Ambala (/əmˈbɑːlə/), is a city and a municipal corporation in Ambala district in the state of Haryana, India, located on the border with the Indian state of Punjab and in proximity to both states capital Chandigarh. Politically; Ambala has two sub-areas: Ambala Cantonment also known as (Ambala Cantt) and Ambala City, eight kilometres apart, therefore it is also known as "Twin City".[citation needed] It has a large Indian Army and Indian Air Force presence within its cantonment area. Ambala separates the Ganges river network from the Indus river network and is surrounded by two rivers – Ghaggar and Tangri – to the north and to the south. Due to its geographical location, the Ambala district plays an important role in local tourism, being located 47 km (28 miles) south of Chandigarh, the state capital, 148 km (93 miles) southwest of Shimla, 198 km (121 miles) north of New Delhi and 260 km (155 miles) southeast of Amritsar

Ambala Cantonment Railway Station.jpg
Ambala Cantonment Railway Station
Ambala is located in Haryana
Location in Haryana, India
Ambala is located in India
Ambala (India)
Ambala is located in Asia
Ambala (Asia)
Coordinates: 30°23′N 76°47′E / 30.38°N 76.78°E / 30.38; 76.78Coordinates: 30°23′N 76°47′E / 30.38°N 76.78°E / 30.38; 76.78
Country India
Established14th century CE
Founded byAmba Rajput
Named forAmba Rajput or Bhawani Amba (Goddess)
264 m (866 ft)
 • Total207,934 (UA)[1]
 • OfficialHindi
 • Additional officialEnglish, Punjabi
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
Telephone code0171
ISO 3166 codeIN-HR
Vehicle registrationHR 01 (city), HR 04 (Naraingarh), HR 54 (Barara), HR 85 (Ambala Cantonment), HR37 (commercial)
Kos Minar near Ambala along Grand Trunk Road in Haryana



The town is said to derive its name from Amba Rajput who supposedly founded it during the 14th century CE. According to another version, it is named after the goddess "Bhawani Amba" whose Temple still exists in Ambala city. The third version mentions that the name is a corruption of Amba Wala meaning the mango-village, from mango groves which existed in its immediate neighbourhood.[4][5]

Classical eraEdit

Archaeological Surveyor C.J Rodgers found Indo-Parthian Kingdom coins as well as coins of Hunas, Mihirakula and Toramana which indicated that after the disintegration of the Mauryan empire, the area was taken over by Indo-Parthians and later was incorporated in the domain of the Hunas.[4]

Late medieval eraEdit

In 1709, Battle of Ambala was fought and Sikhs captured Ambala from Mughals.[6]

British colonial eraEdit

The Ambala CantonmentEdit

The Grand Trunk Road, at Ambala Cantonment, during the British Raj
Ambala Army BaseEdit

Ambala Army Cantonment was established in 1843 after the British were forced to leave its Karnal Cantonment following the malaria epidemic of 1841–42 in as there were not any known effective means to control malaria epidemic in those days. The cantonment houses the '2 Corps', one of the three Strike Corps of the Indian Army.

Ambala Air Force BaseEdit

Ambala Air Force Base is one of the oldest and largest airbases that were inherited from the British by the IAF. It was from this airbase that Spitfires and Harvards flown by Instructors of the Advanced Flying Training School took part in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947–1948. Subsequently, Ambala was the front line airfield for many years. It was home to various aircraft that were inducted into the Indian Air Force. Vampires, Ouragans, Hunters, etc. all flew from this base. The airbase was briefly attacked in 1965 by B-57 bombers of the Pakistan Air Force. Today, the Airbase houses the '7 Wing' with squadrons of Jaguars and MiG-21 Bisons. A unit of the French-made Dassault Rafale will also be based at Ambala airbase.[7]

European CemeteryEdit

Ambala Cantonment is location of historic European Cemetery.

Formation of Ambala districtEdit

Ambala was given the status of a district in 1847, formed by the merging of the jagir estates of hitherto independent chieftains whose territories had lapsed or had been confiscated by the British Indian Government. In its 160 years of existence as a district, Ambala has witnessed many changes in its boundaries. Previously, it extended across tehsils of Ambala, Saphera, Jagadhri, Pipli, Kharar, Ropar and Nalagarh. Kalka-cum-Kurari State, Pinjore, Mani Majra, Kasauli & Sanawar were also merged later into the district at different times.

1857 rebellionEdit

For their participation in first war of independence, the Chaudharys and Lambardars of villages who participated in rebellion were also deprived of their land and property, including 368 people of Hisar and Gurugram were hanged or transported for life, and fine was imposed on the people of Thanesar (Rs 235,000), Ambala (Rs. 253,541) and Rohtak (Rs. 63,000 mostly on Ranghars, Shaikhs and Muslim Kasai).[8]


Hanging of Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram GodseEdit

In November 1949 Mahatma Gandhi's assassin, Nathuram Godse was hanged at Ambala Central Jail[9] along with Narayan Apte, a co-conspirator. Ambala Cantt is also mentioned in Kim (novel) by Rudyard Kipling.


