The name “Haryana” means the abode of God. It is a blend of two Sanskrit words Hari (Lord Vishnu) and Ayana(home); the kaleidoscope of diverse landscapes justifies the name completely. This region covering a total area of 44212 square km is one of the wealthiest states of India and one of the economically developed regions in southeast Asia. Everything about Haryana including the food, art, and culture is grounded and inevitably linked to the land that is abundant with rich natural resources. This mystical place offers a perfect blend of modern vision and ancient tradition thus making it a must-visit on a tour to India. The capital city of Haryana is Chandigarh that is amongst the best-developed cities in India.
The history of Haryana finds its origin in the Vedic Age. This region is the land where the Bharata dynasty flourished and gave the name “Bharat” to India. The Kurukshetra region in Haryana is the place where the epic battle between Pandavas and Kauravas in the mythological fable Mahabharat took place. This subcontinent of India is also the birthplace of the Bhagavad Gita. During the Medieval era, the region was called the “Gateway to North India” as it witnessed many pivotal battles between the rulers and invaders. Battle of Tarain, Battle of Karnal, and Battle of Panipat, all shaped the course of the history of Haryana.
The region played its key role in shaping history till the arrival of Muslims and the rise of Delhi as the capital. During the reign of Mughals, the place was called Delhi Subah. The state functioned as an adjunct to Delhi and resurfaced later as the epicenter for the Great Revolt of 1857 which started in the Ambala cantonment. After the revolt of 1857 subsided on 13 April 1858, Haryana then known as Delhi Territory was merged with Punjab province as a punishment. During the colonial rule from 1858 to 1947, the state was managed as a part of Punjab province. After eighteen years of independence in the year 1965, a proposition was made by Hukam Singh Parliamentary Committee to separate the Hindi speaking part from Punjab as the 17th state of India. In 1966, considering the rich legacy and culture of Haryana, the Shah commission was set up which recommended some districts to form the part of a new state called Haryana, India.
The age-old traditions entwined with contemporary beliefs are what defines the culture of Haryana. Almost 4500 years ago the place was occupied by Harappan civilization. Later the subcontinent with its river and many tributaries enticed the Aryans of Central Asia who settled here and hence the people of Haryana have Aryan origin. The people of Haryana hold on to their culture and traditions intact as they are innate followers of Yoga and Vedic mantras. The majority of the population is Jats; a community that has a Rajput origin from regions near ancient Hastinapur. The people of Haryana are warm-hearted and straightforward which is reflected in their dialect as well.
The state demographic is dominated by Hindus and Sikhs who form 90% of the population and the main languages spoken in the region are Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, and English. The people in this subcontinent mostly depend on agriculture and animal husbandry and the wealth is often represented by the number of cattle a family owns. Agriculture is the major source of income for people and the entire family including the women works on the field. People in Haryana are very energetic and enthusiastic and use dance as a medium to exhibit those characteristics. Haryana tourism takes pride in the fervor with which seasonal and traditional fairs and festivals are celebrated in Haryana. Some of the famous fairs like the Surajkund crafts fair, Mango fair, and Phalgu fair are some of the major tourist attractions in Haryana.
The aesthetically pleasing art and craft of Haryana is popular throughout the country. It mainly includes pottery, weaving, embroidery, painting, Phulkari durries bagh, and chope. Pottery is the most popular occupation for people in rural parts of the state. What makes it exclusive is the use of rich and vibrant colors. While the earthenware is made by male members, women of the family are generally entrusted with the work of painting them. You can visit Sirsa and Chandigarh to witness the pot painting process. Embroidery and weaving of Haryana India is internationally appreciated. The Haryana shawl known as Phulkari is similar to Kashmiri style but differs in the use of vibrant colors and patterns. The shawl is wrapped by women over their Ghagra and Choli in the winters. Another exquisite shawl is called Bagh in which the entire base cloth is covered with intricate embroidery. Making these shawls takes years to complete. Chope is another form of the shawl but is quite simple as compared to Phulkari and Bagh. Panchkula, Yamuna Nagar, and Ambala are some of the regions famous for their unique embroidery.
Haryana is also known for woven furniture called Mudhas (round stools) and chairs made of sarkanda (a reed). The unique feature of this furniture is that the sheet is woven with cotton threads called sutli. Visit Farookh Nagar and Sonipat to see such furniture in the making. Handloom of Panipat is very famous, its a hub to buy home furnishings at a very reasonable price. Another thing to do in Haryana is watching the local theatre, commonly called Sawang by the natives. Sawang is a theatrical performance mostly in the rural area which features folklore, music, and narration. The folk drama generally depicts mythological tales or modern stories on various topics.
The food of Haryana is simple and authentic that replicates the simplicity of the locals here. Haryana is an agricultural state and people prefer indigenous food which is not only home-cooked but also homegrown. Most of the people in Haryana are vegetarian and there is a lesser inclination towards restaurant food. There is no dearth of dairy products as people obtain milk and milk products from the most authentic source, i.e., by petting the cattle. This state in India is known for its many different kinds of roti. Gochini atta made from wheat and gram flour is supremely popular in the region. Another combination used is wheat gram and barley which is very nutritious and healthy.
Singri ki Sabzi, Hara Dhania Cholia, Rajma Chawal, Bajra Khichri, and Kadhi Pakora are other mouth-watering cuisines that you must indulge in. Bhura Ghee Roti often consumed as a dessert adequately represents love for Ghee in this region. Other sweet and savory dishes include Alsi ki Pinni, Meethe Chaawal, and Malpua which is a version of Indian Pancakes. Buttermilk, Chaas in summer becomes a part of an everyday meal. Lassi, including Kachhi lassi, is quite famous in Haryana and is served in big tumblers. The food of Haryana will not only treat your taste buds but also has nutritional properties.
Surrounded by mountains in the north and desserts in the south, Haryana is a fascinating place offering many tourist destinations in India. From war memorials to religious places, Haryana is an underrated location to trace the footprints of days gone by. Other things to do in Haryana include activities like rock climbing, visiting a sanctuary or amusement park.
Some of the major tourist attractions of Haryana are listed below:
This beautiful place offers many travel opportunities and takes you on a soul-soothing journey. From modern restaurants and pubs to peaceful rivers and ancient forts, Haryana is an alluring travel destination in India that you must visit.
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