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District Panchkula, Haryana

Panchkula is a planned city in Panchkula District, Haryana, India. It is a satellite city of the Union Territory of Chandigarh. The prestigious Chandimandir Cantonment Headquarters of the Indian Western Command, is also located in Panchkula city. There are five towns in the district named Panchkula,Barwala Pinjore, Kalka and Raipur Rani. The only Hill station in Haryana called Morni is also in this District. The estimated population of Panchkula city, in 2006, is 2,00,000. Panchkula and Mohali (in Punjab) are two satellite cities of Chandigarh. These three cities are collectively known as Chandigarh Tricity.

The origin of the name Panchkula is based on the five irrigation canals (or kuls as they were called, making it Panch Kul of five canals) that take water from the Ghaggar in the uphill section and distribute it from Nada Sahib to Mansa Devi. The Nada canal has now been eroded by the river and most of the kul's pass through the cantonement of Chandimandir towards Mansa Devi. The canals are a beautiful example of community property and are maintained by the villagers along the way, with distribution days decided. The canals were made by a ruler in the past, and follow the contours to take water to levels much higher than the river at the same spot.

Though the district came into existence in the mid of last decade of 20th century, yet its antiquity is beyond any doubt. The earliest inhabitants of the district were a primitive people using stone tools of the lower palaeolithic age such as choppers, unworked flakes, cleavers, hand-axes, etc. These have been discovered from Mansa Devi area (Bilaspur), Pinjore and Suketri. In the ancient time Aryans traversed the region emotionally. The district is also associated with Pandavas who enroute to Himalayas during their exile stayed here for some times. The place was known as Panchpura later corrupted to Pinjore. The name Panchpura was deciphered from the Pinjore Baoli Inscription found from here. Pinjore is also mentioned in ancient literature1. The region was also indirectly under the sway of the foreign Kushan and Yaudhey rulers. This fact is corroborated from the recent finding of Kushan bricks from the adjacent territories of present Ambala district. According to Majumdar, this region had been a part of Gupta dynasty. This fact is based on discovery of silver coins of Gupta dynasty.

Towards the close of the seventh and first part of the eighth century A.D., the district fell a prey to the imperial ambitions of Yasovarman of Kanauj and Lalitaditya, the ruler of Kashmir. During the 12th century A.D., the area was acquired by the Chauhans of Delhi. They restored peace and order in the area including adjoining district of Ambala. The inscription , dated A.D. 1164 gives an idea of the role which the region played in resisting the Muslim invaders. In this context, it is said that Kilhana , maternal uncle of Prithviraj-II was appointed as governor of Hansi and he defeated the ruler of Panchpura (Pinjore) and extended Chauhan rule over that region. The district finally passed on to the Muslim rule as a result of the decisive victory of Shihab-ud-din Ghuri over Prithviraj -III in the Second Battle of Tarain (A.D. 1192). After the death of Shihab-ud-din Ghuri, Qutb-ud-din Aibak established Muslim rule in North India. The region was also included in the Delhi Sultanate. Tabakat-i-Nasiri refers to the victories of Sultan Nasir-ud-din Mahmud in the vicinity of Pinjore and the loot of the spoils from there.

After Firuz's death, the region felt the full force of those intensive discords which also disturbed Delhi-kingdom. Consequently, the adjacent territories and this area went out of the control of Tughlaqs. The invasion of Timur(1398) destroyed the whole countryside in the region upto Siwalik hills (possibly including Pinjore). But his sway did not last a long period. Thereafter the area passed on the Mughals. Akbar, the Great, had a vast area under his control including this region. Fidai Khan, Aurangzeb's Master of Ordnance laid a beautiful garden at Pinjore. The region was conquered by Rohillas but they were soon expelled by the Marathas. The Marathas were badly run over by the British and major portion of this region passed under the British in 1803. The area now forming part of Bilaspur village about three kilometres of east of Manimajra was under the ruler of Manimajra. The ruler of Manimajra (Gurbaksh Singh) got built the old shrine of Mata Mansa Devi in 1815 A.D. The area now including Kalka was a part of erstwhile princely State of Patiala but was acquired by the British in 1846. Later on it was included in Simla district. After taking over the Chiefs of Ambala area under their protection, the British controlled the affairs of all the states in the region in a most effective manner through political agency at Ambala. The political agency of Ambala was transformed into Commissionership under the Commissioner of Cis-Satluj States and the political supervision and control over the States was intensified . By 1846, several chiefships had lapsed owing to their failure to have male heirs and so called break-down of administrative machinery. The British acquired strips of territory around of Ambala which was included into Ambala district. By 1858, the whole of Haryana territory was a part of the Punjab. The Kalka area, a part of Simla district, was transferred to Ambala district in 1899. No change could be effected till 1966. Prior to the formation of Haryana in November, 1966, Ambala district had six tahsils but during the re-organisation it lost Nalagarh tahsil to Himachal Pradesh, Rupnagar tahsil and major portion of Kharar tahsil to Punjab and a few villages including the Chandigarh Capital Project Area to the newly formed Union Territory Chandigarh .Ambala district retained only 3 tahsils -Ambala, Jagadhri and Naraingarh including 153 villages and the Kalka town transferred from Kharar tahsil. Later, in 1967, 153 villages and Kalka town were taken out of Naraingarh tahsil and formed into a separate Kalka tahsil. There was no jurisdictional change during the decade1971-81 with reference to the Kalka tahsil. The Ambala district experienced jurisdictional changes during the decade1981-91. Panchkula tahsil was created by transfering 77 villages of Kalka tahsil and 19 villages of Naraingarh tahsil in October, 1989. Out of these 96 villages, four villages were fully merged in Panchkula Urban Estate . The full-fledged Panchkula district came into existence with effect from 15-8-1995. Now it had two tahsils Kalka and Panchkula.

