With a history dating back to over 5000 years and a geography that placed it on the borders of the Indian subcontinent, Punjab as the gateway to India has perforce had to be the first barrier for any marauding army to surmount. The plains of Punjab are dotted with sites of battles that were to shape India’s future. Little wonder that its people are valued for their valor and martial prowess. The trials and tribulations of life on the edge have given them a zest for life that transcends tough times - the Punjabi certainly knows how to live on a grand scale and for him, every event becomes a celebration of life itself.
'Punjab' literally means the land of five rivers. A network of five rivers – the Ravi, Beas, Sutlej, Chenab and Jhelum, irrigates this flat tract of land extending down from the Himalayas in the north to the deserts in the west. Agriculture is the 'culture' of the state of Punjab, the fertile food bowl of India that feeds its masses. The erstwhile boundaries of Punjab extended right up to the borders with Afghanistan in the northwest, but when India won her independence from British rule in 1947, the state was split between Pakistan and India. Punjab got further divided with the separation of the hill state of Himachal Pradesh and the Hindu majority state, Haryana (1966). Chandigarh is the common capital city for both the states of Punjab and Haryana today.
Best Time of Visit:
- The best time to visit Punjab is between October and March when the weather is cold and bracing.
Min Days Required: 5 days
Places of Interest:
- Chandigarh – Leisure Valley, Rock Garden, Sukhna Lake, Capitol Complex
- Amritsar – Harmandir Sahib, Jallianwala Bagh, Wagah Border, Govind Garh Fort
- Bhatinda- Damdama Sahib , The Maisar Khana, Qila Mubarak, Rose Garden
- Jalandhar - Imam Nasir Mausoleum , Devi Talab Mandir, Rangla Punjab Haveli
- Patiala - Rang Mahal and Sheesh Mahal, Qila Androon, Ran Bass, Sheesh Mahal
- Ludhiana - Nehru Rose Garden, Rural Museum, Tiger Safari
- Punjab spreads from the foothills of the Himalayas in the northeast to a semi-arid desert region towards the southeast. Due to its inland subtropical location, the climate of the state is continental, semiarid to sub humid.
- As in other parts of India, there are three major seasons in Punjab. Summer, stretching from April till June, is hot and dry with temperatures rising to 45°C.
- The monsoons from July to September bring rainfall and respite from the searing heat. Annual rainfall varies from about 49 inches (1250 mm) to 14 inches (360mm). Winters, from October till March, are cold with day temperatures falling to 13°C and night temperatures sometimes touching freezing point.
Things to carry:
- If you are traveling in summer, light cotton clothes will be comforting.
- Also, loose dresses will be a better choice than the tight fitting ones. You will need sunscreen lotions, caps and hats, as accessories, to make the trip soothing.
- In winter, carry woolen clothes to keep yourself warm. Winter, though pleasing and enjoyable, is dry. So always carry moisturizing lotions and other cosmetic products to retain the moisture in your skin.
How to get there:
- Driving into Punjab is probably the best way to get here as all the national and state highways are well maintained and have plenty of enroute service stations and highway motels/restaurants.
- Little “dhabas” dot the highways all over Punjab and one of the pleasures of driving through the state is to stop and have a meal at one of them.
- You will not be disappointed! The bus services are good and consistent with the option of deluxe air-conditioned or ordinary buses. Hired cars or private cabs also make for great driving - Amritsar from Delhi (7 hours), Chandigarh - Delhi is 5 hours.
- The road crossing between Pakistan and Punjab is at Wagah (Indian side). The border is open daily between 0900 to 1600 hours. The Samjhauta Express bus connects Lahore (Pakistan) to Delhi passes through Punjab though is often delayed for border checking’s and immigration formalities.
- Amritsar and Ludhiana are the two main airports in Punjab linked to Delhi by regular flight services.
- The Union Territory of Chandigarh functions as the capital of Punjab and Haryana also has a domestic terminus that is connected to many places of importance in India.
- Trains ply between Delhi and Chandigarh and Amritsar and then you can get a connecting train to anywhere in India from Delhi.
- Lucknow, Calcutta and Varanasi also have direct train routes to Amritsar.