Karnal is a city and the headquarters of Karnal District in the Indian state of Haryana. It was also known as Karnal, Kurnaul or Karnaul during the British Raj. Karnal is governed by a Municipal Corporation that comes under the Karnal National Capital Region. Karnal was once the site of a cantonment of the British East Indian Company army established in the year 1805 A.D. but later abandoned due to a malaria outbreak. The cantonment was subsequently shifted to Ambala and later came to be known as the famous Ambala Cantonment established in 1843 A.D. Historically, Karnal is said to have been founded during ancient times by the Kauravas in the Mahabharata era for the king Karna, a mythological hero and a key figure in the epic tale. Karnal is also the headquarters of Karnal Range (including Karnal, Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra and Kaithal districts) under an Inspector General of Police. Karnal is very famous for its prestigious Haryana Police Academy (Madhuban), Kalpna Chawla Medical College, world class research and development institutes, namely Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI), National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI), Directorate of Wheat Research (DWR), National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR), Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), and a regional centre of the Indira Gandhi National Open University. Karnal is widely known for its lush green pastures, and the cultivation and production of very high-quality basmati rice. Karnal is also famous for manufacture of agricultural implements and its spares as more than 40% of country agricultural implements and spares are manufactured here. One of the bigger units involved in the manufacture of spares is Karnal Agricultural Industries Ltd. having largest manufacturing base in the country.
Karnal is one of Historical Districts of Haryana. It is also known as a city of 'Daanveer Karn'. It is known all over the world for production of Rice, Wheat and Milk. It is also known for agriculture research Institutions like NDRI, CSSRI, Wheat Research Directorate, National Bureau of Animal Genetics Resources, Sugarcane Breeding Institute etc.
Karnal is important city on Delhi Ambala Rail Line & Sher Shah Suri Marg (G.T.Road), connected with all important places in the country. It is 123 Kilometer from Delhi & 130 Kilometer from Chandigarh. It is midway between Delhi and Chandigarh, being 123 km (76 mi) north of Delhi and 126 km (78 mi) south of Chandigarh, on the National Highway NH-1, also known as the Grand Trunk Road. Delhi and Chandigarh can be reached from Karnal within 2 hours using a high frequency bus service provided by Haryana Roadways. Karnal District lies on the western Bank of river Yamuna which once flows about 11 Kilometer. to the east forming eastern boundary of the district. The river Yamuna separates Haryana from Utter Pardesh. The Karnal Distt. including Panipat lies between 29'09'50" and 29'50' North latitude and 76 31' 15" and 77 12'45" East longitude, its height from sea level is between 235 and 252 meters. The Karnal Distt. is surrounded by Kurukshetra District on its north-west, jind & Kaithal Distt. on its west, Panipat Distt. on its south and Utter Pradesh on east.
Yamuna River forms eastern boundary of the district and flows from north to south. The district is a part of the Ganga-Sindus (Indo-Gangestic) plains and has a well spread net work of western Yamuna canal. Its geographical area has been divided in to three agroclimatic regions, Khadar, Bhangar and Nardak belt. Khadar starts from Indri-Karnal road one mile away from Karnal covering the area in between Yamuna river and National Highway Road No.1 upto Patti-Kalyana village. Bhangar area starts from west of Khadar area covering Gharaunda, development block. The nardak area lies in Nissing, Nilokheri and Assandh development block. However, its water is saline and not fit for irrigation.
Kalander Shah's tomb is situated just outside the town. The grave is made of marble and decorated with sculpture. The tomb was built by Ghias-ud-din, Emperor of Delhi, to the memory of Bo-Ali-Qualander Shah, a famous Muslim Savant and Sage, who influenced the thinking of his age and was very widely revered by all communities. Within the enclosure are mosque and a reservoir with fountains built by Emperor Alamgir and outside a Kettle Drum balcony.
A temple dedicated to a goddess exists on the bank of a large tank. A Shiva temple believed to have been built by Mubark Khan also exists there. An old Indian gun, some 8 feet long made of bars of iron bound together by iron hoops, and with its namke of ganj shikan or fort breaker cast on it stood in the fort but was later on removed and destroyed.
This is a big old massive tower and can be seen from a distance of several miles as it is 100 feet in height. The tower is surrounded by a large ornamental cross. The church itself named after St.James, was dismantled with the shifting of the Cantonment to Ambala in 1841 A.D.
Constructed by Bhara Mal, it is presently occupied by the office of the Deputy Assistant Director General (Medical Store), Govt. of India.
Constructed by Raja Gajpat Singh of Jind in about 1764 A.D., it now provides accommodation for the office and residence of the Tehsildar.
