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The common prevalent details reveal that this place was a village named Anahadgarh. In neighboring village Bhadalwadh, Rungarh Muslims used to live who indulged in cattle stealing and plundering acts in surrounding villages grazing cattle in their crops. Following being tormented by Rungarh Muslims, people of Anahadgarh went to Bhadaur for help. Baba Gama was known for his might. When people went to Bhadaur at that time, Baba Gama was not there in his house but his brother Baba Ala Singh came along with them and he forced all Rungarh Muslims to run and started living there planting a tree (it being a Dera at that time marking foundation of a village).
Sikh historian Giani has recorded the details of setting up of Barnala in the annals of Khalsa in this manner that in the year 1775 Baba Ala Singh after offering Bhadaur (set up by King Padhar Sain) to his brother Duna Singh came to Barnala region which was lying aloof at that time. Setting it up, he made it his capital and took under his control surrounding villages. It too appears that Anahadgarh may be existing before and must have been deserted following attacks of Dharvis.
There are different opinions about the nomenclature of Barnala. Some are of the view, Vaaran being a region because of frequent storms was at that time also called Varna. So Barnala was called a land of too many storms which later on became Barnala because of precision of example. Another view reveals that a fort here is said to be built by Baba Ala Singh in which there was a ‘Baahuli’ (a well which had stairs going down). That too due to precision and Malwai accent was known as ‘Baain’. Thus Baain Wala ultimately became Barnala. Thus these are different views only but no historical detail is available that how name Barnala came into existence. Barnala was named after Baba Ala Singh. Baba Ala Singh left Bhadaur with his elder brother(hometown of Patiala State)and settled at Barnala and conquered many areas with the help of his brothers the Bhadaur Sardars. Though it was a district headquarters in erstwhile princely state system, it was later merged in PEPSU (Patiala & East Punjab States Union) and degraded as sub divisional headquarters.
There is a stone "Rameshwaram Stone" in Nath Wala Dera – Village Handiaya Adjoining with Barnala that one floating in water.
As per provisional data of 2011 census Barnala had a population of 116,449, out of which males were 62,554 and females were 53,895. The literacy rate was 79.59 per cent. Barnala is a Sikh majority city with approximately 50.37% of city population following Sikhism.
TridentGroup (formerly known as Abhishek Industries), is headed by Mr. Rajinder Gupta. The group operates in five major business segments: Yarn, Terry Towels, Paper, Chemicals and Captive Power.Trident is one of the largest yarn spinners in India, one of the world’s largest terry towel manufacturers and the world’s largest wheat straw based paper manufacturer.
IOL Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals (IOLCP) is a leading organic chemicals manufacturer and supplier.
Standard Combines headquartered in Barnala, is in various products like, Thresher, Self Harvester Combine, Tractor Driven Harvester Combine, Rotavator, Rotavator with Seed Drill, Maize Self Harvester Combine.The company is also exporting its 4x4 Harvester Combine & track Combine to Nepal, Sri-Lanka, Bangladesh.
Balkar Combines headquartered in Barnala, The company is in various products like, Thresher, Self Harvester Combine, Tractor Driven Harvester Combine, Rotavator, Rotavator with Seed Drill, Maize Self Harvester Combine.The company is also exporting its 4x4 Harvester Combine to Nepal, Sri-Lanka, Bangladesh.
Vedic Formulation Pvt Ltd Ayurvedic medicine manufacturer GMP certified by deptt.of Ayurved Punjab.A Chandigarh-based well known company has its own manufacturing plant at Sanghera Road, Barnala.
Barnala mainly acts as a market place for surrounding villages, including Hamidi. and also emerging as a trading town.
List of educational institutions in Barnala:-
- Kendriya Vidyalaya Air Force Station, Barnala
- Dayanand Kendriya Vidya Mandir, Barnala
- Sacred Heart Convent School,Raikot Road Barnala
- Little Angel Play-Way School,Barnala
- Sarvhitkari Senior Secondary School,Barnala
- Government Boys S S School, Barnala
- Government Girls S S School, Barnala
- BVM International School,Barnala
- B.G.S Public School, Barnala
- Sacred Heart convent senior secondary school,Handiaya road barnala.
- Aryabhatta International School,Barnala
- Gandhi Arya High School,Barnala
- Y.S. Public School
- Mother Teacher School,Barnala
- Sarvottam Academy,Barnala
- Takshila Public school
Higher Education Institutions:-
- S. D. College, Barnala
- Aryabhatta Group of Institutes, Barnala
- Akal Polytechnic College, Rureke Kalan, Barnala-Mansa highway, Barnala
- Baba Farid Institute of Computer Science and Information Technology, Barnala
- Barnala Polytechnic College, Barnala
- Dashmesh Institute of Management and Technology, Barnala
- Government Industrial Training Institute (ITI), Barnala
- Guru Arjun Dev College of Management and Technology, Barnala
- Guru Gobind Singh College of Education, Barnala
- Guru Nanak Dev Nursing Institute, Barnala
- Sacred heart international college of education,Barnala
- Technical Education College Handiaya, Barnala
- M.P. patwar training center, Barnala
- "Urban Agglomerations/Cities having population 1 lakh and above" (PDF). Provisional Population Totals, Census of India 2011. Retrieved 2012-07-07.