The city of Baramulla, from which the district derives its name, was founded by Raja Bhimsina in 2306 BC. The city held the position of a gate-way to the valley as it was located on the route to the Valley from Muzaffarabad, now in POK, and Rawalpindi, now in Pakistan.
As such, a number of prominent visitors have been to Baramulla. These include the famous Chinese visitor Heiun T’Sang and Moorcraft, the British historian. Mughal Emperors had special fascination for Baramulla. Being the gateway of the valley, it was a halting station for them during their visits to the Valley. In 1508 AD, Emperor Akbar who entered the Valley via Pakhil spent a few days at Baramulla and according to “Tarikh-e-Hassan” the city during Akbar’s stay, had been decorated like a bride. Jahangir also stayed at Baramulla during his visit to Kashmir in 1620 AD.
In the 15th century, Baramulla became important to Muslims, as the famous Muslim saint Syed Janbaz Wali, who visited the valley along with his companions in 1421 AD, chose Baramulla as the centre of his mission, and after his death he was buried there. His shrine attracts pilgrims from all over the Valley. In 1620 AD, the sixth Sikh Guru Shri Hargobind visited the city. Baramulla thus became an abode of Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Sikhs living in harmony and contributing to a rich composite culture.
It was the oldest and the most important town in north of princely state of Jammu and Kashmir and the ‘Gateway of Kashmir Valley’ by Rawalpindi-Murree-Muzaffarabad-Baramulla Road until 27 October 1947. It became a part of Union of India when the Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession on 26 October 1947.
Roads have been improved and road network has grown considerably in Baramulla town since 1947. New schools and colleges have started and better facilities for education have been created. More bridges on Jhelum river have been constructed or planned to connect the old town on the north bank of the river with the new town on the south bank. Decongestion of the old town has been attempted by moving some residents to houses in the new town.
The most recent development has been creation of railway connectivity with Srinagar, Anantnag and Qazigund and the planned connectivity with Banihal and Jammu.