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Land of Five Rivers
Location of Punjab in India
Coordinates 30°44′N 76°47′E / 30.73°N 76.78°E / 30.73; 76.78
Country  India
District(s) 20
Established 1956-11-01
Capital Chandigarh
Largest city Ludhiana
Governor Shivraj Patil[1]
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal
Legislature (seats) Unicameral (117 Punjab MLAs)
24289296 (15th)
482 /km2 (1,248 /sq mi)
Official languages Punjabi
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
Area 50362 km2 (19445 sq mi)
ISO 3166-2 IN-PB
Punjab Portal: Punjab  
Seal of Punjab

Punjab (Punjabi: ਪੰਜਾਬ, Hindi: पंजाब) is a state in northwest India. The Indian state borders the Pakistani province of Punjab to the west, Jammu and Kashmir to the north, Himachal Pradesh to the northeast, Chandigarh to the east, Haryana to the south and southeast and Rajasthan to the southwest. The total area of the state is 50,362 square kilometres (19,445 square miles). The population is 24,289,296 (2000). Punjab's capital is Chandigarh, which is administered separately as a Union Territory since it is also the capital of neighbouring Haryana. Other major cities of Punjab include Mohali, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Patiala and Jalandhar.

The Indian Punjab historically forms a part of the larger Punjab region, which includes the Pakistani province of Punjab and the North-West Frontier Province, the Indian states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, parts of Jammu and Kashmir and the Union Territory of Chandigarh, which boasts the highest per capita income and Human Development Index in India.[2] After the partition of India in 1947, the Punjab province of British India was divided between India and Pakistan; the Indian Punjab was further trifurcated in the year 1966 leading to the formation of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

Agriculture is the largest industry in Punjab, it is the largest single provider of wheat to India. Others major industries include the manufacture of scientific instruments, electrical goods, financial services, machine tools, textiles, sewing machines, sports goods, starch, tourism, fertilizers, bicycles, garments, and the processing of pine oil and sugar. Punjab is considered to have the best infrastructure in India [3], this includes road, rail, air and river transport links that are extensive throughout the region. Punjab also has the lowest poverty rate in India at 6.16% (1999-2000 figures), and has won the best state performance award[4], based on statistical data compiled by the Indian Government. According to the India State Hunger Index 2008, Punjab has the lowest level of hunger in India. The army of Pathankot[5] is Asia's Largest Army.



The word "Punjab" is a combination of the Persian words panj Five, and āb Water, giving the literal meaning of the "Land of Five Rivers". The five rivers after which Punjab is named are the Beas, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej.


A view of Ropar Wetland

Punjab extends from the latitudes 29.30° North to 32.32° North and longitudes 73.55° East to 76.50° East.[6] It covers a geographical area of 50,362 km2 which is 1.54 % of country’s total geographical area.[7]

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.

Most of the part of the state is an alluvial plain,which is irrigated by extensive canal system.[8] Punjab's arid southern border edges on the Thar, or Great Indian, Desert. The Siwalik Range rises sharply in the north of the state.

The soil characteristics are influenced to a very limited extent by the topography, vegetation and parent rock. The variation in soil profile characteristics are much more pronounced because of the regional climatic differences.

Punjab is divided into three distinct regions on the basis of soil types. The regions are:

  1. South-Western Punjab
  2. Central Punjab
  3. Eastern Punjab

Punjab falls under seismic zones II, III, and IV. Zones II and III are referred to as Low Damage Risk Zone while zone IV referred to as high damage risk zone.[7]


Punjab region temperature range from -2° to 40°C (MIN/MAX), but can reach 47°C (117°F) in summer and can touch down to -5°C in winter.

Climatically, Punjab has three major seasons as under:[8]

  • Hot weather (April to June) when temperature rises as high as 110F.
  • Rainy season (July to September). Average rainfall annual ranges between 96 cms sub-mountain region and 46 cms in the plains.
  • Cold weather (October to March). Temperature goes down as low as 40F.


