Baramulla, was known as Varmul. It is a city and a municipality in the Baramulla district in the Indian UT of J&K. It’s on the banks of the Jhelum River. Baramulla city is also the administrative Head Quater of the Baramulla district. Baramulla was a major urban city and a prominent trade center before suffering extensive damage during the 1947-48 India & Pakistan war. Nowadays, Baramulla is a major business centre and has prominent educational institutions of Northern Kashmir. Baramulla got it’s name from Sanskrit word Varāhamūla, which is a combination of varaha (boar) and mūla (root or deep) meaning “boar’s molar.”
According to Hindu purans, the Kashmir Valley was once a lake known as Satisaras (Parvati’s Lake in Sanskrit). Ancient Hindu textbooks relate that the lake was home to the demon Jalodbhava (meaning “originated from water”) until Lord Vishnu took the form of a boar and struck the mountain at Varahamula. This created an outlet for the water to flow out of the lake. Baramulla was called Varahamulaksetra or Varahaksetra in the old days. Originally, it was a suburb of Huviska pura (modern Ushkur). Associated with the Adivaraha, the Wild boar incarnation of Lord Vishnu was considered very pious. In the ninth and tenth centuries, there were many temples and monasteries during the reign of Lalitaditya Muktapida, Queen Sugandha, and Ksemagupta, when the worship of Vishnu flourished there.
Raja Bhimsina in 2306 B.C. established the city of Baramulla. Many famous visitors have travelled to Baramulla, including Xuanzang from China and a British historian named Moor Craft. During the Mughal reign, the Mughal emperors were also fascinated by Baramulla. Gateway of the Kashmir Valley, Baramulla was a pit stop during their visit to the valley. According to Tarikh-e-Hassan, the city was decorated extravagantly during Akbar’s stay in 1508 A.D. Emperor Jahangir also stayed at Baramulla during his visit to Kashmir in 1620 A.D.
From the start, Baramulla has always had religious importance. Hindu temples and Buddhist monasteries made the city sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists. In the 15th century, Baramulla became important to Muslims as well. Sufi saint Syed Janbaz Wali, who visited the valley with his companions in 1421, chose Baramulla as the center of his mission and was later buried there. His shrine attracts pilgrims and devotees from throughout the valley.
The sixth Sikh Guru, Shri Har Gobind visited the city in 1620. In Baramulla, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and Sikhs have for long time lived in harmony and contributed towards it’s culture. Baramulla was the oldest and the most-important town of northern Kashmir and was known as the “Gateway to the Kashmir Valley” (by the Rawalpindi-Murree-Muzaffarabad-Baramulla Road) until 27 October 1947. Baramulla came to India when the Maharajah signed the instrument of accession on 26 October 1947.
In the modern day Baramulla, the infrastructure and facilities has improved manifolds since 1947 and top educational facilities have been established. Bridges on the Jhelum River have been built to connect the old town on the north bank of the river with the new town on the south bank. Urban structure of the society in the old town has been attempted by moving the residents to the new town. Modern day Baramulla is a developed locality with modern market areas and posh housing suburbs. Baramulla is also connected by rail with Srinagar, Anantnag, Qazigund and Banihal.