Karnal (pronunciation  is a city located in Haryana, India and is the administrative headquarters of Karnal District.

Cantonment Church Tower, Karna lake, Streets of Karnal
Location in Haryana, India
Karnal (India)
Coordinates: 29.69°N 76.98°E / 29.69; 76.98
Country India
DistrictKarnal district
RegionNorth India
Named forKarna
  BodyMunicipal Corporation Karnal
  MayorRenu Bala Gupta
  Member of ParliamentSanjay Bhatia
  MLA, Chief MinisterManohar Lal Khattar
  OfficialHindi, Punjabi, English
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
Vehicle registrationHR-05
literacy rate84.60%[1]
Sex ratio996/1000 Female/Male

Karnal is said to have been founded by Karna, a key figure in the epic Mahabharata, who died at the hands of his half-brother and archrival, Arjuna.[2]

It was also used by East India Company army as a refuge during the Indian Rebellion of 1857 in Delhi.

The Battle of Karnal between Nader Shah of Persia and the Mughal Empire took place in this city on 1739.


The city is said to be named after Karna who as per Mahabharata was an elder brother of the Pandavas born to Kunti and Surya (Sun) before marriage.[3] Karna was a very close associate of Duryodhana and fought for him in the great Kurukshetra war. A tank in the city also bears the name Karna Tal and a town gate is called Karna gate after him.[3]

Ancient past

At the end of 6th century A.D., area was under the rule of Vardhanas of Thanesar.[4] The 7th century was a period of eclecticism in religion, Buddhism was declining and Hinduism was resurging in the Indo-Gangetic plains. The region was under Kanauj rule under the Pala Emperor of Bengal (770-810 A.D.). The authority of Mihira Bhoja (836-885 A.D.), the Pratihara ruler of Kanauj penetrated as far as Pehowa including Karnal.[5]

The Tomaras descending from Raja Jaula, established themselves as rulers of this region in the middle of the 9th century.[5] About the beginning of the 10th century, as the Pratihara power began to decline, the Tomaras assumed independence. One of the Tomara rulers, Anangpal Tomar, found the city of Delhi and made it his capital with the area of Karnal and modern day Haryana being under his realm. The Tomaras came into conflict with the Chauhans of Shakambhari, but continued to rule the Haryana country till the middle of 12th century when they were overthrown by the Chahamana Vigraharaja IV.[6] The country between the Satluj and the Yamuna including Karnal experienced relative peace for a century and a half except the plundering invasions of Mahmud of Ghazni.

Medieval era

In A.D. 1739, Nader Shah of Persia invaded the Mughal empire and Karnal was the scene of the famed Battle of Karnal in which Nader Shah decisively defeated Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah.[7] Muhammad Shah with an enormous army occupied a strongly fortified camp at Karnal but he yielded to the invader as his supplies were cut off from the open country by Shah and were starved into submission.[7] The tactic defeat drastically weakened the Mughal Empire, while the Persian Empire prospered and subsequently hastened British Empire establishment in India.

Sikhs appeared on the scene in the 18th century. The importance of Karnal grew in the time of Raja Gajpat Singh of Jind State who after its capture in A.D. 1763 built the boundary wall and a fort and under whose rule the town increased considerably in size.[8] On January 14, 1764 Sikh Chiefs defeated and killed Zain Khan Sirhindi, the Durrani Governor, and took possession of the whole of Sirhind province as far south as Panipat including Karnal.

Modern history

During Indian independence movement, a district political conference was organized at Karnal with Lala Lajpat Rai as its chairman. Mool Chand Jain often referred to as "Gandhi of Haryana" hailed from Karnal was one of the prominent leader of the Indian Independence.[9]


Smart City

Karnal was ranked 24th (1st in Haryana) among 4000+ cities in the list of Indian cleanest cities of India under Swachh Survekshan 2019.[14]

Karnal was selected as one of the hundred Indian cities to be developed as a smart city under PM Narendra Modi's flagship Smart Cities Mission.[15]

People from Karnal


  1. "Karnal (M Cl)". censusindia.gov.in. Government of India. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  2. Karnal. "Karnal". District of Karnal. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  3. King Karna returns to his land — Karnal
  4. D. C. Ganguly (1981). "Western India in the Sixth Century A.D.". In R. C. Majumdar (ed.). A Comprehensive History of India. 3, Part I: A.D. 300-985. Indian History Congress / People's Publishing House. OCLC 34008529.
  5. H. A. Phadke (1990). Haryana, Ancient and Medieval. Harman. ISBN 978-81-85151-34-2.
  6. R. B. Singh (1964). History of the Chāhamānas. N. Kishore. OCLC 11038728.
  7. Axworthy, Michael (2009)
  8. D. C. Miglani (1993). Politics and Rural Power Struggle: Emerging Trends. Deep and Deep Publications. ISBN 81-7100-578-0.
  9. "Babu Mool Chand Jain Comprehensive Archives".
  10. , official website.
  11. , official website.
  12. Maharana Pratap Horticultural University, Karnal, official website.
  13. , official website.
  14. "Cleanliness survey: Karnal city needs toilets to improve rank". The Tribune. 17 March 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  15. "Karnal to be developed as smart city".
  16. "Only 98 cities instead of 100 announced: All questions answered about the smart cities project". 28 August 2015.
  17. "63th death anniversary of Liaquat Ali Khan being observed today". The News Teller.
  18. India, Press Trust of (26 March 2018). "Anish wins India's third individual gold in Jr. World Cup". Business Standard India.
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