Maharaja Ranjit Singh the ruler of Punjab ca. 1835-40.
The golden throne of Punjab
Maharaja Duleep Singh the last Maharaja of Punjab

The Indian state of Punjab was created in 1947, when the Partition of India split the former Raj province of Punjab between India and West Pakistan. The mostly Muslim western part of the province became West Pakistan's Punjab Province; the mostly Sikh eastern part became India's Punjab state. Many Sikhs and Hindus lived in the west, and many Muslims lived in the east, and so the partition saw many people displaced and much intercommunal violence.[9] Several small Punjabi princely states, including Patiala, also became part of India. In 1950, two separate states were created; Punjab included of the former Raj province of Punjab, while the princely states were combined into a new state, the Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU). PEPSU consisted of the princely states of Patiala, Nabha, Jind, Kapurthala, Malerkotla, Faridkot and Kalsia. Himachal Pradesh was created as a union territory from several princely states and Kangra district. In 1956, PEPSU was merged into Punjab state, and several northern districts of Punjab in the Himalayas were added to Himachal Pradesh. Punjab region was united under the Sikh Empire from 1799 to 1849 and remained so until the end of the British rule in India.

The capital of the undivided Punjab province, Lahore, ended up in West Pakistan after partition, so a new capital for Indian Punjab state was built at Chandigarh. On November 1, 1966, the mostly Hindu southeastern half of Punjab became a separate state, Haryana. Chandigarh was on the border between the two states, and became a separate union territory which serves as the capital of both Punjab and Haryana. Chandigarh was due to transfer to Punjab alone in 1986, but the transfer has been delayed pending an agreement on which parts of the Hindi speaking areas of Abohar and Fazilka, currently part of Firozpur District of Punjab, should be transferred to Haryana in exchange.

During the 1970s, the Green Revolution brought increased economic prosperity for the Sikh community in Punjab, mainly due to Pratap Singh Kairon, the late Sikh leader. However, a growing polarisation between the Indian National Congress led Indian government and the main political party of the Sikhs, the Shiromani Akali Dal, began to widen during the 1970s. The hostility and bitterness arose from what was widely seen by the Sikhs as increasing alienation, centralization and discriminatory attitudes towards Punjab by the Government of India. This prompted the Shiromani Akali Dal to unanimously pass the Anandpur Sahib Resolution which among other things called for granting maximum autonomy for the Punjab and other states and limiting the role and powers of the Central Government.

Discord had been developing after the rejection of the Anandpur Sahib Resolution. Some Sikhs demanded an independent state of Khalistan. A number of militants took to targeting officials and people opposed to their point of view which included a number of Sikhs. Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and along with his supporters sought shelter inside the Akal Takht in the Golden Temple premises. Fearing an arrest, Bhindranwale with help from Shabeg Singh heavily fortified the temple. The Indian army finally assaulted the Golden Temple to take out armed militants in June, 1984. However, the operation, Operation Bluestar was poorly planned and coordinated, leading to heavy military and civilian casualties.

As a result, the situation in Punjab deteriorated into anarchy with a rise in militancy. By the early 1990s, after many years of violence across Punjab, the militants' struggle for Khalistan had lost much of the sympathy given after the assault on the sacred Golden Temple, it had previously had from some Punjabi Sikhs and what little armed resistance remained was eliminated and forced underground. In the following years there was concern over alleged human rights abuses conducted by the central and state government against Sikhs, and many human rights organisations were not allowed in the Punjab at the time.[10]

Punjab's economy was acutely affected in the 1980s and early 1990s. However in recent times, there have been serious attempts by the Central Government to diminish resentment and strong feelings of Punjabis over the issue. Punjab's economy is now on the path to recovery. However, corruption and violence continues to hamper the state.

