Facts & Figures
Formed on:
Area covered:
2520 sq km
(census 2011)
Post Code:
No of Panchayats:
About District

Karnal is an agricultural-industrial district in the north-central part of Haryana. It is said to be founded by Raja Karna, who was one of the central figures in the epic Mahabharata. The name Karnal comes from Karnalaya, where alaya means abode. Mahabharata’s conception is rooted in the names of most of Haryana’s districts. This not only means that the Mahabharata’s consciousness is rooted in the very social fabric of the people here, but also that the region is a fascinating location to study the epic. Karnal is no exception indeed. Present day Karnal however, offers an imagery of lush fields, Basmati, industrial landscape, educated service class, and a quiet and peaceful city. It has become synonymous with the National Highway 44 (NH-44), which is popularly known as GT Karnal Road (Grand Trunk Karnal Road). Lying midway between Delhi and Chandigarh, modern day Karnal is imbued with the culture of both the cities. Even though the city has witnessed changing political centers, much of its soul has remained unchanged. It is bordered by Kurukshetra (northwest), Jind and Kaithal (west) and Panipat (south). On the east, it is separated from Uttar Pradesh through the Yamuna, which also forms a natural border between the two states. Karnal has become a mature district after independence.

Karnal has four sub-divisions, Karnal, Indri, Assandh and Gharaunda, which contain five tehsils: Indri, Nilokheri, Karnal, Assandh and Gharaunda. The district has eight blocks: Karnal, Indri, Nilokheri, Nissing, Assandh, Gharaunda, Kunjpura and Munak.

The city is located at 29.68°N 76.98°E, making it lie almost on the vertical line passing midway through India. With an elevation of 240 meters above sea level, it lies a little higher than Delhi. The district looks like a distorted parallelogram, with an area of 2,471 sq. km. making it the eighth largest district in Haryana. Geologically, the district is a part of the Indo-Gangetic plains and is irrigated by a network of Yamuna canals. The three agro-climatic regions coexisting in Karnal are Khadar, Bangar and Narḍak. Khadar regions are low-lying river plains lying next to the river. This is a region prone to flooding and forms the margin of the river’s course-change. Naturally, this area contains very fertile soil. Bangar lies next to Khadar, which is less fertile but also less prone to flooding. Narḍak region lies beyond, with saline water, which is not fit for irrigation. Hence, in Karnal, the region lying between the Yamuna and NH-44 is Khadar, followed by Bangar (Gharaunda), westward. Assandh, Nilokheri and Nissing are part of Narḍak region.


The city of Karnal, said to have been founded by Raja Karna, of the Mahabharta fame, spring into prominence in 1739 when Nadir Shah defeated Muhammad Shah at Karnal. Raja Gopal Singh of Jind seized Karnal in 1863, and the Marhattas established themselves at Karnal in 1785. Skirmishes however, followed between the Marhattas and the Sikhs. In 1795 the Marhattas finally wrested it from Raja Bhag Singh of Jind and made it over to the George Thomas, who took part in the fight. Meanwhile Raja Gurdit Singh of Ladwa obtained possession of Karnal. It was captured by the British in 1805 and made over to Muhamdi Khan (Mandal). Karnal, on being formed into a British cantonment, the fort which had been built by Raja Gajpat singh of Jind, was taken over by the British and converted into a residence for Dost Mohd. Khan Amir of Kabul. The fort was used as a jail,as quarters for native cavalry and as poor house. In 1862, it was made over to the Education Department, when the district school was moved into it from the city.

Historical Places

Kalandar Shah’s Tomb

Kalandar Shah’s TombKalander Shah’s tomb is situated just outside the town. The grave is made of marble and decorated with sculpture. The tomb was built by Ghias-ud-din, Emperor of Delhi, to the memory of Bo-Ali-Qualander Shah, a famous Muslim Savant and Sage, who influenced the thinking of his age and was very widely revered by all communities. Within the enclosure are mosque and a reservoir with fountains built by Emperor Alamgir and outside a Kettle Drum balcony.

Sita Mai Temple

An ancient temple, situated at Sitamai village near Karnal, has unique characteristics. It is perhaps the only temple of Goddess Sita in India. As the legend goes, it is said that the Sita Mai Temple is the exact spot where the mother earth swallowed Goddess Sita Mata while she had to prove her purity.

The temple is made of bricks with its elaborate ornamentation covering the whole shrine. It is 19 kms. away from Nilokheri.

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