Ludhiana is a city and a municipal corporation in Ludhiana district in the Indian state of Punjab. Ludhiana is Punjab's largest city and the largest city north of Delhi. The city has an area of 311 km2 (120 sq mi) and an estimated population of 1,618,879 as of the 2011 census. The city stands on the Sutlej River's old bank, 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) south of its present course. It is an industrial center of northern India, often referred to as India's Manchester by BBC. Ludhiana is among the list of smart cities that will be developed by government of India, and has been ranked as the easiest city in India for business according to the World Bank.
Ludhiana is 107 kilometres (66 mi) west of the state capital, Chandigarh, and is centrally located on National Highway 44, which runs from New Delhi to Amritsar. It is 315 km (194 miles) north of Delhi and 142 km (88 miles) southeast of Amritsar.
Ludhiana is located at . It has an average elevation of 244 metres (798 ft). Ludhiana City, to its residents, consists of the Old City and the New City. The new city primarily consists of the Civil Lines area which was historically known as the residential and official quarters of the colonial British encampment.
The land dips steeply to the north and the west where, before 1785, the river Sutlej ran.
The Old Fort was at the banks of the Sutlej (and now houses the College of Textile Engineering). Legend has it that a tunnel connects it to the fort in Phillaur – although why this should be is debatable, as the Sutlej was the traditional dividing line between the principalities, often occupied by enemy forces (see History section).
The ground is of yellow sandstone and granite, forming small hillocks, plateaus and dips.
The tree of largest natural extraction was the kikar, or Acacia Indica, but has been supplanted by the eucalyptus, transplanted from rural Australia in the late 1950s by the government of Chief Minister Pratap Singh Kairon.
Gulmohars and jacarandas were planted by the British along the avenues of Civil Lines, as were other flowering trees, while the Old City contains almost no vegetation or parks, except for a few isolated pipal trees, holy to the Hindus, as it is supposed to be the abode of Lord Shiva.
Ludhiana features a semi-arid climate under the Köppen climate classification, with three defined seasons; summer, monsoon and winter. Ludhiana on average sees roughly 809.3 millimetres (31.86 in) of precipitation annually. The official weather station for the city is in the compound of the Civil Surgeon's Office to the west of Ludhiana. Weather records here date back to 1 August 1868.
Ludhiana has one of the worst air pollution problems in India, with particulate matter being over six times the World Health Organization recommended standard, making it the 13th most polluted city in the world. Industrial water pollution is also of significant concern in portions of Ludhiana, notably along the Budha Dariya.
Ludhiana was founded in 1480 by members of the ruling Lodhi dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate. The ruling sultan, Sikandar Lodhi, dispatched two ruling chiefs of his dynasty, Yusaf Khan and Nihand Khan, to assert Lodhi control over the region. The two men camped at the site of present Ludhiana, which was then a village called Mir Hota. Yusaf Khan crossed the Sutlej and established Sultanpur, while Nihand Khan founded Ludhiana on the site of Mir Hota. The name was originally "Lodhi-ana", meaning "Lodhi town", which has since shifted to the present form of Ludhiana. The Lodhi Fort, or "Purana Qila", is the only surviving structure in the city from this period; located in the neighbourhood of Fatehgarh, it was well-maintained under Ranjit Singh and the British after him, but has since fallen into disrepair and is currently used as a den for gambling and drug use. It was declared a state-protected monument in December 2013.
With around 66% adherents according to 2011 Indian Census, Hinduism is the predominant religion of Ludhiana, followed by Sikhism with 29% of the population. Islam is followed by around 3% and Christianity by less than 1%.
Prior to India's partition, Ludhiana had a population of 111,639 with Muslims being the majority with 63%. The Hindus were 31% and Sikhs 5%. It changed post-partition with a drastic reduction in Muslim percentage and simultaneous increase in Hindu and Sikh population, owing to migration of people between West and East Punjab.
The World Bank ranked Ludhiana as the city in India with the best business environment in 2009 and 2013. The riches are brought mostly by small-scale industrial units, which produce industrial goods, machine parts, auto parts, household appliances, hosiery, apparel, and garments. Ludhiana is Asia's largest hub for bicycle manufacturing and produces more than 50% of India's bicycle production of more than 10 million each year. Ludhiana produces 60% of India's tractor parts and a large portion of auto and two-wheeler parts. Many parts used in German cars such as Mercedes and BMW are exclusively produced in Ludhiana to satisfy the world requirement. It is one of the largest manufacturer of domestic sewing machines. Hand tools and industrial equipment are other specialties. Ludhiana contribute most to Punjab than any other city.
The apparel industry of Ludhiana, popularly known as Ludhiana hosiery industry provides employment to millions of people and produces India's largest share of winter clothing. It is especially known for its woollen sweaters and cotton T-shirts with the majority of India's woollen clothing brands being based here. Ludhiana is also famous for its industry of shawls and stoles and satisfies the demand of major domestic and international brands. As a result of its dominance in the textile industry it is often dubbed as the Manchester of India. Ludhiana also has a growing IT sector with multiple software services and product companies having development centers in the city.