Present issues

In recent times, there is growing concern in the state about the immigration of labourers from other Indian states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Around 10% of Punjab's population is now made up of migrants from these states. The Sikhs are concerned that they will soon become a minority in the state, and allege that the unchecked immigration is encouraged by the government.[11] The pro-Khalistan organization Dal Khalsa (International) has blamed the problems like rising crime rate and unemployment on immigration. On the other hand the leaders like Tarsem Jodha have stated that immigration is vital to Punjab's economy since the landlords of Punjab have always relied on immigrants for labour.[11]

In the last few decades, the disputes between the Jat and the Dalit castes have caused much violence in Punjab.[11] In the Talhan riots, Dalit Sikhs were brutally suppressed by Jats allegedly with the police help over the management of the local Gurdwara. The daughter of the Dalit activist Bant Singh was raped by a group of Jats, and he was beaten up leading to amputation of his limbs.[11] Dera Sacha Sauda claims to be a pro-Dalit organization, but Jat Sikhs regard it as a conspiracy aimed at diluting the Sikh identity.[12] There have been many cases of violence between the two groups. Another example is the breakaway sect of a godman called Baba Piara Singh Bhaniarawala. The followers of Bhaniarwala are mostly Dalits who claim to be Sikhs. However, mainstream Sikhs have accused him of modifying the Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred book of the Sikhs. They have accused him of blasphemy, alleging that his 2,400-page "Bhavsagar Samundar Amar Bani" contains blasphemous references to Sikhism.

According to the World Drug Report released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2007, Punjab is the World’s No 1 transit point for opium. According to the Akali leader Late Captain Kanwaljeet Singh, Punjab finds itself bypassed as neighbouring states are prospering due to the services book, while industrialisation in Punjab has not happened in a planned manner due to “a crucial decade lost in militancy.”[11]

Flora and fauna

Black buck is state animal of Punjab[13]

The Shivalik area of Punjab with a geographical spread of 9448.97 square km is the richest area of Punjab in terms of floral and faunal diversity. It is the hill tract lying in the north-eastern part of the state. This area has been identified as one of the micro-endemic zones of the country. Amongst the Angiopserms, about 355 species of herbs, 70 tree species, 70 species of shrubs or undershrubs, 19 of climbers and 21 species of twiners have been recorded from the area. Apart from angiosperms, 31 species of Pteridophytes, 27 of bryophytes and one species of gymnosperms (Pinus roxburghii) have also been recorded. The area is also rich in faunal diversity especially bird species. A total of 396 species of birds have been reported from the area. Besides, 214 species of Lepidoptera, 55 species of fish, 20 species of reptiles, 19 species of mammals have been reported from the area [14]. On the other hand Punjab plains contain comparatively little that is indigenous. There are no natural forests in the plains; extensive tracts occur covered only with grass, shrubs and bushes. The mango is largely cultivated in the south-east of the Punjab and attains a high degree of perfection about Multan and Hoshiarpur. Cultivated fruit trees are abundant, such as orange, pomegranate, apple, peach, fig, mulberry, quince, apricot, almond, and plum.[15] One tree species that is indigenous to the region, the shisham tree (Dalbergia sissoo) is the official state tree.

There are a number of wetlands, bird sanctuaries and zoological parks all over Punjab. These include the Hari-ke-pattan National Wetland and Wildlife Sanctuary at Amritsar, the Kanjli Wetland, the Kapurtala Sutlej Water Body Wetland, the Ropar Zoological Park, Chhatbir, Bansar Garden, Sangrur, the Aam Khas Bagh, Sirhind, the Ram Bagh Garden, the Shalimar Garden, Kapurthala and the Baradari Garden at Patiala.[16]

Alligators are also common in local rivers. The silkworm is reared with great skill and industry, and bees produce abundant wax and honey. Camels thrive in the hot southern plains, and herds of buffaloes on the grazing lands adjoining the rivers. Horses of excellent quality are reared in the north-east part of the country.[15]

Among poisonous snakes the most remarkable are the cobra, and a small snake, the sangehur, the bit of which causes instantaneous death. The rivers are infested with alligators, and fish of various species abound. The silkworm is reared with great skill and industry, and bees produce abundant wax and honey. Camels thrive in the hot southern plains, and herds of buffaloes on the grazing lands adjoining the rivers. Horses of excellent quality are reared in the north-east Other mammals like the smooth-coated otter, hog deer, wild boar, flying fox, wildcat, squirrel, fruitbat, and mongoose can be seen in the wild and in reserves.

