Bathinda or Bhatinda, named after the Bhati Rajput kings, is one of the oldest cities in Punjab and the current administrative headquarters of Bathinda District. It is situated in north-western India in the Malwa (Punjab) Region. Courtesy to two artificial lakes in the city, Bathinda is also known as "The city of Lakes". Bathinda is a historical city. It was associated with the imprisonment of first woman emperor of India, Razia Sultan in 1239 in the fort here.
It is home to two modern thermal power plants, a fertilizer plant, a large oil refinery, a Zoo, and the Qila Mubarak fort. Bathinda is one of the biggest food grain and cotton markets in northern India, and the area around Bathinda has become a large grape growing area. Bathinda's railway station is one of the biggest railway junctions in the country and is currently undergoing a project for modernization. The Multinational Corporation Pepsi processes horticultural products grown in Bathinda. It is considered one of the best cities in Punjab for education.
Birth of modern Bathinda:
It is believed that Rao Bhatti established the modern town of Bathinda in the Lakhi jungle area in the third century, and it was captured from him by the Brars. Bala Rao Bhatti inhabited the city in 965 AD, naming it Bhatti vinda after his surname. The city also remained the capital of Raja Jaipal. Later the city name was changed to Bhatinda and now a days it is known as Bathinda.
In 1004, Mahmud of Ghazni besieged the local fort, which was located on the route from the northwest into the rich Ganges valley. In 1189, Muhammad Ghori attacked and occupied the fort of Bathinda. Prithvi Raj Chauhan, the ruler of this region, managed to recover possession of the fort thirteen months later in 1191 after a fierce battle.
Razia Sultan, the first female ruler of India, was imprisoned at Bathinda in April, 1240. She was released in August of that year through the efforts of Altunia, the local governor. Both Altunia and Razia married but were killed by robbers near Kaithal on October 13.
The Sidhu-Brars were thrown out of Bathinda during the Lodhi's rule, but were restored to the area by Babur. A few years later, Roop Chand, a staunch Sikh, came onto the scene of Punjab history. Phul, the second son of Roop Chand, started the practice of langar (community kitchen) for the people in the Lakhi jungle area and built a fort around 1654.
With the formation of the Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU) on May 5, 1948, Bathinda District came into existence on August 20, 1948. Its headquarters was originally at Faridkot, but relocated to Bathinda in 1953.
After 1953, many changes were made to Bathinda District's geographical boundaries. Muktsar and Mansa districts were separated from Bathinda.
Geography and Climate:
Bathinda is located on the Indo-Gangetic alluvial plains. Bathinda's climate correspond to semi arid with high variation between summer and winter temperatures. Average annual rainfall is in range of 20 - 40 cm.
Summer temperatures can be as high as 50°C (122°F), and winter temperatures as low as 0°C (32°F). The weather is generally dry, but is very humid from mid-May to the end of August. Rainfall is primarily from the south-west due to monsoon weather, and is concentrated in the period July to mid-September.
Bathinda is one of the largest railway junctions of India. More lines extend from it than any junction on the Indian Railway network. Located in Bathinda is the largest military Cantonment in Asia. Bathinda is home to the Guru Gobind Singh Oil Refinery, which is currently under construction, and a National Fertilizers Plant. Major developments are planned & announced starting from 2007 till 2010. As part of a massive development programme to make Bathinda a model city of Punjab, the government will set up a special economic zone (SEZ) for textile, flying school, cricket stadium and academy, domestic airport and an air-conditioned bus stand within three years. The cricket stadium and academy would be set up by the BCCI on 25 acres (100,000 m2).
Bathinda has a thermal power plant named as Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant(GNDTP) after the first Sikh guru. There is another 1100MW power plant named as Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant, located 18 km away in Lehra Mohabbat. Bathinda is also one of the biggest railways junctions of India. All major national and regional banks operate in Bathinda.
Being one of the oldest towns in Punjab, today Bathinda is steadily emerging as the State's modern industrial city.
Bathinda City today boasts of having India's biggest railway junction and one of the biggest food-grain and cotton markets in India. Major developments plans have been put in place since last year. The government plans to set-up a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for textile, a domestic airport, an air-conditioned bus terminal-cum-commercial complex, a flying academy and a cricket stadium. Besides, private players, including Wal-Mart, have plans to set-up a city centre on a sprawling area of four-and-a-half acres that will house a five star hotel, a shopping mall, multiplex, an entertainment zone, hyper markets, food courts and Anchor stores. Spread over an area of 2,100 square miles (5,400 km2), Bathinda is today the administrative headquarters of the Bathinda District and is surrounded by 12 small and medium towns, making the city a hub for most industrial activities in the region.
Bathinda District is well- connected to each and every part of the country through its rail network.
The industrial revolution in the town took root in 1974, when the first unit of Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Power Plant was commissioned. It not only ended the chronic problem of power-cuts in the region but also emerged as the plant with the lowest oil-fuel consumption in the country. Bathinda is a Educational Hub where, many students from other cities come for competetive exams preparations, which is again a source of income to the local residents.
HMEL is building a Grassroots oil refinery of 9 MMTPA at Bathinda in Punjab, called Guru Gobind Singh Refinery Project. The project is expected to be completed by early 2011. The SAP project was conceived to enable complete and integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) for HMEL's refinery business in India.
Tourism sector in the region has also grown manifold, as Bathinda has some of the oldest monuments, some of them even dating back to 3,000 B.C. to the Harappan period. Qila Mubarak, a fort as old as 1,900 years forms the heart of the city and has been a favourite among domestic as well as foreign tourists. Other tourist attractions include Mazaar of Peer Haji Rattan, Damdama Sahib, Rose Garden and Zoological garden.