Area : 50,362 sq km
Population : 24.3 million
Capital : Chandigarh
Climate : Summer (March to June) - Warm Monsoon (July to August) - Warm Winter
(November to February) - Cool and Pleasant
Languages spoken : Punjabi
Best Time to visit : October to March
Punjab, the chief wheat producing area of the country, and predominantly an agricultural state, is the overland entry point into India. The state is also known for its production of sports and hosiery goods. India's (and the world's) biggest bicycle manufacturer, Hero Bicycles, is in Ludhiana.
Prior to partition Punjab extended across both sides of what is now the India-Pakistan border. In 1966, Punjab underwent another split. It was divided into the predominantly Sikh and Punjabi-speaking state of Punjab and Hindi-speaking state of Haryana. At the same time some of the northern parts of the Punjab were hived off to Himachal Pradesh.
Punjab was the part of India that suffered the most destruction and damage at the time of partition, yet today it is far and away the most affluent state in India, the result of sheer hard work.
Punjab shares its' capital with Haryana. Chandigarh is the only Indian city to have been designed and planned by a single architect - Le Corbusier. The city, surrounded by the Shiwalik Hills that hem the great Himalayas, is a model of wide roads and spacious residential colonies. Visit Sukhna Lake, Pinjore Gardens, the Rose Garden and the Rock Garden, where the city's discarded junk has been recycled into bizarre human and animal sculptures. Chandigarh is a good base to travel northwards to the hill resorts of Shimla Kulu, Manali, Dharmashala and Dalhousie.
Home of the Sikhs holiest shrine, the beautiful Golden Temple (so called because the dome is covered with gold leaf), Amritsar is the holy city of the Sikhs. The temple houses the Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Book of the Sikhs. The Community Kitchen feeds 10,000 pilgrims daily, on a voluntary and complementary basis. The historic Jallianwala Bagh is where the British General Dyer's bullets killed scores of innocent Indians.
Ludhiana is another prominent industrial city of Punjab known for its hosiery and woollen garments sold in prestigious stores all over the world.
The modern industrial city of Jalandhar is famous for its sportsmen as well as its' sports goods industry. The monuments of interest here include the 800-year old Imam Nasir's Mausoleum, 200-year old Devi Talab (a tank) and 400-year old Juma Masjid. Another tourist attraction is the Shiva Mandir dating back to the Lodhi era.
The capital of the erstwhile princely state of Patiala, the city is said to have been founded in 1756 by Baba Ala Singh. It has magnificent forts, palaces and gardens. The Quilla Mubarak, the nucleus of Patiala, houses impressive armoury and chandeliers. The Moti Bagh Palace, built in 19th century, is patterned after the famous Shalipaar Gardens of Lahore. It now houses the National Institute of Sports and the Art Gallery. Near Patiala is the Beer Moti Bagh sanctuary where neelgai, black buck and wild boar can be spotted.
How To Get There
Air : The state has two airports namely Amritsar and Chandigarh . Almost all important airlines operate flights to both of these airports connecting them to major Indian cities.
Road: An extensive road network links the state directly to most of the significant places in northern and eastern India. National Highways 1 (Grand Trunk Road or G.T. Road), 15, 19, 20, 21, and 1A and numerous of state highways literally crisscross the state making road travel an easy affair.
Rail: The state also boasts of a good rail network. Main Railway Stations in the state are: Chandigarh , Ludhiana, Amritsar, Ferozepur and Jalandhar. Important trains service these stations regularly.