The game takes place in the middle ages when no king ruled supreme in Uttarakhand. However, players can assume the identity of historic kingdoms during the game depending on the location of their home Garh. Ancient kingdoms can also be revived, or new dynasties created from scratch, bearing perhaps your family name in an interesting “what-if”!
The Katyuri Empire
The Katyur Dynasty is believed to be the first power to reign over the entire territorial extent of present day Uttarakhand.
Previously various groups including the Kulindas (3rd century BC to 4th century AD), Yaudheyas (2nd to 4th century AD), Nagas (12th century BC, reappearing in 5th century AD) occupied the hills. Furthermore, in the 7th century, the great Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang identified four states under Harsha rule: Srughna (present day Sirmor, Uttarkashi, and Tehri), Brahmapura (possibly Barahat, Srinagar, or the Katyur Valley), and Govisana (near modern day Kashipur, including the Nainital Terai-Bhabar, Rampur, Pilibhit).
Drawing their name from their capital of Kartikeyapur (present day Baijnath) in the Katyur Valley, the Katyur established their hegemony in the region by the beginning of the 8th century. By the end of the 10th century however, the empire began breaking apart over dynastic disputes. By the 13th century, this fragmentation was complete, although descendants of the Katyurs continued to rule in pockets until the Katyur Valley was overrun in the final years of the 16th century by the Chand Rajas.
The Garhwal Kingdom
Ajay Pal (1493-1547) is commonly credited for achieving the momentous task of unifying Garhwal for the first time since the collapse of the Katyuri Empire. A scion of the Parmar Dynasty, he would begin his reign from Chandpur Garh as just another one of the 52 or 64 * chieftains in the region. In his consolidation of the Garhwal Kingdom, he would move his seat of power to the more central location of Dewal Garh, before finally settling on Srinagar by 1506.
The Parmars themselves originated from somewhere in Gujar Desh in Western India. Kanak Pal, a prince of Malwa, came to Garhwal on pilgrimage in the late 9th century. He was subsequently offered the hand in marriage of a princess of Chandpur, and as the local king had no heir, Kanakpal inherited his small kingdom. There, his family would remain in possession of that small parcel of land until Ajay Pal, and his immediate predecessor Jagat Pal (1455-1493), would work to extend their kingdom to embrace all of modern day Garhwal.
The Kumaon Kingdom
The Chands are said to have arrived in Kumaon from Jhansi by the 8th century fleeing the conquest of their kingdom. Som Chand, one of the princes of the old Chandel dynasty, was told by astrologers to venture northwards, and much like Kanak Pal, married a princess of the reigning Katyur dynasty of Kali Kumaon. There he established his throne in the heavily fortified settlement of Champawat.
By 869 AD, the small kingdom collapsed, and the once dominant Khas reestablished their suzerainty over all the lands from Kashmir to Assam. After a lapse of two centuries, the Chands were able to regain their kingdom, returning from the Terai where they had resided for generations. In 1560, the Chands finally left their home of eight centuries, and established a new capital at Almora more befitting their growing kingdom.
Sirmor and Doti were two kingdoms that figured prominently in the history of Garhwal and Kumaon. In their intense rivalries, Kumaon would often enlist the support of Sirmor and even the Mughals to attack Garhwal, while Garhwal would forge alliances with Doti to put a check on Chand ambitions.
Tibetans, Rohillas, Maratthas, and Sikhs would also frequently raid the territories of Garhwal and Kumaon, from the North, South, and West respectively. The Doon Valley and the entire Terai-Bhabar belt were often plundered and even occupied by the raiders, only to see Garhwal and Kumaon make concerted efforts to regain their lost territories. By the mid 1700s, the sustained raids finally led Kumaon and Garhwal to sink their differences and unite to face the invaders, but by then, the kingdoms had grown too weak to sustain their independent identity.
Doom finally came in 1790 when the expansionist Gurkha Empire took Almora, bringing to an end almost seven hundreds years of continuous rule, and one thousands years of the Chand dynasty. The Garhwalis held out for twelve more years, before succumbing to the Gurkhas in 1803. While a truncated version of the Garhwal Kingdom was soon reestablished at Tehri in 1816, the rest of both Garhwal and Kumaon were absorbed into the Empire “from beyond seas.”
In 1948, the Tehri Garhwal state would also accede to independent India, forming along with British Garhwal and Kumaon the hill districts of Uttar Pradesh. In 2000, Garhwal and Kumaon were incorporated into the new state of “Uttaranchal” within the Indian Union, and in 2007, the state was renamed Uttarakhand, the ancient traditional name of the region.
* The original 52 chieftainships cited in older sources, has been increased to 64 “Garhpatis” by more recent historians. The 52 Garhs were: Chandpur, Kandara, Dewal, Nag Nath, Poli, Khar, Phalyan, Bangar, Kuili, Bharpur, Kujjari, Sil, Lodh, Raika, Mungara, Upu, Molya, Sankari, Nala, Rani, Viralta, Chaunda, Rani, Tope, Sri Guru, Lobha, Badhan, Dasholi, Dhauna, Langur, Vag, Triya, Purasu, Lodan, Ratan, Garhkot, Garhtang, Van, Bhardav, Chaundkot, Nayal, Ajmir, Sawli, Badalpur, Sangela, Gujaroo, Jaunt, Jaunpur, Champa, Kara, Bhuwana, Kanda. The locations of many, but not all of these Garhs have been identified by historians and archeologists.