History

The district Dungarpur is named after 'the town of hillocks' and the capital of the former princely state of Dungarpur. It is located in the southern part of Rajasthan between 23° 20' and 24° 01' north latitude and 73° 21' and 74° 01' east longitude. The town of Dungarpur itself is said to have been a Bhil ' Pal' or a hamlet of 'Dungaria', a Bhil Chieftain whom Rawal Veer Singh Dev caused to be assassinated in the fourteenth century. Whatever may be the legend about the beginning of the settlements in the district, there is no doubt that it formed the part of the territory known in history as ' Bagar' or 'Vagad'  with ' Vatpadrak', present 'Baroda' (a village in Aspur tehsil) as its old capital.

The material remains of the Ahar civilization discovered in Mewar region constitute remnants of the civilization which may date back to 4000 year ago. From Ahar this culture extended to other centres in the south-east of Rajasthan including parts of present Dungarpur and Banswara district. Some more light it thrown on the history of the region by the silver coins unearthed in thousands from Sarwaniya village in Banswara State, which was also a part of ' Bagar'. These coins trace the history of this region as far back as 181 to 353 A.D. They also establish that this territory was, then, ruled by Kshtrapas or Satraps of the Saka, inhabitants of area lying between Iran and Afghanistan. They entered Afghanistan and India sometime in the first century of the Vikram Era However the Gupta rule over this tract cannot be ascertained with exactitude. Thereafter, the territory may have formed a part of the kingdom of Vallabi. Bagar is said to have been invaded by the Arabs between 725 A.D. and 738 A.D. However, their attacks were repelled and they were expelled from these parts. From the time the parmars of Malwa came to rule Bagar, we get a clear and continuous history of this area. In 12th century A.D. , the Guhils of Mewar (Udaipur) established their suzerainty in this area.

It is mentioned in the 'Khyats' that during the times of Maharawal Veer Singh Dev, The Sixth descendant of Sawant Singh of Mewar, the county in the vicinity of the present town of Dungarpur was held by a powerful Bhil Chieftain  Dungaria who aspired to marry the dauther of a wealthy ' Mahajan' named Sala Shah. The latter fixed a distant date for the wedding and, in the meantime, conspired with Veer Singh to have the whole marriage party including Dungaria assassinated while they were in a state of intoxication. This was successfully carried out. Rawal Veer Singh took possession of Dungaria's village and founded that town of Dungarpur in 1358 A.D. The legend has tit that Veer Singh had promised to the two widows of Dungaria Bhil to perpetuate their memories by erection a monument in their honour. He is also reported to have agreed to name to town after their departed husband. He further laid down that in future, at the installantion of each new ruler, a descendant of Dungaria would put the 'Tilak' on the forehead of the ruler from the blood drawn from his finger.

Rawal Veer Singh was killed in the sack of Chittor by Allauddin Khilji. He was succeeded by Bhachundi who erected the Hanumat Pol. Rawal Gopinath who succeeded him is famous for his victory over Ahmedshah, the Sultan of Gujarat in 1433 A.D. and it was he who built the Gaipsagar lake at Dungarpur which exists even today remains a beauty spot of this town. Rawal Somdasji, the 13th ruler is famous for repelling the invasion of Sultan Mahmood Shah and Gayasuddin. Maharawal Udai Singh I  is also noted for his bravery. He divided 'Vagad' into two parts. The western portion, with the capital at Dungarpur, he retained for his elder son Prithviraj and the eastern portion subsequently known as Banswara, gave to his younger son Jagmal. It was in the year 1529 A.D. that the two states became independent. Maharawal Askaran's reign witnessed the arrival of the Mughals in this part of the county for the first time. During his reign Akbar himself visited these parts and Askaran attended his court. He acknowledged the Mughal suzerainty and became a vassal of the Empire. Maharawal Punjaraj was honoured by the Emperor Shahjahan, who conferred on him the insignia of the 'Mahimaratib' and a grant of a Dedhahazari Mansab' and 'Izzat' to 1,500 'Sawars in recognition of the services rendered by him to the Emperor in his campaigns in the Daccan.

In the time of Maharawal Ram Singh, the Marahattas invaded these parts. Maharawal Shiv singh the 25th ruler became an ally of the Marahattas. It was in the time of Maharawal Jaswant Singh II. That a treaty of perpetual friendship, alliance and unity of interests was concluded with the British crown on 11th December, 1818 A.D. according to which a tribute of Rs. 17,500 was to be paid annually to the British Government. Maharawal Udai Singh II rendered loyal services to the British Government in the Mutiny of 1857. He was succeeded by Maharawal Bijai Singh in 1898 A.D. who was a very enlightened prince. Maharawal Lakshaman Singh ascended the gaddi on the 5th November, 1918 A.D. and continued to govern the State till its merger in the United States of Rajasthan in 1948.

It was in 1945 that the 'Dungarpur Rajya Praja Mandal' came into existence and a year later in 1946, a demand was made for grant of responsible Government under the aegis of the ruler. In March, 1948 the ruler announced the grant of responsible Government. However, on the inauguration of the United States of Rajasthan  the local Government came to an end when the administration of the State was handedover to ' Rajpramukh' of the newly formed union of State and Dungarpur was constituted as a district of the United States of Rajasthan.