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Descendant of Alexander the Great’s Provincial Governor Crowned in India

Porus Family Fort, Kangra India
Porus Family Fort Kangra, India. Credits/ Hardinge, Charles Stewart / Wikimedia Commons CC0

The coronation of a new titular king, descendant of Porus the Provincial Governor (Satrap) of Alexander the Great, will take place at India’s Kangra fort.

Alexander the Great and king Porus are two important names in the history of Ancient India. Porus was defeated by Alexander and made a Satrap of the huge Macedonian Empire. When Alexander left India, neither his Greek Satraps nor Porus and his descendants could withstand the rise of growing Mauryan power and were soon either decimated or made subservient to the Mauryan emperor.


Descendant of Alexander’s Satrap Porus King Sansar Chand of Kangra
Descendant of Alexander’s Satrap Porus King Sansar Chand of Kangra, India. Credit: Wikimedia Commons CC0

The descendants of Porus carved a kingdom for themselves in the Himalayas, in a region that is now the state of Himachal Pradesh in India, a kingdom which came to be called the princely state of Kangra. Greek geographer Ptolemy mentioned Kangra in his works as Kalindarine. Kangra Fort was Porus’ capital city, also known as Raja Parmanand Chandra of the Katoch royal family.

On Thursday March 29, 2023, after almost 400 years, Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra fort will witness the coronation ceremony of the 489th titular king of the erstwhile royal family of the region. Aishwarya Chandra Katoch, who is being crowned, is the descendant of Porus, the Satrap of Alexander.

Alexander in India

Alexander the Great
Statue of Alexander the Great in Thessaloniki. Credit: Alexander Gale / Greek Reporter

Alexander the Great, after winning the battle of Hydaspes (Jhelum) in 326 BC, asked the defeated king Porus “How would you like to be treated?” Porus said “Treat me as a King would treat another King!” So Alexander not only restored his territory to Porus but also added the neighbouring region beyond the Chenab river, that belonged to the ‘Glausians’, and as far as the Ravi river, where the younger Porus had risen in revolt when his uncle had been honoured by Alexander. The total area of the new territory given to Porus was almost 85 thousand square miles. 

As per Brig Arvind Dhananjayan (Retd) of the Indian Army, Alexander made Porus his Satrap (Greek for Governor). There were many other independent tribes between the Ravi and the Hyphasis (Beas) rivers. Porus accompanied Alexander on his campaigns and helped him with the elephants; his troops also helped Alexander crush the Kathaioi. After a great siege, Sangala, stronghold of the Cathaeans, was captured and razed to the ground.

Alexander advanced as far as the Hyphasis, but this was the farthest extent of his conquests in India. The conquest of areas beyond that was done by Indo-Greeks like Demetrius and Menander. But the conquest of this region of India by Alexander had its effects.  Alexander founded two cities: Nicaea (Greek for Victory) and Alexandria Bucephalus, to honor his favorite horse, which still exist in what is now Pakistan. As per Brig D. S. Sarao of Tibri, a military cantonment of the Indian Army, there is a connection between ‘Tibri’ and the Greek word ‘Tibor’. He surmises that the Greek army had camped somewhere near present day Tibri and the name ‘Tibri’ is courtesy of the Greeks.

Alexander Became a Relative of Katoch Family?

Alexander accepts the surrender of Porus by Andre Castaigne
Alexander accepts the surrender of Porus by Andre Castaigne (1898-1899). Credits: Andre Castaigne / Wikimedia Commons CC0

It is also believed that Alexander was married to one of the daughters of Porus, and that the son of Porus took a cousin of Alexander’s in marriage. A temple built for the Greek queen still stands at the point from which Alexander retreated – Indora, Himachal Pradesh.

As per another legend, Alexander’s wife had heard of the Rakhi festival (in which festival, celebrated by Hindus, sisters tie a thread called Rakhi on the wrist of their brothers and ask for their protection), so she approached King Porus, who accepted her as his sister. Accordingly, when the opportunity to kill Alexander came during the war, he spared him. And so Raksha Bandhan helped retain Puru as a Macedonian satrap, and might just have saved Alexander’s life.

The Katoch Family

Sansar Chand Museum of the descendants of Porus in Kangra
Sansar Chand Museum of the descendants of Porus in Kangra. Credits: Vssun / Wikimedia Commons CC BY SA 3.0

In the Mahabharata,one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India in Hinduism,  we find mention of the family Porus belonged to: they are referred to as Trigarta and Raja (King) Susarma Chandra, and fought against Arjuna, the brave warrior and friend of Krishna.

Maharaja Jai Chandra of this dynasty is credited with the formation of the Dogra Regiment, currently a part of the Indian Army. During the First World War, Maharaja Sir Jai Chandra supplied 1000 recruits and contributed generously to the war loan and the Red Cross. Rani Chandresh Kumari of this dynasty is a politician who has been associated with India’s Congress party. Rani Chandresh Kumari’s son Mr. Aishwarya Chandra Katoch, descendant of Porus, Satrap of Alexander the Great, will be proclaimed the 489th titular king of the erstwhile royal family Katoch of Kangra.

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