Punjab

Punjab

Punjab is situated in the northwestern corner of the country. In its north the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, on the east Himachal Pradesh and the Union territory of Chandigarh, on the south Haryana and Rajasthan, and on the West Pakistan. The city of Chandigarh is the joint administrative capital of Punjab and Haryana. The word Punjab is a compound of two Persian words, panj (“five”) and ab (“water”), signifying historically the land of five waters, or rivers. Owing to territorial changes, however, only two of the rivers referred to (the Sutlej and the Beas) lie within the boundaries of India’s Punjab. Punjab has a recorded history beginning from the annexation of Punjab and Sindh to the Persian Empire by Darius (c. 518 B.C). Many Muslim emperors ruled over Punjab before the Mughals entered the political scene in 1526. Under the Mughals, Punjab enjoyed relative peace and prosperity which lasted for more than 200 years. Later, British rule took over Punjab after a period of vigorous struggle by the Sikhs against the foreign domination. When India finally attained Independence in 1947, Punjab was split into two parts, the larger portion becoming a part of Pakistan. The Partition resulted in a brutal lose of lives and properties. The present provincial boundaries were drawn in 1970.

Geography

Punjab is situated in the North-Eastern part of India. The Punjab Climate is determined by the extreme hot and extreme cold conditions. The region lying near the foot hills of Himalayas receive heavy rainfall whereas the region lying at a distant from the hills, the rainfall is scanty and the temperature is high. The agriculture of the state highly depends on the rains. The monsoon is brought by the monsoonal winds blowing over the Bay of Bengal. The winter season in Punjab is mostly experienced in the month of January, when the temperature falls to 5 degree in the night and it is around 12 degree in the morning. The post monsoonal transitional season remains quite fair and dry. In the post winter transitional season, hail storms and brief showers occur which causes damage to the crops. During the end of the March, the wind becomes dry. The Punjab Climate has been a great factor in contributing to the economy of the state.

Tourism

Punjab is dotted with places of historical and cultural interest. Ropar, one of the centres of Indus Valley civilization, Amritsar, and the city of the Golden Temple, the ancient fort of Bhatinda, the architectural monuments of Kapurthala, the City of Gardens, Patiala and Chandigarh, the capital designed by the Swiss-born French architect Le Corbusier are among the leading tourist attractions of the state. Fairs and festivals are major tourist attractions in Punjab. The prosperous state is always in a festive mood. At the slightest excuse the cheery Punjabi folks jump into some celebration or other. Packed with fun and excitement these turn out to be a riot of colours too. Some important festivals in Punjab are: Baisakhi, Lohri etc.

Golden Temple also known as Sri Harimandir Sahib or Sri Darbar Sahib is located in the holy city of the Sikhs, Amritsar. Its foundation was laid in 1588, by the fifth Sikh Guru Arjan Dev ji on a small island in the waters of Amrit Sarovar and was consecrated on August 16, 1604. The temple was virtually destroyed in 1761, by Ahamad Shah Abdali, an Afghan invader. It was restored between 1803 and 1830 by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, a Great Sikh ruler. The dome is carved out of pure gold. The temple was built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh who used 400 kg of gold leaf to build the upper half of the building. Sri Harimandir Sahib, is built on a 67ft. square platform in the centre of the Sarovar(tank). Darshani Deori, the northern gateway with two splendidly carved silver doors is the main entrance. Golden Temple was founded by the fourth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Ramdas and completed by his successor Guru Arjan Dev. The Central Sikh Museum has paintings of Sikh Gurus, Saints, Sikh warriors and other prominent Sikh leaders who have in their own way contributed a lot to the enhancement of Sikh Religion. The place has mythological significance, Sage Valmiki wrote the epic, Ramayana here. Akal Takhat located at right side preserves a number of weapons used by Guru Hargobind, Guru Gobind Singh and other Sikh heroes. To the south a nine storeyed tower Baba Atal is located. The ‘Guru Ka Langar’ offers cooked food 24 hours to all visitors. Guru Ram Das niwas and Guru Nank niwas offers accommodation facilities to the pilgrims. While visiting the Golden Temple you need to cover your head. Street sellers sell bandanas outside the temple at cheap prices.

Bhakra Nangal Dam is located on the border between Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. It is a concrete gravity dam across the Sutlej River to provide hydro-electricity. The dam was part of the larger multipurpose Bhakra Nangal Project whose aims were to prevent floods in the Sutlej-Beas river valley, to provide irrigation to adjoining states. The dam construction began in 1948 and completed in 1963. It is one of the highest dam of Asia having height of 741 ft. The dam provides irrigation to 10 million acres of fields in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan. The 166 km Gobind Sagar Reservoir, named after Guru Gobind Singh, is created by this dam.

Sheesh Mahal is located behind in Moti Bagh Palace in Patiala. Maharaja Narinder Singh built this place (1845-1862). The paintings in two of its well maintained, mirror-worked chambers are of Kangra and Rajasthani Alam. The paintings depict the poetic visions of Keshav, Surdas and Bihari. The Sheesh Mahal also encompasses a museum, an art gallery, and also the North Zone Cultural Centre set up by a society to preserve art. A World’s largest collection of medals, decoration and orders of various countries are exhibited here. Terraces, gardens, fountains and an artificial lake enhance its beauty.