Ludhiana is also home to the Ludhiana Stock Exchange Association. LSC is situated on NH95(Chandigarh-Ferozepur Highway) in Feroze Gandhi market near Mini Secretariat Ludhiana.
Ludhiana has 363 senior secondary, 367 high, 324 middle, 1129 primary, and pre-primary recognised Schools, with a total of 398,770 students. Most of these schools are either run by the Central Board of Secondary Education or by Punjab School Education Board.
Ludhiana is home to the largest agricultural university in Asia and one of the largest in the world, Punjab Agricultural University. The College of Veterinary Sciences at PAU was recently upgraded to the (GADVASU).
GADVASU was established at Ludhiana by an act of the Punjab Legislature No. 16 of 2005 notified in the Punjab Government Gazette on 9 August 2005 and it started functioning w.e.f. 21 April 2006 for promoting livestock production, health and prevention of disease through integrated teaching, research and extension programmes.
Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, the first medical school for women in Asia, was founded by Dame Edith Mary Brown in 1894. Christian Medical College is a major and reputed tertiary care hospital in India, also the location of the world's first face transplant. Dayanand Medical College and Hospital is another tertiary care teaching hospital in Ludhiana. Both these institutions are recognized by the Medical Council of India. The college is affiliated to Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Punjab.
Ludhiana is well connected by road and rail as Ludhiana railway station is on the main Delhi-Amritsar route, and is an important railway junction with lines going to Jalandhar, Ferozepur, Dhuri, and Delhi. The city is very well connected with daily or weekly trains to most places in India including the major cities of Jammu, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Patiala, Pathankot, Kanpur, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ambala, Panipat, Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata. For administrative reasons the station is under Ferozepur Railway Division. The railway line between Ludhiana and Chandigarh opened in 2013. The government has even passed a dedicated freight track between Ludhiana and Kolkata.
Ludhiana is connected with other cities of Punjab and also with other states by bus service. Major national highways NH 44, NH 5 (old NH1, NH95) and state highway SH 11 connect to the city. The transportation services are provided by the state owned Punjab Roadways and private bus operators.
Ludhiana is served by the city based Sahnewal Airport ((IATA: LUH, ICAO: VILD)), also known as Ludhiana Airport. It is located near the town of Sahnewal, 5 km (3.1 mi) southeast of Ludhiana on the Grand Trunk Road. The airport is spread over more than 130 acres. The current airport arrival/departure halls can accommodate 40 passengers. New Airport in Ludhiana is coming up at Halwara Air Force Station which is expected to be completed in three years.
Ludhiana Junction railway station is connected to other metro cities. It also has Sahnewal, Doraha, Kila Raipur railway stations which serve cargo and passenger trains. Vande Bharat Express has a stop at Ludhiana junction on its New Delhi (NDLS) - Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra (SVDK) route.
City bus service has been cancelled. Moving around inside the city is done mostly by auto-rickshaws, and cycle rickshaws, while latest Ludhiana BRTS was planned to be constructed but due to lack of funds allotted and weak planning and management the project too has been scrapped by the government thus worsening the traffic problems in the industrial city.
The Auto rickshaw is a three-wheel drive vehicle, which is one way to travel in the city. They have the capacity to hold three to six passengers. It can be hired individually or on a sharing basis. The auto rickshaws are easily available at every major place, including the interstate bus terminal and the railway station at a nominal fare which varies from ₨ 10 to ₨ 30. Jugnoo, an on demand auto rickshaw application launched its operations in February 2015 to provide low cost, reliable, 24 × 7 service to the citizens of Ludhiana.
Cycle rickshaws are widely used in Ludhiana. The rickshaw or tricycle is pulled by a person and is a relatively cheap way of travelling in the city, but has become pricey after the autos were being scrapped. Nowadays many electric rickshaws are also available in Ludhiana and most of them can be spotted on the road which connects Samrala Chowk to Station.
Radio taxis are also easily available. This is the most used means of transport by the people of Ludhiana. Ola Cabs launched in the city on 7 October 2014. Uber is also very popular in the city. Zoomcar provides cars for self-drive car rental in the city.
Guru Nanak Stadium is known for hosting the kabaddi matches along with athletic games. Kabaddi world cup finals have been played twice in Guru Nanak Stadium Ludhiana. The stadium often hosts high-profile Kabaddi matches.
Kila Raipur Sports Festival, popularly known as Rural Olympics Games, is held annually in Kila Raipur, near Ludhiana. Competitions are held for rural sports, including gatka, bullock cart races, trolley races, kabaddi, loading unloading trucks and acrobatics.
A skating rink for roller skating is in Leisure Valley, Sarabha Nagar.