This tomb stands to the memory of a saint, Sayad Mohd. alias Miran Sahib who died in 899 A.D. He was responsible for rescuing a Brahmin girl from the clutches of a Raja in a pitched battle. The tomb is situated towards the extreme south of the town and alongside it stand a small mosque and a cemetery of many members of the Mandal family
This Gurdwara commemorates Guru Nanak's meeting with Bo Ali Shah Qalandar. It was also visited by Guru Tegh Bahadur on his way to Delhi where he was beheaded.
There is a Dargah Nuri at village Newal on Karnal- Kunjpura road. This Dargah was built in memory of Hazrat Sufi Shah Alama Nur Mohd. of.Delhi, and is managed by Managing Committee, village Newal.
The Karna Tank, named after Raja Karna,son of Surya, ace archer, unrivalled warrior, terror of the Pandwas, an ardent supporter of the king Duryodhana in the Mahabharta war, donor par excellence and the founder of the city of Karnal, is now being renovated and converted into a tourist spot by Karnal Municipality. It is said that Raja Karna, who was very philanthropic used to give gold in alms to the needy at the spot.
Situated at a distance of 19 kilometers from Nilokheri, is a small village known as Sitamai. There is an old shrine of Sita Mai built in the ordinary form of a Hindu temple. It is made of bricks, but the feature is the elaborate ornamentation which covers the whole shrine, the pattern of which is formed by deep lines in the individual bricks which seems to have been made before the bricks were burnt, so that the forms they were to take must have been separately fixed for each brick. A large part of the shrine was pulled down and thrown into the tank by some Muslim Emperor but the bricks have been put together without any regard to the original pattern. The shrine is said to mark the spot where the earth swallowed Sita in answer to her appeal in proof of her purity.
Kunjpura, situated at a distance of six miles north east of Karnal was founded by a Pathan named Nijabat Khan, who had migrated from Kandhar and served as Risaldar under Wazir Khawaja Nasiruddin of Radaur, with headquarters at Taraori. He got the biswedari of Kunjpura from a Zamindar of Bidauli, in reward for his military assistance. After a clash with Rajputs, he settled at Kunjpura and built a fort in 1729 A.D. The fort was first called Nijabatnagar. On the incursion of Nadir Shah, Nijabat Khan supplied him with provisions and tendered his obeissance. The Marthatta Bhao plundered Kunjpura and killed Nijabat khan in 1758 A.D. Ahmed Shah repulsed the Marhattas and entrusted Kunjpura to Daler Khan, Nijabat Khan's eldest son. The family in due course expanded their territorial jurisdiction to a major portion of Indri pargana. The palace of the Nawab now houses the Sainik School, Kunjpura. Kunjpura village now has a population of 5;811, a grain market and a High School. It has a Notified Area Committee.
The invading army of Mohd. Bin Sam was defeated at village Naraina, seven miles from Karnal and three from Taraori, in 1191 A.D. by united Hindu armies under Prithvi Raj, the Chauhan king of Delhi. Although in the following year, this defeat was reversed and turned into a victory for the Muslim invaders and the ruin of Rajput Supremacy for ever.
The village of historic interest is eleven miles north of Karnal. Prince Azam of Aurangzeb was born here and the place was renamed as Azamabad. Aurangzeb constructed a wall around the town, a mosque and a tank which exist to this day. The village being on the main highway of the Moghul times, also has a serai. The old royal serai appears to have been used by the Sikhs as a fort, now lying in a dilapidated condition. Because of the railway station nearby, the place has developed as an important assembling market chiefly for paddy grown in the surrounding area, and has some rice husking mills. Basmati rice grown here is the finest in the country and is exported to foreign countries.
It was at the village of Basthali 27 kilometers from Karnal that the sage vias lived who wrote the Vedas. The village bears his name; and legend has it that the sacred Ganges flowed underground into his well to save him the trouble of going to the river to bathe bringing with it his lota and loin cloth which he had left in the river to convince him that the water was really Ganges water.
At Gondar 26 kilometers from Karnal Gautam Rishi is said to have caused the spots in the moon and give Indra his 1000 eyes.
It was in the Parasir tank at Bahlolpur that the warrior Duryodhana hide till Krishna's jeers brought him out to fight, and this is still the most celebrated of tirathas of this part.
There is a temple dedicated to Anjana, mother of Hanuman.
One Kirpal Singh got shamgarh from Raja Gurdit Singh of Ladwa in reward for the services rendered to the confederacy of Sikhs. The Sikh chief of Shamgarh exercised sovereign powers and had exclusive jurisdiction over their own subjects even for offences committed in British territory until the British assumed criminal and police jurisdiction in 1833 A.D.
The village lying 27 miles to the south-west of Karnal on the Karnal-Jind road, is said to be the capital of the kingdom of Jarsangha, one of the warriors mentioned in the Mahabharta. A Shahidi Smarak (martyrdom-memorial) commemorates the part played by the villagers of this place and of the surrounding area during the 1857 uprising when they revolted and were heavily punished by the Britishers.