Culture & Heritage
Ancient Site- Rakhigarhi
The most extensive of the known Harappan Sites in India, Rakhigarhi is next only to Dholavira in Kutch (Gujarat). It is situated about 130 km north-west of Delhi in Tehsil Narnaund and lies on the dried-up old course of the Saraswati-Drishvati Rivers. In all there are five large mounds and the recent excavations by Archaeological Survey of India revealed mature Harappan phase represented by planned township with residential house complex having rooms, kitchen, bathroom, store house etc; Streets, granary, drainage system, fire altars, structural burials and remains of fortification. Besides, steatite inscribed seals, good number of terracotta figurines and toy cart wheels, plough; gold fillet and beads of silver and copper; shell and terracotta bangles, weight and measures, etc. have also been found. The pottery types are mainly red and gray wares. In view of its Archaeological importance the site was declared protected as a site of national importance vide notification no. 3242 dated 22nd November, 1995.
The present city of Hisar, one of the important cities of North India, is lies north latitude at 29° 9′ 51″ and east longitudes 75° 45′ 55″. It is situated one hundred sixty four kilometers west to Delhi on the National Highway number ten.
Hisar district is a divisional headquarters of the Divisional Commissioner and also the headquarters of Police Range. It is also a battalion Headquarters of B.S.F. 3rd Btn. H.A.P. and Commando force. In order to bring all the Offices under the roof of one building for the convenience of public, a five storied marvelous building known as District Administrative Complex had been constructed and offices shifted in 1980. It adjoins the new Judiciary Complex, Bar Rooms and newly constructed functional building of Divisional Commissioner and I.G.Hisar Range offices which has also been made functional. This administrative and judiciary complex is largest in Haryana and as a district headquarters may be one of the largest in the country.
The foundation of present town of Hisar, historically known as Hisar-i-Firoza, was laid by Firoz Shah Tughlaq in 1354 AD. He adorned his new town with several historical buildings such as fort, palaces, tombs, mosques, gates and gardens. Some of monuments are still in good state of preservation.
After the death of Firoz Shah, and in the vacuum of power which followed, Hisar was the scene of the struggle between the remaining Tughlaq commanders, and in 1389 the town fell into the hands of the Tughlaq Sultan Muhammad b. Firoz Shah. By the orders of the sultan the rebellious nobles, together with many innocent people were put to death. The people of Hisar suffered once again when Timur invaded North India in 1398. Hisar was attacked, the houses were plundered and a great number of people were massacred. After the departure of Timur the power struggle continued in the region and in 1408-9 Hisar finally fell into the hands of Khidr Khan the governor of Multan, who subsequently took the throne of Delhi in 1414-15, and established the Sayyid dynasty.
With the re-establishment of power in Delhi, Hisar regained its importance and continued to remain the headquarters of the region under the Sayyids and the Lodis. At the time of Ibrahim, the last Lodi sultan, the governor of Hisar was Hamid Khan. He was defeated by the Mughal army led by Humayun. Babur gave the region to Humayun as a reward. During the reign of Akbar Hisar was recorded as the headquarters of a large district (sarkar) which included 25 towns and was under the province of Delhi. Hisar enjoyed a relatively long period of prosperity until the fall of the Mughal Empire, when the region was divided and was the scene of a struggle. The whole region was sacked by Bhattis, ravaged by Nadir Shah, invaded by Sikhs, overrun by Maratha and depopulated by famines.
The administrative & political history of Haryana region during 1803 and 1947 has been a very fascinating one. In 1803 the Hisar region came formally under British rule when by the treaty of Surji Anjangaon the Maratha Chief Daulat Rao Sindhia handed over Haryana territory to the East India Company. The British assumed the direct control of Panipat, Sonipat, Samalkha, Ganaur, and Havli Palam in the North, and Nuh, Hathin, Tizara, Bhora, Tapukara, Sohna, Rewari, Indri, and Palwal in the South. It was known as ‘assigned territory’. The rest of the territory was allowed to remain with the local chiefs under over all British suzerainty. The region experienced about a half dozen administrative changes suiting the convenience and whims of the British masters.
But in 1809, there was shift in the policy. This region was attached to the presidency of Bengal, and placed under the charge of the Resident for administration.
Till 1815 no attempt was made to bring the district under a land revenue settlement. In that year a settlement for ten years was effected by Mr. William Frazer. This was followed by a five years’ settlement made by Mr. Graham in 1825. The latter corresponded with the general settlement of 1822 in the province to the east of Yamuna. In 1830-31 a third settlement for ten years was effected and the First Regular Settlement of the land revenue was made by Mr. Brown in 1839-40.
