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The district of Rupnagar is named after its district headquarters, the town Rupnagar, formerly known as Ropar. The town of Ropar is said to have been founded by a Raja called Rokeshar, who ruled during the 11th century and named it after his son Rup Sen. The town is of considerable antiquity.  Recent excavations and explorations conducted at Rupnagar indicated that the first civilized folk to settle here were the Harappans, who apparently reached the upper Satluj towards the close of third millennium B. C. District was carved out on Ist November, 1966 at the of re-organization of the State.The District has rich historical and religious significance behind it.
 
In 1992 newly formed SAS Nagar district got separated from and now at present there are 4 tehsils  namely Rupnagar, Chamkaur Sahib, Anandpur Sahib and Nangal, 5 blocks Rupnagar, Chamkaur Sahib, Anandpur Sahib, Morinda and Nurpur Bedi and 619 villages with geographical area of 1.38 thousand hectares, out of which 0.74 lakh hectares are cultivable. There are very few large scale industries in the district out of which main are National Fertilisers ltd and Punjab Alkalies & chemicals at Nangal, Ambuja Cement factory &  one Sugar Mills (Morinda)There are 65 processing units among which 37 small scale and 4 big industries, functioning in the district like mechanical industry, oil mills, milk chilling centers, feed processing units paper industry, rice shellers. At the same time the district is having Guru Gobind Singh Thermal Plant in Ropar block of the district famously. Indian Institute of Technology is coming up in Rupnagar city. Rural areas of the district are very well developed with infrastructural facilities like Co-operative Societies, Schools, post offices, Banks, STD, road network and railways upto some extent All the towns of the district except Nurpur Bedi, and Chamakur Sahib fall on railway line. The district adjoins Una District (Himachal Pradesh) in the north, Hoshiarpur District in the north-west, Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar(Nawan Shehar), Ludhiana and SAS Nagar & Fatehgarh Sahib Districts in the south-west. The district comprises 4 Tehsils, and includes 619 villages and 5 blocks namely Rupnagar, Chamkaur Sahib, Anandpur Sahib, Morinda and Nurpur Bedi.