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Sirsa is believed to be one of the oldest places in Northern India, dating back to epics like the Mahabharata and Divyavadan. Its ancient name was Sairishaka, derived from the river Saraswati which once flowed through these regions. According to Panini's Ashatadhayayi, Sairishaka was a thriving city in the 5th century B.C., and the Mahabharata narrates the story of how Nakula captured the city during his conquest of Western India.
Local legend has it that an obscure King named Saras founded the city in the 7th century A.D. and built a fort there, the dilapidated remains of which can still be seen in the South-East part of the city. According to other legends, the city used to also be called Sarsuti or Sirsapattan. A few local villagers still firmly believe that the city’s name was derived from the famous Sarsai Nath, a temple of whom is located in the city premises.
During Emperor Firuz Shah's reign, Sirsa was a part of the administrative division of Hisar Feroza. During Emperor Akbar’s rule, Sirsa was allotted as one of the dasturs of Hisar Feroza Sarkar, and palaces of Fatehabad, Sirsa, Paniyana and Bhangiwal occupied the land presently included in the district of Sirsa. In 1810, the Marathas ceded the entire territory of Delhi to the British, which was later divided into three districts in 1819. The North-Western art of the territory included Sirsa, Hisar, Panipat, and Rohta. One year later, the same was again segregated into Northern and Western regions - Sirsa along with Hansi, Hisar and Bhiwani formulated this Western region.
In 1837, the sub-divisional districts of Sirsa and Rania were removed from Haryana district and formed an individual district along with Guda and Malaut, called Bhattiana. The sub-divisional districts of Darba and Rori were also added to Bhattiana district in 1838 and 1847, respectively. Ultimately, in 1858, the entire district of Bhattiana was renamed to Sirsa.
This Sirsa district comprised of three administrative tehsils of Dabwali, Sirsa and Fazilka, and was abolished in 1884 when it merged with Hisar district. In 1966, a new state of Haryana was borne and two years later, the tehsil of Sirsa was bifurcated into Dabwali and Sirsa tehsils. It wasn’t until 1975 when Sirsa was officially recognized as the eleventh district of Haryana by amalgamating Sirsa and Dabwali tehsils of the erstwhile Hissar district.