Anandpur Sahib is a small town in Ropar district. It is 45 km from Ropar, 97 km from Chandigarh, 9 km from Keeratpur Sahib and 22 km from Nangal. It is situated on Ambala-Sirhind-Ropar-Keeratpur-Nagal rail route. Anandpur Sahib is a holy city of Sikh Faith. First this place was known as Chakk Nanaki after the Ninth Guru Teg Bahadur’s mother name, Nanaki. The place later came to be known as Anandpur Sahib. Two Guru Sahib and families of four Guru Sahib spent several years in this town. Hundreds of Sikhs embraced martyrdom in this town. Hence, the whole of town is a spiritual memorial of Guru Sahib and martyrs. The Takht Sahib has a square hall with a balcony in front overlooking a spacious courtyard on a lower level. In the middle of the inner domed room are placed some weapons preserved as sacred relics. Although the town is small but on the occasion of Hola Mohalla every year in the month of March it booms into boisterous activities and recaptures its old glory and splendor.

Sanghol The archaeological site lies north of Fatehgarh Sahib on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana road, about 40 kms from Chandigarh. Legends suggest that it was flourished 3,000 years ago and was known as Sangal-Dwip. It became an important settlement between 1st century A.D., under the patronage of Kushans and the Guptas. Archaeological excavations have revealed, well – built houses jewellery, ornamented clothing’s and several other evidences indicating that it was a very prosperous settlement and was a contemporary of late Harappan civilization (1700 B.C. – 1300 B.C.). Hiuen Tsang, the famous Chinese pilgrim and traveler refers, in his writings, to the many monasteries of ‘She-to Lulu’, which historians contend to be Sangal-Dwip. The Sanghol Museum has a rich collection of archaeological finds recovered from various sites of the State. A Stupa and Buddhist Monastery here dates back to 1st-2nd century.

Husainiwala: Here the memorial commemorates the three freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru, who were executed by the Britishers at Lahore. Their bodies were cremated on the banks of river Sutlej, 100 kms. from Firozpur. Here another memorial which is known as Sargarhi Memorial is built in the honour of 21 brave soldiers of the 36th Sikh (later 4 Sikh) Regiment, who died fighting to the last man, against a several times greater force of the local Chiefs, during the battle at Saman Ridge of the Hindukush and Sulaiman Ranges in 1897. The history of this battle has been included among the 8 narratives of collective bravery, published by UNESCO. It is also taught in the French School. The re-union of ex-servicemen is held at the historic Saragarhi Gurudwara. Other places of interest are Guru Harsahai with two temples dedicated to Mata Jalol and Mata Hansewali.

Sultanpur Lodhi is situated on the left bank of a rivulet, called Kali Bein about 6 miles above the confluence of Beas and Sutlej. It was founded by Sultan Khan Lodhi a General (Faujdar) of Mahmud of Gazni, in the 11th Century A.D. It was named after its founder as Sultanpur and it has also been mentioned in A-Ene-Akbari. During the time of Sikandar Lodhi, the famous Sultan of Delhi, Sultanpur was entrusted to Nawab Daulat Khan of Lahore. He gave a new landscape to the environment of this town and turned it into a Nakhilstan (Green Patch) and Playhunt (Shikargah) – The town itself was rebuilt by him. As it lay on the Grand Trunk Road, running from Delhi to Lahore, it flourished as a great business centre. Besides it was a great centre of Muslim way of Education as well. Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb, sons of the Emperor Shah Jahan, are said to have received their higher education at the University of Sultanpur. It maintained its position as a centre of Muslim culture during the Mughal Regime.

Pushpa Gujral Science City: the Science City has been set up in 72 acres of land in the of heart of Punjab, on Jalandhar- Kapurthala Road. The foundation stone of the Science City was laid down by former Prime Minister Sh. I.K. Gujral on October 17, 1997. It is based on the scientific aptitude & temperament, to fire the imagination and creativity, foster the spirit of enquiry and exploration among the masses, especially in the young minds. The subject areas covered include physical, applied, natural and social sciences, engineering, technology, agriculture, health sciences, energy, industries, human evolution and civilization, the environment, ecosystems, Jurassic parks as well as frontier areas like space, nuclear science, information technology, robotics and Bio-technology.

Khatkar Kalan is a town in Nawanshahr district in the Indian state of Punjab. This is the ancestral town of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh. It is a historical village which has got the honour of being the village of the famous patriots and freedom fighters like Sardar Kishan Singh, Sardar Ajit Singh, Sardar Swaran Singh, Shaheed-e-Azam Sardar Bhagat Singh. Shaheed Bhagat Singh was imbued from childhood with the family’s spirit of patriotism .He was one of the most prominent faces of Indian freedom struggle and gave a new direction to revolutionary movement in India.

Talwandi Sabo: also known as Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, is the home of the fourth temporal seat of the Sikh Religion, which is located in the district of Bathin da, PunjaB. Tenth Guru Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji after leaving Anandpur Sahib, fighting battles with Mughals in Chamkaur Sahib, Maachhiwara, Deengarh, Mukatsar Sahib, Lakhhi Jangal, Pakka Pathrala, reached here in 1705. The revered Guru stayed here for more than fifteen months and this place became popular as Damdama Sahib. Here, Guru Ji got Written the sacred bir of Aad Sri Guru Granth by tHe great martyr Bhai Mani Singh Ji and blessed this land as Guru Ki Kashi. Shaheed Baba Deep Singh Ji was first Jathedar (head) of this Temporals Seat. The major occasion of Vaisakhi is being celebrated at this place with great enthusiasm and devotion.

How to reach Punjab

By Air: Chandigarh and Amritsar both have airports are connected to other cities in India by regular flights. Indian airlines do have regular flights from Chandigarh to Delhi, Lucknow, Leh, and Amritsar. Jet air also has regular flights to Chandigarh.

By Rail: Punjab is extensively linked to the other parts of the country by rail. Chandigarh, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Pathankot, and Jalandhar are the major railway hubs in the state from where one can take trains for most parts of the country.

By Road: The entire state is connected through an extensive network of medalled roads. State Highways connect major cities to the state capital. NH 1 or the Grand Trunk Road connects the state with most of the north as well as east India.