When you are visiting the Indian capital city - Delhi, there are several genuine reasons to pay a visit to the nearby state of Haryana. Of course, due to its location close to Delhi, Haryana has gained much popularity in the tourist map of India, but the state itself offers a number of attractions which attract thousands of tourists every year. From charming tourist destinations to tranquil pilgrimage centers, from traditional arts and crafts to modern technologies, from golfing to exciting adventure sports, Haryana offers plenty of attractions for visitors.
Situated in the northern part of India, Haryana is bordered by the states of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh in the north, Rajasthan in the west and south and Uttar Pradesh in the east. Haryana itself surrounds Delhi from three sides, forming the northern, western and southern boundaries of the National Capital Region. For administrative purpose, Haryana is divided into four divisions namely – Ambala, Gurgaon, Hisar and Rohtak and it spreads over an area of 44,212 sq. Kms. The Union territory of Chandigarh is its capital, while the cities of Gurgaon, Panipat, Faridabad and Panchkula are industrial hubs of the state.
So, while you visit Delhi, must head towards Haryana to see some of the wonderful locations as well as tourist attractions of India. Undoubtedly, a trip to Haryana will add more to your memorable journey of India.
History of Haryana
The region of Haryana is one of the oldest known areas of settlement in Indian subcontinent. History of Haryana can be divided into four parts namely the Ancient period, Medieval period, British India and Independent India.
Ancient Period: In the ancient period the Saraswati River flowed through the northern part of the state and many believe that the dry Ghaggar-Hakra River was the river bed of the ancient Saraswati river. During the Indus Valley Civilization, a number of settlements were concentrated along this river bed. The Vedic Civilization also flourished on the banks of the river Saraswati and the hymns of the Rigveda were written here. The great epic of India, Mahabharata mentions Haryana as Bahudhhanyaka (land of plentiful grains) and Bahudhana (land of immense riches). In truth, many places mentioned in Mahabharata now correspond to modern cities in Haryana that include Panprastha (Panipat), Prithudaka (Pehowa), Tilprastha (Tilput) and Sonaprastha (Sonipat).
Medieval Period: In the 7th century A.D, after defeating the Huns, King Harshavardhana established his capital at Thanesar close to Kurukhestra. Following the death of the king, the kingdom disintegrated but the region remained important for the rulers of Delhi. In the 12th century A.D, Prithviraj Chauhan established a fort at Hansi. Later Mohammed Ghori conquered this area in the 2nd Battle of Tarain, after his death, the Delhi Sultanate was established that ruled over the region for several centuries. The three well-known battles of Panipat took place near the modern town of Panipat in the year 1526, 1566 and 1761. In the first battle of Panipat, Babur, the ruler of Kabul defeated Ibrahim Lodi of the Delhi Sultanate and marked the beginning of Mughal Empire in India, while the third battle marked the end of the Maratha Empire in India. British India: During British regime, most of Haryana was the part of the Punjab province and some parts were under the princely states of Nabha, Jind and Patiala. In the Indian rebellion of 1857 several leaders from Haryana including Rao Tula Ram participated actively.
Independent India: After India's independence, Haryana remained a part of Punjab. On 1st November, 1966 the eastern portion of Punjab was carved out as the separate state of Haryana. The union territory of Chandigarh was declared the state capital.
Haryana - Tourist Destinations
Of course, Haryana has few tourist destinations but they offer several attractions for tourists visiting the state. If you’re going from Delhi to any popular destination in north – Agra, Jaipur, Amritsar, Kashmir etc. You have to cross Haryana. Chandigarh, the capital city of the state, houses a number of tourist attractions. Gurgaon, Panipat, Ambala, Faridabad and Panchkula are some of the other important destinations of the state.
People & Culture of Haryana
Since ancient time, Haryana has been a 'Gateway to North India' and the state has witnessed the invasion of the Muslim rulers, battles of the Marathas and the Sikhs. From the ancient period to the present, religion has remained the basis of the structure of the Haryanavi society. Haryanavi people are known for their simple, straightforward, enterprising and hard-working nature.
According to the 2001 census, the population of Haryana is 21,082,989 that include 88% Hindus, 6% Sikhs, 6% Muslims, 0.3% Jains and 0.1% Christians. The population of Haryana is divided into a number of castes including the Brahmins, the Jats, the Rajputs, the Ahirs and the allied agricultural communities. Haryana’s economy is based on agriculture and about 80% of its people are dependent on agriculture for their livelihood.
