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    Punjab-At a Glance

    Punjab

    Punjab travel information guide

    Punjab travel guide:

    Punjab, deriving its name from five rivers–Sutlej, Beas, Ravi, Jhelum, and Chenab–which flow through its vast plains, is one of the richest states of India. Located on the north-western edge of India, its is the home to a lively, hospitable and dynamic people. Widely acknowledged as the cradle of civilization, it is a land of ethnic and religious diversity, having borne and shaped a number of religious movements that include Sikhism, Buddhism, and Sufism. Punjab is the only Sikh majority state in India. Sikhism originated in the Punjab Region during the 15th century. The history of Punjab dates back thousands of years. Undivided Punjab has been the cradle of the Indus Valley Civilization, the remains of which can be seen at the various archaeological & historical site and museums. This fertile ancient land finds mention even in Mahabharata and Ramayana. In fact, it is believed that the Ramayana was written here by Saint Valmiki. Due to its location, the Punjab region came under constant attack and influence from both west and east. Brave Sikhs has always stood up to the aggressor and were the only worthy challengers to Mughal might in the region. History is filled with the bravery of Sikh warriors. The milestones in the history of Punjab are the migration of the Aryans to Punjab between 516 BC to 321 BC, immediately followed by Alexander’s invasion, which changed the fate of India as a whole. The last point of Alexander’s entry in India can be seen in Gurdaspur. The Muslims ruled till around 1300 AD and then came the rise of the Sikhs from 1700 AD to 1849 AD. Punjab has always ranked high when it comes to courage, might and valour. The state made major contributions to the freedom struggle of India though in the process it had to face its own division. Primarily an agricultural state , 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. The Indian Punjab was divided on the basis of language in 1966. It was divided into 3 parts. Haryanvi speaking areas (dialect of Hindi) were carved out as Haryana, Hilly regions and Pahari speaking areas formed Himachal Pradesh alongside the current state of Punjab. Tourism in Punjab centers around the historic palaces, battle sites, and the great Sikh architecture of the state and the surrounding region. Some of the key destinations are Amritsar, Bathinda, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Pathankot, Chandigarh, and Kapurthala & Patiala.

    How to reach Punjab:

    By Air: Punjab has six civil airports. The Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport in Amritsar and Chandigarh International Airport are the state’s two international airports. Bathinda, Pathankot, Patiala, and Sahnewal (Ludhiana) are other ones.

    By Road: Punjab boasts of an excellent road system and has various national highways and state highways crisscrossing through the state. No less than eleven national highways connect various parts of Punjab with different cities and destinations of neighboring states.

    By Train: Almost all the major, as well as smaller cities of the state, are linked by railways. Ludhiana-Jalandhar Cantt and Jalandhar City Junction are Punjab’s busiest railway stations having trains connecting to all major cities. Almost all important cities of Punjab is en route to all major trains of Indian Railways. Then there is Samjhauta Express, which is a joint venture between Indian Railways and Pakistan Railways and runs from Attari railway station near Amritsar in India to Lahore Railway Station in Punjab, Pakistan.

    Best time to visit Punjab:

    Punjab experiences three main seasons summer, winter, and monsoon. Summers season is from March to June while winters start around October and the effect is felt till February last. Monsoon season reigns from July to September. Overall October, November, February, and March are considered the best season to explore Punjab. Weather is quite pleasant and it’s not too cold. Temperature usually is around 12 °C during daytime making it ideal for outings.

    Best places to visit in Punjab:

    • Amritsar: Amritsar is the religious and cultural center of Sikh religion. Amritsar derives its name from Amrit Sarovar (literally a Pool of Nectar) the holy tank that surrounds the fabulous Golden Temple. Amritsar is amongst the most revered religious sites in not only India but the world. Key destinations apart from Golden Temple and Akal Takht are Durgiana Temple (Lakshmi Narain Temple),Wagah border , Jallian Wala Bagh, Rambagh , Ram Tirath, Kalianwala Khoo, Sarai Amanat Khan, Tarn Taran, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum, Gurudwara Saragarhi Goindwal Sahib, Bathinda Fort etc.

    • Bathinda: Bathinda is one of the oldest cities of Punjab and lies in the Malwa region. Bathinda derive its name from the Bhati Rajputs who ruled over this region. The large Rose Garden and the popular Bir Talab Zoo on the outskirts are popular tourist destinations while Damdama Sahib and the Maisar Khana Temple draw devotees the year round. The schooner-shaped Fort Qila Mubarak, in the heart of the city, traces its foundation to the early Christian era. . Gurudwara Lakhi Jungle Sahib is a major religious centre for Sikhs across the country. Other interesting places that tourists must visit in Bathinda are the Chetak Park, Damdama Sahib, Bathinda Thermal Lake, Zoological Garden, Dhobi Bazaar and Mazar of Peer Haji Rattan.