Physical aspects

Panchkula is surrounded by Himachal Pradesh in the north and east, Punjab and Union Territory of Chandigarh in the west and by Ambala district in the south as well as east. Panchkula district shares its borders with Chandigarh, Mohali, Solan and Ambala districts.

Panchkula district has a sub tropical continental monsoon climate having, hot summers, cool winters, good monsoon rainfall. It has great variation in temperature (-1 C to 43 C). In winter frost sometimes occurs during December and January. The district also receives winter rains from the western disturbance. The rainfall is mostly received in the monsoon. Morni hills constitute the highest point of the district as well as of Haryana. The Ghaggar river is the only perennial river. It is very shallow outside of the monsoons. The Ghaggar river system is now thought to be the original Saraswati river. It now dries up in Rajasthan and does not reach the sea. This is due to geological changes that diverted the Sutlej from Ropar to take another channel. The important rivers/streams of the district are Ghaggar, Sirsa, Kaushalya.

Generally the slope of the district is from north east to south west and in this direction, most of the rivers/streams rainfed torrents flow down and spread much gravels and pebbles in their beds. Only the Sirsa river, in Kalka Tehsil, flows towards northwest through a u arrow halt of shivalik tract. The soils in the district are mainly light loam (seoti) piedmont (Ghar and Kandi), Swalik (pahar), silticlay (Naili and chhachhra Dakar) etc.

The under ground water in the district occurs under confirmed and semi-confirmed conditions which is generally fresh and suitable for domestic and irrigation purposes. The under ground water level is generally high in the southern parts and low in north and northeast which is hilly tract. The district lies in a region where earthquakes of moderate to high intensity have been felt in the past. Being situated at the Himalayan boundary fault zones it is prone to earthquakes.

Forest cover

The total area of district under forests is 42.54%, which is highest in the state. This is primarily in the hilly section just outside Panchkula city. The district has a favorable climate for the growth of rich and abundant vegetation due to reasonably good rainfall and elevation. Shisham (Dalbergia Sissoo), Kikar (Acacia nilotica) and Mango (Mangifera indica) are the important tree species grown in the plains. Safeda (Eucalyptus hybrid) has been introduced since 1963 in forest areas as well as on private lands. Poplar too has been cultivated in farms. The natural vegetation is mainly of forest growth and its degradation stages. Tropical dry deciduous forests and sub-tropical forests are found here. Pine trees are found in the Morni Hills. Most of the forests in the district are in the Morni-Pinjore belt. This hilly forested tract covers Morni and the edges of Pinjore. That is why, the management of forests in the Panchkula district is vested with the Morni-Pinjore Forest Division.

Urban Estate Panchkula

The new urban estate of Panchkula is west of Chandigarh. The Chandigarh railway station is near the Chandigarh-Panchkula boundary, and has an exit toward Panchkula. The areas of Shivalik Enclave and Manimajra are towards the Northwest of Panchkula Urban estate. The Cantonment of Chandimandir is north of Panchkula urban estate, towards the Urban estate's southern edge is Zirakpur in Punjab.

Most of the developed sectors are west of the Ghaggar river. The Shimla highway cuts through the estate mostly parallel to the Ghaggar. Its newer sectors are on the western banks of the Ghaggar. It is developed on outskirts of Chandigarh, amongst the picturesque background of the Shivalik hills and the Ghaggar River. The township has been subdivided into residential sectors, industrial sectors, parks and areas for regional recreation, major institutions, markets, and government and semi-government offices.

The eastern sectors are on the edge of Ramgarh, through which a road runs south to Dera Bassi in Punjab via Mubarakpur. East of Ramgarh on the road to Naraingarh (in Ambala district) is Barwala where an industrial estate has been set up and Raipur Rani where Sabeer Bhatia is proposing to set up a Nano city. The road to Nahan- Paonta- Dehradun goes through these towns. Short of Raipur Rani is a turn that goes to Dosarka between Ambala and Yamunanagar.

A large area south of Old Panchkula between Ambala-Kalka national highway and the Ghaggar River has been developed for recreation. The area has a golf course, and a sports complex, named Tau Devi Lal Sports complex. Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex has been popular due to the ICL Cricket Tournaments here.

North of Chandimandir are hills and Pinjore as well as Kalka, due west of Pinjore is the industrial area of Baddi. HMT factory ( ) is in Pinjore and an ancillary industrial estate of HMT with built-up sheds has been established. Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL-A government of India Enterprise) was set up on approximately 58 acres (230,000 m2) of land in Panchkula Industrial Area and today employs a large work force.

Phase 1

Sectors 1 through to 19, and Industrial area this is shaped like a large triangle, with the railway line being one side of the triangle and the Zirakpur Kalka road being another. The Industrial area is largely along the railway line. All the prime sectors and a well-developed market encompasses this triangle.

Phase 2

Sectors 20 through to 30. This has some sectors across the Zirakpur-Kalka road and many on both sides of the banks of the Ghagghar. This area is developing and with the years to come it will be known as modern Panchkula.

Phase 3

Are the new announced sectors beyond Ramgarh, to the east of the existing sectors.

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