Kalyan is a part of the Thane District of Maharashtra. Kalyan is known for providing a significant work force for the economy of Mumbai. It is also known for being the Mumbai region's exit station to North and South India.
Kalyan is within the administrative division (tahsil) at a taluka level of the Thane District. Kalyan and its neighbouring township of Dombivli jointly form the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation, abbreviated as KDMC. It is considered a part of the Greater Mumbai built-up area, along with Vitthalwadi, Bhiwandi, Thane, Ulhasnagar and the municipal councils of Ambernath and Badlapur.
In pre-independent India, the administration spelled Kalyan as Kallian, Callian and sometimes as callianee. The city has beend attacked by various foreign armies including the Mughals, the Portuguese and the British. The Marathas were held in high regard by the locals for being the only line of defence against invasions. Decaying structures of the maratha kingdom and traces of fortification still exist, such as the Durgadi fort. Extensive ruins in Kalyan indicate the city's former magnificence.
Walter Hamilton, a foreign visitor passing through India described Callianee as follows in his year 1820 book A Geographical, Statistical, and Historical Description of Hindostan, and the Adjacent Counties, Volume 2 on page 150:
Kalyan also found attraction among European Christian Missionaries. The port of Kalyan landed them well within the mainland through boats in their attempt to spread Christianity across the other side of konkan.
In the Middle Ages, Kalyan was occupied by the Ahmednagar Sultanate who renamed the city as Gulshanabad. It was captured by the Bijapur Sultanate, an Indo-Turkish state in the Deccan in the 16th century, and later by the Mughal empire under the emperor Shah Jahan, who fortified the city in the mid-17th century.
Kalyan served as a port city for many centuries until siltation and the rise of Bombay eclipsed it and its sister ports - Nallasopara, Thane, Bhiwandi. Abandoned lighthouses used to guide sea traffic still exist along the riverbanks of Ganesh ghat. The port was ruled by the Maurya and Gupta Empires of north India and later was part of a Konkan principality vassal to the Yadava dynasty of Daulatabad, Deogiri. After the Khilji sack of Deogiri, the Yadavas fled into the Konkan region and set up their base at Mahikawati, modern Mahim; Kalyan was a part of the brief Yadava state of Mahikawati. Mahikawati was conquered by the Muslims who set up petty coastal principalities.
It came under Portuguese sway for a brief time before being re-conquered by the Muslim allies of the Mughals, and was later conquered by the Marathas, who made it one of their strategic centers because of its geographical location and renamed the city back to Kalyan. The city is briefly mentioned by Christian historians where a group of Christian travellers were persecuted by Muslim rulers of the period.
Kashibai, wife of the Peshwa Bajirao was born in Kalyan. About eighty years after the Maratha conquest, the Maratha empire was forced to cede it to the British and Kalyan became part of the Bombay Presidency, a British India province that became Bombay state after India's independence in 1947.
Anandi Gopal Joshi, a Women from Kalyan along with Kadambini Ganguly was one of the first two Indian women to obtain a degree in Western medicine in 1886. She is also believed to be the first Hindu woman to set foot on American soil.