Aligarh ( ; formerly known as Koil[4]) is a city in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. It is the administrative headquarters of Aligarh district, and lies 342 kilometres (213 mi) northwest of state capital Lucknow and approximately 130 kilometres (81 mi) southeast of the capital, New Delhi. The cities and districts which adjoin Aligarh are: Gautam Buddha Nagar, Bulandshahr, Sambhal, Badaun, Kasganj, Hathras, Etah and Mathura, as well as Palwal district of Haryana. As of 2011, Aligarh is the 53rd most populous city in India.

From top, left to right: Sir Syed Mosque; Aligarh Clock Tower;, Bab-e-Syed, Church of Ascension; Aligarh Habitat Centre; Kennedy House Complex, which houses Aligarh's Cultural Education Center
Aligarh is located in Uttar Pradesh
Location in Uttar Pradesh, India
Aligarh is located in India
Aligarh (India)
Coordinates: 27°53′N 78°05′E / 27.88°N 78.08°E / 27.88; 78.08
Country India
StateUttar Pradesh
 • TypeMunicipal Corporation
 • BodyAligarh Municipal Corporation
 • MayorPrashant Singhal (BJP)[1]
178 m (584 ft)
 • Total874,408
 • Rank53
 • OfficialHindi[3]
 • Additional officialUrdu[3]
 • RegionalBraj Bhasha
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
PIN Code
202001, 202002
Telephone code0571
Vehicle registrationUP-81

The recorded history of Aligarh begins in the 12th century, under the name Kol. Kol was a major city of the Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire, serving as both a political and economic centre. Beginning with a major rebuilding of the Aligarh Fort in the 16th century, the city was renamed several times before eventually settling on the current name, Aligarh, in the mid-1700s. It is notable as the seat of Aligarh Muslim University, which was founded here as Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College in 1875, initiating the Aligarh Movement.



Written references to the city commence only from 12th century onward; however, archaeological records suggest that the town used to be inhabited by Jains.[5] The area of Aligarh before the Ghurid conquest of the region was under the sway of Dor Rajputs in 12th century.[4]

In 1194, Qutb-ud-din Aibak mounted a successful invasion of the region and Hisam-ud-din Ulbak was installed as the first Muslim governor; court-historian Hasan Nizami noted Kol to be "one of the most celebrated fortresses of Hind".[5] Beginning the 13th century, the place featured — as Kol or Koil — in multiple Persian (as well as non-Persian) Sultanate sources as a center of economic prominence, especially for production of distilled wine.[4][5][a] By the mid-13th century, the town commanded enough importance for (would-be Sultan) Ghiyas ud din Balban to erect a minaret.[5]

Under the Khiljis and Tughlaqs, the prominence continued unabated; it had become an iqta by the times of Alauddin Khalji.[5]

Kol is mentioned in Ibn Battuta's Rihla, when Ibn Battuta, along with 15 ambassadors representing Ukhaantu Khan, emperor of the Mongol Chinese Yuan dynasty, travelled to Kol city en route to the coast at Cambay (in Gujarat) in 1341.[6] According to 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 Sabzabad or "the green country".[citation needed]

In the reign of Akbar, Kol was made a Sirkar and included the dasturs of Marahra, Kol ba Haveli, Thana Farida and Akbarabad.[citation needed] Akbar and Jahangir visited Kol on hunting expeditions. Jahangir clearly mentions the forest of Kol, where he killed wolves.[7]

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, rebuilt the old Lodhi fort and named the town Sabitgarh, after himself.

The ruler of Koil was Bargujar King Bahadur Singh who, in 1753, rose against the destruction of Hindu temples. The Jat ruler, Surajmal, with consent of Safdar Jang, occupied the fort of Koil. Bahadur Singh continued the battle from another fort and died fighting in what is known as the "Battle of Ghasera". It was renamed Ramgarh and Rao Durjan Singh Poonia of Bijauli was made the kiledar of the fort.[8] When a Persian Mughal Shia commander, Najaf Khan, captured Ramgarh, he renamed it and gave it its present name of Aligarh.[9] Aligarh Fort (also called Aligarh Qila), as it stands today, was built by French engineers under the control of French officers Benoît de Boigne and Perron.[7]

Battle of Aligarh (1803)

General Lord Gerard Lake who oversaw the Siege of Aligarh

The Battle of Aligarh was fought on 1 September 1803 during the Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803–1805) at Aligarh Fort. The British 76th Regiment, now known as the Duke of Wellington's Regiment besieged the fort, which was under the control of the French officer Perron, and established British rule. In 1804, the Aligarh district was formed by the union of the second, third and fourth British divisions with the addition of Anupshahr from Muradabad and Sikandra Rao from Etawa. On 1 August 1804, Claude Russell was appointed the first Collector of the new district.[10]



Aligarh district is divided into five tehsils, namely Kol Tehsil, Khair Tehsil, Atrauli, Gabhana and Iglas. These tehsils are further divided into 12 blocks.