A variety of mammals like the Smooth Indian Otter, Hog Deer, Wild Boar, Flying Fox, Wildcat, Squirrel, Fruitbat, Common Mongoose can be seen in Zoological Park Chhatbir.

The Goshawk, (Accipter Gentilis), is the state bird of Punjab, while the Black buck (Antilope cervicapra), is the state animal.


Religion No. of people[19] % of total
Total population 24358999[20] 100%
Sikhs 14592387 59.91%
Hindus 8997942 36.94%
Muslims 382045 1.57 %
Christians 292800 1.20 %
Buddhists 41487 0.17 %
Jains 39276 0.16 %
Others 8594 0.04 %

The Indian state of Punjab is 60% Sikh and 37% Hindu. There is no friction between any group. Since centuries different communities have lived together bind by communal harmony and brotherhood. There is a tiny Muslim population still living there, especially in Malerkotla, but most are from other states. .[19]

The holiest of Sikh Shrines, the Shri Harmandir Sahib Ji (or Golden Temple), is in The Holy city of Amritsar. The Sri Akal Takht Sahib Ji which resides within the Golden temple complex is the temporal seat of Sikhs. Of the five Takhts (Temporal Seats) of Sikhism, three are in Punjab. Anandpur Sahib is where Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji created the Khalsa on Vaisakhi. During major holidays on the Sikh calendar (such as Vaisakhi, Hola Mohalla, Gurpurb or Diwali), many Sikhs gather and march through virtually every city, town and village in Punjab. Sikhism is so common in fact, that at least one Sikh Gurdwara can be found in every village, town and city (in various styles and sizes).

The Punjabi language, written in the Gurmukhi script is the official and most commonly used language in the state. The other language which is spoken in Punjab is Hindi, the widely spoken language across India.


NIPER Mohali research blocks,pharmaceutical management (gitesh MBA)
Maharaja Ranjit Singh Bhawan (CSE Department G.N.D.U.)

Punjab is served by 16 public institutes in higher education (listed below). 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. Punjab Agricultural University is one of the world's leading authorities in agriculture. It was instrumental and played vital role in Punjab's Green Revolution in the 1960s-70s.

The current Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh was educated at Panjab University, Chandigarh and Oxford and Cambridge in UK.

Professor Har Gobind Khorana, famous Nobel laureate & biotechnologist was educated at Panjab University.

Christian Medical College, Ludhiana has been training doctors since 1894, and has been a pioneering institution of higher education in north India.( The First ever full face and scalp transplant in the world was performed here is among the other firsts that CMC Ludhiana's contribution to Punjab and North India.[23]


Punjabi Agriculturalist.
Quark, Mohali

According to the India State Hunger Index 2008, Punjab has the lowest level of hunger in India. Less than one-fourth of children below the age of five are underweight, although Punjab "came off worse than countries like Gabon and Vietnam when measured on the index".[24]

According to India Today, Leading magazine in India, Punjab has been awarded best overall state since, 2003 and has been able to retain the top position every year. It also affords best quality of life to its residents.[25]

Punjab has the best infrastructure in all of India[3][26] The Indian National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) has ranked Punjab's infrastructure as the best in India. Its road, rail, air and transport system is rated best in the country with ranking of 210 points[3] compared to the national average of 100 in NCAER’s infrastructure index. It has highest per capita generation of electricity in India, which is 2.5 times the national average. Although it has a huge shortage of electricity due to high demand, all major cities in Punjab benefit from this and have some of the lowest tariffs in India. All of Punjab's villages have been provided electricity and connected to the state electrical power grid since 1974. The state run electricity board is in a perpetual state of crisis and lack of funds due to corruption, faulty subsidies, poor management and work ethic.