The foundation of Hisar as a district and division was laid in the year 1819. Up to that year the whole Haryana territory was managed by a ‘Superintendent’ under the control of the Political Agent at Delhi, who was also Commissioner of the Delhi territory. The first separation of the Delhi territory into districts took place in 1819.On March 26th 1919 C.T. Metcalf Resident at Delhi divided the civil and political administration of this Territory into three divisions each headed by assistants under a Commissioner in the following manner:-
Northern Division: – Comprising Panipat, Sonipat, Rohtak, Hansi and Hisar
Central Division: – Comprising City of Delhi and its environs;
Southern Division: – Comprising Palwal, Hodal, Mewat, Gurgaon and Rewari.
The name of this tract was changed from ‘Assigned Territory’ to ‘Delhi Territory’.
By this arrangement the sub-divisions of Hansi and Hisar, together with Sirsa, Rohtak and Panipat were included in one district called the ‘northern’ district.
The Assistants were collectors of land revenue and presided over the revenue, civil and criminal courts; they were empowered to refer to Sudder Amins all civil suits in which the sum at stake did not exceed Rs. 1000/-. From the Sudder Amin an appeal lay to the Assistant commissioner. The Commissioner had the power of granting a special appeal to his own court from the decisions of his assistants either after such appeals or in the first instance.
The Commissioner acted as a Court of Circuit. Over the Commissioners was the Resident who was authorized to with draw from the Court of the Commissioner any suit for political reasons.
In 1820, C.T. Metcalf changed the designation of the Commissioner as ‘Deputy Superintendent’ and placed him under the control of the Resident at Delhi. Hisar, Hansi together with Sirsa, Panipat, Sonipat except Bhiwani were constituted into a separate jurisdiction, having its civil headquarters at Hisar. Sirsa was detached in 1837 and Bhiwani sub-division was included in Hisar in 1861. This state of affairs persisted with but little change until 1822. In 1822, the three members Board of Revenue for the Western Provinces took over the administration of the Delhi territory. The Board was vested with both revenue and judicial powers.
In addition to the territory directly administered by the British Resident some areas were assigned for administration to those chiefs who worked at the behest of the Resident for indirectly executing the sinister plans of the British. This policy of the British worked well for some time.
By the Charter Act of 1833, North-Western Provinces was formed in 1836 with Agra as it headquarters. It comprised six divisions. Out of these six, Delhi was one. It was divided into districts of Delhi, Gurgaon, Hisar, Rohtak and Panipat. Each district was placed under a Magistrate-cum-Collector. It was further sub-divided into Tehsils, Zails and villages and placed under Tehsildar, Lambardar and Muqaddam respectively. Subsequently, it had a District Court which used to deal with three kinds of cases-Civil, Criminal and Revenue. For Civil & Criminal jurisdiction up to February1858, the Hisar District Court was initially in the Delhi Sessions Division. The Magistrate -cum -Collector sat as Judge in the civil court and decided criminal cases as a Magistrate. He was also given an assistant called Register and some times a covenanted civil servant under training was attached to his court. Subordinate to Judge there were many Indian judicial officers of three categories- Sadr Amins, Amins and Munsifs. Above the Judge and Magistrate was the Provincial court of Appeal and Circuit. On the civil side this was a Court of Appeal from the decisions of the Zillah Judge. On its criminal side it was a Court of Circuit which held sessions. On its civil side it sat at least three days in a week. On its criminal side the court had to hold annually two jail deliveries in each Zillah within its jurisdiction.
The administration of the Upper parts of Haryana, that is the districts of Karnal and Ambala, was conducted through the Superintendent of the Political Affairs and Agent to the Government in the territory of the protected Sikhs and Hills Chiefs, at Karnal (1815 to 1822), and then Ambala (1822 to 1849). In 1849, when the new Province of Punjab was created, on some further conquests by the British, the Trans-Satluj and Cis-Satluj states were absorbed in it.
Came the uprising of 1857.The participation of the masses of Haryana in the revolt of 1857 given a set back to British administration. The result was that as a punishment the region of Haryana i.e. (Delhi territory) west of the Jamuna was transferred from North-Western Provinces and merged into the newly created Province of Punjab on 9th February, 1858 vide Home department Resolution dated 9th March 1858 and divided into two separate divisions, having their head-quarters respectively at Delhi and Hisar.
