DHOLPUR, a native state of India, in the Rajputana agency, with an area of 1155 sq. m. It is a crop-producing country, without any special manufactures. All along the bank of the river Chambal the country is deeply intersected by ravines; low ranges of hills in the western portion of the state supply inexhaustible quarries of fine-grained and easily-worked red sandstone. In 1901 the population of Dholpur was 270,973, showing a decrease of 3% in the decade. The estimated revenue is £83,000. The state is crossed by the Indian Midland railway from Jhansi to Agra. In recent years it has suffered severely from drought. In 1896-1897 the expenditure on famine relief amounted to £8190.
The town of Dholpur is 34 m. S. of Agra by rail. Pop. (1901) 19,310. The present town, which dates from the 16th century, stands somewhat to the north of the site of the older Hindu town built, it is supposed, in the 11th century by the Tonwar Rajput Raja Dholan (or Dhawal) Deo, and named after him Dholdera or Dhawalpuri. Among the objects of interest in the town may be mentioned the fortified sarai built in the reign of Akbar, within which is the fine tomb of Sadik Mahommed Khan (d. 1595), one of his generals. The town, from its position on the railway, is growing in importance as a centre of trade.
Little is known of the early history of the country forming the state of Dholpur. Local tradition affirms that it was ruled by the Tonwar Rajputs, who had their seat at Delhi from the 8th to the 12th century. In 1450 it had a raja of its own; but in 1501 the fort of Dholpur was taken by the Mahommedans under Sikandar Lodi and in 1504 was transferred to a Mussulman governor. In 1527, after a strenuous resistance, the fort was captured by Baber and with the surrounding country passed under the sway of the Moguls, being included by Akbar in the province of Agra. During the dissensions which followed the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, Raja Kalyan Singh Bhadauria obtained possession of Dholpur, and his family retained it till 1761, after which it was taken successively by the Jat raja, Suraj Mal of Bharatpur, by Mirza Najaf Khan in 1775, by Sindhia in 1782, and in 1803 by the British. It was restored to Sindhia by the treaty of Sarji Anjangaon, but in consequence of new arrangements was again occupied by the British. Finally, in 1806, the territories of Dholpur, Bari and Rajakhera were handed over to the maharaj rana Kirat Singh, ancestor of the present chiefs of Dholpur, in exchange for his state of Gohad, which was ceded to Sindhia.
The maharaj rana of Dholpur belongs to the clan of Bamraolia Jats, who are believed to have formed a portion of the Indo-Scythian wave of invasion which swept over northern India about A.D. 100. An ancestor of the family appears to have held certain territories at Bamraoli near Agra c. 1195. His descendant in 1505, Singhan Deo, having distinguished himself in an expedition against the freebooters of the Deccan, was rewarded by the sovereignty of the small territory of Gohad, with the title of rana. In 1779 the rana of Gohad joined the British forces against Sindhia, under a treaty which stipulated that, at the conclusion of peace between the English and Mahrattas, all the territories then in his possession should be guaranteed to him, and protected from invasion by Sindhia. This protection was subsequently withdrawn, the rana having been guilty of treachery, and in 1783 Sindhia succeeded in recapturing the fortress of Gwalior, and crushed his Jat opponent by seizing the whole of Gohad. In 1804, however, the family were restored to Gohad by the British government; but, owing to the opposition of Sindhia, the rana agreed in 1805 to exchange Gohad for his present territory of Dholpur, which was taken under British protection, the chief binding himself to act in subordinate co-operation with the paramount power, and to refer all disputes with neighbouring princes to the British government. Kirat Singh, the first maharaj rana of Dholpur, was succeeded in 1836 by his son Bhagwant Singh, who showed great loyalty during the Mutiny of 1857, was created a K.C.S.I., and G.C.S.I. in 1869. He was succeeded in 1873 by his grandson Nihal Singh, who received the C.B. and frontier medal for services in the Tirah campaign. He died in 1901, and was succeeded by his eldest son Ram Singh (b. 1883).
See Imperial Gazetteer of India (Oxford, 1908) and authorities there given.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)