Punjab (Land of the five rivers) is one of the most fertile regions on earth. The region is ideal for wheat-growing. Rice, sugar cane, fruits and vegetables are also grown. Indian Punjab is called the "Granary of India" or "India's bread-basket".[27] It produces 14% of India's cotton, 20% of India's wheat, and 9% of India's rice. In worldwide terms, Indian Punjab produces 2% of the world's cotton, 2% of its wheat and 1% of the world's rice.[27] The largest grown crop is wheat. Other important crops are rice, cotton, sugarcane, pearl millet, maize, barley and fruit. In Punjab per hectare consumption of fertilizer is 177 kg as compared to 90 kg at national level. Also Punjab State has been awarded National Productivity Award for agriculture extension services for consecutively ten years from 1991-92 to 1998-99 and 2001 to 2003-04. In recent years a drop in productivity has been observed mainly due to falling fertility of the soil. This is believed to be due to excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides over the years. Also a big worry is the rapidly falling water table on which almost 90% of the agriculture depends, which has witnessed alarming drops in recent years[28]. The challenge therefore is to adopt a new and more environmentally friendly agricultural model which would have to be radically different from the one followed now. Even small changes could make a big difference. If just 10% of the agricultural land were moved away from rice and wheat and to less water-intensive crops, such as flowers and vegetables, the groundwater depletion problem could be solved.[29]

Excluding agriculture other major industries include the manufacture of scientific instruments, electrical goods, machine tools, textiles, tourism, sewing machines, sports goods, starch, fertilizers, bicycles, and the processing of pine oil and sugar.


Districts of Punjab along with their headquarters

Punjab state is divided into 4 subdivisions and 20 administrative districts (listed below):

Government and politics

Like other states in India, the head of state of Punjab is the Governor, appointed by the President of India on the advice of the Central government. His or her post is largely ceremonial. The Chief Minister is the head of government and is vested with most of the executive powers. Chandigarh is the capital of Punjab, and houses the Vidhan Sabha (Legislative Assembly) and the secretariat. Chandigarh also serves as the capital of Haryana, and is a union territory of India. The Punjab & Haryana High Court, located in Chandigarh, has jurisdiction over the whole state.[30]


Tourism is a swiftly expanding area and many analysts predict huge potential. Tourism of Punjab is principally suited for the tourist interested in culture, civilization, spirituality and epic history. More specifically tourism is particularly suited for the person who is interested in epic history, the celebrated Punjabi culture, royal Punjabi palaces, historic battles and of course the world-renowned examples of Sikh architecture, shrines and temples.


An Indian Punjabi woman participating in Gidha folk dance.

Music of Punjab is well-known. Bhangra is one of the many Punjabi musical art forms that is increasingly being listened to in the west and is becoming a mainstream favourite. Punjabi music is being used by western musicians, in many ways, such as mixing it with other compositions to produce award-winning music. In addition, Punjabi Classical music is increasingly becoming popular in the west due to the beauty of sounds of the Punjabi language and its composition.

Cinema of Punjab dates back to before partition. K.D. Mehra made the first Punjabi film Sheila (also known as Pind di Kudi). Baby Noor Jehan was introduced as an actress and singer in this film. Sheila was made in Calcutta and released in Lahore, the capital of Punjab; it ran very successfully and was a hit across the province. Due to the success of this first film many more producers started making Punjabi films. As of 2009, Punjabi cinema has produced between 900 and 1,000 movies. The average number of releases per year in the 1970s was nine; in the 1980s, eight; and in the 1990s, six. In 1995, the number of films released was 11; it plummeted to seven in 1996 and touched a low of five in 1997. Since 2000s the Punjabi cinema has seen a revival with more releases every year featuring bigger budgets, home grown stars as well as bollywood actors of Punjabi descent taking part.

