Punjab - The Land of Five Rivers
Punjab, the land of astounding cultural history is situated in the north-west of India. Popularly known as the “Granary of India”, Punjab is the second largest producer of important agricultural products in India. The fascinating cities and towns of Punjab are dotted with many gurdwaras ancient monuments, temples, ashrams, sacred shrines and serene lakes. Chandigarh is the capital of Punjab and the main language spoken here is Punjabi or Gurumukhi. Some prominent cities in Punjab are Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Mohali, Patiala, Amritsar, Jalandhar and Bathinda.
Punjab was divided in 1966 to form Himachal Pradesh and Haryana. It houses the largest population of Sikhs in India. Punjab has a long history and boasts of its rich cultural heritage. The state has been invaded by many rulers and races like Aryans, Greeks, Persians, Afghans, Egyptians and Mongols. In 15th Century, Guru Nanak Dev founded the Sikh religion, which became prominent in the region. Afterwards, the state was reformed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh into a secular and powerful state. In the 19th Century, the state witnessed the beginning of British rule that led to the emergence of several brave Punjabi freedom fighters.
Also known as 'Harminder Sahib', it is the most sacred site of Sikhism. Golden temple beckons many pilgrims every year. The centrepiece of the complex is the majestic Golden Temple, enveloped by an artificial lake, showcasing the intricate and outstanding structure. The surrounding old town provides opportunity for exploring the history as well as cultural richness of the Sikh religion.
It is the only road border that crosses between India and Pakistan. Wagah Border positions itself on the Grand Trunk Road between the cities of Amritsar and Lahore. On the border, a retreat ceremony referred as 'lowering of the flags’ is organized every evening, since 1959.
Border Security Force (B.S.F) of India and the Pakistan Rangers soldiers perform enthusiastic parade during the ceremony. The ceremony concludes with a handshake between the soldiers belonging to India and Pakistan.
Once played as an important place in the history of Punjab, Jallianwala Bagh is now a public garden in Amritsar. It houses a memorial of national significance. Established in 1951 to commemorate the murder of thousands of celebrators on the occasion of the Baisakhi, Jallianwala Bagh lies adjacent to the Golden Temple. Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust organizes several activities of the memorial.
This magnificent structure positions itself behind the Moti Bagh Palace. Sheesh Mahal boasts of its mirror chambers that resemble to the nearby Rang's in grandeur. The structure also treasures a museum and large art gallery. Frequented by locals as well as tourists, Sheesh Mahal is a popular tourist attraction in Punjab.
Gurdwara Baba Atal Sahib, Quila Mubarak, Bhakra Nangal Dam, Sukhna lake, Anandpur Sahib are other popular places to visit in Punjab.
Best time to Visit
The best time to visit Punjab is from February to April, and from September to November.
Punjab is also famous for its cuisine which is a bit spicy and rich. Most of the hotels in Punjab house good restaurants where you can treat your taste buds with the local delicacies.
Punjab offers various hand loom products and hand crafted items, everything has a resemblance of its unique culture. Parandis (hair accessories) Shawls, Phulkaris (artistic embroidery), Jutties (footwear) and Durries (flat woven rugs) are the most popular shopping articles. Tourists can also buy leather garments, Punjab dolls, Jewellery, Baskets, Folk toys and Hand fans,
Most of the good hotels in the state are located in the big cities. Hotels in Punjab offer you wide range of options. There are many economy class accommodation and value-for-money hotels in Punjab.
How to Reach
Punjab has two airports situated at Chandigarh and Amritsar. All major airlines operate regular flights to these airports linking them to major cities of India.
Punjab is well connected to other parts of India by extensive railway network. Chandigarh, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, and Pathankot are the important railway stations.
An extensive network of roads as well as state highways links all major cities of Punjab. The National highways NH1 or the Grand Trunk Road connect the state directly to many important places in northern and eastern India.