Formerly known as Ropar town, the district of Rupnagar is located at a distance of 42 km from Chandigarh , the state capital. The district is divided into 4 Tehsils: Rupnagar, Kharar, Anandpur Sahib and Mohali and 9 townsnamely Rupnagar, Kharar, Chamkaur Sahib, Anandpur sahib , Kurali, Morinda, Nangal and Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar (Mohali). The district adjoins the cities of Una in Himachal Pradesh, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana & Patiala.
Founded by Raja Rokeshar in the 11th century, Rupnagar got its name from the Raja's son Rup Sen. Archaeological findings suggest that the town dates back to the times of Indus Valley civilization. Historical objects like earthen wares, statues and coins have been recovered from the excavations at the site. These seem to belong to great kings like Chandra Gupta, Kushan, Hoon and also other Mogul rulers.
After the fall of Sirhind in 1763, S. Hari Singh ruled over Rupnagar. But the most famous ruler of Ropar state till date has been Raja Bhup Singh, who fought in the Anglo-Sikh war of 1945.
The place also happens to be site of the war waged by Guru Gobind Singh against the Moguls. It is here at a place called Sarsa Nangal that the great Guru parted with his family to move on to Chamkaur Sahib where his two elder sons achieved martyrdom in the war.
Another most important landmark historic event had been added to the history of the district, when in April 1999, 300th Birth of Khalsa was celebrated at Anandpur Sahib. Besides lakhs of people from all walks of life from all over of the world, heads, important religious, social, political and administrative personalities participated in the Tercentenary functions and paid obeisance at Gurudwara Takhat Shri Keshgarh Sahib. Historic City of Anandpur Sahib has been developed as tourist center.
The birthplace of Khalsa, Anandpur Sahib, is located on the left bank of the Sutlej river, 40 kilometers from Rupnagar town. The town was founded by Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth Sikh Guru who purchased the land from the Raja of Bilaspur.
Guru Gobind Singh came to this town in 1674 when he was only eight years old and he spent about 25 years, the major part of his life in Anandpur Sahib. Gurudwara Keshgarh Sahib is the most important of the shrines as it is here that Khalsa was created by him in 1699 on the day of Baisakhi (13th April). Also, it is at this historical spot that the Kashmiri Pandits approached the 9th Guru, Shri Teg Bahadur to save them from oppression by the Moguls.
Other important Gurudwaras are Keshgarh Sahib, Manji Sahib, Sis Ganj Sahib, Bhora Sahib, Anandgarh Sahib and Gurudwara Mai Jito associated with the ninth and tenth Gurus of the Sikhs.
Nangal is at a distance of 60 km from Rupnagar, situated at the feet of the Shiwalik Hills . With its natural landscape of hills, river and canals, Nangal is an important tourist attraction.
Divided into Nangal Township and Naya Nangal, the place gained importance with the construction of Bhakra Dam on Satluj river in November, 1955. The multi purpose Bhakra Project which includes (apart from Bhakra Dam), the Nangal Dam, Nangal Hydel Channel, Ganguwal and Kotla Power Houses has contributed majorly to the town's prosperity.
Holla Mohalla : The Great Festival
Hola Mohalla, is an important religious event celebrated every year at Anandpur Sahib on the day following the Holi Festival. A three day affair, the fair is attended by thousands of zealous Sikh devotees across the nation. On this occasion, Nihangs (Sikh warriors) clad in their traditional dress and weapons from all over the country carry out a huge procession, on the last day of the fair. The procession starts from opposite Gurudwara Anandgarh Sahib, and proceeds towards the fort of Holgarh, the place where Guru Gobind Singh used to celebrate this fair. Thereafter, the procession culminates at the sandy bed of Charan Ganga, where Nihangs demonstrate martial games including riding, tent pegging, sword wielding etc.