Information on all aspects of Punjab including geography, history, government, districts, business, economy, travel, rivers, education, food, arts, culture, music, dance, festivals of Punjab
Punjab State Information
Capital : Chandigarh
Languages : Punjabi, Hindi
Introduction to Punjab
Punjab, the land of five rivers, has land with prosperity. The plains of Punjab, with their fertile soil and abundant water supply, are naturally suited to be the breadbasket for India. The land of Punjab is a land of exciting culture. The state has achieved tremendous growth over the years due to the success of the Green Revolution in the early 70s. For a major period in the second half of the 20th century, Punjab led the other states in India to achieve self-sufficiency in crop production. The current state of Punjab was formed in 1966, the state was organized into three smaller states - Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh
Geography of Punjab
Punjab 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. Due to the presence of a large number of rivers, most of the Punjab is a fertile plain. The southeast region of the state is semi-arid and gradually presents a desert landscape. A belt of undulating hills extends along the northeastern part of the state at the foot of the Himalayas.
Brief History of Punjab
Punjab is said to have derived its name from the five rivers that flow through this region - Indus, Sutlej, Beas, Ravi and Ghaggar. It was a region that formed parts of the Indus Valley civilization. The Aryans settled in this region in about 1500 B.C. It was in about 900 B.C. that the battle of Kurukshetra mentioned in the Epic Mahabharata was believed to have taken place in Kurukshetra. During this period the region formed small principalities ruled by chieftains. In 326 B.C. Alexander the Great of Macedonia invaded Punjab. After this was the rule of Chandragupta Maurya that lasted till about 1st century A.D. By 318 A.D. the Gupta dynasty exercised their influence. The Huns followed them in about 500 A.D. By 1000 A.D., the Muslims invaded Punjab led by Mahmud of Ghazni. In 1030 A.D., the Rajputs gained control of this territory. During the Sultanate period and Mughal rule, Punjab was engaged in intermittent warfare. In about 1192 A.D. the Ghoris defeated the Chauhans and ruled until the establishment of the Mughal rule. Guru Gobind Singh (1661-1708 AD) created the Khalsa, an army of saint-warriors who rose up against the ferocity perpetrated by the Mugals. The Sikhs carried on their struggle and after the fall of Banda Bahadur, they established themselves as sovereign rulers of the greater part of the Punjab. From the misals evolved the government of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1778-1839). He was the first independent native Indian ruler after the centuries of slavery. His reign, though not long, is significant because of its concept of dharma entwined with the practice of secularism. In the early, 19th century the British established their influence. After independence this region witnessed mass migration and distribution of property. In 1947 when India was partitioned, the larger half of Punjab went to Pakistan.
Districts of Punjab
Punjab has 17 districts: Amritsar, Bathinda, Faridkot, Fatehgarh Sahib, Firozepur, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Ludhiana, Mansa, Moga, Muktsar, Nawan Shehar, Patiala, Roop Nagar and Sangru
Economy of Punjab
The state has number of small, medium and large-scale industrial units. Major Industries in the state include metals, manufacturing textiles, hosiery, yarn, sports goods, hand tools, bicycles, and light engineering goods. The areas of industrial thrust include agro-industry, electronics, dairy industry, pharmaceutical Industry and white goods industry. Agriculture is the mainstay of Punjab's economy. The state contributes 80 percent of wheat and 43 percent of rice to the national exchequer. The other major reason for the prosperity of the state are the great number of people who left their home for the countries in Europe and North America and, after long struggles, achieved successes there.
Punjab Travel Information
The most important tourist center in the state is Amritsar with its Golden Temple. This temple is considered to be the holiest of all the pilgrimages of Sikhism and houses Akal Takht, the supreme governing body of Sikhism. The Jalianwallah Bagh is a small park in the city where the British police massacred many pilgrims in the year 1919. Wagah is the only open land point between India and Pakistan. The Changing of Guards and the ceremonial lowering of the flags ceremony at sundown are great tourist attractions and have their own symbolic importance.
Ludhiana is famous for its hosiery and woolen goods and products from Ludhiana are exported all over the world. For its production of hosiery, Ludhiana is also known as the Manchester of India. It also boasts of the world famous Punjab Agricultural University, which organizes the Kisan Mela every Year. Nearby is Killa Raipur, which is famous for its Rural Olympics. Patiala is famous for its healthy food, loving people, wonderful parandaas, exciting Patiala peg and jootis. Easily accessible and well maintained, Patiala is a place that would give one the much-needed tranquility far from urban chaos. The Sports School and the Moti Bagh Palace are some of the places that one must visit to get a clear picture of the past of the state. Chandigarh is the capital of both Punjab and Haryana. The city is considered to be a Mecca of modern architecture and planning all over the world. What makes Chandigarh extraordinary is the fact that within four decades, a barren landscape has been transformed into a modern and model human habitation. Jalandhar is an ancient city but not much of its evidence is left now. Today, it is a major rail and road junction and an army cantonment.
Rivers of Punjab
The word "Punjab" is a combination of the Persian words 'Punj' Five, and 'Aab' Water, giving the literal meaning of the Land of the Five Rivers. The five rivers after which Punjab is named after are the Jhelum; the Chenab; the Ravi; the Beas and the Sutlej - all of them are the tributaries of the Indus river.
