Welcome To Punjab

Punjab, also spelt Panjab, is a state in the northwest of the Republic of India, forming part of the larger Punjab region. The state is bordered by the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh to the east, Haryana to the south and southeast, Rajasthan to the southwest, and the Pakistani province of Punjab to the west. To the north it is bounded by the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The state capital is located in Chandigarh, a Union Territory and also the capital of the neighbouring state of Haryana. After the partition of India in 1947, the Punjab province of British India was divided between India and Pakistan. The Indian Punjab was divided in 1966 with the formation of the new states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh alongside the current state of Punjab. Punjab is the only state in India with a majority Sikh population.

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Culture

geography

History

Tourist Attractions

Culture

The culture of Punjab has its own unique fragrance. It is unmatched. The scent of this fertile land is such in which the warmth of you are my own is inborn. All communities hold pride in their traditions and the Punjabis whose open-mindedness has become proverbial also hold their unique tradition of hospitality high in their estimation as well as in their values of life. A guest in Punjab is considered as a representative sent by God. Punjab holds numerous religious and seasonal festivals, such as Dussehra, a Hindu festival celebrating the victory of Prince Rama over the demon king Ravana, as recounted in the epic Ramayana; Diwali, a festival of lights celebrated by both Hindus and Sikhs; and Baisakhi, which for Hindus is a new year's festival and for Sikhs is both an agricultural festival and a celebration of the birth of the community's Khalsa order. There also are numerous anniversary celebrations in honour of the Gurus (the 10 historical leaders of Sikhism) and various saints. Dancing is a typical feature of such festivities, with bhangra, jhumar, and sammi among the most popular genres. Giddha, a native Punjabi tradition, is a humorous song-and-dance genre performed by women. In addition to Sikh religious music, semiclassical Mughal forms, such as the khyal dance and the ṭhumrī, ghazal, and qawwālī vocal performance genres, continue to be popular. Punjab's geographical location with relation to the rest of the Sub-continent has meant that this region has had strong Central Asian influences both in its culture and its food. This led to the Mughal-style of cooking with thick pasty gravies, using dry fruits like cashews and almonds. And the generous use of rice, in the form of myriad pulaos, is also an essentially Mughal introduction to the kitchens of roti-loving Punjabis. Food in Punjab has predominantly been agrarian in nature, historically evidenced in the remains of granaries and other artifacts of the Indus Valley Civilization. Dairy products, unleavened flat breads, pulses, vegetable and meat curries continue to reflect the rural temper of the state while being wedded to the residual flavours of foreign invasions; such as rice and gravies. As a result, Punjabi cuisine is among the richest in the country, incorporating generous quantities of milk, curd, butter, and cream in the cooking of fresh vegetables and meats.
A word of caution is necessary for first time visitors though, low-fat Punjabi meals are unimaginable and cut no ice with the proud and generous people of Punjab. Their legendary warmth and hospitality assures that anyone who passes through this land will return well fed. In deed, the tradition of langar (community kitchen) initiated by Guru Amardas, came from the belief that food is central to communal bonding. It has since been a remarkable feature of all Gurudwaras, wherein devotees of all faiths participate in the preparation and service of meals.

geography

Punjab is in northwestern India and has an area of 50,362 square kilometres (19,445 sq mi). It extends from the latitudes 29.30° North to 32.32° North and longitudes 73.55° East to 76.50° East. It is bounded on the west by Pakistan, on the north by Jammu and Kashmir, on the northeast by Himachal Pradesh and on the south by Haryana and Rajasthan. Most of the Punjab lies in a fertile, alluvial plain with many rivers and an extensive irrigation canal system. A belt of undulating hills extends along the northeastern part of the state at the foot of the Himalayas. Its average elevation is 300 metres (980 ft) above sea level, with a range from 180 metres (590 ft) in the southwest to more than 500 metres (1,600 ft) around the northeast border. The southwest of the state is semiarid, eventually merging into the Thar Desert. The Shiwalik Hills extend along the northeastern part of the state at the foot of the Himalayas.The soil characteristics are influenced to a limited extent by the topography, vegetation and parent rock. The variation in soil profile characteristics are much more pronounced because of the regional climatic differences. Punjab is divided into three distinct regions on the basis of soil types: southwestern, central, and eastern. Punjab falls under seismic zones II, III, and IV. Zone II is considered a low-damage risk zone; zone III is considered a moderate-damage risk zone; and zone IV is considered a high-damage risk zone.

History

The word 'Punjab' appeared for the first time in the Book "Tarikh-e-Sher Shah" (1580). It describes the construction of a fort by 'Sher Khan of Punjab'. Reference to the word 'Punjab' can be found in "Ain-e-Akbari" Part 1 as well, which describes that the territory can be divided into provinces of Lahore and Multan. Even the second volume of 'Ain-e-Akbari' contains the word 'Punjab' in it. The word also occurs in the book of the Mughal King Jahangir, under the name 'Tuzk-i-Janhageeri'. However, the first mentioning of Punjab as a place occurs in the Great Hindu epic Mahabharata, where it is described as Pancha-nanda meaning 'the country of five rivers'. Let us now delve into the origin and history of Punjab. As a civilization, it is one of the most ancient in the world with a distinguished culture. The Punjabi language has its origins in the Indo-European family of languages which also included Persian and Latin. A land of ethnic and religious diversity, it is the birth place of a number of religious movements. Some of the prominent ones include Sikhism, Buddhism and many Sufi schools of Islam. The Indian state of Punjab was created in 1947, when the Partition of India split the former Raj province of Punjab between India and Pakistan. The mostly Muslim western part of the province became Pakistan's Punjab Province; the mostly Sikh eastern part became India's Punjab state. Many Sikhs and Hindus lived in the west, and many Muslims lived in the east, and so the partition saw many people displaced and much intercommunal violence. Several small Punjabi princely states, including Patiala, also became part of India. In 1950, two separate states were created; Punjab included of the former Raj province of Punjab, while the princely states were combined into a new state, the Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU). PEPSU consisted of the princely states of Patiala, Nabha, Jind, Kapurthala, Malerkotla, Faridkot and Kalsia. Himachal Pradesh was created as a union territory from several princely states and Kangra District. In 1956, PEPSU was merged into Punjab state, and several northern districts of Punjab in the Himalayas were added to Himachal Pradesh.

Tourist Attractions

Tourism in Indian Punjab centres around the historic palaces, battle sites, and the great Sikh architecture of the state and the surrounding region. Examples include various sites of the Indus Valley Civilization, the ancient fort of Bathinda, the architectural monuments of Kapurthala, Patiala, and Chandigarh, the modern capital designed by Le Corbusier. The Golden Temple in Amritsar is one of the major tourist destinations of Punjab and indeed India, attracting more visitors than the Taj Mahal, Lonely Planet Bluelist 2008 has voted the Harmandir Sahib as one of the world’s best spiritual sites. Moreover, there is a rapidly expanding array of international hotels in the holy city that can be booked for overnight stays. Another main tourist destination is religious and historic city of Sri Anandpur Sahib where large number of tourists come to see the Virasat-e-Khalsa (Khalsa Heritage Memorial Complex) and also take part in Hola Mohalla festival. Kila Raipur Sports Festival is also popular tourist attraction in Kila Raipur near Ludhiana. Shahpur kandi fort, Ranjit sagar lake and Muktsar Temple also popular attractions in Pathankot.