Aligarh


Aligarh( Hindi: अलीगढ़, Urdu: علی گڑھ) is a city in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is located about 90 miles (140 km) south-east of New Delhi. The administrative headquarters of Aligarh District, Aligarh Police Range and Aligarh Division are located there. It has a population of 669,087, according to the 2011 census. The city is mostly known as a university town, alluding to the famous Aligarh Muslim University located there. Several intellectuals have been associated with this university; Sir Muhammad Iqbal, who is also regarded as one of the founding fathers of Pakistan, is the most famous. Aligarh has been also historically famed for its lock industry and is called the City of Locks in local vernacular.

Before the 18th century, Aligarh was known as Kol or Koil. The name Kol referred to the entire district, and its geographical limits would occasionally change. The origin of the name is obscure. In some ancient texts, Kol has been referred to in the sense of a tribe or caste, the name of a place or mountain and the name of a sage or demon. From the study of the place-name of the district, it appears that the district was once fairly well covered by forests and groves. The early history of the district, through the 12th century A.D is obscure.

 

According to Edwin T. Atkinson, the name Kol was given to the city by Balarama, who was there when he slew the great Asura (demon) Kol and, with the assistance of the Ahirs, subdued this part of the doab. In another account, Atkinson points out a "legend" that Kol was founded by the Dor tribe of Rajputs in 372 A.D. This could be further confirmed by an old fort, the ruined Dor fortress, which lies at the city centre.

 

Some time before the Muslim invasion, Kol was held by the Dor Rajputs. In the time of Mahmud of Ghazni, the chief of the Dors was Hardatta of Baran. There is reason to believe that Kol was once the seat of a Buddhist community: statues of Buddha and other Buddhist remains have been found in excavations where the citadel of Koil stood. It also had Hindu remains, which indicates that the citadel probably had a Hindu temple after the Buddhist temple.

 

In 1194 AD, Qutb-ud-din Aibak marched from Delhi to Kol, which was "one of the most celebrated fortresses of Hind".Qutb-ud-din Aibak appointed Hisam-ud-din Ulbak as the first Muslim governor of Koil.

 

Koil is also mentioned in Ibn Battuta's Rihla, when Ibn Battuta along with 15 ambassadors representing Ukhaantu Khan, the Mongol Emperor of the Yuan dynasty in China, travelled to Kol city en route to the coast at Cambay (in Gujarat) in 1341.According to Ibn 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 one of their officers 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 of Sabzabad or "the green country".

 

In the reign of Akbar, Kol was made a Sirkar and included the dasturs of Marahra, Kol ba Haveli, Thana Farida and Akbarabad.[3] Both Akbar and Jahangir visited Kol on hunting expeditions. Jahangir clearly mentions the forest of Kol, where he killed wolves.

 

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, of Farrukh Siyar and Muhammad Shah, rebuilt the old Lodhi fort and named the town after his own name: Sabitgarh. The ruler of Koil was Bargujar Raja Rao Bahadur Singh whose ancestors ruled it from A.D 1184 after the marriage of the Raja of Koil, Ajit Singh's daughter to Raja Pratap Singh Bargujar.

 

In early 1753, the Bargujar Chief rose against the destruction of Hindu temples. The Jat ruler, Surajmal in 1753, with help from Jai Singh of Jaipur and the Muslim army, occupied the fort of Koil. The Bargujar Raja Bahadur Singh continued the battle from another fort under them and died fighting in the "Battle of Ghasera". All the women committed Jauhar. Koil was re-named Ramgarh and finally, when a Shia commander, Najaf Khan, captured it, he gave it its present name of Aligarh. Aligarh Fort (also called Aligarh Qila), as it stands today, was built by French engineers under the command of French officers Benoît de Boigne and Perron

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