Education in Punjab
Punjab is served by leading institutes of excellence in higher education. All the major arts, humanities, science, engineering, law, medicine, veterinary science, and business courses are offered, leading to first degrees as well as postgraduate awards. Advanced research is conducted in all major areas of excellence. Punjab Agriculture University is one of world's leading authorities in agriculture. Major universities of Punjab are Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar; Punjabi University, Patiala; Panjab University, Chandigarh; Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana; Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar; Punjab Medical University, Faridkot and Punjab Veternary Sciences University, Talwandi Sabo. Punjab also has many institutes of repute such as National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar and Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, Patiala
Food of Punjab
The Punjabis are known for their rich foods. Predominantly wheat eating people, the Punjabis cook rice only on special occasions. Nans and parathas, rotis made of corn flour (makke di roti) are their typical breads. Milk and its products in the form of malai (cream), paneer (cottage cheese), butter and curds are always used with almost every Punjabi meal. The main masala in Punjabi dish consists of onion, garlic, ginger and a lot of tomatoes fried in pure ghee. Spices like coriander, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, red chili powder, turmeric and mustard are regularly used. Chicken especially 'Tandoori Chicken' is a favourite with non-vegetarians as paneer is in the vegetarian Punjabi menu. Mah ki Dal, Sarson Ka Saag, meat curry like Roghan Josh and stuffed parathas can be found in no other state except Punjab.
Arts and Culture of Punjab
A majority of the people in this state is of Aryan origin. A large part of the population follows Sikhism, which has visible effects of Hinduism and some effect of Islam. Punjabi is the state language, quite similar to Hindi. Most famous of the craft traditions of Punjab is phullkari. The word phullkari means flowering and it does exactly that - creates a flowery surface with the simplest of tools, a needle and a silken thread, and a high degree of skill. The phullkari pattern revolves around a single stitch, the darn stitch. At Kartarpur, Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur, craftsmen and women create pidhis (low, four legged woven stools), which are both artistic and of immense utility in the day-to-day life. Color, beauty and utility combine yet again to form the central theme of the well-known leather jootis (shoes and slippers) of Punjab. The enterprising women of Punjab weave durries (a pileless cotton spread, which can be used to spread on a bed or the floor). Girls are taught the art of weaving durries at a young age. The durries are woven in different sizes, and patterns - geometrical, animals, birds, leaves and flowers-and colors. Nikodar, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Tarn Taran and Anandpur Sahib offer a vast variety of durries to buyers. Another important craft of Punjab is the art of doll making, especially the Punjabi bride and the bhangra dolls. Colorful and beautifully crafted and dressed, dolls are made all over Punjab, though the most important center is Chandigarh.
Dance and Music of Punjab
The folk songs of Punjab are the songs of the body and soul. The joyous flight of birds, starry nights, sunny days and thundering clouds, signifying happiness and joy, are all reflected in folk songs. So ageless are these songs that no one can claim their creation. Punjab is the only place where the dances for men and women are not the same and are of varying forms. While the dances for men are the bhangra, jhoomer, luddi, julli and dankara, the ones for women are the giddha and kikli.
Festivals of Punjab
The festivals in Punjab have always been celebrated with much exuberance and fanfare. For the masses these festivals are popular occasions for social interaction and enjoyment. Punjab being a predominantly agricultural state that prides itself on its food grain production, it is little wonder that its most significant festival is Baisakhi, which marks the arrival of the harvesting season. For the Sikhs, Baisakhi has a special significance because on this day in 1699, their tenth guru, Guru Govind Singh organized the Order of the Khalsa. T
The Gurpurab festival is celebrated by the Sikhs to express their reverence for their gurus. Two major Gurpurabs are celebrated during the year. The first in the month of Kartik (Oct-Nov) to celebrate the teachings of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, and the second in the month of Pausa (December-January) to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Govind Singh. On all Gurpurabs, non-stop recital of the granth sahib and religious discourses are held. Langars (free meals) are served to all without distinction of caste or creed.
A day after Holi, the Sikh community in Punjab observes Holla Mohalla with thousands of devout Sikhs gathering at Anandpur Sahib-where Guru Gobind Singh was baptized-to participate in the grand fair of Holla Mohalla. The whole place wears a festive look, processions are taken out, and the people participate in the festivities with gaiety and fervor. Tika is celebrated in the month of Kartik (Oct-Nov.) one day after Diwali. Women put a tika of saffron and rice grains on the foreheads of their brothers, to protect them from evil. Like most other festivals of Punjab, Lohri too is a festival related to the seasons. Celebrated in the month of January, it marks the end of the winter season. A huge bonfire is made in every house and the fire god is worshipped.
Costumes of Punjab
The most common attire of Sikh men folk is a long kurta (shirt) with baggy trousers drawn in at the ankle. Most unique identification of a Sikh man is his turban and his beard. Women of the state also wear almost the same dress known as the salwar kurta along with a dupatta (long stole).
Last updated on Friday, 01 December 2023.
Select a State in India for more information:
- Andaman Nicobar
- Andhra Pradesh
- Arunachal Pradesh
- Dadar Nagar Haveli
- Daman Diu
- Himachal Pradesh
- Jammu Kashmir
- Madhya Pradesh
- Tamil Nadu
- Uttar Pradesh
- West Bengal