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The city of Rupnagar is located on the bank of the River Sutlej and was previously known as Ropar. On November 1, 1966, with the formation of the Rupnagar District, the small city earned the status of the “district headquarters”. It is believed that Raja Rokeshar had founded Rupnagar in the eleventh century and the city was named after Rup Sen, the son of the Raja. Historians opine that the town of Rupnagar occupied a very important place in the ancient as well as medieval history of India. According to the recent archeological excavations, Rupnagar is one of the most ancient towns of the Punjab region and dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization. The remnants that were found from Nalagarh Tibbi, a mound near the present-day Government College, confirm that Rupnagar was part of a flourishing civilization like that of Mohenjodaro and Harappa. Objects like coins, statues and earthenware bear evidences of the presence of a very advanced civilization in the region. The region was later ruled by the Guptas, Kushanas, Huns and Mughals.

Rupnagar was ruled by S. Hari Singh after Sirhind fell in 1763. On October 26, 1831, a very significant meeting, that settled the myriad boundary issues, took place between Lord William Bentinck and Maharaja Ranjit Singh under the historical “peepal tree”. According to the historians, Raja Bhup Singh was the most notable ruler of “Ropar” or Rupnagar and it was he who had fought the Anglo-Sikh War in 1945. Rupnagar is famous for the war in which Guru Gobind Singh had engaged with the Mughals. The great Sikh Guru parted with his kin at Sarsa Nangal in Rupnagar and moved to Chamkaur Sahib where two of his elder sons laid down their lives fighting and attained martyrdom.

Religious enthusiasts visit Rupnagar for places like Gurudwara Parivar Vichhora Sahib and Gurudwara Bhatta Sahib. Located beside the canal near a village called “Nangal Sirsa”, the Gurudwara Parivar Vichora Sahib stands at a distance of 15 kilometers from Rupnagar. The Gurudwara marks the spot where Guru Gobind Singh and his family parted before the Guru went to Kotla Nihang. The construction of Gurudwara Parivar Vichhora Sahib, along with a lofty flight of eighty-four steps, began in 1963 and was complete in 1975. A large three-day-long annual fair is organized here in December. Gurudwara Bhatta Sahib also hosts a December fair besides the August or Bhadon fair that marks the Death Anniversary of Baba Jiwan Singh who had built the Gurudwara in 1914. Located in the outskirts of the town of Rupnagar, Gurudwara Bhatta Sahib preserves a “dhaal’, a “kitar” and a silver sword that Guru Gobind Singh had gifted the Pathans. The most important religious spot in this area is the “Takhat Sri Keshgarh Sahib” located on a hillock on the Rupnagar-Nangal road. On April 13, 1699, Guru Gobind Singh baptized five Sikhs and created the Khalsa here. This birthplace of the Khalsa is revered as one of the 5 holy seats or “takhts” of Sikhism. Gurudwara Sadabarat and Jateshwar Mahadev Temple are also places of religious interest in this region. A visit to Rupnagar, however, can never be complete without a trip to the Bhakra Nangal Dam and the Place of Treaty between Lord Bentinck and Ranjit Singh.

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