Punjabi cuisine has an immense range of dishes and has become world-leader in the field so much so that many entrepreneurs that have invested in the sector have built large personal fortunes due to popularity of Punjabi Cuisine throughout the world.

Punjabi Poetry is renowned for its extremely deep meaning, beautiful, exciting and hopeful use of words. The poetry is one of the deepest insights into the Punjabi mindset. The large number of Punjabi poetry masterpieces are being translated throughout the world into many languages. Famous Punjabi poets.

A Punjabi qissa (story; pl. qisse) is a tradition of Punjabi language oral story-telling that came to South Asia with migrants from the Arabian peninsula and contemporary Iran and Afghanistan.[31]

Punjabi dances, due to the long history of the Punjabi culture and of the Punjabi people there is a large number of dances. These dances are normally performed at times of celebration the most prominent being at Punjabi weddings, where the elation is usually particularly intense. The particular background of the dances can be non-religious and religious. The overall style can range from very high energy to more reserved, however the common elements make it particularly attractive to the viewers whether they be of Punjabi heritage or not, the allure is considered universal. Punjabi dances are designed for either men or women.

Punjabi wedding traditions and ceremonies are traditionally conducted in Punjabi and are a strong reflection of Punjabi culture. Marriage ceremonies are conducted in Punjabi by Granthi for Sikhs, in Sanskrit by Pandits for Hindus and Jains. There are occasional commonalities in ritual, song, dance, food, dress. The Punjabi wedding has many rituals and ceremonies that have evolved since traditional times.


In addition to the religious festivals, Punjabis celebrate seasonal and harvets festivals which include Lohri[32], Basant, Baisakhi and Teej.

Famous people

The Punjab Medals of Honour are a collection of awards that are given by the Government of Punjab for exceptional excellence and achievement in the service of Punjab, the Punjabi people and internationally. Some awards are given yearly and some are only given rarely and under exceptional circumstances, where the individual has shown remarkable sacrifice or personal service of Punjab. To win one of the rare awards would probably make the individual a household famous name in Punjab. Two of the most prestigious awards are Punjab Rattan Award and the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award.

The Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is a Punjabi. Two former Indian Prime Ministers include I.K. Gujral and Gulzarilal Nanda both of whom were also Punjabis. Another Punjabi to occupy the topmost post in India was the former President of India, Giani Zail Singh. A former Chief of Army Staff of India, General General Joginder Jaswant Singh is a Punjabi and also the current Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor is a Punjabi, so is famous Nobel laureate Professor Har Gobind Khorana. The first Indian in Outer space, Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma, is a Punjabi. The highest ranking officer in the history of the Indian Air Force, Arjan Singh, Marshal of the Indian Air Force, (the highest rank ever given in the history of the Indian Air force), is a Punjabi. The first Indian-American Governor and new Governor Elect of Louisiana., USA Bobby Jindal (Rep) is also a Punjabi Hindu from his father's parental lineage. In the entertainment sector, the giant Dalip Singh helps "promote" Punjab in the sphere of Professional wrestling. Indian cricket star Harbhajan Singh is a Punjabi. Gurdas Mann and Hans Raj Hans are two of the most famous singers to come from the Punjab. The first ever Asian Member of the U.S. Congress, Dr. Dalip Singh Saund, was a Punjabi. Kalpana Chawla, the famous US astronaut, was a Punjabi.

Twin Punjabi associations

The Punjab historically, since ancient times, has been one cultural and political entity within which the Punjabi people have lived in. However, after the partition of India the Punjab was divided, cutting the Punjabi people in two across the international border between Pakistan and India. Relations after partition were unusually Luke-warm between the twin Punjabs. However, over the last 20 years both Punjab governments, in India and Pakistan, have made concerted effort to maintaining cultural and historical ties of the Punjabi people. This included the international Punjabi Games held in 2004, arranged by both Punjab Governments.

