Chamba is the northwestern district of Himachal Pradesh, in India, with its headquarters in Chamba town. The towns of Dalhousie and Khajjhiar are popular hill stations and vacation spots for the people from the plains of northern India. Chamba is the only district in northern India to preserve a well-documented history from c. 500 AD. Its high mountain ranges have given it a sheltered position and helped in preserving its centuries-old relics and numerous inscriptions. The temples erected by rajas of Chamba more than a thousand years ago continue to be under worship and the land grant-deeds executed on copper plates by them continue to be valid under the law.
Regarding the early history of this region, it is believed that this area was at time inhabited by certain Koliyan tribes which were later subjugated by the Khasas. The Khasas too after a time came under the sway of Audumbaras (2nd century BC). The Audmabaras had republican form of government and worshiped Shiva as their principal deity. From the Gupta period (4th century AD) the Chamba region was under the control of Thakurs and Ranas who considered themselves superior to the low tribes of Kolis and Khasas. With the rise of Gurjara Pratiharas (7th century AD) the Rajput Dynasties came to power. Much information about Himachal’s ancient history is given in epics like the Mahabharata and the Ramayana and other scriptures like the Vedas and the Puranas. The Mahabharata mentions the janapadas (some sort of a kingdom) of Kuluta (Kullu), Trigarta (Kangra), Kulind (Shimla hills and Sirmaur), Yugandhar (Bilaspur and Nalagarh), Gobdika (Chamba) and Audumbar (Pathankot).
The Rig Veda mentions the rivers which flow through Himachal. The text also talks about Daitya Shambara, the powerful king of these hills before the advance of King Divodas, and his 99 strong forts in the region between the Beas and the Yamuna rivers. His war with the chief, Divodas, lasted 12 long years, wherein the latter emerged victorious. The Puranas too, mention Himachal, calling it all sorts of nice names.
One significant happening during the time of the great war of Mahabharata (circa 1400BC) was the founding of the Katoch monarchy of Kangra by King Susharma Chandra. This Susharma Chandra is supposed to have sided with the Kaurava brothers in their war against the Pandavas. Kangra was probably named as Bhim Kot (fort of Bhim) after Bhima, one of the Pandavas.