Hisar district is one of the districts of the state of Haryana with its headquarters at Hisar town. Hisar town is located at 2905’5”north latitude and 75045’55” east longitudes. It is situated 164 kms west to Delhi on the National Highway 10 on the West Yamuna Canal. Hissar district, also called Hisar, has an area of 4191 sq km and its population is 12,30,000. Other smaller towns are Hansi, Uklana, Adampur Agroha and Barwala. Hissar town was one of the prime centers of Harappan culture.
The area has been associated with ancient Vedic culture tribes such as Bharatas, Purus, Kurus, Mujavatas and Mahavrishas. During medieval times it went through upheavals and conquests, and gained importance for its strategic location with regard to Delhi. It is a market for cotton, grain, and oilseed. An agricultural experimental farm is on Hisar's outskirts, one of N India's largest livestock-breeding centers. Cotton and silk fabrics are made by handloom in the town. Hisar, founded in 1356, became important under the Mughal empire. Depopulated by famine in 1783, Hisar was occupied by the British in 1803.
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 construction work of the Hisar city was started in the year 1354 A.D. under the personal supervision of Firozshah himself who stayed here for a sufficient time. The boundary wall of Hisar Firoza was built up of stones brought from the hills of Narsai. The Fort city was also surrounded by big ditch dug round the wall. A large and deep tank was constructed inside the fort, and the water used to replenish the ditch. Inside the fort a fine palace, having a complex of different buildings was built. Well laid out gardens added to the beauty of the palace. The initial stage of the city, it was reported, was completed after the incessant work of two and a half years.
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.
Hansi: In Hansi, Painted Grey Wares and coins of the Yaudheya dynasty have been discovered. The Hansi fort was the stronghold of defending as well as invading rulers particularly due to its closeness to Hissar and it’s strategic location on the imperial road from Delhi to Afghanistan. Before that Hansi was the chief administrative town in Haryana, and in 1902 it became a cantonment for the British.
Prithviraj Chauhan’s Fort: Prithviraj Chauhan built a fort in Hansi to fight the Mughals who eventually captured and fortified it. They also built a mosque within the fort complex.
Barsi Gate:Built by Alauddin Khilji in Hansi is an important defensive structure just outside the fort and is an outstanding example of how defences were built with architectural finesse. Today it stands in the centre of the bazaar, forming an imposing gate and a part of the imposing wall which forms the outer defence for Hansi. An inscription in Persian on the gate dates it back to AD 1304-5.
Dargah Char Qutub: Towards the west of the Hansi town lie four shrines in the memory of four Sufi saints, namely Jamal-ud-din Hansi (AD 1187 – 1261), Burhan-ud-din (AD 1261 – 1300), Qutub-ud-din Munawar (AD 1300 – 1303), and Nur-ud-din (AD 1325 – 1397). These were Sufi saints who were given the title of Qutubs, and this monument is the final resting place for them. The tomb itself is connected to a small mosque which in turn leads to a larger mosque built by Feroze Shah Tughlaq. There are more tombs within the complex: the tomb of Mir Tijarah (the chief purveyor of Sultan Hamid-ud-din of Hansi), Mir Alam’s tomb and that of Begum Skinner.
Agroha: was the prosperous and illustrious kingdom of Maharaja Agrasen about 3000 years back. The Agroha Mound, or 'Ther' as it is locally called, is about 1.5 km away from the present AGROHA village. Buried under this mound are the remains of an ancient town and its excavation was started in the year 1888-89. It was at that time that people came to know about this great kingdom. AGROHA is located some 20 km from Hissar city and some 190 km from Delhi on the Delhi-Fazilka national highway.