History of Gurdaspur

Punjab is a land of culture and heritage. The historical past of this prat of India is rich and is worth knowing. Every part of Punjab has some interesting stories to tell and share. We should learn a little bit about the history of every place that we visit. The ancient structures and the ruins that we see in the cities, towns and villages tell us what that place went through to be what it is today. All the forts, temples and ancient structures witnessed the history that was being made. These structures and sites are priceless and needs to be preserved.

History of Gurdaspur
History of Gurdaspur

Gurdaspur in Punjab is an historic city. Even though very little is known about the historic past of this place, whatever is known and available is preserved. This place once formed part of Alexander’s territory and was later ruled by Mughal Emperors. Later Sikh Gurus took over and reformed Gurdaspur. It would be an interesting experience to know a little about the history of Gurdaspur. The knowledge will help you to explore and understand the place in a better way.

Ancient History of Gurdaspur

The ancient history of the Gurdaspur is not known. Only a few antiquities are found in the rock temples of Mukteshwar. But apart from this nothing much is known about the city. Alexander who came to River Beas as part of his world conquest fought with Kathaians in Sangala which is situated near Fatehgarh in Gurdaspur.

Origin of the name Gurdaspur

In the early 17th century, Guriyaji Mahant found Gurdaspur. He bought the place from Jats of Sangi Gotra and named it after him as Gurdaspur. Guriyaji was a Kaushal Gotra Sanwal Brahmin. He came from the village of Paniar which is about 5 miles to the north of Gurdaspur. His ancestors came moved from Ayodhya and settled down in Paniar. Guriya Ji had two sons, Sh. Pala Ji and Sh. Nawal Rai. The sons of Sh. Nawal Rai settled in the Gurdaspur city. Baba Deep Chand who was the son of Sh. Nawal Rai was Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s contemporary. It is said that Guru Gobind Singh Ji gave Baba Deep Chand the title of Ganj Bakhsh which means Owner Of Treasure. Baba Deep Chand’s descendants are known as Mahants.

Rulers of Gurdaspur

Gurdaspur was ruled by the Shahi dynasty. Under Shahi dynasty, Jayapal and Anandpal ruled the region around Punjab including Gurdaspur. Between 14th to 16th century, the region was attacked twice by Jasrath Khokhar. His first attack was in 1422 after his unsuccessful battle in Lahore. The next attack came in 1428 after Malik Sikander defeated Jasrath. It is believed that Emperor Akbar was crowned here in the Gurdaspur district in February 1556. The place where the Emperor was crowned lies about 1.5 km east of the city.Soon, the Mughal dynasty fell and the Sikh power gained momentum. Many Sikh gurus worked towards the upliftment of the district. The Sikh guru Guru Nanak who was born in 1469 in Lahore married Sulkhani in 1485. Sulkhani was the daughter of Mool Chand who was a Khatri of Pakhoke. Pakhoke was part the Batala Tehsil.

Influence of Sikh Guru

Sri Hargobindpur which was originally known as Rahila was refounded by the Sikh Guru Hargobind. Guru Gobind Singh’s disciple Banda Singh Bahadur used Gurdaspur to raid the country until Lahore. Banda Bahadar fought his last battle before being captured here in Gurdas Nangal. Later arch rivals Ramgarhia Misl and Kanhaiya Misls fought for their supremacy in the region. Ramgarhia Misl lost the power in 1808 and Kanhaiya Misls lost power in 1811. Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the lion of Punjab made Dina Nagar his summer residence. He loved the mango gardens and the running canals of the Dina Nagar. He made sure he spent the summer months of May and June here in his favorite place.

During the rule of Mughal Emperor Jahangir, holy saints Yogiraj and Satguru Maheshwar Das ji established Shri Pindori Dham a spiritual institution to serve the public with welfare activities. The Emperor was impressed with the Saint’s activites and gifted huge estate and rich pension to the institution. After Jahangir, many kings donated money to the institution having being impressed by the service they are undertaking. Even today, this institution serves the orphans, poor and people in need.

Gurdaspur during Partition of India

Under the rule of British, Gurdaspur was part of Lahore division.During the partition of India and Pakistan after independence, Punjab was also divided between Pakistan and India. It could not be decided Gurdaspur belonged to which country as majority of the population at that time were Muslims. After some debate and thinking, the Shakargarh Tehsil Of Gurdaspur district was transferred to Pakistan by the Radcliffe Awards of Boundary. The Muslims of the rest of the district migrated to Pakistan and the Hindus and the Sikhs of the Shakargarh Tehsil relocated to India.
On July 27th 2011, the district of Gurdaspur was further divided into Pathankot district which now comprises of two sub divisions namely Pathankot and Dharkalan and two sub tehsils Narot Jaimal Singh and Bamial.
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