The quintessential abode of Sikh community, Punjab is the state in north India that shares its boundaries with Pakistan. Famous for rich agricultural reserves, the land of Punjab is home to many tourist destinations in India that hold religious significance. The state of India throbs with vibrant culture, every street here is dotted with exquisite things to buy and delectable cuisines to eat. The warm hospitality and humorous nature of natives make Punjab win the title of the most loved tourist place in India. The capital, Chandigarh is an exemplary city that is famous for its impeccable cleanliness and urban culture. Being close to Himachal and Jammu, the temperature of Punjab dips low during winters. The best time to visit Punjab is during the months of September to November and March to May when the weather is pleasant and ideal for exploring historically rich the cities of the state.  

History of Punjab

During the early 14th century, the country was ruled by Mughals, Afghans, Britishers, Persians and many other rulers who left their impact on the region. Punjab was known as Sapta Sindhu during the Vedic period, which means the land of seven rivers. Later, the Mughal King Jahangir mentions Punjab to be the land of five rivers as the rivers named Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Satluj flow in the territory of the state. The new state of Punjab was formed during the partition in 1947 after India got independence from the British rule. The Raj province was split between India and Pakistan, majorly separating the western part of Punjab and became Pakistan’s province. In 1950, Punjab state was carved including the princely states of Patiala, Nabha, Jind, Kapurthala, Faridkot and more. 

It is a less-known fact that the history of Punjab was created because of its geographical positioning. The foreign invaders who came to India entered the boundaries through the Khyber Pass and Kurram River Pass. The routes are a narrow diversion that leads straight to the state of Punjab. The Khyber Pass was also travelled by the great Mughal emperors, Humayun and Babar. After the Mughals, when the Britishers came to India, they exploited the rich cities like Amritsar where the massacre of Jalliyanwala also took place. The Britishers left the country in haste, however, their divide-and-rule policy led to the partition of India and Pakistan which was devastating. 

Culture of Punjab

The culture of Punjab is well-known and one of the oldest in the world. While the folks of Punjab are known for their velour, philosophy, poetry, high-spiritedness and strong determination, their culture remains multi-hued. The idea of treating guests as Gods is famous among the natives and can be witnessed in the way the huge langar is prepared to serve the community in the famous Sikh shrine, Golden Temple. They celebrate numerous festivals such as Dussehra, Baisakhi, Karva Chauth, Basant Panchami, Gurupurab, Teeyan, Tikka, Jor Mela and more. The state of Punjab is a famous tourist destination in India because of its vibrant culture, festive-vibe, finger-licking food and rich history. The foreigners and tourists who take a tour to India visit Punjab to learn the cultural vibrancy that can be seen in its music, dance, food, and pompous wedding celebration. 

The communities of Punjab are divided into Jats and Khatris who are usually farmers and entrepreneurs. Endowed to rich natural reserves such as soil and river system, various districts of Punjab are covered with vast lands of lush green farms. Chandigarh, Patiala, Ludhiana, Amritsar, and other districts come together under the shade of dance, food, and music showcasing the best folk culture of the country. Bhangra is immensely popular and performed during Baisakhi and other harvest festivals; whereas Giddha, Sammi, Luddhi and Dhamal are popular in other regions of the state. Punjabi weddings are famous across the country owing to lively rituals such as Roka, Mehendi, Sangeet and many more that are truly delightful and extravagant just as the lifestyle followed in the region. 

Food of Punjab

Food in Punjab is a savoury for many non-Punjabi people as well. Once your taste buds are known to this part of north India, you will never forget the flavours. Punjabi food is famous for spices and flavours. The flatbread or Chapatis drooling with ghee is considered as a part of great hospitality. Lassi is a welcome drink that is available in flavours of strawberry, mango, roohafza which is considered as a pride of the state. It is the best drink to beat the heat. No matter where you come from, Punjab's savoury is exotic. The Langar in Gurudwaras of Punjab is known to be a feast, especially the kadha prasad which is super tasty. The kind heart of Punjab is filled with the culture of ‘giving and helping’ everyone. This feast is a culmination of the same. A large amount of food is cooked for a ceremony and everyone is invited to feast on it, irrespective of caste, creed, gender. Everyone is equally treated. This happens in every Gurudwara and the community kitchen is open for people to cook and receive a meal. 

