Barnala was named after Baba Ala Singh. Though it was a district headquarter in erstwhile princely state system, it was later merged in PEPSU ( PATIALA & EAST PUNJAB STATES UNION ) and degraded as sub divisional headquarter. Later the Congress led Government of Punjab, headed by Capt. Amarinder Singh, who incidentally is the maharajah and last ruler of Patiala State, restored its glory as a district headquarters.
Barnala is located at 30°23′N 75°33′E / 30.38, 75.55. It has an average elevation of 227 metres (744 feet).
Barnala is a medium sized town with all the amenities available within commutable distance. Its economy is supported by neighboring agriculture rich villages like Sehna, Rure Ke Kalan, Rure Ke Khurd, Mehta, Dhaula, Pakho Kalan, Handiaya, Mallhi,Pakho Ke, Sanghera, Thikriwal, Gehal,Diwana, Rajgarh, Uppli, Pherwahi, Dhanaula, Amla Singh Wala. It has diverse population supporting local industries and food business. Now Barnala is a newly declared district headquarter of Punjab state,upgraded from a Sub Divisional Headquarter by the former Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt.Amrinder Singh. But with a Congress candidate Kewal Singh Dhillon winning as a member of the State Legislative Assembly and the state being ruled by the Akali Dal Government, Barnala has been a neglected area on all fronts. Last week i.e. first week of October, 2008, it brought shame to all as news spread of illegal cutting of forest trees on BARNALA - TAPA Road by timber smugglers in connivance of forest officials; posing great threat to environment. As the news was extensively carried by newspapers and TV Channels, Mr Tikshan Sood, the Honourable Minister of Forest, Government of Punjab has ordered an enquiry into the matter and the Distt Forest Officer, Sangrur has been ordered to head the enquiry. This news items was covered in Barnala Sangrur Kesri dated October 9, 2008 (part of Punjab Kesri, leading Hindi Daily of Punjab) on page 1.