Religion in Ambala[10]
Religion Percent

As of 2011 India census, Ambala UA had a population of 207,934 consisting of 112,840 males and 95,094 females, a ratio of 843. there were 20,687 children 0–6 and Ambala had an average literacy rate of 89.31%, with 91.76% of males and 86.41% of females literate.[1]

Cloth MarketEdit

The Cloth Market is considered to be the largest textile market in the region. It is located in sector 7, the central part of the city of Ambala. The market is known for catering to wedding related shopping. The most commonly bought items are sarees and silk clothing.[11][better source needed]


Ambala has a large number of schools and colleges. Notable colleges include:-


Ambala is connected to all of the other major cities of north India including Delhi, Panipat, Kaithal, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Amritsar and Shimla. It is a big interchange for various commuters for all neighbouring states.[citation needed] The Ambala Cantt bus stand witnesses roughly 50,000 commuters daily.[citation needed]

National Highway NH 44 popularly known as GT road earlier known as NH 1 passes through Ambala and connects it to National capital Delhi, Panipat, Ludhiana and Amritsar. NH 152 connects it to state capital Chandigarh, Kaithal. Apart from the Interstate service, Ambala also houses one of the oldest local bus services in Haryana, which is run by both Haryana roadways and private companies. Other means of local transportation include auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws.


Bus service is the major means of public transport in this district. Ambala depot came into being on 1 August 1950. The office of the General Manager has situated on the premises of the depot workshop at Ambala City. Ambala depot has a sub depot at Naraingarh.

Presently, Haryana Roadways, Ambala has 209 buses, which carry about 34.88 Lac's passengers daily and cover a distance of about 19.79 Lacs Km daily. Out of these, total distance covered on interstate routes is 24,711 km and 41,439 km are operated within Haryana every day. The total staff of the depot (including that of sub depot Naraingarh) is 1085.

New Bus Stand at Ambala Cantt was inaugurated on 12 July 1999 and the total land of bus stand is 6.7 acre. Bus stands in this district exist at Ambala City, Naraingarh and Barara as well. A sub-depot-level workshop has also been provided at Naraingarh. 'Yatri Niwas' exists on the campus of Ambala Cantt. bus stand for the convenience of the commuters who wish to stay for the night.

Besides, the Haryana Roadways buses, the government has issued permits to private operators on local routes. Presently 51 such buses are plying in Ambala district. The bus stand is very near to Ambala Cantt Jn. (Railway station). Most of the buses plying on GT road (NH1) stop in front of the Railway station.


Ambala is a divisional headquarters of the Northern Railway Zone and is an important railway junction. Ambala Cantt station is among the top 100 booking stations in India. The city is served by three railway stations:

The Ambala Cantonment railway station was founded on the junction of the Delhi-Kalka and Ludhiana-Saharanpur lines. The historic Delhi-Panipat-Ambala-Kalka railway line dates back to 1889 while the Ludhiana-Saharanpur line was built in 1870. Situated 200  km north of Delhi, this town is well connected by the rail and road network.[citation needed]

Ambala cantt railway station is main station of the city and is well connected with major cities of India like Delhi, Jammu, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Panipat, Lucknow, Kanpur Howrah, Patna, Mumbai, Jaipur, Ajmer, Surat, Chennai, Pune and many more. Kalka-Shimla Railway which is UNESCO's World Heritage site also comes under Ambala division.

Ambala Cantonment Railway Station serves maximum Shatabdi Express after New Delhi. Ambala railway station was mentioned in the famous story 'The Woman on Platform 8' by Ruskin Bond, although in reality, there is no platform no 8 in Ambala Cantt.

Notable peopleEdit


  1. ^ a b "Urban Agglomerations/Cities having population 1 lakh and above" (PDF). Census India. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Report of the Commissioner for linguistic minorities: 52nd report (July 2014 to June 2015)" (PDF). Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities, Ministry of Minority Affairs, Government of India. p. 24. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  3. ^ IANS (28 January 2010). "Haryana grants second language status to Punjabi". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  4. ^ a b Haryana Gazateer, Revenue Dept of Haryana, Capter-V.
  5. ^ Bajwa, J.S.; Kaur, R. (2007). Tourism Management. APH Publishing Corporation. ISBN 9788131300473.
  6. ^ Sagoo, Harbans (2001). Banda Singh Bahadur and Sikh Sovereignty. Deep & Deep Publications.
  7. ^ ANI (4 January 2019). "Indian Air Force To Deploy Rafale Jets in Ambala, Hashimara". NDTV. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  8. ^ Satish Chandra Mittal, 1986, Haryana, a Historical Perspective, p58.
  9. ^ The Times (London), page 3, 16 November 1949
  10. ^ "Ambala City Population Census 2011 – Haryana".
  11. ^ "About Cloth Market". Retrieved 22 June 2019.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Ambala at Wikimedia Commons