The history of the Town of Kapurthala goes back as early as the 11th Century when it is said to have been founded by Rana Kapur, a scion of the ruling house of Jaisalmer (Rajasthan). The present royal family of Kapurthala is descended from Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, a contemporary of Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah, who by his intelligence and bravery made himself the leading Sikh of his day.
At one time it held possessions on both sides of the Sutlej, and also in the Bari Doab. The cis-Sutlej estates and scattered tracts in the Bari Doab were forfeited owing to the hostility of the chief in the First Sikh War; but the latter were afterwards restored in recognition of the loyalty of Raja Randhir Singh during the mutiny of 1857, when he led a contingent to Oudh which did good service. He also received a grant of land in Oudh, 700 mē in extent, yielding a gross rental of 89,000. In Oudh, however, he exercises no sovereign powers, occupying only the status of a large landholder, with the title of Raja-i-Rajagan.
Major-General H.H. Farzand-i-Dilband Rasikh- al-Iqtidad-i-Daulat-i-Inglishia, Raja-i-Rajagan, Maharaja Sir Jagatjit Singh, Bahadur, Maharaja of Kapurthala, GCSI , GCIE , GBE
Raja Sir Jagatjit Singh, K.C.S.I., was born in 1872, succeeded his father in 1877, and attained his majority in 1890. During the Tirah expedition of 1897-98 the Kapurthala imperial service infantry took a prominent part. The territory is crossed by the railway from Jalandhar to Amritsar. The state has a large export trade in wheat, sugar, and cotton. The hand-painted cloths and metal-work of Phagwara are well known.
Kapurthala district is in many ways an unique and harmonious blend of the glorious past, pulsating present and a promising future. What is probably the single most significant historical event of this region is the Enlightenment of Guru Nanak sahib in the year 1499, while bathing in the Bein rivulet, in the little town of Sultanpur Lodhi. It is after receiving this grace that he sowed the seeds of Sikh faith from here. Guru Nanak sahib spent 14 years of his life in this town, meditated under the Ber tree (which still exists) and journeyed from here to various parts of the world spreading the message of oneness. For anyone who imbibes his message, Sultanpur Lodhi is an overwhelming experience. It is this heritage of spiritualism that is evidenced even today in the peace-loving, harmonious and tolerant nature of the people of Kapurthala. It is in the rekindling of this lost spirit that the future of Punjab lies.
Another uniqueness about Kapurthala is that it is probably the only district in the country, one part of which (Phagwara), lies in the centre of another district (Jalandhar). Phagwara is a thriving industrial town, located on the G.T road, between Ludhiana and Jalandhar. Phagwara is home for the famed JCT mills, Sukhjit Starch mills, Oswal sugar mills and a large number of automobile spare parts manufacturing units. The stretch of 15 km distance between Jalandhar and Phagwara has huge potential for commercial development, where a string of resorts and most modern multiplexes are coming up. In many ways Phagwara leads the rest of the Kapurthala district into the realm of growth and economic prosperity.
Notable people from Kapurthala
- Arun Singh, Former Defence Minister of India.
- Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, the first female Indian
- Anita Delgado, a Spanish dancer married by the
- Khurshid Anwar, leading activist in the
creation of Pakistan.
- Maulvi Ghulam Rasul, a famous Sufi poet and
the author of 'Yousaf Zulekha'.
- Sita Devi of Kapurthala, pre-WWII fashion
icon: wife of Maharajkumar Karamjit Singh of