Karnal at a Glance
Karnal is an agricultural-industrial district in the north-central part of Haryana. It is said to be founded by Raja Karna, who was one of the central figures in the epic Mahabharata. The name Karnal comes from Karnalaya, where alaya means abode. Mahabharata’s conception is rooted in the names of most of Haryana’s districts. This not only means that the Mahabharata’s consciousness is rooted in the very social fabric of the people here, but also that the region is a fascinating location to study the epic. Karnal is no exception indeed. Present day Karnal however, offers an imagery of lush fields, Basmati, industrial landscape, educated service class, and a quiet and peaceful city. It has become synonymous with the National Highway 44 (NH-44), which is popularly known as GT Karnal Road (Grand Trunk Karnal Road). Lying midway between Delhi and Chandigarh, modern day Karnal is imbued with the culture of both the cities. Even though the city has witnessed changing political centers, much of its soul has remained unchanged. It is bordered by Kurukshetra (northwest), Jind and Kaithal (west) and Panipat (south). On the east, it is separated from Uttar Pradesh through the Yamuna, which also forms a natural border between the two states. Karnal has become a mature district after independence.
Karnal has four sub-divisions, Karnal, Indri, Assandh and Gharaunda, which contain five tehsils: Indri, Nilokheri, Karnal, Assandh and Gharaunda. The district has eight blocks: Karnal, Indri, Nilokheri, Nissing, Assandh, Gharaunda, Kunjpura and Munak.
The city is located at 29.68°N 76.98°E, making it lie almost on the vertical line passing midway through India. With an elevation of 240 meters above sea level, it lies a little higher than Delhi. The district looks like a distorted parallelogram, with an area of 2,471 sq. km. making it the eighth largest district in Haryana. Geologically, the district is a part of the Indo-Gangetic plains and is irrigated by a network of Yamuna canals. The three agro-climatic regions coexisting in Karnal are Khadar, Bangar and Narḍak. Khadar regions are low-lying river plains lying next to the river. This is a region prone to flooding and forms the margin of the river’s course-change. Naturally, this area contains very fertile soil. Bangar lies next to Khadar, which is less fertile but also less prone to flooding. Narḍak region lies beyond, with saline water, which is not fit for irrigation. Hence, in Karnal, the region lying between the Yamuna and NH-44 is Khadar, followed by Bangar (Gharaunda), westward. Assandh, Nilokheri and Nissing are part of Narḍak region.