Introduction and History

Saharanpur district is located in the north of the Uttar Pradesh State. It lies in the northern region of Doab and borders the state of Uttarakhand and Haryana. The agricultural landscape that covers almost all of the area show this region has been conductive to human settlement since ages. Behind this beautiful, heart-warming city, lies an age-old history that dates back to old civilizations.

Excavations that have been done through time in Saharanpur district show that parts of this district like Hulas, Bargaon, Naseerpur, Ambakheri have witnessed human habitation since 2008 B.C. There have been traces of human habitats dating back to Indus Valley civilization and even earlier. Archaeologists say that some parts of Saharanpur like Ambakheri and Naseerpur were centers of Harappan civilization. The district has also witnessed the arrival and settling of the Aryans from Punjab and also finds a mention in the famous Mahabharata War.

During the rule of king Shamsu'd-Din Iltutmish, the greatest ruler of the Slave Dynasty, Saharanpur became a part of his Delhi Sultanate(during 1211-1236). Muhammad Big Tughlaq, who became the Sultan of Delhi (1325-51), according to the British Imperial Gazette of India, 1901; had heard of a Sufi saint on the banks of a river called Paondhoi. He was so influenced by the sage that the kind decided to create a religion called 'Shah-Harunpur', named after the Sufi Saint, Shah Harun Chishti. This evolved into the name of the present day district called Saharanpur.

Akbar the Great, the most tolerant emperor in India, was the first Moghul emperor to make "Saharanpur Sarkar" a part of the Delhi province; this kind of governance definitely gave a huge impetus to the present city of Saharanpur. In Akbar's court was Jain nobleman who is cited with being the "founder of the walled city of Saharanpur". He was the one who influenced the building of the four gates- Sarai Gate, Mali Gate, Buriya Gate and Lakhi Gate.

The British invaders who controlled the governance of Saharanpur, during their regime made sure that they passed the place into the increasing colonies of the British East India Company. With the annexation done by the British and their governance, Saharanpur became a big district due to the addition of the Dehradun region of Greater Nepal, post the British-Gurkha War in 1816. This was the time when the present independent districts of Dehradun, Haridwar and Muzaffarnagar became a part of the Saharanpur district.

For a brief period of time before the British took over, Saharanpur was in the Maratha hands during the 1789-1803 AD to be precise. After ousting the Marathas, the British East India Company suppressed the Sikh attackers and assumed complete control of the Saharanpur region in 1804. The local chiefs had made a plan to overthrow the British but their plan was leaked and foiled completely. In 1857, there was again activity in the form of rebellion against the British in what is termed the First War of Indian Independence, but even this was contained by the British. After foiling the rebellion, the British Raj was almost dictatorial in the region to suppress any more of such instigation.

After India got its independence, many people from West Punjab came to this city and made Saharanpur their home. The Punjabis set up businesses and even ventured into other professions. This was a hard working group that infused cultural diversity in the lace. This is the reason why the modern day Sahranpur has an obvious Punjabi culture and aura to it. In the year 1988, Saharanpur lost the region of Haridwar which became a totally different district altogether. Haridwar then merged with Uttarakhand, a state that was carved out of Uttar Pradesh on November 9, 2000. Sadly due to this Saharanpur lost out of many places of cultural and religious interest and even the erstwhile educational city of Roorkee. There is still debate on whether some parts of Saharanpur including the city itself be merged with Uttarakhand.