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History of Ambala

District Ambala is stated to be one of the prominent districts of Haryana with historical significance. Ambala was discovered during the reign of the British by C. Rodgers and A.C. Cunningham and afterwards by B.B. Lal and others. The most basic literary mention of the region consisting of District Ambala in ‘Taittiriya Aranayaka’ talks about Turghna as the neighboring area to the North side of Kurukshetra.

History of Ambala

Founding of Ambala District

It is construed that District Ambala was founded during the 14th Century A.D. by Amba Rajput. One more historic description states that ‘Ambala’ name is derived from ‘Amba Wala’ or the mango groves that used to exist in the immediate neighborhood of the region. Yet another story states that Ambala has got its name from Goddess Bhawani Amba whose shrine is there in the present Ambala city.

History of the Powers that Prevailed in Ambala

The initial residents of District Ambala were some primeval people of lower Paleolithic Age using stone tools. These tools could be found at many places in Ambala such as Tarlokpur etc. Regrettably, Ambala has not given in any site related to pre Harappan and established Harappan times. The presence of Aryans in the district is also supported by various evidences including the gray ware pottery.

The Pandavas as well as their descendants also included District Ambala in their kingdom. The different pronouncements of Ashoka, particularly the stupas at Chaneti and Singh and the Topara edicts, link the district to the Mauryas. Kushan bricks have also been found in some areas which give good reason for the fact that Ambala was once included in the empire of Kushanas. The evidence is held up by the presence of silver coins and inscriptions on Mehrauli Pillar.

The region Ambala constituted an important part of almost all major ruling dynasties in the country. Some foreign stories, specifically by Chinese pilgrim Huen Tsang, states that the district was also under the influence of Buddhism. After being invaded by Mohammed Ghaznavi, it was brought under the control of Charuhaus.

The testimony to this fact lies in the Topara Pillar. Finally, after the defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan in the 2nd battle of Terrain in 1192, the Muslims took over the district. The district remained an important center of sacred pilgrimage from 9th to 12th Century. The findings of the images of lords at various places suggest the existence of magnificent temples that were possibly destroyed during the invasions by Muslims.

Under the rule of Muslims, Ambala was a part of ‘Kutab-Bin-Aibak’ kingdom. The area was also invaded by Timur. Bahlol Lodhi, the then Governor of Punjab, brought the area under his control in 1450 till the invasion of Babar in 1526. After the death of Aurangzeb, various forces and the political situation grew up to be in opposition of the kingdom. One of the disciples of Guru Gobind Singh, Banda Bahadur, launched a brutal attack on Ambala in 1709-10.

However, he lost to the Mughals in 1710. After him, a Mughal official named Khidmat administered Ambala till the year 1739. After the invasion of Nadir Shah, there followed a dark period and Ambala was divided into small principalities. After slaying the Abdalis Governor, the territory was possessed by the agitated Sikhs in 1763.

In a nutshell, Ambala district was crammed with political turmoil and activities during the medieval age.

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