History of Aligarh

Aligarh Muslim University

The historian Thakur Deshraj has mentioned that the people of Kampilya were later known as Koil. The Koīl people came from Kampilya and founded the city known as Kampilgarh, situated south east of Ganges. The town of Kampilgarh later became popular as Koil which is now Aligarh. Before the 18th century, Aligarh was known as Kol or Koil, the name of a place or mountain and the name of a sage or demon. Study of the place-name indicates that the district was once fairly well covered by forests and groves. The history of the district through the 12th century AD is obscure.

According to Edwin T. Atkinson, the name Kol was given to the city by Balarama, who slew the great Asura (demon) Kol there and, with the assistance of the Ahirs, subdued this part of the doab.In another account, Atkinson points out a "legend" that Kol was founded by the Dor tribe of Rajputs in 372 AD. This is further confirmed by an old fort, the ruined Dor Fortress, which lies at the city centre.

Some time before the Muslim invasion, Kol was held by the Dor Rajputs. In the time of Mahmud Ghazni, the chief of the Dors was Hardatta of Baran. Statues of Buddha and other Buddhist remains have been found in excavations where the citadel of Koil stood, indicating a Buddhist influence. Hindu remains indicate that the citadel probably had a Hindu temple after the Buddhist temple.

In 1194 AD, Qutb-ud-din Aibak marched from Delhi to Kol, "one of the most celebrated fortresses of Hind". Qutb-ud-din Aibak appointed Hisam-ud-din Ulbak as the first Muslim governor of Koil.

Koil is also mentioned in Ibn Battuta's Rihla, when Ibn Battuta along with 15 ambassadors representing Ukhaantu Khan, the Mongol Emperor of the Yuan dynasty in China, travelled to Kol city then route to the coast at Cambay (in Gujarat) in 1341.According to Ibn Battuta, it would appear that the district was then in a very disturbed state since the escort of the Emperor's embassy had to assist in relieving Jalali from an attacking body of Hindus and lost an officer in the fight. Ibn Batuta calls Kol "a fine town surrounded by mango groves". From these same groves the environs of Kol would appear to have acquired the name of Sabzabad or "the green country".

In the reign of Akbar, Kol was made a Sirkar and included the dasturs of Marahra, Kol ba Haveli, Thana Farida and Akbarabad. Both Akbar and Jahangir visited Kol on hunting expeditions. Jahangir clearly mentions the forest of Kol, where he killed wolves.

During the time of Ibrahim Lodhi, Muhammad, son of 'Umar, was the governor of Kol. He built a fort at Kol and named the city Muhammadgarh, after himself, in 1524–25. Sabit Khan, who was then the governor of this region, of Farrukh Siyar and Muhammad Shah, rebuilt the old Lodhi fort and named the town after himself: Sabitgarh.

The Jat ruler, Surajmal, with help from Jai Singh of Jaipur and the Muslim army, occupied the fort of Koil. Koil was renamed Ramgarh and finally, when a Shia commander, Najaf Khan, captured it, he gave it its present name of Aligarh. Aligarh Fort (also called Aligarh Qila), as it stands today, was built by French engineers under the command of French officers Benoît de Boigne and Perron.

Aligarh at a Glance

Area : 188.40 Sq. km.

Population : 1,686,976 (2010 est.)

Altitude : 169 metres above sea level.

Season : November-February

Clothing (Summer) : Cottons

Clothing (Winter) : Woolens

Language : Hindi, Urdu & English

Local Transport : Buses, Taxis, Tempos, Auto-Rickshaws.

STD Code : 0562

Geography of Aligarh

Aligarh is located at the coordinates 27.88°N 78.08°E. It has an elevation of approximately 178 metres (587 feet). The city is in the middle portion of the doab, the land between the Ganges and the Yamuna rivers. The G.T. Road passes through.

Places to Visit

  • Shekha Jheel, Bird Sanctuary
  • Maulana Azad Library (AMU campus) (Estd 1875)
  • Clock Tower known in Hindi Ghanta Ghar
  • Aligarh Fort, known as Aligarh Quila
  • Achal Taal, Historical Pond
  • Dharnidhar Sarovar, Beswan, Tapobhumi of Vishwamitra

How to Reach

By Rail

Aligarh Junction railway station is the primary railway station for Aligarh city and is a major stop on the Delhi-Kolkata route. It connects Aligarh to the states of West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, north-east and most of Uttar Pradesh, and important cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bhopal,Indore,Jammu, Gwalior, Lucknow, Jhansi, Puri, Kanpur, Agra, Varanasi and Jaipur. The station runs about 80 Mail/ Express/ E.M.U trains daily. Aligarh also having one Branch Railway Line to Bareily. Aligarh City has following railway stations:

  • Aligarh Junction- a A-Class Rly. Station
  • Somna (Gabhana) railway station
  • Mahrawal railway station
  • Kalua railway station
  • Daudkhan railway station
  • Mandrak railway station
  • Harduaganj railway station(Satha, near Kasimpur Power House)
  • Manjoorgarhi railway station (Chherat)

By Road

Aligarh City has following major UPSRTC bus stations:

  • Aligarh Depot bus station
  • Masoodabad (Budh Vihar) Depot bus station
  • ISBT proposed at Sarsaul.

Following Highways are connected to Aligarh.

  • National Highway 91- It connects Kolkata to National capital New Delhi. Ghaziabad-Aligarh section is 4 Lane in under construction.
  • National Highway 93- It connects Moradabad to Taj Nagri Agra via Aligarh. Aligarh-Agra section is being constructed as Brijbhoomi Expressway.
  • Yamuna Expressway- It is 6 Lane Expressway Noida-Agra crossing at Tappal in Aligarh District from where City is 40 km.

Aligarh has Mahanagar Bus Service (City Bus Service) which provides a local transport service in Aligarh.

  • Route-1 J N Medical-Uperkot
  • Route-2 Gandhi Park-Sarsaul
  • Route-3 Ghantarbagh-Quarsi
  • Route-4 Gandhi Park-Boner
  • Route-5 Etah Chungi-Collectrate
  • Route-6 Aligarh-Atrauli by bus

By Air

Nearest International Airport from Aligarh is Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi. It is just 140 km from Aligarh.Aligarh Airport is in under construction, it is situated at Dhanipur on NH 91 and currently Dhanipur Air Strip is used as Flying Club. The Government of Uttar Pradesh signed a MoU with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) in February 2014 for the development of the airport.

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