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The district is named after Jalandhar, a demon king, who finds a mention in the Puranas and Mahabharta. According to another legend, Jalandhar was the capital of the kingdom of lav, son of Rama. According to yet another version Jalandhar is said to have derived its name from the vernacular term `Jalandhar’ means area inside the water, i.e. tract laying between the two rivers Satluj and Beas, still another name of Jalandhar had been Trigartta, as it was waters by three rivers, Satluj, Beas and Ravi.

Jalandhar is located on the intensively irrigated plain between the Beas and Sutlej rivers. The city, which has major road and rail connections, is a market for agricultural products. Manufactures include textiles, leather goods, wood products, and sporting goods. Jalandhar was the capital of Punjab from India's independence (1947) until Chandigarh was built in 1953.Jalandhar is situated at 710 31’ East and 300 33’ North at a distance of 146 kms from state capital Chandigarh. It is at a distance of 350 Kms from Delhi on Delhi-Amritsar Highway. It is surrounded by Ludhiana district in East, Kapurthala in West, Hosiharpur in North and Ferozepur in South. It is well connected by road and train. Nearest Airport is RajaSansi Airport, Amritsar at a distance of 90 kms.

Jalandhar is mentioned in the Hindu Puranic text,Lalitha Sahasranama as "Jalandhara peetha" referring to the temple of Kali in Jalandhar. The country is mentioned in a story about a Buddhist council at Kuvana near Jalandhar in the beginning of the Christian era, sponsored by Kanishka. Six Buddhist Councils were said to be held at Jalandhar in the fourth century and have established Buddha as God. According to the Chinese pilgrim Fa Hien, who traveled India between 399 and 411, there were many Buddhist places (viharas obviously) (about 50) and Buddhism was practiced by many people. Hiuen Tsang visited the area in the seventh century when Jalandhar was the capital of the Rajput kingdom of Trigarta which was integrated into the modern districts of Jalandhar, Nawanshahr, Hoshiarpur and Kangra and native states Chamba, Mandi and Suket; Harshavardhana then reigned in Punjab, And the kingdom of Jalandhar was headed by his Trigarta feudatory Utito Raja whom Alexander Cunningham identifies with the Rajput Raja Attar Chand dynasty of Katoch. According to Hiuen the kingdom extended some 270 km from west to east and about 215, north to south, Jalandhar was a big city and capital of the kingdom of the Katoch dynasty. The Katoch maintained their control over the region with few interruptions until Lal Sefle XII, with his capital in Jalandhar, and Kangra as a fortress. Rajatarangini the end of the ninth century mentions the defeat of Prithwi Chandra, Raja of Trigarta at the hands of Chandra Sankara Kashmir. Between the eighth and tenth century it was the center of the great Nath movement, one member of which was the chief saint Jalandhar Nath. At the end of the tenth century until 1019 the territory was in the hands of Shahi Punjab.

In 1088 (Or 1188) the city was conquered by Ghaznevid Sultan Ibrahim ben Massoud, (or Ibrahim Shah Ghur), and it seems that it later became under Muslim rule generally dependent on the province Lahore within Delhi Sultanate. During the Sayyid dynasty (1414–1451) Delhi's authority waned and the area was theater of numerous rebel movements and especially the head Khokhar Jasrath. In Jalandhar Mughal forces were concentrated in 1555 when Humayun returned to deliver the battle that allowed him to regain the throne and the kingdom in the vicinity saw the defeat of the forces of Bairam Khan at the hands of the imperial forces in 1560. Under Akbar the Great I it was the center of a Sarkar.