The land of emerald fields soaking in sunshine, the land of vibrant cultures narrating legendary tales of the past, the land of mouth-watering food cooked in rich Indian spices and the land of jovial people wearing rainbow turbans - Punjab is a real charismatic state of India.
Often known as the ‘The land of five rivers’, Punjab is the cradle of civilization. It holds ethnic and religious diversity which is matchless. This is the reason why travellers are attracted towards this fertile state that creates a magic in the air.
The locals of Punjab are known for their jovial nature. Often referred as Sikh and Jat, the Punjabis majorly work in fields as the fertile land of Punjab offers ample scope for agriculture. You will always see a beautiful welcoming smile adorning the face of Punjabis. They are deeply rooted to their cultures and traditions, mirroring in their folk songs and dance forms. Bhangra and Gidda are the most popular dance forms of Punjab performed in all the local festivals. Most of the festivals are clubbed with singing and dancing where the locals get dressed up in vibrant attires, adding colours to the green landscapes. Where men wear kurta and pajama with colourful turbans, women wear salwar kameez with beautiful dupattas.
Punjab is known for its abundance of natural beauty. Visit the beautiful farms to experience the real charm of this state. Punjab has the largest wetlands in northern India. Thus, loads of travellers visit here to spend some moments close to nature while exploring migratory and resident water fowl. Travellers also love visiting Chandigarh, the beautiful city with incredible gardens. Rock Garden and Zakir Hussain Rose Garden remain popular among holidaymakers for their stunning vistas and serene setting. Also, the Sukhna Lake is a serene destination where you can spend some moments relishing the beautiful sights of sunset turning the city of Chandigarh crimson.
The historical attractions of Punjab manifest the courageous, gracious and legendary history of the state. They are perhaps perfect grounds to walk down the memory lanes to know some legendary heroic tales that can give goose bumps to anyone. Jallianwala Bagh holds a notable place in the history of Punjab. Over 1100 peaceful protesters were killed by British troops in Jallianwala Bagh on April 13, 1919. Post the independence of India, the park was turned into a memorial ground to the people who sacrificed their lives. Qila Mubarak is another popular historical ground known for its charismatic construction. Old Motibagh Palace of Patiala also gains attention of the travellers due to its marvellous architecture presenting a m?lange of Mughal style and Rajput style.
No traveller visiting Punjab ever misses a chance to eye the Wagah Border ceremony. Every evening, hundreds of locals and travellers visit the international border separating India and Pakistan to witness the royal changing of guards along with hoisting of the national flags.
Punjab is though one of the smallest states of India, there is no dearth of wildlife attractions here. Hari Ke Pattan, one of the most popular lakes of India, acts home to over 350 migratory birds that fly here during winter months. In addition, Satluj Water Body Wetland and Kanjli Wetland also act as perfect destinations to spot beautiful local and migrating birds chirping happily in the natural surroundings.
Takhni-Rehmapur Wildlife Sanctuary also remains popular among wildlife devotees owing to the abundance of wildlife residing here. Travellers taking ride through this park can cherish enriched diversity of flora and fauna. Bir Motibagh is another priced possession of Punjab housing chital, hog deer, wild boar, jackal, peafowl, myna, partridge, and quail. Travellers can also visit the Abohar Black Buck Sanctuary. The sanctuary houses over 4000 black bucks which can be spotted wandering freely through the villages.
Punjab remains soaked in the powers of divinity. Every nook and corner of the state oozes spirituality in the air. The Golden Temple in Amritsar is a must visit religious place in Punjab. People of all castes, creed and religion have faith in Golden Temple that mirrors the distinct identity, splendour and legacy of the Sikhs. It is believed that the waters of this holiest Gurudwara wash away all the worldly sins. Anandpur Sahib is another famous village located about 2 hours from Chandigarh. Renowned as the "Holy City of Bliss", it is home to countless gurdwaras including Gurudwara Sisganj Sahib, Gurudwara Guru-De-Mahal, Gurudwara Manji Sahib and Gurudwara Bhora Sahib to name a few.
Gurudwara Baba Bakala also remains highly popular among locals due to its divine powers. This shrine is associated with an important event in Sikh history and thus, brings thousands of travellers from near and far.
Shopping is a delight here. The state is known for its handloom and handicrafts selling in every local market. The local markets are beautified with the displays of jutties, durries, inlaid furniture, woolen shawls, parandis and phulkari work. Visit the Rainak Bazaar in Jalandhar to buy anything and everything. Shastri Market and Palika Bazaar of Chandigarh are also great spots for a day long shopping spree. Sector 7 Market of Panchkula is visited by travellers and locals alike looking for some budget deals. All these markets remain jam packed all day long and thus, travellers are advised to keep their belonging safe while touring around.
Punjabis are deeply devoted to epicurean pleasures. There cannot be a festival without food in Punjab. Punjabi food has a massive variety of lip-smacking vegetarian as well as non vegetarian dishes. A visit to Punjab is a sheer waste without tasting the traditional Sarson da Saag (made of spinach and ghee) and Makki di Roti. Lassi (beaten curd and milk) is the companion of every dish served in the local restaurants. Non-vegetarians can savour the taste of Butter Chicken as Punjabis are known for cooking the best recipes of chicken. Amritsari Fish is also a delectable dish of Punjab cooked with mouth-watering local spices. Aaloo Prantha is another dish one can try for a gratifying breakfast. Chole Bhature is available in abundance and can be relished at any time during the day.
Fairs and festivals are the life and soul of Punjab. The locals celebrate each festival with great gusto. Lohri, marking the end of winter, remains a popular festival in Punjab. The festival rejoices fertility and brings a striking festive spirit. Hola Mohalla, celebrated in Anandpur Sahib, plays a great role in the life of Punjabis. This three day festival includes singing of the divine hymns, performances of martial valour in archery, sword fencing, horse-riding, tent-pegging and a lot more.
Baisakhi, the first day of the New Year in the traditional Vikrami calendar, brings together the locals of Punjab. This colourful festival flaunts the local cultures of the state where men and women dress in beautiful attires and welcome the new year with traditional folk dance and music.
The locals celebrate Guru Purbs with great fervour to pay respect to their religious beliefs. The important Gurupurbs celebrated in Punjab include the birthdays of Guru Nanak and Guru Govind Singh and the martyrdom days of Guru Arjun Dev and Guru Teg Bahadur.
In addition to this, for the lovers of cultural fairs, Jor Mela celebrated in Fatehgarh and Sahiband Hariballabh Sangeet Mela are must visit. Both these fairs see extensive festivities where locals flock in huge number to cherish their dance, music, food and art forms.
The best time to visit Punjab is between October and March when the climatic conditions remain favourable for sightseeing. Punjab has major three seasons, including summers (April till June), monsoons (July to September) and winters (October till March). While summer months are hot and humid in the state, monsoon season brings much needed rescue from the heat.
Amritsar, Chandigarh and Ludhiana are three main airports in Punjab. Among these, Amritsar is the only international airport of the state.
Punjab boasts an extensive railway network that links the state with all the parts of India. Some of the major railheads of Punjab are located at Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Ferozepur, Jalandhar and Pathankot.
The best way to explore the beauty of Punjab is by taking a road trip. Roads connect the state with all the parts of the country making road travel a pleasant option.
One can find numerous local buses connecting all the parts of the state. Train also links all the major parts of Punjab. Those looking for a private ride can hire taxi services too. But, do not miss a chance to ride a tractor - the best mode of transportation in rural Punjab.
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