The fort of Kangra was surrounded on three sides by steep and high precipices. It was a grand edifice of stone. The hill on which the fort stood was nearly 5 kms in circuit. With a view to dominating the Kangra hills the Mughal government had appointed an officer who resided in the Kangra fort. At this time, the fort was under Saif AH Khan. During Ahmad Shah Abdali’s invasions Ghamand Chand Katoch had risen to power. His son, Tegh Chand, paid tribute to Jai Singh Kanaihya. In 1782, Ghamand Chand’s grandson, Raja Sansar Chand Katoch, became anxious to secure possession of the fort. He attacked Saif Ali Khan many a time but could not achieve his object.

On the death of Nawab Saif Ali Khan, the Muhammdan governor of Kangra, in 1784, Raja Sansar Chand Katoch laid siege to the famous fort of Kangra. But the Katoch chief was unable to occupy it. He, then, sought the help of Jai Singh Kanaihya. Jai Singh sent his son, Gurbakhsh Singh, accompanied by Sardar Baghel Singh and a considerable force. After studying the position of the fort who possessed the Kangra fort would whole of the hill country and decided to win it He asked the Raja to offer the garrison very favourable terms which included free pardon of the inmates of the fort, money and lands. Gurbakhsh Singh, by throwing hints of Raja’s treacherous intentions, induced the besieged Jiwan Khan, son of Saif Khan, to allow his troops to take possession of the fort so that their obtaining what was promised was assured. Thus, by a clever move, Gurbakhsh Singh occupied the fort and Sansar Chand was obliged to retire. The other hill chiefs also came under Jai Singh. 15 Earlier to this the hill states, including those of Jasrota, Basohli and Jammu, had been tributary to Haqiqat Singh. Now, Jai Singh became paramount and all the hill chiefs solicited his alliance. The possession of the fort of Kangra turned the head of Jai Singh Kanaihya. Earlier, Jassa Singh Ramgarhia exercised great influence in the Shivalik hills.

References :-

  • History of the Sikh misl.
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