Butter Chicken – a well-known dish in Punjab is a food jewel that nobody can miss in any ceremony. The dish is best eaten with naan or rumali roti and the combo acts as a delicacy that is creamy, spicy and finger-licking. Shakkar Para – a snack to calm your sweet tooth, this dish is a combination of semolina and flour that is sweetened to satiate the sweet craving. It can be easily made at home and kept for weeks to gorge on. Chole – a staple cuisine of Punjab is made from chickpea and eaten with paratha or naan. Amritsari chole or Peshawari chole, both taste delicious. Amritsari stuffed paranthas are must-try as the unique taste is not found anywhere else. The elaborate menu of Punjab, be it Rajma Chawal, Dahi Pakoda, Dal Makhani, Sarson ka Saag, Makki ki Roti, Pinni, Paneer Tikka and many more have a punch of taste that can boost the cravings.

Art and Handicrafts of Punjab

The lively state has seen many upheavals during its course of being, yet it has not succumbed to creating its own identity. Like its diverse range of food, culture and history – art and handicrafts of Punjab play a vital role in depicting the unturned stones. From intricate embroidery of Phulkari work to flared Patiala salwar, the state has some unique styles that are vibrant and super stylish. Motifs and designed walls of many tourist places in Punjab are adorned by dexterous craftsmen of the state. Pottery is one of the famous handicrafts of Punjab that are extremely beautiful and kept raw so that the earthen fragrance of pots can be retained.

Also famous for woodwork, carpenters of the state are renowned for creating strong pieces of furniture that stay durable for many generations. Famous for weaving beautiful extension to plaits, Parandas of Punjab are quite popular. The women tie parandas at the end of their plait to make it long and beautiful. You will often see people wearing Juttis with traditional outfits. Introduced by the Mughals, the task to prepare a Jutti is tedious and involves craftsmanship. Handcrafted with precision, upturned with embroidery and embellishments - Juttis of Punjab are extremely attractive. Handicrafts of the state are as vibrant as their culture.

Things to do in Punjab

Punjab is a land of diversity. You can do a variety of things in this state of India. Tour in Punjab means capturing the unseen beauty in your memory forever. These are some of the things to do in Punjab:

  • Soak into the patriotic vehemence in Wagah district of Punjab. The ceremony held at Wagah Border is a cherishing experience. 
  • Golden Temple in Amritsar is a significant Sikh shrine that is a symbol of equality. The four gates in four directions at the holy shrine is a personification of embracing people from every walk of life. The dome is plated with gold and the tank ringed with white marble is believed to have healing powers. 
  • Enjoy the spirit of Kila Raipur Sports Festival in Ludhiana that is also known as the Rural Olympics of Punjab.
  • Garden of Silence in Chandigarh offers scenic beauty of Shivalik Range. People visit this tranquil garden to meditate and seek solace. 
  • Do visit the museum located in the holy town of Anandpur Sahib, Virasat-e-Khalsas to witness the history of Sikhism. 

  • Going through the bloody history at Amritsar city of Jallianwala Bagh massacre will take you to the intimidating past. The site beholds the sacrifices and torments that citizens of India have endured.
  • Doraha fort in Ludhiana also featured in the Rang de Basanti movie is a famous picnic spot and an ideal place to spend a lazy weekend.
  • Shopping in Punjab is the greatest indulgence after food. Don't forget to buy Phulkari and Punjabi juttis.
  • Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh. When the spell of mortality is broken, you can feel magic in the air, the sunset from this lake is enchanting. 
  • Rock garden – A famous garden in Chandigarh consists of sculptures. The opening timings are from 9 am to 7:30 pm from April to September and then from 9 am to 6 pm from October to March. 

With a plethora of things to do and feasts to indulge, Punjab is one of the colorful states of India that makes a way for Indian Tourism. From delectable dishes to peppy Bhangra, the beauty of the state attracts tourists from every corner of the world. 

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