UMBALLA, or AMBALA, a city and district of India, in the Delhi division of the Punjab. The city is 3 m. E. of the river Ghaggar, 902 ft. above the sea. Pop. (1901), 78,638. It has a station on the North-Western railway (1077 m - N.W. of Calcutta), with a branch line to Kalka at the foot of the hills (39 m.), which was continued up to Simla in 1903. Umballa owes its importance to a large military cantonment which was first established in 1843, and is the headquarters of a cavalry brigade belonging to the Northern army. The cantonment, which lies 4 m. south-east of the native town, is well laid out with broad roads shaded by trees. It contains a church, a club-house, several hotels and English shops.
The DISTRICT OF UMBALLA has an area of 1851 sq. m. With one small exception it consists of a level alluvial plain, sloping away gradually from the foot of the Himalayas, and lying between the rivers Jumna and Sutlej. These rivers do not materially affect the district, which has a drainage system consisting of the numerous torrents which pour down from the hills. In the south these torrents run in broad sandy beds scarcely below the surface of the country, and vaty from 200 yds. to i m. in width, until, at a distance of 20 or 30 m. from the hills, they become comparatively docile streams, with well-defined clay banks. Towards the north the torrents run in deep beds from the point where they debouch from the hills; they also differ from the streams of the south in being free from sand. The principal of these northern streams is the Ghaggar, intc which the minor streams empty themselves, some within and some beyond the limits of the district. Whatever surplus water of this river is not swallowed up by irrigation passes on through Patiala state and Sirsa, and is finally lost in the sands of Rajputana. The Ghaggar is the only perennial stream within the district, but dwindles to a tiny rivulet in the dry season, and disappears altogether beyond the border of the district. In 1901 the population was 815,880, showing a decrease of 5-6% in the decade. The principal crops are wheat, maize, pulse, millets, rice, cotton and some sugarcane. There are factories for ginning and pressing cotton, and also for grinding wheat. Two opposite corners of the district are watered by the Sirhind and the Eastern Jumna canals. A portion is crossed by the main line of the North-Western railway and by the Delhi-Umballa-Kalka railway, which have their junction at Umballa city. Umballa is one of the territories previously held by numerous Sikh sirdars, which were attacked by Ranjit Singh during one of his marauding expeditions. This caused the movement of British troops in 1809 which resulted in the treaty with Ranjit Singh, by which he was required to withdraw his army from the left bank of the Sutlej and to relinquish his recent conquests in Sirhind. In June 1849, after the second Sikh War had brought the Punjab under British rule, the chiefs were deprived of all sovereign power and the district took practically its modern form. In March 1869 a grand durbar was held at Umballa on the occasion of the visit of the amir Shere Ali.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)