Over the centuries, people of the state have survived several upheavals but they have still retained their traditional glory, old religious and social traditions. Haryanvi people celebrate several festivals with high pomp and gaiety and traditional fervor. Haryana is known for its folklores and folk songs which reflect the beliefs and piety of the state people. You will find the glimpses of Haryana’s culture and art forms in mines, dramas, ballads and songs.
Haryana – Cuisine
Just like the Haryanavi people, the cuisine of the state is simple, robust and linked to the rich culture of the land. It’s a fact that cuisine always evolves out of a certain cultural context, as Haryana has an agrarian culture so it has retained simplicity in its cuisine. Haryana is called the ‘Land of Rotis (breads)’ and people are fond of eating different kinds of rotis that include wheat rotis and baajre ki roti. Vegetables are the main stay of the Haryanvai food but people also like non-vegetarian dishes. Haryana is famous for its cattle wealth so cow and buffalo milk are used in most of the Haryanvi cuisine. Some of the specialities which you should savour during your trip to Haryana include Kachri ki Sabzi, Singri ki Sabzi, Hara Dhania Cholia, Methi Gajjar, Kadhi ora, Mixed Dal, Khichri, Bathua Raita, Tamatar Chutney, Besaln Masala Roti-Makhan, Bajra Aloo Roti-Makhan, Bhura Roti-Ghee, Mithe Chawal, Kheer, Churma and Malpuas.
Fairs and Festivals of Haryana
Fairs and festivals form an important part of Haryana. Several fairs and festivals are celebrated throughout the years which add more charm to the beauty of the state. Some of the popular fairs and festivals of Haryana include Surajkund Crafts Mela (February), Teej Festival (March), Holi (March), Crafts Mela – Karnal (March, October), Baisakhi Festival – Pinjore (April), Mango Mela – Pinjore (June-July), Haryana Tourism Day (September), World Tourism Day (September), Pinjore Heritage Festival (October), Haryana Day (November), Geeta Jayanti Samaroh (November/December), Surajkund Crafts Mela – II (December) etc.
The climate of Haryana is continental in character with extreme hot and cold. The summer season remains very hot and the temperature soars to a high of 46oC. Winters are quite cold and the temperature drops below 0oC sometimes. April to June are hot months, while November to February are cold months. Monsoon arrives the state in late June and remains till the end of September. Most parts of the state observe little rainfall except the parts of Karnal and Ambala districts.
Best Time to Visit
Best Time to visit Haryana is between October to March.
How to Reach
By Air: Chandigarh airport is the main airport of Haryana which is well-linked with the important cities of North India. Some destinations of Haryana are very close to the Indira Gandhi International Airport (Delhi), you may reach those destinations by hiring a taxi or car.
By Rail: Chandigarh railway station is the major railhead of the state which is served by several trains from rest of the country. Delhi has three main railway stations – New Delhi, Old Delhi and Hazrat Nizamuddin, which are easily accessible from any part of Haryana.
By Road: National and State Highways connect important destinations of Haryana with each other and neighboring states. State transport and private buses run within the state and also to Delhi, Punjab and other nearby states.
Shopping at Haryana
If you are on a trip to the state of Haryana, then don’t forget to do some shopping. Haryana offers a variety of exquisite handicrafts which has gained nationwide fame. So, handicraft items are a must-buy item for you while you do shopping in the state. You will find a good collection of handicrafts in Surajkand Crafts Mela, which is held by the State Government every year in the month of February.
Apart from this, you can shop handicraft products at the Government Emporia at reasonable prices. Popular shopping items of the state include Phulkari Shawls, Punja Durrie, Jewellery, Brass ware, Metal ware, Leather Craft (Tilla Jutis), Terracota, Ceramics, Mudha (Basketry), Block Printed fabric, Embroidered fabric, Dolls and Soft Toys, Sandal, Wood carving, Jute Craft and Carpets. Gurgaon, a modern city of the state is dotted with big shopping malls and departmental stores, where you can buy almost everything of daily use. Haryana is well-known for its handloom products, the town of Panipat is famous for its exquisite hand-tufted woolen carpets.