Haryana State Information
Capital : Chandigarh
Language: Haryanvi, Hindi, English
Introduction to Haryana
The small state of Haryana was founded in 1966 when the former state of Punjab was divided into Haryana and the modern Punjab. It is both the oldest and most modern of places. Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh surround the state. The state was a major contributor to the “Harit Kranti”, the green revolution and is a good blend of traditional and modern cultures.
Geography of Haryana
Located in the Northern part of India, Haryana is bound by Uttar Pradesh in the east, Punjab in the west, Himachal Pradesh in the north and Rajasthan in the South. The national capital territory of Delhi is next to Haryana. Haryana is situated between the latitude 30.30° North and longitude 74.60° East. Most of Haryana is in the plains with the Aravali mountain range starting its westward journey from here. The Yamuna is the only major river that passes through this small state, which is one of the greenest in the country. There is a very good network of canals throughout the state, giving it the much-needed impetus for agriculture, the mainstay of Haryana’s economy.
Brief History of Haryana
By Manu, the lawgiver in Indian mythology, designated Haryana as Brahmavart from where the Brahmanical religion and social system grew up and spread outwards to the rest of the country. In a sense, therefore, one can say that much of the Hindu religion and society was formed on the flat, dry plains of the present-day Haryana. In the epic of the Mahabharata, it was at Kurukshetra, during a battle between that Kaurava and Pandava princes that Lord Krishna delivered one of his most important messages through the celestial sermon-the Geeta. With Delhi as the prize awaiting generations of invaders, Haryana served as a sort of a geographical corridor. Over the centuries, waves of invaders poured across the plains of Haryana, sometimes fighting battles there. At the end of the 14th century, Timur led an army through the state towards Delhi. In 1526, the invading Mughals defeated the armies of the ruling Lodi dynasty at the Battle of Panipat and 30 years later, in 1556, the Mughals won yet another decisive battle there. By the mid-18th century, the Marathas were in control of Haryana, an era that was brought to an end after the Afghans under Ahmed Shah Abdali defeated the Maratha forces in the third battle of Panipat in 1761.
Districts of Haryana
Haryana has 19 districts: Ambala, Bhiwani, Faridabad, Fatehabad, Gurgaon, Hissar, Jhajjar, Jind, Kaithal, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Mahendergarh, Panchkula, Panipat, Rewari, Rohtak, Sirsa, Sonepat & Yamuna Nagar.
Economy of Haryana
The location factor i.e. nearness to the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the abundance of resources has helped the state to achieve the status of a leading industrialized state in India. The principle minerals produced in the state are kaolin, limestone, lime kankar, saltpetre, tin and tungsten. Agriculture is the main occupation of the people of the state. Rice, wheat, jowar, bajra, maize, barley, pulses, sugarcane, cotton, oil seeds and potato are the major crops of the state.
Haryana Travel Information
Haryana has several places of tourism importance. Just around the corner from south Delhi, a mere eight-kilometre drive away lies Surajkund with its large sun pool and amphitheatre. Built during the 10th century AD by Raja Suraj Pal of the Tomar dynasty, Surajkund combines proximity to the national capital with many amenities and comforts in an ambience that is typically rural and far away from the trappings of the urban centers. Also within an easy motoring distance from New Delhi is the Badkhal Lake. Here, the Aravali hills are on the fringe and the lake offers special opportunities for water sports such as canoeing, kayaking or just a simple boat ride. In addition, there is a luxury yacht for those interested. But the real attraction of Badkhal Lake are its serene waters around which small cottages have been built at an elevation, thus affording the occupants a splendid view of the lake alive with the activity of birds during the winter months.
Farther a field, yet well connected to Delhi and on the National Highway No 1, is another manmade lake, named after Karna, one of the heroes of the epic Mahabharat. Having been carved out of a marshy area, the Karna Lake offers all the advantages of a designer complex with charming cottages overlooking a landscaped garden and tall eucalyptus trees planted to act as a barricade against the noise of the highway. Other trees and the emerald waters of the lake become the home for the pied crested kingfishers, darters, ducks and geese during the winter months.
Haryana is proud of its many lake retreats besides Badkhal and Karna. There is the Tilyar Lake at Rohtak, 70 kilometres away from Delhi, with facilities like boating and kayaking. In a different direction and located 64 kilometres from Delhi on the old highway to Alwar, is the Damdama Lake with cottages built on higher ground and mirrored in the calm waters of the lake. A camping complex for the adventurous is also there and facilities for sports such as rock climbing on the surrounding Aravali ranges, canoeing, kayaking, cycling and trekking are all available. Not far from the Damdama Lake is Sohna, named thus after traces of gold were found in the nearby waters in the old times. Sohna has become quite popular due to the annual Vintage Car Rally that takes place in February. Motorists drive the 56 kilometres from Delhi and come to rest and picnic here, half way away from the venue of the rally. If one wants to get away from Delhi towards the shadow of the mountains, there are the Yadavindra Gardens at Pinjore, just 22 kilometres from Chandigarh. Here, a historic building belonging to the 17th century is set in a Mughal garden, with a waterway surrounded by green lawns. A later addition to this beautiful spot is a Japanese garden.