The Delhi Division comprised of Delhi, Gurgaon and Panipat, while Hisar division contained at first the district of Hisar, Rohtak, Sirsa and a portion of Jhajjar. The last was, however, soon abolished, part being ceded to the Sikh States and remainder absorbed into Rohtak. The officers in charge of the districts, comprising the Delhi and Hisar Divisions were re-designated as Deputy Commissioners and their subordinates as Assistant Commissioners and Extra Assistant Commissioners, as in the Punjab.
Mr. C.B. Saunders was appointed Commissioner of the Delhi Division while Mr. E.L. Brandreth, Commissioner of Hisar Division and General Van Cortlandt appointed Deputy Commissioner, Hisar (1st Class). In 1862, by the Judicial Department notification no. 817, dated 28th October 1862, all the Commissioners in Punjab were invested with the powers of a Session Judge under Act XXV of 1861.
The administration was adopted on the Punjab pattern with every District placed under a Deputy Commissioner who was a Magistrate, a Collector and Civil judge, all combined in one. All the three functions of the state were executed by one person. He exercised the powers of a Magistrate of the first class, and, as a rule he was also empowered under Section 30 of the Criminal Procedure Code to try as a Magistrate all offences not punishable with death. As District Magistrate he also heard appeals from the orders of Magistrates of the second and third class. The Deputy Commissioner was also the collector or principal revenue officer and the Registrar of the District. The District Judge was the head of the principal Civil Court in the district. Besides his civil powers he was invested with the powers of a Magistrate of the first class and in this capacity he was subject to the control of the District Magistrate. As a Civil Court, he was under the control of the Divisional Judge at Ferozepore. For the purposes of jurisdiction in Criminal and Civil cases the district fell within the Firozepore Sessions Division. The Divisional & Sessions Judge at Firozepore usually visit Hisar three or four times a year, to heard cases which had been committed for trial and to inspect the various Civil and Criminal Courts in the District.
In 1884 Hisar and Ambala Division ceased to exists and their Districts were apportioned among Delhi Division consisted of Delhi, Hisar, Rohtak, Gurgaon, Karnal, Ambala and Simla. Delhi was again separated from the Punjab in 1911 and the headquarters of the Division were shifted to Ambala.
The records of the Ambala division including those of the Political Agency in the Sis-Satluj area and the Hisar Division were transferred to the office of the Commissioner Delhi Division, after the reorganization of Divisions in 1884. On the separation of Delhi from the Punjab in 1911 and the shifting of the Divisional headquarters from Delhi to Ambala, the records of the Delhi Division (except those which primarily related to the new Central Territory of Delhi) as also the records of the defunct Hisar and Ambala Divisions were transferred to the office of the Commissioner at Ambala. Again in the year 1973 Hisar made a separate division by the Government notification no …….dated ……Such in brief is the administrative history of Hisar District.
Firoz Shah’s Palace main entrance
The Talaki Darwaza is the only gateway of the citadel still standing. The entrance to the Palace buildings is now the Talaki Darwaza. The gateway has an arched opening leading to a passage with guard rooms on either side.
The gate is built of rubble stone with massive piers and a vaulted roof. The walls of the gate, as is usually the case with Firoz Shahi buildings, are battered.
The gate itself was demolished in the late 1970s to give way to a square at the south end of Talaki Gate road.
The Palace of Firoz Shah
The Palace complex is situated on the north-western side of the citadel, and appears to have originally been connected to a large garden to the north. The palace was originally built in at least three levels, the lower level had arcades with massive rubble stone piers, the middle level had masonry arcades supported by columns with monolithic shaft, and the upper level had colonnades with stone beams and brackets, and probably a number of single domed chambers and pavilions. The lower levels consist of numerous halls, chambers, guard rooms, and narrow dark corridors. According to Firoz Shah’s historian account “inside the fort they built a palace, such that no one, though he searched the world, could find its like. There were several courts inside that palace. The audience hall was splendidly decorated. One feature in this palace was that if someone, with his wits about him, came in, after passing through some of the courts, he would always end up in the centre. The central core of the palace was extremely dark, with narrow corridors, so that if the guards did not lead one, one could not find one’s way out.”
Lat Ki Masjid
Lat Ki Masjid is the main mosque of the palace complex and is located to the east of the South Court opposite the Talaki Gate. It is one of the most embellished of mosques built by Firoz Shah. It is distinguished with its lithic pillar and square chamber. Unlike usual mosques, it is ‘L’ shaped in plan and its larger side runs north-south. The mosque is called after the lat, an ancient column re-erected in the north-east of its courtyard. The mosque is one of the better known monuments of the Hisar. The column is in the form of a tapering cylinder in four registers, with a finial and an iron rod set in the top, making it about 13.75 m. high altogether. The lower register is reused ancient shaft in a single piece of yellow stone, about 3.30 m. high.
