982 ed.). Agam Kala Prakashan. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  9. ^ Samad, Rafi U. The Greeks in ancient Pakistan (2002 ed.). Indus Publications. p. 104. ISBN 9789695290019. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  10. ^ Thapar, Romila. The Image of the Barbarian in Early India (1971 ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 420. JSTOR 178208.
  11. ^ Jeratha, Aśoka. Forts and Palaces of the Western Himalaya (2000 ed.). Indus Publishing. p. 21. ISBN 9788173871047. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  12. ^ Deambi, BK Kaul. History and Culture of Ancient Gandhara and Western Himalayas (1985 ed.). Ariana Publishing House. p. 47. ISBN 9788185347066. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  13. ^ Singh, Mian Goverdhan. Wooden Temples of Himachal Pradesh (1999 ed.). Indus Publishing. p. 34. ISBN 9788173870941.
  14. ^ Charak, Sukh Dev Singh (1978). Indian Conquest of the Himalayan Territories (1978 ed.). Ajaya Prakashan. p. 19.
  15. ^ Jeratha, Aśoka. Forts and Palaces of the Western Himalaya (2000 ed.). Indus Publishing. p. 5. ISBN 9788173871047.
  16. ^ Charak, Sukh Dev Singh. History and culture of Himalayan states Himachal Pradesh Volume I (1978 ed.). Light & Life Publishers. p. 17. Retrieved 10 January 2017.