The city is administered by Nagar Nigam Aligarh (Municipal Corporation), which is responsible for performing civic administrative functions administered by Mayor and Municipal Commissioner (PCS Officer). Infrastructure development of the city is looked after by the Aligarh Development Authority (ADA) administered by Divisional Commissioner (chairman) and vice-chairman (PCS Officer).

Aligarh is the headquarters of Aligarh Police Range and Aligarh Division. A DIG looks after Aligarh for legal condition and law; a Commissioner looks for four districts of Aligarh Division (Aligarh, Etah, Hathras, Kasganj).


Religions in Aligarh city (2011)[11]
Religion Percent
Other or not stated
Distribution of religions

According to the 2011 Census, Aligarh has a total population of 874,408, of which 461,772 are males and 412,636 are females. Population in the age range 0–6 years is 119,543. The literacy rate is 59.15%, of which the male literacy rate is 63.42% and female literacy rate is 54.37%. The effective literacy rate of 7+ population of Aligarh was 68.5%, of which male literacy rate was 62.9% and the female literacy rate was 70.8%. The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have a population of 138,184 and 332 respectively. There were 147,363 households in Aligarh as of 2011.[2] The city lies in the cultural region of Braj.[12]

Languages in Aligarh (2011)[13]

  Hindi (81.50%)
  Urdu (17.20%)
  Others (1.20%)

Hindi is the most spoken language. Urdu is the second-largest language.[13]





Aligarh is located at the coordinates 27°53′N 78°05′E / 27.88°N 78.08°E / 27.88; 78.08.[14] 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 Grand Trunk Road passes through it via NH-91 is 134 km from capital of India.



Aligarh has a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen BSh) a little too dry to be a monsoon-influenced humid subtropical climate (Cwa). Summers start in April and are hot with temperatures peaking in May. The average temperature range is 28–38 °C (82–100 °F). The monsoon season starts in late June, continuing until early October, bringing high humidity. Aligarh gets most of its annual rainfall of 800 millimetres (31 in) during these months. Temperatures then decrease, and winter sets in December, and continues until February. Temperatures range between 2–11 °C (36–52 °F). Winters in Aligarh are generally mild, but 2011–12 experienced the lowest temperature of 1 °C. The fog and cold snaps are extreme.

Climate data for Aligarh (1991–2020, extremes 1932–2011)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 30.7
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 19.1
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 7.3
Record low °C (°F) 0.0
Average rainfall mm (inches) 15.2
Average rainy days 1.4 1.4 1.3 1.0 2.7 4.0 9.3 10.3 5.5 1.0 0.3 0.4 38.6
Average relative humidity (%) (at 17:30 IST) 66 57 46 33 34 48 68 75 67 52 57 62 72
Source: India Meteorological Department[15][16]



The city is an agricultural trade centre.[17] Agricultural product processing and manufacturing are important.[18]

Aligarh is an important business center of Uttar Pradesh and is most famous for its lock industry. Aligarh locks are exported across the world. In 1870, Johnson & Co. was the first English lock firm in Aligarh. In 1890, the company initiated production of locks on a small scale here.[19]

Aligarh is famous for its brass hardware and sculpture. Today, the city holds thousands of manufacturers, exporters, and suppliers involved in the brass, bronze, iron and aluminium industries.[citation needed]

Indian Diecasting Industries which manufactures aluminium and zinc die-casting parts is located at Sasni Gate in Aligarh.[20][better source needed]

Harduaganj Thermal Power Station (also referred as Kasimpur Power House) is 15 km from the city. Narora Atomic Power Station is located 50 km from Aligarh.

Aligarh hosts Heinz-sauce manufacturing unit in Manzurgarhi, Satha sugar mill on the Aligarh-Kasimpur Power House route and a cement factory of UltraTech Cement company.

Wave Distillery, making Kingfisher beer, is located at Atrauli in Aligarh.

Defense Corridor also in development at Aligarh-Palwal highway near Lodha.



Aligarh is a major educational hub, housing over 100 independent schools, colleges and educational institutions.[citation needed] Notable institutions include:

Art and craft


Aligarh is associated with an applique and embroidery art known as phool patti ka kaam.



