Kotgarh, as it is presently known, was called as Cotegooroo, Kotgroo, Gurukot or Grookot. It was a small princely state valued at around 9000 rupees per annum in Circa 1815, governed by a Rana, who used to pay tribute to Bushehr till the Gurkha rule in circa 1803. The house or village where the Rana resides is called Kotkhai. Kotgarh, including 11 other small states was recognized as Barah Thakooraee, or twelve lordships. In 1828 it was annexed to British India.
In 1815, post Anglo Gurkha war, it was granted back to the reigning family and declared independent under the protection of British forces.
Kotgarh was made a military station after the conclusion of the Gurkha war in 1815, when the English garrisoned the fort there by two companies of the Nusseree battalion, commanded by Captain Gerard.
Captain Alexander Gerard is considered to be a pioneer in exploring the Kinnaur and his 1817-18 travelogue is a great resource for historians.
Kotgarh remained part of Punjab till 1950 along with Kotkhai and Solan.
There is a mention of a fort on the Sheelazan Ridge, called Jodhpur or Jodpur fort.
Kotgarh was an important halt on Hindustan Tibet Road. Following was the route with halts used by the explorers and leisure travelers to reach Kotgarh from Shimla.
Day 1 - Mahassoo 10 miles from Simla (new road).
Day 2 - Theog 11 miles from Mahasoo.
Day 3 – Mutteana (Matiana) 11 miles from Theog.
Day 4 – Nagkanda (Narkanda) 12 miles from Mutteana (Matiana).
Day 5 - Kotegurh 9 miles from Nagkanda (Narkanda).
It is interesting to know that the locals used to cover this distance in single day.
In Circa 1840 Kotgarh became a station of the Church Missionary Society. This was started by an English Officer of East India Company named Mr. Gorton, He initially contributed Rs.20000 for this objective.
The Rev. Dr. Prochnow was probably the ﬁrst missionary at Kotgarh, joined by three or four other Germans, who founded a mission for the conversion of the hill tribes in Kotegurh and surroundings. Prochnow was succeeded by the Rev. Mr. Rebsch.
The Mission School in Kotgarh was established in 1843, there were 11 schools for boys and 3 schools for girls in the neigbouring villages, with 173 boys and 141 girls taught about the Bible.
The Church at Kotgarh dates back to 1853, possibly gone a few renovations to get the final shape it is in today.
There was a tea plantation of considerable size in Kotgarh. Probably somewhere in the slopes before reaching Kotgarh.