LUDHIANA, a town and district of India, in the Jullundur division of the Punjab. The town is 8 m. from the present left bank of the Sutlej, 228 m. by rail N.W. of Delhi. Pop. (1901) 48,649. It is an important centre of trade in grain, and has manufactures of shawls, etc., by Kashmiri weavers, and of scarves, turbans, furniture and carriages. There is an American Presbyterian mission, which maintains a medical school for Christian women, founded in 1894.
The DISTRICT OF LUDHIANA lies south of the river Sutlej, and north of the native states of Patiala, Jind, Nabha and Maler Kotla. Area 1455 sq. m. The district consists for the most part of a broad plain, without hills or rivers, stretching northward from the native borders to the ancient bed of the Sutlej. The soil is a rich clay, broken by large patches of shifting sand. On the eastern edge, towards Umballa, the clay is covered by a bed of rich mould, suitable for the cultivation of cotton and sugar-cane. Towards the west the sand occurs in union with the superficial clay, and forms a light friable soil, on which cereals form the most profitable crop. Even here, however, the earth is so retentive of moisture that good harvests are reaped from fields which appear mere stretches of dry and sandy waste. These southern uplands descend to the valley of the Sutlej by an abrupt terrace, which marks the former bed of the river. The principal stream has shifted to the opposite side of the valley, leaving an alluvial strip, 10 m. in width, between its ancient and its modern bed. The Sutlej itself is here only navigable for boats of small burden. A branch of the Sirhind canal irrigates a large part of the western area. The population in 1901 was 673,097. The principal crops are wheat, millets, pulse, maize and sugar-cane. The district is crossed by the main line of the North-Western railway from Delhi to Lahore, with two branches.
During the Mussulman epoch, the history of the district is bound up with that of the Rais of Raikot, a family of converted Rajputs, who received the country as a fief under the Sayyid dynasty, about 1445. The town of Ludhiana was founded in 1480 by two of the Lodi race (then ruling at Delhi), from whom it derives its name, and was built in great part from the prehistoric bricks of Sunet . The Lodis continued in possession until 1620, when it again fell into the hands of the Rais of Raikot. Throughout the palmy days of the Mogul empire the Raikot family held sway, but the Sikhs took advantage of the troubled period which accompanied the Mogul decadence to establish their supremacy south of the Sutlej. Several of their chieftains made encroachments on the domains of the Rais, who were only able to hold their own by the aid of George Thomas, the famous adventurer of Hariana. In 1806 Ranjit Singh crossed the Sutlej and reduced the obstinate Mahommedan family, and distributed their territory amongst his co-religionists. Since the British occupation of the Punjab, Ludhiana has grown in wealth and population.
See Ludhiana District Gazetteer (Lahore, 1907).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)