Rohtak - District of Haryana - The district headquarter is situated in Rohtak town. Other smaller towns are Hasangarh, Meham, Sampla, and Kalanaur. The total area of Rohtak is 1708 sq kms and its population is 7,79,000. The Rohtak district is also known as the political capital of Haryana.
'Rohtak' is said to be a corruption of Rohtasgarh, a name applied to the ruined Khokrakot sites of two cities, one lying north of Rohtak and the other about 4 km to the east. It is thought that it was named after Raja Rohtas, in whose days the city was built. It is also claimed that the town derives its name from the Roherra tree called Rohtika in Sanskrit. It is said that the town was build by clearing a forest of Rohtika trees, and hence its name Rohtak.
Another version connects Rohtak with Rohitaka, mentioned in the Mahabharat. It was possibly the capital of Bahudhanyaka. In the Vinaya of Mulasarvasti-vadins, Jivaka is shown as undertaking a journey from Taxila to Bhadramkara, Udumbra, Rohitaka and Mathura in the Ganga Doab. The ancient road carried the trade of the Ganga valley to Taxila, passing through Rohitaka to Sakala. The ruins of the ancient town are found at Khokrakot or Rohtasgarh. Some experts hold that the town is as old as the Indus Valley Civilization. Some minor finds at Khokrakot are typical of the Indus Valley sites. Clay moulds of coins discovered here have thrown an important light of the process of casting coins in ancient India.
The existence of the town during the rule of the Kushanas is testified by the recent recovery of a Kushana pillar, decorated with carvings of winged lions and riders. An example of a lion of the 1st/2nd century AD, it resembles the lion in the British museum at London, famous for its inscriptions. The riders on it are similar to the riders on elephants at Karle Cave and figures at the Sanchi gateway. It is a significant example of sculptural art of Haryana towards the beginning of Christian era. The coin moulds of the later Yaudheyas of 3rd/4th century AD have been discovered by the Archaeological Survey of India in large numbers. Of the same and subsequent dates are several clay seals. A Gupta period terracotta plaque and a head of a later date have also been discovered. The town continued to flourish till the 10th century AD, as coins of Samanta Deva, the Hindu king of Kabul, have been found here.
The town is said to have been rebuilt in the time of Prithviraj Chauhan. In 1828, General Mundy wrote about the 'ancient and consequently ruinous town' of Rohtak. The wide circuit of its dilapidated fortifications and the still elegant domes of many time-worn tanks tell melancholy tales of gone-by grandeurs.
At one time, the town had a wall all around with gates at regular intervals. Only three gates can now be seen but these are in a dilapidated condition. The town has a number of old mosques, some of which remind us of elegant Muslim structures. Dini Mosque or Adina Mosque is the oldest among these. At the north end of this mosque was a tehkhana (underground cell). Over its arch is an inscription of Ala-ud-Din Khilji, dating back to 1308. There is an old and mythical tank with ghats on three sides, known as Gaokaran tank. Its complex includes Shiva, Devi and Hanuman temples in addition to a park and a baradari.
The Rewri and Gajjak of Rohtak is famous all over India as well as many places abroad.