Haryana was the cradle of the Indus Valley and Vedic Civilizations, both flourishing on the banks of the now lost Saraswati river. Several decisive battles were fought in the area, which shaped much of the history of India. These include the epic battle of Mahabharata at Kurukshetra (including the recital of the Bhagavad Gita by Krishna), and the three battles of Panipat. Haryana was administered as part of the Punjab province during the British Raj, and was carved out on linguistic lines as India's 17th state in 1966. Haryana is now a leading contributor to the country's production of foodgrain and milk. Agriculture is the leading occupation for the residents of the state, the flat arable land irrigated by submersible pumps and an extensive canal system. Haryana contributed heavily to the Green Revolution that made India self-sufficient in food production in the 1960s.
The state of Haryana has the 3rd highest per capita income in the country at Rs 29,887, including the largest number of rural crorepatis in India. It is one of the leading industrialized states of India, and is considered to be the current growth engine of India, with the city of Gurgaon rapidly emerging as a major hub for the information technology and automobile industries. Gurgaon is home to Maruti Udyog Limited, India's largest automobile manufacturer, and Hero Honda Limited, the world's largest manufacturer of two-wheelers. Panipat, Panchkula and Faridabad are also industrial hubs, with the Panipat Refinery being the second largest refinery in South Asia. There are also long established steel and textile industries in the state.
The state of Haryana has played a very important role in the history of India since ancient times. In the times of British India, Haryana was administered as a part of the Punjab province and played a vital role in the politics of the region.
In some ancient Hindu texts, the boundaries of Kurukshetra correspond roughly to the state of Haryana. Thus according to the Taittiriya Aranyaka 5.1.1., the Kurukshetra region is south of Turghna (Srughna/Sugh in Sirhind, Punjab), north of Khandava (Delhi and Mewat region), east of Maru (desert) and west of Parin.
Mahabharata, the great epic of India mentions Haryana as Bahudhhanyaka, 'land of plentiful grains' and Bahudhana, 'land of immense riches'. Several places mentioned in Mahabharata correspond to modern day cities in Haryana: Prithudaka (Pehowa), Tilprastha (Tilput), Panprastha (Panipat) and Sonprastha (Sonipat).Gurgaon refers to the village of the Guru Dronacharya. The great battle between the Kauravas and the Pandavas took place near the city of Kurukshetra. Krishna preached the Bhagvad Gita to the reluctant Arjuna there. For eighteen days, armies from all over India battled on the plains of Kurukshetra to decide who would sit on the throne of Hastinapur.
Emperor Janamejaya's younger brother, Prince Kakshasena established a separate independent kingdom at Indraprastha, which later rose to become a dominant force in its own right.
Emperor Janamejaya’s youngest brother Raja Nakay Rao, a Tomar Rajput established a kingdom at Kalanaur in Northern India. Modern day political boundaries today locate Kalanaur City in the district of Rohtak in Haryana, India. Centuries later in early 7th. Century, Jiral Dynasty arose taking the name Jiral from Raja Jai Rao, a Tomar Rajput direct descendant of Emperor Janamejaya and the Pandavas of the Mahabharata. Jirals ruled a big part of Northern India from 7th. to 11th. Century. Jiral Raja participated in both the Battles of Thanesar (Tarrain) 1191 and 1192 being related to Prithviraj Chauhan through his wife, daughter of King Anangpal of Dehli.
Maharaja Agrasen is said to have established a flourishing city of merchants at Agroha near modern Hisar. Legend has it that anyone wishing to settle in the city was given a brick and a rupee by each of the city's lakh residents. Thus, they would have enough bricks to build a house and enough money to start a business of their own.
The three famous battles of Panipat took place near the modern town of Panipat. The first battle took place in 1526, where Babur, the ruler of Kabul defeated Ibrahim Lodi of the Delhi Sultanate, through the use of field artillery. In the second battle of Panipat (November 5, 1556), Akbar's forces defeated the Hindu king Hem Chandra Vikramaditya also called Hemu,who belonged to Rewari in Haryana and who had won 22 battles during 1553-1556 before acceeding to Delhi throne. The Third Battle of Panipat was fought in 1761 between the Afghan warlord Ahmad Shah Abdali and the Marathas under Sadashivrao Bhau of Pune. Ahmad Shah won decisively, on January 13, 1761.
