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The city of Gurdaspur was named after Guriya Ji who founded Gurdaspur in the early years of the 17th Century. Guriya Ji came from the village of Paniar which was located at a distance of five miles in the north of Gurdaspur. A Sanwal Brahmin of Kaushal Gotra, Guriya Ji purchased land for Gurdaspur from the Jats belonging to the Sangi Gotra. The history of the old city of Gurdaspur, where people built abodes in huts, also revolves around the activities of Banda Bahadur who constructed a number of fortresses in the city. The present-day Central Jail of Gurdaspur stands on one of the fortress sites.

The ancestors of Guriya Ji had come down from Ayodhya and inhabited Paniar in the old times. Sh. Nawal Rai, one of Guriya Ji’s sons, settled in Gurdaspur. His son Baba Deep Chand belonged to the same generation as Guru Gobind Singh who conferred the title of “Ganj Baksh” or “Owner of Treasure” on Deep Chand. Gurdaspur started to develop as a village during the tenure of Baba Deep Chand.

Gurdaspur was considered the center of activity for the Ramgharia and Kanhaiya Misls, i.e. the sovereign states in the Sikh Confederacy. When Maharaja Ranjit Singh won over Ramgharia Misl in 1808 and Kanyia Misl in 1811, Gurdaspur came to be a part of the empire of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. On March 29, 1849, the British East India Company annexed Punjab after the 2nd Anglo-Sikh War that was fought from 1839 to 1849. Soon after the annexation, the recognition of the districts became necessary for administrative convenience. Consequently, on May 1, 1852, the district of Adinanagar was renamed “Gurdaspur” and the “Gurdaspur District” was formed. Thus, the small village of Gurdaspur turned into a full-fledged “District Headquarter”.

When the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 began, Gurdaspur was affected as the Sialkot revolutionaries approached Gurdaspur and the British army obstructed them at Trimmo Patan. The mutineers lost in the Battle of Trimmo Patan that went on from 12th July to 16th July 1857 and the hostages were hanged till death in Bole Wala Bagh which is located behind the present-day Government College of Gurdaspur.

The fate of Gurdaspur remained undecided for quite some time when talks regarding the partition of India were going on in 1947. The Radcliff Award of Boundary allocated the “Shakargarh Tehsil” of the district to Pakistan. The remaining district of Gurdaspur was allocated to India. Thus, the Muslim population of the Gurdaspur District migrated to Pakistan and the Hindus and Sikhs of the “Shakargarh Tehsil” and Sialkot crossed the Ravi Bridge and migrated to Gurdaspur as “refugees”.

The city of Gurdaspur today is easily accessible from places inside as well as outside Punjab. If you are planning to visit Punjab soon, do not miss out on Gurdaspur. The Gurdwara of Barath Sahib, the Gurdwara of Achal Sahib, the Kabootri Darwaza, the Fish Park, the Mukeshwar Temple, the Gurdwara of Shri Kandh Sahib, the Achaleshwar Temple and the Dhianpur Shrine attract hundreds of tourists. A visit to Gurdaspur will be incomplete without a visit to the Mahakaleshwar Temple, the Pandori Dham Temple and the Shrine of Brave Haqiqat Rai.

Map of Gurdaspur

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