According to the Mahabharta the tract which forms the present day Himachal Pradesh was made up of number of small republics known as Janpadas each of which constituted both a state and cultural unit.
Audumbras:The were the most prominent ancient tribes of Himachal who lived in the lower hills between Pathankot and Jwalamukhi. They formed a separate state in 2 B.C.
Trigarta:The state lay in the foothills drained by three rivers, i.e. Ravi, Beas and Satluj and hence the name. It is believed to have been an independent republic.
Kuluta:The kingdom of Kilita was situated in the upper Beas valley which is also known as the Kully valley. Its capital was Naggar.
Kulindas:This kingdom covered the area lying between the Beas, Satluj and Yamuna rivers, i.e. the Shimla and Sirmour hills. Their administration resembled a republic with members of a central assembly sharing the powers of the king.
Gupta Empire:Chandragupta slowly subdued most of the republics of Himachal by show of strength or use of force though he usually did not rule them directly. Ashoka, the grandson of Chandragupta extended his boundaries to the Himalyan region. He introduced Buddhism to this tract. He built many stupas one of which is in the Kullu valley.
Harsha:After the collapse of Gupta empire and before the rise of Harsha, this area was again ruled by petty chiefs known as Thakurs and Ranas. With the rise of Harsha in the early 7th century, most of these small states acknowledged his overall supremacy though many local powers remained with the petty chiefs.