The city of Chandigarh, and a Punjabi speaking area of district Rupnagar were made a union territory serving as the capital of both Punjab and Haryana. Chandigarh was due to transfer to the state of Punjab in 1986 according to the Rajiv-Longowal Accord, but the transfer was delayed pending an agreement on which parts of the Hindi-speaking areas of Abohar and Fazilka, currently part of Firozpur District of Punjab, were to be transferred to Haryana in exchange.
The river Ghaggar is Haryana's main seasonal river. The Ghaggar rises in the outer Himalayas, between the Yamuna and the Sutlej and enters Haryana near Pinjore, district Panchkula. Passing through Ambala and Hissar, it reaches Bikaner in Rajasthan and runs a course of 290 miles before disappearing into the deserts of Rajasthan.
The Markanda river's ancient name was Aruna. A seasonal stream like the Ghaggar, it originates from the lower Shivalik hills and enters Haryana near Ambala. During monsoons, this stream swells into a raging torrent notorious for its devastating power. The surplus water is carried on to the Sanisa lake where the Markanda joins the Saraswati.
An important tributary is the Tangri. The Sahibi originates in the Mewat hills near Jitgarh and Manoharpur in Rajasthan. Gathering volume from about a hundred tributaries, it reaches voluminous proportions, forming a broad stream around Alwar and Patan. On reaching Rohtak it branches off into two smaller streams, finally reaching the outskirts of Delhi and flowing into the Yamuna. There are three other rivulets in and around the Mewat hills – Indori, Dohan and Kasavati and they all flow northwards from the south.
Hindus make up about 88% of the population, Sikhs 5.5%% Muslims 5.8%, Jains 0.3%, Christians 0.1% and Buddhists 0.03%. Muslims are mainly in the Mewat district, while Sikhs are mostly in the districts adjoining Punjab. Agriculture and related industries have been the backbone of the local economy. These days the state is seeing a massive influx of immigrants from across the nation, primarily from Bihar, Bengal and Nepal.
Haryana is proud of its rich cultural heritage that goes way back to the Vedic times. The state is rich in folklore. The people of Haryana have their own traditions. The age old customs of meditation, yoga and chanting of vedic mantras, are still observed by the masses. The seasonal and religious festivals glorify the culture of this region. Dance is said to be the mother of all arts and Haryana boasts of a dance form called Ghoomer. Music and poetry exist in tune, painting and architecture in space. Dance is not just a form of recreation but something needed to release the physical and emotional energy. Folk dances, like other creative art, help in sublimating the performer's worries and cares. The people of Haryana have preserved their old religious and social traditions. They celebrate festivals with great enthusiasm and traditional fervor. Their culture and popular art are Saangs, dramas, ballads and songs in which they take great delight.
With Hindi and Haryanvi forming the main languages, there are numerous other dialects spoken in Haryana. However, almost all of them are derived from ancient Sanskrit and Prakrit. Sanskrit is still taught in most of the schools in Haryana. In towns and cities, English is widely spoken with a hazy mixture of Hindi. The most striking feature of Haryana is its language itself; or rather, the manner in which it is spoken. Popularly known as Haryanvi or Bangaru, it is perhaps a bit crude, but full of earthy humor and straightforwardness. With rapid urbanization and due to Haryana's close proximity to Delhi, the cultural aspects are now taking on a more modern hue.
In the context of Haryana, the number of films produced remained very small till 1984. In the 70s, only two Haryanvi movies were released, Harphool Singh and Beera Shera. Both the films failed in catching the imagination of the Haryanvi people because they did not represent the true culture of Haryana. After the failure of these two Haryanvi films, nobody dared to produce a Haryanvi film for a decade. However in 1980, a few youngsters having an active interest in the production of Haryanvi films approached Devi Shankar Prabhakar to help them with their cause.
When Chandrawal was released in March 1984, it created a stir in the film industry. Chandrawal broke all records on the box-office in Haryana, Western U.P., Delhi and parts of Rajasthan. It surpasses the great hit Hindi films like Sholay and Bobby in these parts of India. The entire cost of the film was recovered from the window of Gagan Cinema, Faridabad where the film celebrated Silver Jubilee. In Western U.P., the film even surpassed the success of Haryana when it celebrated its Golden Jubilee in Muzaffarnagar and Silver Jubilee in Meerut, Shamli and Saharanpur. Chandrawal set a world record and the producers of the movie honoured a dozen cine-goers of Haryana and Western U.P., who watched the movie more than 200 times each.
