Bulandshahr, a town and district of British India in the Meerut division of the United Provinces. The town is situated on a height on the right bank of the Kali-Nadi, whence the substitution of the names Unchanagar and Bulandshahr (high town) for its earlier name of Baran, by which it is still sometimes called. The population in 1901 was 18,959. Its present handsome appearance is due to several successive collectors, notably F.S. Growse, who was active in erecting public buildings, and in encouraging the local gentry to beautify their own houses. In particular, it boasts a fine bathing-ghat, a town-hall, a market-place, a tank to supply water, and a public garden.
The District of Bulandshahr has an area of 1899 sq. m. The district stretches out in a level plain, with a gentle slope from N.W. to S.E., and a gradual but very slight elevation about midway between the Ganges and Jumna. Principal rivers are the Ganges and Jumna - the former navigable all the year round, the latter only during the rains. The Ganges canal intersects the district, and serves both for irrigation and navigation. The Lower Ganges canal has its headworks at Narora. The climate of the district is liable to extremes, being very cold in the winter and excessively hot in the summer. In 1901 the population was 1,138,101, showing an increase of 20% in the decade. The district is very highly cultivated and thickly populated. There are several indigo factories, and mills for pressing and cleaning cotton, but the former have greatly suffered by the decline in indigo of recent years. The main line of the East Indian railway and the Oudh and Rohilkhand railway cross the district. The chief centre of trade is Khurja.
Nothing certain is known of the history of the district before A.D. 1018, when Mahmud of Ghazni appeared before Baran and received the submission of the Hindu raja and his followers to Islam. In 1193 the city was captured by Kutb-ud-din. In the 14th century the district was subject to invasions of Rajput and Mongol clans who left permanent settlements in the country. With the firm establishment of the Mogul empire peace was restored, the most permanent effect of this period being the large proportion of Mussulmans among the population, due to the zeal of Aurangzeb. The decline of the Mogul empire gave free play to the turbulent spirit of the Jats and Gujars, many of whose chieftains succeeded in carving out petty principalities for themselves at the expense of their neighbours. During this period, however, Baran had properly no separate history, being a dependency of Koil, whence it continued to be administered under the Mahratta domination. After Koil and the fort of Aligarh had been captured by the British in 1803, Bulandshahr and the surrounding country were at first incorporated in the newly created district of Aligarh (1805). Bulandshahr enjoyed an evil reputation in the Mutiny of 1857, when the Gujar peasantry plundered the towns.
The Jats took the side of the government, while the Gujars and Mussulman Rajputs were most actively hostile.
See Imperial Gazetteer of India (Oxford, ed. 1908); F.S. Growse, Bulandshahr (Benares, 1884).