Kurukshetra is as old as the history of India. The history of the area in which Kurukshetra district lies can be traced back, howsoever dimly at times to the ancient Aryan Past. According to Dr. R.C. Majumdar, “it was a religion-cultural centre even before the immigration of the Aryans into India”1

The history of Kurukshetra can be traced back as early as pre-Harappan and Harappan era. The potteries found from some of the archeological excavation sites can be traced back to 1700 BC – 1500 BC, the era which is considered as pre Aryan and into the pre-Harappan to Harappan era. Later after the Aryan came to India and settled here. The Aryan civilization, in all probability, might have started around 1300 BC. During the early period of the Aryan dynasty, the battle of Kurukshetra took place.

From the literary evidences and the material evidences, it can be said that the Kurukshetra war took place anytime between 1200 BC to 1000 BC. During those times this place was ruled by king Kuru, after whose name the place was called Kurukshetra (meaning ‘place of Kuru’). After the Kuru dynasty, Kurukshetra came under the influence of Buddhists and the Jains. Material evidences collected from excavation sites indicate the period to be around 600 BC. Later during the Greek invasion led by King Alexander, Kurukshetra came under Macedonian influence. The geographical location of Kurukshetra always led the place to come under influence of the invading army.

The history and culture of Kurukshetra was also enriched by the influence of the Turks (Mahmud of Ghazni), the Huns, the Shaks, the Pathans and the Moghuls. In between these invasions, there came great and strong Indian dynasties who ruled over Kurukshetra like the Guptas, the Mauryas, the Pratihars, the Kalingas etc. These Indian and foreign influences enriched the history and culture of Kurukshetra. The ancient period extended till a little after 1200 AD. During the asncient period of Indian history, Kurukshetra played a significant role and in many cases the invading army into Kurukshetra turned the Indian history. The area of Kurukshetra engulfed almost all of the present Haryana state.

For more information see District Gazetteer

After the demise of Shihabud-din-Ghuri, one of his Generals, Qutab-ud-din Aibak, laid foundations of the Turkish rule in north India in 1206. The territory now comprising Kurukshetra district became a part of his newly founded kingdom alongwith adjacent territories. In the contemporary literature, there is a reference to his having established only a military outpost here at Thanesar.

At the end of 1210 AD, Kurukshetra was ruled by Iltutmis and later his daughter Razia Sultana. During this period Kurukshetra was run under a strong and very organized administration. Later, Kurukshetra came under the rule of Alauddin Khilji, followed by Mohammed bin Tughlak. Then Sher Shah came onto power under whom the whole of Kurukshetra flourished. Thanesar was considered to be an important military halt on the way from Delhi to Lahore. He constructed two ‘Sarai’s in Kurukshetra.

The famous road Bengal to Lahore passed through Kurukshetra. During this period Kurukshetra prospered and became an important place. But after his demise weak rulers brought chaos and confusion in this region which was later brought into order during the regime of the Moghul emperor Akbar and the Kurukshetra administration stablised during the latter half of sixteenth century. Till 1707 AD, the strong administrative setup remained till the reign of Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb also brought chaos and misery to Kurukshetra populace through religious favouritism by setting up pilgrim taxes for Hindus visiting Kurukshetra and by building mosques and destroying temples.

The remains of a castle constructed during Aurangzeb can still be seen in Brahmasarovar. Though during these times Kurukshetra was also came under the strong influence of Sufism and Sikhism. After the death of Aurangzeb, weak administration in Delhi again brought chaos into this region and the misery of common people increased during the invasion of Nadir Shah whose sole purpose was to gain through exploitation. The Marathas from southwest took over the reign of Delhi and tried to stabilize a number of times but they could not sustain for long. Some Sikh and Pathan rulers also took over control of Kurukshetra and this state continued till 1800 BC after which the British rulers took over.

For more information See District Gazetteer

After 1803 the British rulers took control from the Sikh rulers in those areas. But till 1850 the Sikh lords of those region fought with the British for control of Kurukshetra region after which they were defeated the whole of Kurukshetra came under British rule. Maharaja Ranjit Singhji also fought against the British and led the first Anglo-Sikh war in which he was defeated and his state confiscated by the British army. The Sikh uprising, the Wahabi movement, the Sepoy mutiny all had a telling effect on Kurukshetra which was run by the British appointed Deputy Commissioner.

