History here is recounted in the songs of Baadis, singing bards that wander the hills, and are a mix of history and legend. Local stories of fighting chieftains and warring tribes pervade. Until 1700, the weapons were bows and arrows, daggers and swords, sometimes even bamboo staves and stones. Leaders and rulers constantly changed. Rajas followed each other to the throne, but often the real masters, the Rohillas, the Gujjars, the Sikhs, and the Gorkhas, lurked behind the scenes levying heavy taxes.
Then the ambitious Gorkhas of Nepal invaded in 1803, taking Srinagar. In this hardy group, the British found stubborn opponents, but even the Gorkhas were not strong enough. They were pushed out of Garhwal in 1815.
The intrepid spirit of these people has always been here, and the dissent of Chander Singh Garhwali and many others during the freedom movement continue to be an inspiration for the hill people.
A unique and beautiful culture has also grown here through the difficulties and turbulence. In the mid seventeenth century, escaping the terrors of the Emperor Aurangzeb, his nephew fled to the hills and found refuge with the kings of Garhwal. He also brought with him courtiers and servants. They had in turn carried with them ideas and colors which were to blossom into the Garhwal school of painting. It takes themes from religious classics and is laced with the impressionistic styles of Molaram, the founder.