The unprecedented success of Chandrawal created wide-spread temptation amongst investors for producing Haryanvi films in order to make fast money. Just after Chandrawal a number of films were produced by many different producers with titles like Gulabo, Ke Sapne Ka Jikar, Chhora Haryana Ka, Bateu, Bhanwer Chameli, Chhori Supelle Ki, Panghat and others. The films produced under the banner of Prabhakar Films have maintained their leading position in the field. After Chandrawal came Laddo Basanti in 1985 and Phool Badan in 1986. Though these films could not recreate the magic of Chandrawal in terms of financial gains, yet both these films became popular with the people.
More than a thousand medium and large industries with a capital investment of Rs. 2000 billion or $ 40.4 billion have been established in the state in mainly Gurgaon, Panchkula, Faridabad and Bahadurgarh. As a result, Haryana's share in national production is 50% of passenger cars, 50% of motorcycles, 30% of refrigerators, 25% of tractors, bicycles and sanitary wares, and 20% of the country's export of scientific instruments. These include Hindustan National Glass, Maruti Udyog Limited, Escorts, Hero Honda, Alcatel, Sony, Whirlpool India, Bharti Telecom, Liberty Shoes and Hindustan Machine Tools. In addition there are more than 80,000 small-scale industrial units in the state which cumulatively bring in a substantial income for the state and its people. Yamunanagar district has a paper mill BILT, Haryana has a large production of cars, motorcycles, tractors, sanitary ware, glass container industry, gas stoves and scientific instruments.
Faridabad is another big industrial part of Haryana. It is home to hundreds of large scale companies like Orient fans (C.K.Birla Group), JCB India Limited, Nirigemes, Agri Machinery Group (Escorts Limited), Yamaha Motor India Pvt. Ltd., Whirlpool, ABB, Goodyear Tyres, Knorr Bremse India Pvt. Ltd. There are thousands of medium and small scale units as well, like Amrit Enterprises, McAma Industries. Panipat is a city of textiles and carpets. It is the biggest centre for cheap blankets and carpets in India and has a handloom weaving industry. The pickle "Pachranga International" is also well known. Panipat also has heavy industry, with a refinery of the Indian Oil Corporation, a National Thermal Power Corporation power plant and a National Fertilizers Limited plant.
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Despite recent industrial development, Haryana is primarily an agricultural state. About 70% of residents are engaged in agriculture Wheat and rice are the major crops. Haryana is self-sufficient in food production and the second largest contributor to India's central pool of food grains. The main crops of Haryana are Wheat, Rice, Sugarcane, Cotton, Oilseeds, Gram, Barley, Corn, Millet etc. There are two main types of crops in Haryana: Rabi and Kharif. The major Kharif crops of Haryana are rice, jowar, bajra, maize, cotton, jute, sugarcane, sesame and groundnut. For these crops the ground is prepared in April and May and the seeds are sown at the commencement of rains in June. The crops are ready for harvesting by the beginning of November. The major Rabi crops are wheat, tobacco, gram, linseed, rapeseed and mustard. The ground is prepared by the end of October or the beginning of November and the crops are harvested by March.
About 86% of the area is arable, and of that 96% is cultivated. About 75% of the area is irrigated, through tubewells and an extensive system of canals. Haryana contributed significantly to the Green Revolution in India in the 1970s that made the country self-sufficient in food production. The state has also significantly contributed to the field of agricultural education in the country. Asia's biggest agricultural University - Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University is located at Hisar and it has made a significant contribution in ushering in the 'Green Revolution' in the state. Haryana has a very fine irrigation infrastructure. Irrigation in Haryana uses water either from under the ground or from surface through canals. Numerous canals have been dug and pumps put up to make sure that the farmer doesn’t pack up and leave in times of drought. Currently in Haryana, the most important technology for groundwater irrigation is the use of tube wells with a submersible pump.
