Ambala district is one of the districts of the state of Haryana with its headquarters at Ambala city. Other towns are Ambala Cantt., Barara, Naggal, Mulana, Saha and Shahzadpur. The total area of Ambala district is 1569 sq kms and its population is 11,06,000. It is famous for its big army cantonment, air force base and a very busy railway junction. Ambala district is famous for its industries, especially that of scientific instruments, metal casting, kitchen mixer grinders and submersible motor pumps.
The district Ambala lies on the North-Eastern edge of Haryana between 27-39"-45' North latitude and 74-33"-53' to 76-36"-52' East longitude. It is bounded by the district Yamunanagar to the South-East. To its South lies Kurukshetra district while in its west is situated Patiala and Ropar districts of Punjab and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. The Shivalik Range of Solan and Sirmaur districts of Himachal Pradesh bounds the Ambala district in the North and North-East. The height from the sea level is 900feet
There are a number of stories regarding the name 'Ambala'. According to one, Ambala District has been founded by Amba Rajput during the 14th century AD. Another version is that the name is a corruption of Amba Wala or the mango-village judging from mango groves that existed in its immediate neighborhood. Still another version is that the District has taken its name after goddess "Bhawani Amba" whose Temple still exist in Ambala city.
The earliest inhabitants of district were a primitive people using stone tools of lower palacolithic Age. These tools were found at various sites in the district like Tarlokpur etc. Unfortunately this district has not yielded any pre Harappan or mature Harappan site. However there has been some satisfactory evidence in kins of late Harappan. The Various evidence specially that of painted Grey ware pottery support the fact that the Aryans also inhabited the region. The Ambala region was included in the Kingdom of Pandava and there successors.The Edicts of Ashoka Chiefly Topara edicts and stupas at Singh and Chaneti associate this district with Maurayan Empire which further add to the district with Mauryan Empire which further add to the importance of place. The discovering of Sunga Terralottas suggests that they held this area. Several coins of menander have alsobeen recovered from the area. The district has also yielded Coins of Indo Parthian Gondophernes and a coin of Mahakshtrapa Rajuvala (from Ambala and Nariangarh). At some places Kushan Bricks have also been found which justify the conclusion that this district was included in the Kushana empire. According to Dr.R.C. Majumdar the region between Lahore and Karnal formed a part of Samudra Gupta empire . This evidence is supported by Mehrauli Pillar Inscription and silver coins found at various places.The region formed an integral part of nearly all the premier ruling dynasties of India. In 7th Century is was a part of Sukantha Janpada of puspabhuti of Thanesar. Some foreign sources specially those of Chinese pilgrimage Hiven Tsang who visited during Harsha regime show that this District was also under some influence of Buddhism . The district further Witnessed the Imperial ambition of Yaso Verman of Kanauj and laladitya. After the invasion of Mohammed Ghaznavi charuhaus brought it under their control the Topara pillar stands Testimony of this fact. Finally the Muslims under took the district after the defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan in the second Battle of Terrain 1192. Between 9th to12th century this district retained its importance as a centre of religious pilgrimage. The discovery of image of lords at several places suggest existence of beautiful temples which were probably destroyed during Muslim invasions.
The advent of British Rule Marked the growth of Sikh Power in this region and the consequent destruction by British in 1805. The British in order to increase their sway beyond Yamuna look the Chiefs in Ambala under their protection. The British Controlled the affairs of all states in the region in a most effective manner through the political agency at Ambala . In 1845, the Sikh chief showed passive obstruction or open hostility to the British. The result was the police jurisdiction of most of the chief as well as transit and custom duty were abolished and a commutation was accepted for the personal service of the chief of his contingent. The political agency of Ambala was transformed into Commissionership under the commissioner of the cis-Satluj states. By 1846 several chiefships had lapsed owing to their failure to have male heirs and the so called break down of administrative machinery. The British acquired strips of territory around Ambala district in 1847. In 1849, Punjab was annexed and then it was declared that expect Buria and Kalsia all chiefs would cease to hold sovereign powers.
The Ambala district played a significant role in uprising of 1857. Ambala was a military depot of great Importance then. Sham Singh ,a sepoy of the 5th Native infantry told Forsyth, the then Deputy Commissioner Ambala in the end of April 1857 that a general rising of the Sepoys would take place in the beginning of May. He was proved Correct at approximately 9 A.M.on Sunday 10th May 1857 an Indian regiment the 60th Native Infantry rose in open revolt at Ambala followed by 5th native infantry at 12 noon but the Britsh were too alert and suppressed the revolt. Like the sepoys, the civil population was also badly disaffected.
There are many shrines in and around Ambala City. There is a temple, Bhawani Amba, named after the goddess Bhawani. The Badshahi Bag Gurdwara, Sis Ganj Gurdwara, Manji Sahib Gurdwara, Sangat Sahib Gurdwara are the historical gurdwaras here. These are associated with Guru Gobind Singh, Guru Tegh Bahadur and Guru Hargobind respectively. Besides there are the popular Muslim shrines of Lakhi Shah and Taqwal Shah, Saint Pauls Church and an old British Christian cemetery. Patel Park in Ambala Cantt and City Park in Ambala City are two beautiful gardens.
Rang Mahal, at nearby place Buria, is a well crafted palace with stone arches and pillars with beautiful carvings, erected during Shah Jahans reign. Haryana Tourism has the Kingfisher resort on the national highway just outside the cantonment.