Headquarters of Tehsil/Sub Division of the same name, Phillaur is a Railway junction on the Mughal Sarai-Saharanpur -Amritsar main line(14Km from Ludhiana and 43 Km from Jalandhar) and the Ludhiana-Nakodar-Lohian khas branch line (33 Km from Nakodar ). It is also situated on the Grand Trunk Road, on the north bank of the River Satluj, 14 Km from Ludhiana and 47 Km from Jalandhar. The railway main line and the Grand Trunk Road from Ludhiana to Jalandhar run parallel to each other. Phillaur is also connected by road with Nawanshahr (45 Km) and Nakodar (34 km). It is class II municipality.
Phillaur owes its origin to a Sanghera Jat, Phul, who called the town after himself "Phulnagar". Subsequently the Naru Rajputs, under Rai Shahr, whose territory extended from Mau Selkiana, occupied it and when his son Rai Rattan Pal abandoned Mau and settled at Phillaur, the jats left. The Rajputs also, at some period unknown, deserted the place. The modern town dates from the time of Shah Jahan(1627-1658 AD) at which time the site ,then covered with ruins, was re-occupied, having been selected for the erection of a serai on the Imperial line of road from Delhi to Lahore. Of its earlier history nothing of interest is recorded. On the rise of the Sikhs to power, the place was seized by one Sudh Singh ,Kakarah, who made it the capital of a considerable estate. The family became extinct in 1807 and the place then fell into the hands of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who recognised its importance as a frontier town commanding the most frequented ferry of the Satluj.
Under his Governor Mokham Chand, a strong force of troops was usually stationed at Phillaur and between 1809 and 1812 the Serai was converted into a fort by the addition of a fausse-braye ditch and bastion, in consequence of the British occupation of Ludhiana. The architect is said to have been an Italian Engineer. In 1846, when the Sikh garrison was withdrawn after the battle of Aliwal(January 28,1846),Chaudhri Kutb-ud-din of Phillaur secured the keys of the fort, preserved it from plunder,and gave it up to Colonel Machkeson and Brigadier Wheeler when the British troops entered the Doab. The Chaudhri was granted a pension of rupees 300 PA for his services. In the same year after the battle of Aliwal a British Cantonment was formed in the neighbourhood of the fort which continued to be occupied by native troops until 1857,when the detachment stationed there rebelled. The fort itself became an important artillery arsenal and magazine. The cantonment was not re-occupied after the great uprising. The artillery land magazine were withdrawn in 1863 from the fort and a detachment of Native Infantry left as garrison. In 1891 this was withdrawn and the fort was handed over to the Police Department and it is now occupied by the Police Training College(formerly Police Training School, established on January 1,1892 ,it was raised to a College in April 1967) and the Finger Print Bureau (established in August,1894). The former is the biggest and the oldest institution of its type in the country. It imparts police training to Police officers/officials of Punjab, other states and countries.
Ancient site ( Theh Ghatti), Nagar (Jalandhar)
The village Nagar ( 31" 05' N, 77" 50'E) is situated about 9 km north-east of phillaur with a threefold sequence of culture. Period 1 is represented by the painted Grey ware with sprinkling of the late Harappa sturdy red ware. Semi-circular huts and two ovel structures of burnt earth, probably of religious nature, have been noticed. copper objects, bone styli, terracotta ear-ornaments and animal figures, besides beads and bangles, have been found. Period II has the typical Kushan pottery, terracottas and coins. A terracotta seal reads " sri-mahasenapati -Ramaguptasya' in characters of third century is an important discovery. In period III there was a prosperous mediival occupation. (Notification of 1954 dated 02.01.1954 Archaeological Survey of India, Chandigarh Circle)
Ancient site, Katpalon (Jalandhar)
The ancient site in the village Katpalon (31' 05' N; 75' 52' E) about 7 km east of phillaur and it was excavated by the survey in 1976-77. In period I the painted Grey ware was found interlocked with the late Harappan pottery. Copper antimony road and terracotta beads and wheela are the other main finds. This was followed after a break by period II, kushna. In period III, medieval, the strata are much disturbed by pits. ( Notification no. 4/7/67-CA/(1) dated 05.03.1968 Archaeological Survey of India, Chandigarh Circle)
A Sarvodya Mela is held on the right bank of the River Satluj on 12th February every year to commemorate the immersion ceremony of Mahatama Gandhi's ashes.