In the Lat Ki Masjid column, above the ancient shaft are drums of red sandstone in three registers, with contrasting bands of red and white stone. The building as it stands today has a prayer hall on the western side of a courtyard, and the remains of a northern wing. There is a square domed chamber on the eastern side of the courtyard. The walls of the mosque are of blocks of sandstone up to the level of the springing of the vaults, but the upper pats of the walls, as well as the vaults and the roof are of baked red brick covered with plaster. This is one of the rare examples of a Firoz Shahi building in which brick is used. The monolithic pink sandstone columns supporting the arches in prayer hall may be reused material from ancient Indian temples.
George Thomas a native of Ireland and uncrowned ruler of the territory between Sirsa and Rohtak got this monument built for his residence. Owing to its isolated position it appears like a ship in the ocean and thereby won the name Jahaj Kothi. It might have also got its name due to distortion of the word George to Jahaj over the years by the locals. After the defeat of George by the Britishers, James Skinner became the ruler of this territory. He used Jahaj Kothi for some time before the construction of his residential palaces at Hansi.
This monument is the tomb of Pranpir Badshah (belonging to the early 14th Century A.D.), the spiritual teacher of Sher Bahlol or Dana Shir. He was a great Sufi Saint and prophesied that Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq would become the king of Delhi.
Mosque and Tomb of Dana Sher Bahlol Shah
Tibba Dana Sher
The mosque and tomb of Bahlol Shah is situated at Mela Kothi, one an a half kilometer east of the old town of Hisar. It was built in 1694 A.D. on what was probably the site of an old temple. The place is now called Dana Sher. Sher Bahlol Shah is said to have been a fakir who foretold to Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq that he would one day be king.
The majestic Barsi Gate standing amidst the bazaar of Hansi town was the main entrance to the ancient fort of Hansi. Even today, it is an imposing gate of the outer defense wall of the Hansi Fort. According to the foundation inscription set over the entrance it was built in 703/1302, at the time of the Khalji Sultan Ala al-din Muhammad. Persian epigraph inscribed above the doorway records the date of its constructions (in A.H.) which correspond to the year 1304-1305 A.D.
Fort of Prithvi Raj
A long pillared structure with a flat roof is situated on the top of the mound. It is called Baradari. Some time back 57 bronze images of Jain Tirthankaras were recovered from this site.
Dragah Char Qutab, Hansi
The Dargah of Shaykh Jamal al-din Hansawi and his descendents, known collectively as the Char Qutab, is situated outside the old fortifications and to the west of the Hansi. Jamal-ud-Din Hansawi (1187-1261A.D.), Burhan-ud-din (1261-1300 A.D.), Qutab-ud-din-Munawar (1300-1303 A.D.) and Nur-ud-Din (1325-1397 A.D.) were the celebrated Sufi Saints of their times and designated as ‘Qutabs’. This monument celebrates the last resting place of these saints. The dargah has been subjected to many changes. The tomb is connected to a small mosque. It is said that it is built at the place where Baba Farid used to meditate and offer prayers. One of the most imposing edifices of this structure is the large Mosque in the Northern enclosure which was constructed by Firoz Shah Tughlaq.
Tomb of Ali Mir Tijarah
The tomb of Ali Mir Tijarah is situated in the Dargah Char Qutab Complex. Mir Tijarah was the Chief purveyor (Tajarah) of Sultan Jamid-ud-Din of Hansi. Mir Ali or Alam was a deciple of Jamal-ud-Din and is said to have built this tomb for his teacher. But he himself was entombed here due to his early demise.
Char Diwan-Ek Diwan
This monument is also located in the Char Qutab Complex. The four chhatries is known as Char Diwn and Ek Diwan.
These tombs are known as twin tombs of Begum Skinner.
The Shrine of Shah Ni’mat’ Ullah
The shrine of Shah Ni’mat’Ullah is a large complex which occupies the eastern part of the citadel, and includes the walled enclosure of the tomb of Shah Ni’ Mat’ Ullah, other adjacent walled enclosures, two mosques, an ancient well and a gateway.
Hadrat Sayyid Shah Niamat Ullah is believed to be a saint who came to Hansi with the army of Muhammad b. Sam, and was killed there at the time of the conquest of the fort. He was respected not only by the Muslims, but also by some Hindus.