Post 1900 saw the struggle for independence gather steam and it continued till 1947 led by Bhagat Singh, Mahatma Gandhi and other famous political pathfinders. After 15th Of August, 1947 India became a sovereign independent country and the India Administration took over. The Deputy Commissioner of Kurukshetra became an officer of /Indian Administrative Service.
In 1966, after the formation of Haryana state, the area of Kurukshetra was redefined. But the Kurukshetra district was fully created in 1973. Though the Kurukshetra district was reorganized several times during 1979, 1989, 1990, 1996 & 2011, only after 2018 the present formation with 4 sub-divisions, 4 Tehsils and 2 sub-Tehsils, 7 Community Development Blocks and 5 towns (Thanesar, Pehowa, Shahbad, Ladwa, Ismailabad ) took place.

For more information See District Gazetteer

Kurukshetra - British Period

After Independence (1947)

The partition of the country in 1947 led to mass migration of population from Pakistan to India and vice-versa. The biggest refugee camp was established in this town which accommodated the largest number of refugees. This led to rapid growth of the residential colonies & commercial establishments in this area. The area comprising the present district of Kurukshetra was passed on to Haryana on to November, 1st 1966 when it was created as a separate State.

After Formation of Haryana (1966)

The area forming the part of Kurukshetra remained a part of Karnal District at the time of formation of Haryana State. Upto 1947, 5 districts viz. Hissar, Rohtak, Karnal, Ambala and Gurgaon existed in Haryana were the part of Punjab.In 1948 with the creation of PEPSU Mahendragarh district became one of the 19 districts of the then Punjab, and 6th district in the Haryana Territory. With the creatian of Haryana State, Jind district come into existence on 1st Nov. 1966. There after Bhiwani and Sonipat districts were created on Dec 22,1972. Karnal District was bifurcated on Juanuary 23, 1973 and another district Kurukshetra was carved out.

After Formation of District(1973)

Kurukshetra District was created in the year 1973, with district headquarter at Thanesar town vide Government Notification No. 454-E (iv) – 73/2212 Dated the 23rd January 1973, comprising the tehsil s of Gulha, Kaithal and Thanesar. In 1979, a new tehsil Pehowa was created. During November 1989, some new districts (Panipat, Rewari, Yamunanagar and Kaithal) were formed. In the re-organistion, the territories of Kurkshetra District were also varied.

Radaur block of Kurukshetra district was included in Yamunanagar district, Kaithal and Gulha tehsil s taken of Kurukshetra district, were included in the Kaithal district, which was formed on November 1, 1989. At that time Pehowa was made Sub-Division.As on 31st Dec. 1990 district had 2 Sub-Division (Thanesar & Pehowa), 2 tehsil s (Thanesar & Pehowa), 2 Sub-tehsil s (Shahbad and ladwa). In 1996, a new tehsil Shahbad was created.

In 2011, a new Sub-Division was created vide Letter No. 795-A.R.-I.C.-3-2011/16309 Dated 22.11.2011 & Govt. Gazetted Notification Dated 30.09.2011.

in 2011

3 Sub-divisions (Thanesar, Pehowa & Shahbad).
3 Tehsil’s (Thanesar, Pehowa & Shahbad)
3 Sub-tehsil’s (Ladwa, Babain & Ismailabad)
5 Community Development Blocks (Thanesar, Pehowa, Shahbad, Ladwa & Babain).
4 Towns (Thanesar, Pehowa, Shahbad & Ladwa)
There are 419 revenue villages in the district. Of these 4 villages have been merged into MC area i.e. Sunderpura. Devidasspura, Ratgal (Thanesar) & Dehra (Ladwa) and in the district total panchayats are 382.

In (2018) at Present District Kurukshetra comprises of

4 Sub-divisions (Thanesar, Pehowa, Shahbad & Ladwa).
4 Tehsil’s (Thanesar, Pehowa & Shahbad, Ladwa)
2 Sub-Tehsil’s (Babain & Ismailabad)
7 Community Development Blocks (Thanesar, Pehowa, Shahbad, Ladwa, Ismailabad, Babain &  Pipli).
5 Towns (Thanesar, Pehowa, Shahbad & Ladwa, Ismailabad)