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Ambala at a Glance.
 

Ambala was constituted as a district in the year 1847 and was formed by merging 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. In its heydays the district boundaries extended across tehsils of Ambala, Naraingarh, Jagadhri, Pipli, Kharar, Ropar and Nalagarh. Kalka-cum-Kurari State, Pinjore, Manimajra, Kasauli & Sanawar were also merged into the district at different points of time. Today’s Ambala District with an area of 1568.85 sq.kms is a pale shadow of its original immense size.

The Ambala District now comprises two subdivisions (Ambala & Naraingarh) and three tehsils (Ambala, Barara & Naraingarh). It has a population of 12 lakhs, which is about 5% of the total population of Haryana. It is bound by Mohali and Patiala districts of Punjab, Sirmaur District of Himachal and Yamunanagar & Kurukshetra districts of Haryana. Ambala district is represented by 5 Assembly Constituencies and 1 Lok Sabha Constituency.

The district is very strategically located and serves as a gateway to Haryana for States of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, J&K, and U.T. Chandigarh. 5 National Highways (NH 1, 22, 65, 72 and 73) pass through Ambala. NH1 (Delhi-Amritsar-Attari/ Pakistan Border) is the most important highway to Delhi for the areas north of Haryana. NH22 starts from Ambala and links NH1 to Shimla and beyond right upto China border at Shipkila. NH65 also starts at Ambala and links NH1 to Hissar and onwards to Jodhpur & Pali in Rajasthan.

Ambala is a divisional headquarters of the Northern Railway Zone and is an important railway junction. The Ambala Cantonment railway station was founded on the junction of the Delhi-Kalka and Ludhiana-Saharanpur lines. The historic Delhi-Ambala-Kalka railway line dates back to 1889 while the Ludhiana-Saharanpur line was built in 1870.

Ambala Airforce Station 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 1947-48 Kashmir Operations. 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 Pakistan Air Force's B-57 bombers. Today, the Airbase houses the ‘7 Wing’ with squadrons of Jaguars and MiG-21 Bisons. Ambala airfield has a war memorial called 'Frozen Tear' dedicated to all aircrew who lost their lives in times of war and peace flying missions from the airfield.

The Ambala Cantonment was established in the year 1843 after the British abandoned its cantonment at Karnal following the malaria epidemic of 1841-42. The cantonment houses the ‘2 Corps’ one of the three Strike Corps of the Indian Army and is of immense strategic importance.

Ambala is known for its scientific and surgical instruments manufacturing industry. It also has metal casting, kitchen mixer grinder manufacturing and submersible motor pump manufacturing industry. Ambala is also famous for its wholesale cloth market touted by the locals to be the largest in Asia.

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