Cultural landmarks

Church of Ascension

Aligarh has several popular landmarks. Most notable few of them are Aligarh Fort, Jama Masjid,[21] Khereshwar Temple which is the birthplace of Swami Shri Haridas Ji, Dor fortress (1524), which is now in ruins, lies at the city's centre; its site is in the area now called Upper Fort (Balai Qila) and is occupied by an 18th-century mosque. The area Shah Jamal is very famous for a Sufi saint Syed Shah Jamal is also known as Shamsul Arifeen, of whom the tomb is located at Shahjamal area and surrounded by a graveyard. The Sufi Saint is mentioned by Ibn Battuta in his book The Travels of Ibn Battuta. The saint is said to be of Sufi Chishtiya order.

The Annual Cultural Exhibition, popularly known as Numaish, is held at the exhibition ground in January and February. The land Numaish Ground was donated by Nawab Rehmat Ullah Khan Sherwani. The cultural shows take place at three grand stages (Kohinoor, Krishnanjali and Muktakash). In all, more than 150 stage events featuring artists from across India take place during a period of 28–30 days.[22]

Historical places

Aligarh Fort
Sir Syed Mosque beside Strachey Hall, Aligarh Muslim University

Aligarh Muslim University


Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is one of the oldest central universities. It was established by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan as Madrasatul Uloom Musalmanan-e-Hind in 1875–78 which later became Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College (MAO College). It was designed to train Muslims for government services in India and prepare them for advanced training in British universities. The Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College became Aligarh Muslim University in 1920. It is famous for its Law, Medical, and Engineering College.[citation needed]



Ibn Sina Academy of Medieval Medicine and Sciences maintains 'Museum on History of Medicine and Sciences' and 'Museum on Arts, Culture and Orientalism'. It was established by a family Hakim Syed Zillur Rahman and Syed Ziaur Rahman at the heart of the city and near a busy market of Dodhpur.[23][24]



By rail


Aligarh Junction railway station is the primary station for Aligarh city and is a major stop on the Delhi-Kolkata route. It is an A-Class railway station. It is one of the oldest railway station of this route. It connects Aligarh to the states of West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, north-east and most of Uttar Pradesh, and important stations of cities such as New Delhi railway station, Mumbai Central, Kolkata, Bhopal Junction railway station, Indore, Jammu, Gwalior, Lucknow, Jhansi, Puri, Kanpur Central railway station, Etawah Junction railway station, Tundla Junction railway station, Agra Cantonment railway station and Varanasi. Aligarh railway station handles over 136 trains daily (in both directions) and serves around 204,000 passengers every day. Aligarh has one Branch Railway Line to Bareily.

Aligarh City has following railway stations:

  • Aligarh Junction: an A-Class Railway 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 is 140 km from New Delhi. It is one of the Division of UPSRTC. Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) buses serve cities all over the state and cities in Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana.

Aligarh City has three UPSRTC bus stations:

  • Aligarh Depot(Old Bus Station/Gandhi Park Bus Station) bus station
  • Masoodabad(esta. 2000) (Budh Vihar Bus Station/New Bus Station/Workshop Bus Station/Raghuveerpuri Bus Station) Depot bus station(non-functional from 2018 to 2021)(now functioning since 2021 post renovation into a well facilitated Bus Station)
  • Aligarh Satellite Bus Stand(New Bus Station/Sootmill Bus Station)(functioning since 2018 due to sudden non-functioning of Massodabaad Bus Station during 2018-2021 period)

There are buses plying from Aligarh to Delhi at frequent intervals via

1) Khair, Tappal, Palval, Faridabad, Delhi - The route is under construction between Khair and Palval and should be strictly avoided by cars. No toll charges.

2) Khair, Tappal, Yamuna expressway, Noida, Greater Noida, Delhi, Gurgaon - Best and recommended route for Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon. Toll Charges are ₹120 between Aligarh and Delhi.

3) Old GT Road, Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad, Delhi - NH 91 - It is a 6-lane highway. Toll charges are ₹285.

Following Highways are connected to Aligarh:

Aligarh City has Mahanagar Bus Service (City Bus Service) which provides local transport to 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

Apart from this an Electronic Bus Service has been running within the city since January 2022.[25]

By air


The nearest international airport from Aligarh is Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi. It is 140 km from Aligarh.