Dairy farming is also an essential part of the rural economy. Haryana has a livestock population of 98.97 lakh.Milk and milk products form an essential part of the local diet. There is the saying Desaan main des Haryana, jit doodh dahi ka khaana, which means "Best among all the countries in the world is Haryana, where the staple food is milk and yoghurt". Haryana, with 660 grams of availability of milk per capita per day, ranks at number two in the country as against the national average of 232 grams. There is a vast network of milk societies that support the dairy industry. The National Dairy Research Institute at Karnal, and the Central Institute for Research on Buffaloes at Hisar are instrumental in development of new breeds of cattle and propagation of these breeds through embryo transfer technology. The Murrah breed of water buffalo from Haryana is world-famous for its milk production.
Haryana is a trend setter in the field of passenger transport. It has a total road length of 23684 kilometers. The remotest parts of the state are linked with metaled roads. Its modern bus fleet of 3,864 buses covers a distance of 1.15 million Kilometers per day. It was the first State in the country to introduce luxury video coaches. Grand Trunk Road, commonly abbreviated to GT Road, is one of South Asia's oldest and longest major roads. It passes through the districts of Sonipat, Panipat, Karnal, Kurukshetra and Ambala. The state government proposes to construct Express highways and free ways for speedier vehicular traffic. The 135.6-km long Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway(KMP) will provide high-speed link to northern Haryana with its southern districts such as Sonepat, Jhajjar, Gurgaon and Faridabad. The work on the project has already started and is scheduled to be completed by July. 2009. Haryana is in close contact with the cosmopolitan world, being right next to Delhi. As a result, international and domestic airports, diplomatic and commercial complexes are located in close proximity to the state.
Haryana State has always given high priority to the expansion of electricity infrastructure, as it is one of the most important inputs for the development of the State. Haryana was the first State in the country to achieve 100% rural electrification in 1970, first in the country to link all villages with all weather roads and first in the country to provide safe drinking water facilities throughout the state Haryana is well connected on the railway network as well. The main railway routes passing through Haryana are: Amritsar - Delhi, Rewari - Ahmedabad, Bhiwani - Rohtak - Delhi, Ambala - Ferozepur, Delhi - Ferozepur, Kalka - Jodhpur, Kalka - Howrah, Amritsar - Howrah and Delhi - Shimla
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Leading institute for Technical Education in Haryana is NIT Kurukshetra. Earlier it was famous by the name Regional Engineering College, Kurukshetra. There are five universities in the state. Technical education and management studies are provided by Maharishi Dayanand University at Rohtak have an University Institute Of Engg. & Tech.,University Campus named as U.I.E.T.,ROHTAK, Kurukshetra University at Kurukshetra, Guru Jambheshwar University of Science & Technology at Hisar and Chaudhary Devi Lal University at Sirsa. Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University at Hisar is one of the biggest agricultural universities in Asia. It is engaged in education, research and development related to agriculture. The National Dairy Research Institute at Karnal provides education in the field of dairy science. It has been upgraded to the level of a Deemed University. There are medical colleges in Rohtak, Mullana and Agroha. Pt. B.D. Sharma PGIMS Rohtak is a premier post-graduate medical institute in North India offering courses in major specialties and super specialties of medicine. There is also the Management Development Institute in Gurgaon, which is amongst the premier management institutes of India.
Haryana is one of the leading states in sports as well. During the 33rd National games held in Assam in 2007, Haryana stood 4th in the nation with a medal tally of 80, including 30 Gold, 22 Silver and 28 Bronze medals. In team sports, Haryana is the national champion in Men's Volleyball and Women's hockey. Haryana is a traditional powerhouse in games like kabbadi, kho-kho, judo, boxing and wrestling. Sports in the state are managed by the Department of Sports & Youth Affairs, Haryana. Nahar Singh Stadium for international cricket was built in Faridabad in the year 1981. This ground has the capacity to hold around 25,000 people as spectators. The Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Panchkula is a multi-sport complex. It came into prominence because of the Indian Cricket League's inaugural Twenty20 tournament. The DLF golf course in Gurgaon offers challenging play for golfers of all skill levels and a natural beauty that envelops your senses.
In the Beijing Olympics 2008 sportspersons from Harayna exhibited high level of competitiveness especially in the field of boxing. In middleweight category Vijender Kumar was awarded his middleweight (75 kg) bronze medal. Vijender happends to be the first Indian boxer to win a medal in Olympic games.