1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Dhar

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DHAR, a native state of India, in the Bhopawar agency, Central India. It includes many Rajput and Bhil feudatories, and has an area of 1775 sq. m. The raja is a Punwar Mahratta. The founder of the present ruling family was Anand Rao Punwar, a descendant of the great Paramara clan of Rajputs who from the 9th to the 13th century, when they were driven out by the Mahommedans, had ruled over Malwa from their capital at Dhar. In 1742 Anand Rao received Dhar as a fief from Baji Rao, the peshwa, the victory of the Mahrattas thus restoring the sovereign power to the family which seven centuries before had been expelled from this very city and country. Towards the close of the 18th and in the early part of the 19th century, the state was subject to a series of spoliations by Sindia and Holkar, and was only preserved from destruction by the talents and courage of the adoptive mother of the fifth raja. By a treaty of 1819 Dhar passed under British protection, and bound itself to act in subordinate co-operation. The state was confiscated for rebellion in 1857, but in 1860 was restored to Raja Anand Rao Punwar, then a minor, with the exception of the detached district of Bairusia, which was granted to the begum of Bhopal. Anand Rao, who received the personal title Maharaja and the K.C.S.I. in 1877, died in 1898, and was succeeded by Udaji Rao Punwar. In 1901 the population was 142,115. The state includes the ruins of Mandu, or Mandogarh, the Mahommedan capital of Malwa.

The Town of Dhar is 33 m. W. of Mhow, 908 ft. above the sea. Pop. (1901) 17,792. It is picturesquely situated among lakes and trees surrounded by barren hills, and possesses, besides its old walls, many interesting buildings, Hindu and Mahommedan, some of them containing records of a great historical importance. The Lat Masjid, or Pillar Mosque, was built by Dilawar Khan in 1405 out of the remains of Jain temples. It derives its name from an iron pillar, supposed to have been originally set up at the beginning of the 13th century in commemoration of a victory, and bearing a later inscription recording the seven days’ visit to the town of the emperor Akbar in 1598. The pillar, which was 43 ft. high, is now overthrown and broken. The Kamal Maula is an enclosure containing four tombs, the most notable being that of Shaikh Kamal Maulvi (Kamal-ud-din), a follower of the famous 13th-century Mussulman saint Nizam-ud-din Auliya.[1] The mosque known as Raja Bhoj’s school was built out of Hindu remains in the 14th or 15th century: its name is derived from the slabs, covered with inscriptions giving rules of Sanskrit grammar, with which it is paved. On a small hill to the north of the town stands the fort, a conspicuous pile of red sandstone, said to have been built by Mahommed ben Tughlak of Delhi in the 14th century. It contains the palace of the raja. Of modern institutions may be mentioned the high school, public library, hospital, and the chapel, school and hospital of the Canadian Presbyterian mission. There is also a government opium depot for the payment of duty, the town being a considerable centre for the trade in opium as well as in grain.

The town, the name of which is usually derived from Dhara Nagari (the city of sword blades), is of great antiquity, and was made the capital of the Paramara chiefs of Malwa by Vairisinha II., who transferred his headquarters hither from Ujjain at the close of the 9th century. During the rule of the Paramara dynasty Dhar was famous throughout India as a centre of culture and learning; but, after suffering various vicissitudes, it was finally conquered by the Mussulmans at the beginning of the 14th century. At the close of the century Dilawar Khan, the builder of the Lat Masjid, who had been appointed governor in 1399, practically established his independence, his son Hoshang Shah being the first Mahommedan king of Malwa. Under this dynasty Dhar was second in importance to the capital Mandu. Subsequently, in the time of Akbar, Dhar fell under the dominion of the Moguls, in whose hands it remained till 1730, when it was conquered by the Mahrattas.

See Imperial Gazetteer of India (Oxford, 1908).

  1. Nizam-ud-din, whose beautiful marble tomb is at Indarpat near Delhi, was, according to some authorities, an assassin of the secret society of Khorasan. By some modern authorities he is supposed to have been the founder of Thuggism, the Thugs having a special reverence for his memory.