Aligarh Airport, on NH 91 Dhanipur, Aligarh Uttar Pradesh. Dhanipur Air Strip is used as Flying Club. The Government of Uttar Pradesh signed a memorandum of understanding with the Airports Authority of India in February 2014 for the development of the airport. The land acquisition for airport will be initiated soon and after its development flight operations will be started under regional connectivity scheme.[citation needed]

At this time direct flight started by the regional airline Flybig from Lucknow to Aligarh and vice versa under the RCS-UDAN scheme.[26]

Notable people


Businessmen and entrepreneurs



Faculty of Arts, Aligarh Muslim University

Writers, poets and publishers



Victoria gate

Film actors

ZHCET's View at Night

Sports persons




Medical professionals


Social activists


See also



  1. ^ The origins of this name is unclear; it might have been the name of the inhabiting tribe or a mythological character or a local mountain.[5]


  1. ^ "BJP wrests Aligarh, continues winning streak in Agra". Hindustan Times. 14 May 2023. Retrieved 22 May 2023.
  2. ^ a b "Census of India: Search Details". Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  3. ^ a b "52nd Report of the Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities in India" (PDF). Ministry of Minority Affairs. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 May 2017. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Satish Chandra (2004). Medieval India:From Sultanat to the Mughals-Delhi Sultanat (1206-1526). Vol. 1. Har-Anand Publications. p. 27. ISBN 978-8-12411-064-5. The areas of Meerut, Baran (modern Buland sher) and Koil (modern Aligarh) in upper doab had been under the control of Dor Rajputs, had been occupied by the Turks shortly after the battle of Tarain
  5. ^ a b c d e f Rezavi, Syed Ali Nadeem (24 September 2021). "Aligarh or Harigarh?". Frontline: 60–62. Archived from the original on 2 January 2022.
  6. ^ The Adventures of Ibn Battuta, by Ross E. Dunn, p. 215
  7. ^ a b "Histor11". Archived from the original on 11 October 2004. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  8. ^ Siddiqi, Jamal Muhammad (1981). Aligarh District: A Historical Survey, from Ancient Times to 1803 A.D. Munshiram Manoharlal. pp. 109–112. ISBN 978-0-8364-2355-6.
  9. ^ Aligarh, Statistics (1856). Aligarh Statistics. Aligarh: JR Hutchinson.
  10. ^ Edwin T. Atkinson (1875). Descriptive and Historical Account of the Aligarh District. p. 348. Archived from the original on 5 July 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  11. ^ "Table C-01 Population by Religion: Uttar Pradesh". Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India. 2011.
  12. ^ Lucia Michelutti (2002). "Sons of Krishna: the politics of Yadav community formation in a North Indian town" (PDF). PhD Thesis Social Anthropology. London School of Economics and Political Science University of London. p. 49. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  13. ^ a b "2011 Census of India, Population By Mother Tongue - Uttar Pradesh (Town Level)". Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India. Retrieved 27 June 2022.
  14. ^ "Falling Rain Genomics, Inc – Aligarh". Archived from the original on 11 October 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  15. ^ "Station: Aligarh Climatological Table 1991–2020" (PDF). Climatological Normals 1991–2020. India Meteorological Department. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 April 2024. Retrieved 7 July 2024.
  16. ^ "Extremes of Temperature & Rainfall for Indian Stations (Up to 2012)" (PDF). India Meteorological Department. December 2016. p. M210. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 February 2020. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  17. ^ "". 7 June 2005. Archived from the original on 25 August 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  18. ^ "Britannica". Britannica. Archived from the original on 18 November 2008. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  19. ^ Pawan Jain (3 June 2003). "Locked out". Times of India. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  20. ^ "Indian Diecasting Industries - Manufacturer of Aluminium Die Cast Components for Automotive Industry & Zinc Die Cast Component for Automobile Industry from Aligarh". Retrieved 9 June 2022.
  21. ^ "मुल्क की ही नहीं एशिया की भी सबसे ज़्यादा महंगी है यह मस्जिद". Zee Salaam. 21 February 2020. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  22. ^ "Dainik Jagran". 29 January 2015. Archived from the original on 21 May 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  23. ^ "World's 10 weirdest medical museums". Bryan Pirolli for CNN, Travel (24 May 2013). 16 May 2013. Archived from the original on 14 March 2017. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  24. ^ "Ibn Sina Academy". Eram Agha for News18, (5 November 2017). Archived from the original on 10 November 2017. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  25. ^ "पहली बार अलीगढ़ की सड़कों पर फर्राटा भरती नजर आएंगी "इलेक्ट्रिक बस सेवा"". News18 (in Hindi). 7 January 2022. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  26. ^ {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^ "International Dance Day: National Performing Arts Group pays tribute to Roshan Ara Bokhari". Daily Times. 1 May 2016.
  28. ^ Parekh, Rauf (3 February 2009). "DAWN - Features; February 03, 2009". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  29. ^ "Demand made for legal recognition of sign language". Hindustan Times. PTI. 4 December 2010. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2023.

Further reading