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Hisar

Hisar pronunciation (help·info) (Hindi: ‍हिसार), previously spelled Hissar, is the administrative headquarters of Hisar district in the state of Haryana in northwestern India. It is located 164 kilometres to the west of New Delhi, India's capital, and has been identified as a counter-magnet city for the National Capital Region to attract migrants and develop as an alternative centre of growth to Delhi. As of June 2012, Hisar is India's largest galvanized iron manufacturing city. Due to presence of a large steel industry, it is also known as "The City of Steel".

Hisar was founded in 1354 AD, as Hisar-e-Firoza by Firoz Shah Tughlaq, who reigned over the Sultanate of Delhi from 1351 to 1388. Firoz Shah also brought the waters of the Yamuna river to the city by means of a canal. The Ghaggar and Drishadvati rivers once flowed through the city but they have now changed their course. Hisar has a continental climate, with very hot summers and relatively cool winters. The most commonly spoken languages are Hindi and English; the most common dialects are Haryanvi and Bagri.

The city was ruled by several major powers, including the Mauryans in the 3rd century BC, the Tughlaqs in the 14th century, the Mughals in the 16th century and the British in the 19th century. After India achieved independence, it was unified with the state of Punjab. When the Punjab was divided in 1966, Hisar became part of Haryana.
It was in these lands that the very first evidence of the presence of man was discovered with the excavation of Agroha, Banawali and Kunal. All of these were the pre-Harappan settlements, bringing for us the very first images of pre-Historic times. The presence of the pillar in Hisar fort belonging to the time of Emperor Ashoka (234 A.D.) originally from Agroha, the discovery of coins of the Kushan Kings tells tales of ancient India.

The city of Hisar was founded by Firozshah Tughlaq in 1354 A.D. ‘Hisar’ is an Arabic word which means ‘Fort’. The city, which we know today as ‘Hisar’, was originally called ‘Hisar Firoza (also Hisar-e-Firoza) or in other words the ‘Fort of Firoz’.

The nobles and Amirs were also directed by the Sultan to get the residences built here. The buildings were constructed with lime and burnt bricks. The fort-city had four gates which were subsequently named as the Delhi Gate and Mori Gate to the east, the Nagori Gate to the south and Talaqi Gate to the west.

While constructing the palace, popularly known as ‘Gujari Mahal’ for his beloved, Firozshah also built a new city around it. The Gujari Mahal still stands in its austere majesty. This palace is a complex of different buildings, including the royal residence of the sultan Firozshah, Shahi Darwaza, Diwan-e-Aam, Baradari with three tehkhanas, a Hamam, a Mosque and a Pillar. The style of architecture of the Gujari Mahal is dignified. The palace has beautifully carved stone pillars.

In 1408 Hisar felt into the hands of the rebels, but was recovered by the royal army under the Emperor Mahmud Tughlaq in person. In 1411 the tract of Hansi came into the hands of Khizar Khan, and he ascended to the throne of Delhi in 1414 as the first Sultan of Sayyad Dynasty. In 1420 the fief of Hisar was conferred on Mahmud Hassan as reward for good services. During the feeble dynasty of the Lodhis (1451-1526) Hisar rather Haryana continued to form a parts of Haryana, was granted as a fief to Muhabbat Khan in the reign of Bahlol Lodi (1451-89).

When Babur invaded India in the 1524-26, Hisar was an important strategic center of Ibrahim Lodi’s empire. Before the battle of Panipat in 1526, on reaching the Ghaggar, Babur learnt that the troops from Hisar, led by Hamid Khan, were advancing towards him. He then dispatched prince Humayun with a sufficient number of army who succeeded in defeating the enemy. Babur handed over the city of Hisar to Humayun as a reward for his success in his first military expedition. Humayun ruled over India twice first from 1530 to 1540 and again from 1555 to 1556. During his first reign a mosque known as Jama Masjid was built here by Amir Muhammad in 1535.

During Akbar’s reign (1556-1605) Hisar became once more a place of considerable importance. It was made the headquarters of the revenue Division known as sirkar. As some of Mughal Princes who were attached with Hisar, subsequently became the Emperors. The city of Hisar then known in the history of India as the Duke of Wellington of Mughal Era.

The last noteworthy actor in the history of the tract of Hisar before the advent of the British power was George Thomas (1756-1802). He was an independent ruler of the tract of Haryana, including Hisar, from 1797m to 1802. The Jahaz Pul and the Jahaz Kothi situated to the east of the city of Hisar, still remind the great Irish adventurer. Thomas used the Jahaz Kothi, which was once a Jain temple and afterwards converted into a mosque, as a residence.

It gained importance in early sixties when Agriculture University was setup as an extension of the Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana.