Ambala also spelt as 'Umbala' is located in the northeastern
state of Haryana, just east of the Ghaggar River. It is widely believed
that Ambala; the meeting point of the hills and plains was founded in the
14th century by one Amba Rajput. A major grain, cotton and sugar trade
centre, Ambala is a major pilgrim centre for the Sikhs and is known
basically for its shrines.
One of India's largest military cantonments, which also houses a commercial centre and an airfield, lies 4 miles southeast. Economically important industries include cotton ginning, flour milling, food processing, and various manufactures. Cloth weaving and bamboo-furniture making are important handicrafts.
The Name Game
There are many stories that are believed to have lent the present name 'Ambala' to the city. According to one, the town gets its name from one Amba Rajput, who founded this city way back in the 14th century. But a large section believes that Ambala came to be named so after the goddess Bhawani Amba who is an important deity of this place. Yet a third story says that the name of the town is a corrupted form of 'Amb wala' - a place abounding in mangoes, which no longer exist though.
Ambala, laid out in a grid fashion, became a large British cantonment in 1843 AD. The town is called Ambala City while this cantonment area is known as Ambala Cantt. The cantonment was established after another one at Karnal was abandoned in 1841 due to a massive spread of malaria.
Even before 1947, the district had some big factories. Today the city is the district headquarters and the centre of a booming manufacturing industry, especially that of scientific instruments. The place has the biggest natural lakes of Haryana and is truly an angler's paradise. You could spend a lazy day kiosk angling or boating.
The Gurudwaras: Ambala is known for the multiplicity of shrines and is revered by the Sikhs as an important Sikh pilgrimage. The three historical gurudwaras namely, Badshahi Bag Gurudwara, Sis Ganj Gurudwara and Manji Sahib Gurudwara are associated with Guru Govind Singh, Guru Tegh Bahadur and Guru Hargovind respectively. Muslim pilgrims throng the shrines or 'dargah' of Lakhi Shah, associated with Tej-ud-Din Chisti and Taqwal Shah, throughout the year.
Paget Park: Located in the north of the city is a pleasant open space known as the Paget Park. It has the shell of the St John's Cathedral, designed in the 14th century Gothic style, which was bombed in the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war.
Rang Mahal: the majestic palace of Rang Mahal at Buria has beautifully carved stone arches and pillars, erected during Shah Jahan's reign.
Other Attractions: Among the must-see locations, there's the Bhawani Amba Temple, Saint Paul's Church and a Christian cemetery for dead Britishers.
How To Get There
Air: The city is served by Ambala Airport.
Rail: The Shatabdi Express connects Ambala to New Delhi. Besides, there are frequent trains to Chandigarh.
Road: Ambala is connected by road with Delhi and Amritsar.
Where To Stay
Batra Palace, Lawrence Road.
King Fisher tourist complex (Haryana Tourism).
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