Kurukshetra in Haryana is the name given to an area covering 48 kosas (an Indian unit of measuring land) where 860 places of pilgrimage related to the Mahabharata exist today. The important sites are the Brahma Sarovar, Sannihit Sarovar, Gurudwara Sadbhiti, Thaneswar Tirtha, and Rajghat. Near Kurukshetra, Thaneswar is a sacred town for Hindus because Lord Shiva in the form of the lingam (phallic representation of Shiva) was first worshipped here. Also situated here is the tomb of Sheikh Chilli Jalal. It is a fascinating monument, octagonal in shape, crowned with a dome of white marble and surrounded by a white marble courtyard. Also worth a visit are the Chini Masjid and Pathar Masjid, two outstanding Islamic monuments.
The Surajkund Crafts Mela is the largest crafts fair in India, is celebrated in the month of February for fifteen days and a good time to see the crafts and culture of the state.
Rivers of Haryana
Haryana has no perennial rivers. The important rivers are Yamuna, the Saraswati and the Ghaggar. Several small streams flows through the state they are the Markanda, the Sahibi and Indori. Yamuna is the most important river in the state. It has its source in the hills at Kalesar and is the source of irrigation for large tracts in the districts of Ambala, Kurukshetra, Karnal, Hissar and Rohtak through the western Yamuna canals. The river Saraswati begins in the large depression at Kalawar in the north of the Mustafabad Pargana of Jagadhri. The Ghaggar rises in the outer Himalayan ranges between the Yamuna and the Sutlej.
Education in Haryana
Haryana has a large network of schools, colleges and universities. During 2001-02, there were 11,013 primary schools, 1,918 middle schools, 3,023 high schools and 1,301 senior secondary schools in the state. Haryana Board of School Education conducts public examinations at middle, matriculation, and senior secondary levels twice a year. The Haryana government provides free education to women up to graduation level. There are four universities in the state. Technical education and management studies are provided by Maharshi Dayanand University at Rohtak, Kurukshetra University at Kurukshetra and Guru Jambheshwar University at Hisar. 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 and Agroha.
Food of Haryana
Haryana, an agricultural state, has retained its simplicity in cuisine. One can try a glass of lassi or chaaj (buttermilk) followed by angakda, small thick rotis made of barley (jau) floor cooked directly on fire. Butter made at home, onions or a pungent red chili, onion, and garlic chutney often accompany the angakda. Haryanvi cuisine is simple, wholesome and full of the goodness of the land. One common favourite that binds the entire state together is milk. The people of Haryana have great fondness for milk and milk products and these form an essential part of the their diet.
Arts & Culture of Haryana
The people of the Harappan Civilisation were the first to inhabit this land around 4,500 years ago. Later, Aryans-one of the great nomadic tribe from Central Asia-started migrating from their native place to two different destinations, i.e. Europe in the west and the Indian subcontinent in the east. The land of Punjab and Haryana were the places where they settled down first and called the land Panchal (land of five rivers) because of the presence of the mighty Indus and its tributaries. The present inhabitants of Haryana are the descendents of the same Aryan race.
In Haryana, crafts have never been a major pre-occupation as the women too normally work in the fields alongside the men. Consequently, the crafts of the state are simple. Most crafts have not evolved into art forms and remain rooted to their original usage.
Haryana boasts of a robust handloom tradition, especially in Panipat. Panipat is famous as a center for rugs and upholstery fabric and is a major textile town of India. Thick fabrics are a specialty of Haryana, as the climatic conditions do not allow the use of fine threads in normal looms. Haryana’s interesting handicrafts include woven furniture, artistic pottery and woodcarving.
There are two types of woven furniture - modhas (round stools) and chairs made of sarkande (a reed) from Faroukhnagar; and pidhis from Sonepat, which are essentially wooden stools with seats woven in cotton thread or sutli. Pottery in Haryana ranges from simple pots meant for daily use to artistic decorative pieces. Pitchers made with clay from Jhajjar in Rohtak district are greatly valued as the clay gives a sweet taste to the water stored in the pitcher.
Dance & Music of Haryana
Haryana has a wealth of folk dances, which are usually performed at weddings, births, festivals, and, of course, during the all-important harvest festivals. A dance called Ghoomar is especially popular in the western parts of the state and only girls participate in this dance. It is performed at festivals such as Holi, Gangaur Puja and Teej and depicts the girls carrying the thalis of offerings to the temple for their Puja. The girls sing while they dance in a swirling movement and as the tempo of the music increases, the girls form pairs and swirl faster and faster.
Festivals of Haryana
Besides all the other festivals common to the rest of the country, Haryana celebrates Lohri with deep religious fervour. It is celebrated on the 13th of January every year. Bonfires are made into which sugarcane, parched rice, sesame seeds and monkey nuts are put as offerings to the fire and the blessings of the goddess of Lohri are invoked.
The Harvest festival (in April) of Baisakhi in Haryana is an experience of a lifetime. Both in Haryana and Punjab, farmers start harvesting with great jubilation. It is one of the liveliest celebrations and involves dance, music and feasting.
Costumes of Haryana
The people of Haryana love bright colours, especially at festival time, and the dresses of the dances are often dazzling with lots of tinsel. Typically, women wear a calf-length ghagra made from at least 20 meters of fabric; a short kurti on top; a chundri that covers their head and glitters with tinsel; and lots of chunky silver jewellery. The men are almost as brightly attired with their dhotis and kurtas, and contrasting coloured sashes and, of course, vivid pink and read turbans.
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