The history of Pre-Aryan and Aryan eras is mainly based on the epics like Vedas, Puranas, Mahabharata, etc. In Rigveda, reference of Arijikya (Beas) flowing through this area has been made. This region, commonly named as Dev Bhumi is believed to be the abode of gods. According to the Vedas, some non-Aryan tribes inhabited this region before the arrival of Aryans. There is a mention of Trigarta (Kangra) kingdom in Mahabharata. Sir Lepel Griffin refers to the Rajput dynasties of the hills of whom the Katochs’ are the oldest. In Mahabharata there is a mention of King Susharama Chandra, who sided with the Kaurvas. He is said to be the founder of this dynasty. At that time, Kangra was probably named as Bhim Kot. The reference to prosperous Kingdom of Trigarta (Kangra) is also found in the Panani literature that was written sometimes between the seventh and fourth centuries B.C. The mention of Kangra (Nagarkot) was found in the works of Ferishta.
Heun Tsang, a Chinese traveller, visited India from AD 629 to 644 during Harshvardhana’s rule. In his accounts, he has mentioned about many kings ruling in this region. It is also gathered that king Harshvardhana annexed the state of Kangra. It was in the beginning when these outsiders tried to establish their power that the kings of the area stood in their way. He also found the Jullundur monarchy still undivided. At some later period, perhaps that of the Muhammadan invasion, the Katoch princes were driven into the hills, where Kangra already existed as one of their chief fortress. In spite of constant invasions, the little Hindu kingdoms, secure within their Himalayan glens, long held out against the aggressive Muhammadan power. In 1009, the riches of the Nagarkot temple attracted the attention of Mahmud of Ghazni, who defeated the Hindu princes at Peshawar, seized the fort of Kangra and plundered the shrine of an immense booty in gold, silver and jewels. From this time, Kangra does not reappear in general history till 1360, when the emperor Firoz Tughlak again led a force against it. The Raja gave in his submission, and was permitted to retain his dominions; but the Muhammadans once more plundered the temple.
In 1556, Akbar launched an expedition into the hills, and occupied the fort of Kangra. The fruitful valley became an imperial demesne, and only the barren hills remained in the possession of the native chiefs. In the graphic language of Todar Mal, Akbar’s minister, ‘he cut off the meat and left the bones. Yet the remoteness of the imperial capital and the natural strength of the mountain fastnesses encouraged the Rajput princes to rebel; and it was not until after the imperial forces have been twice repulsed that the fort of Kangra was starved into surrender to an army commanded by prince Khurram in person (1620). At one time Jahangir intended to build a residence in the valley, and the site of the proposed palace is still pointed out in the lands of the village of Gargari. Probably, the superior attractions of Kashmir, which the emperor shortly afterwards visited, led to the abandonment of his design. At the accession of Shah Jahan the hill Rajas had quietly settled down into the position of tributaries and the commands of the emperor were received and executed with read obedience. Letters patent(sanadas) are still extant, issued between the reign of Akbar and Aurangzeb, appointing individuals to various judicial and revenue offices, such as that of kazi, kanungo, or chaudhri. In some instances the present representatives of the family continue to enjoy privileges and powers conferred on their ancestors by the Mughal emperors, the honorary appellation being retained even where the duties have become obsolete. During the period of Muhammadan ascendancy, the hill princes appear to have been treated liberally. They still enjoyed a considerable share of power, and ruled unmolested over the extensive tracts which remained to them. They built forts, waged wars upon each other, and wielded the functions of petty sovereigns. The loyalty of the hill Rajas appears to have won the favour and confidence of their conquerors, and they were frequently deputed on hazardous expeditions and appointed to places of high trust in the service of the empire. For instance, in 1758 Raja Ghamand Chand of Kangra was appointed governor of the Jullundur Doab and the hill country between the Sutluj and the Ravi.