    • Jalandhar: Jalandhar, located in the irrigated plains between the Beas and Sutlej rivers, is steeped in legend. One tradition says that it is named after a demon king mentioned in the Puranas and the Mahabharata. Another interpretation is that the region was ruled by Danava Jalandhara, an offspring of the river Ganga. The city offers several attractions for visitors; notable among them is the beautiful St Mary’s Cathedral Church, and the Devi Talab. Just outside Jalandhar is the sacred town of Kartapur which hosts an annual fair to celebrate Guru Arjan Dev’s birth. This city is also the birthplace of Swami Virjanand, mentor to Swami Dayanand Saraswati, founder of the Arya Samaj. Not too far from here lie Nur Mahal, best known for the ruins of a beautiful medieval sarai built by Noor Jehan; and Phillaur, known for its fort and two archaeological sites dating back to the Harappan period. Nakodar, another town close to Jalandhar, is home to two architectural gems: the tombs of Mohammad Momin and Haji Jamal. Also known as the City of Fakirs, its other attraction is the Pir of Baba Murad Shah, a Sufi (Muslim mystic order) saint. Jalandhar today is also famous for its sports manufacturing industry.

    • Ludhiana: Founded during the rule of the Lodi sultans in the 15th century, Ludhiana is better known as Punjab’s manufacturing hub. Ludhiana is home to a number of tourist attractions. Qila Raipur, the site of the annual Rural Olympics is located a short distance from here. Numerous monuments dating back to the Mughal era dot the neighbouring areas, and Alamgir village, founded by Emperor Aurangzeb, is also known for the Gurudwara Manji Pir. Machhiwara, some 30kms east of the city, is a place closely associated with Guru Gobind Singh as it was here he learnt of the death of his sons. Another notable site in close proximity is Bhaini Sahib, the spiritual centre of the Namdhari Sikhs. Tourists can also visit various amusement parks and if want go shopping.

    • Pathankot: Located in foothills of the Shivalik range Pathankot falls in the northern part of Punjab. Flanked by the Ravi and Chakki rivers Pathankot forms the gateway to the tourism rich northern states of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. Due to its location Pathankot serves as a travel hub for these two states. Shahpurkandi Fort, Shiva Temple Kathgarh , Jugial Township, Mukteshwar Mahadev Temple, Nurpur fort, Keshopur Chhamb, cave temples are some of the popular attractions and excursions from the city.

    • Chandigarh: The union territory of Chandigarh holds quite a few distinction to its credit. It is one of the first and best planned cities of India. The Capital of not one but two states i.e of Haryana and Punjab. Chandigarh derives its name from temple of “Chandi Mandir” located in the vicinity. The city is considered as the Mecca of modern architecture and planning all over the world.Key attractions are ,Capitol complex, Chandi mandir, Sector 17 plaza ,Rock garden , Sukhna lake ,Rose garden, International Doll Museum, Hi dden valley ,Kansal village etc.

    • Kapurthala: The city of Kapurthala is a city associated with the warriors and kings. It was founded in the 11th century by Rana Kapur of Jaisalmer, from whom the town derives its name. It was the capital of the Kapurthala state (ruled by Ahluwalia Dynasty), a princely state in British India. It is also known as The Paris of Punjab due to its numerous imposing architectural works(Inspired by France) usually undertaken during the regime of great Jagatjit Singh. The Jagatjit Palace, Moorish Mosque and Panch Mandir are a major attraction for visitors to Kapurthala. Science enthusiasts are known to make a beeline for the Pushpa Gujral Science City, while nature lover’s favorite place is Kanjli Wetlands. A short distance from the city is Sultanpur Lodi, a site held sacred by Sikhs for its association with Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. In short Kapurthala is a kaleidoscope of history and culture, housing a varied range of attractions.

    • Patiala: Patiala is the erstwhile princely state of Punjab, which is situated in the Malwa region of Punjab. Patiala state was established in 1763 by Baba Ala Singh, a Jat Sikh chieftain. Patiala is a brilliant spectrum of Rajput, Mughal and Punjabi cultures, a fine blend of modernity and tradition. Patiala has had a culture of its own, evolving into a distinct “patialavi” flavour. It is famous for ‘peg’, ‘pagri’, ‘paranda’ (tasselled tag for braiding hair and ‘Jutti’ (footwear). Some key tourism attractions in Patiala are Qila Mubarak, Sheesh Mahal, Bardari Gardens, Motibagh palace, Rang Mahal, Gurudwara Dukh Niwaran sahib, Mall Road and Darbar Hall. There are several tourist excursions close to Patiala such as Samana, Banur and Sanaur.

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