Academic institutions have kept their strong contacts such as Universities that were spilt after partition, such as the twin Punjab Universities at Chandigarh and Lahore.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Chandigarh's per capita income highest in India
  3. ^ a b c Welcome to Official Web site of Punjab, India
  4. ^ Best overall performance award to Punjab- Hindustan Times
  5. ^ Pathankot
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ article=discoverindia_places_punjab "Punjab - State". article=discoverindia_places_punjab. Retrieved 2006-10-14. 
  10. ^ See Amnesty Reports such as Punjab Trauma
  11. ^ a b c d e Simmering discontent: Sikhs in Punjab are fighting many wars. 8 Mar, 2008, 0000 hrs IST,Praveen S Thampi, Times of India.
  12. ^ Casteist assault by ANNIE ZAIDI. Frontline Volume 23 - Issue 02, Jan. 28 - Feb. 10, 2006.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Jerath, Neelima, Puja & Jatinder Chadha (Editors), 2006. Biodiversity in the Shivalik Ecosystem of Punjab. Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh, Dehradun.
  15. ^ a b
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Census Population" (PDF). Census of India. Ministry of Finance India. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  18. ^ a b Census of India, 2001: population of Punjab by religion
  19. ^ Census of India, 2001
  20. ^ "Higher Education". Retrieved 2006-09-16. 
  21. ^ "Finally, Punjab gets its first veterinary university". Official web site of Punjab, India. 2006-06-02. Retrieved 2006-09-20. 
  22. ^ (
  23. ^ "India fares badly on global hunger index". Times of India. 2008. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ Welcome to Official Web site of Punjab, India
  26. ^ a b Welcome to Official Web site of Punjab, India
  27. ^ Upmanu Lall. "Punjab: A tale of prosperity and decline". Columbia Water Center. Retrieved 2009-09-11. 
  28. ^ Upmanu Lall. "Punjab: Less Water, More Money (Part 1)". Columbia Water Center. Retrieved 2009-10-27. 
  29. ^ "Jurisdiction and Seats of Indian High Courts". Eastern Book Company. Retrieved 2008-05-12. 
  30. ^ Mir, Farina. [ "Representations of Piety and Community in Late-nineteenth-century Punjabi Qisse"]. Columbia University. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  31. ^

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Asia : South Asia : India : Plains : Punjab

Punjab (Punjabi: ਪੰਜਾਬ,Urdu: پنجاب, IPA: [pəɲdʒaːb])is a state in the northwestern part of The Republic of India. There is also a province called Punjab in The Islamic Republic of Pakistan.



The Indian State of Punjab was created in 1947, when the Partition of India split the former British Indian province of Punjab between India and Pakistan. Muslims moved to the western part of the province became Pakistan's Punjab Province; Sikh and Hindu moved to the eastern part became India's Punjab state. Many Hindus and Sikhs lived in the west, and many Muslims lived in the east, Because of this Punjab Suffered more violence then the majority of the two new nations. Today both governments are working closely with each other so the traditions, and culture of these two Punjab's stays unified.

On November 1, 1966, the mostly Hindu southeastern half of Punjab became a separate state, Haryana . Chandigarh was on the border between the two states, and became a union territory which serves as the capital of both Punjab and Haryana.


The Punjabi language, written in the Gurmukhi script is the prevalent language in the state. But most people are fluent in English and Hindi as well because it is taught along side Punjabi In schools in the state. Urdu is still used in the minority areas in which the majority of people are Muslim, Malerkotla for example has a 70% Muslim population and Urdu has been taught here since before Partition of India.



Sikhism is the main religion of Indian Punjab and is practiced by majority of the population, The holiest of Sikh shrines, the Golden Temple is located here.. Hinduism is also very common here and many temples can be found in almost every city and town. There is a small Muslim minority left (most of the Muslim population migrated to the Pakistani side after Partition). Still to this day there are many Mosques though out the state, Jain's and Christians also are here but form a minority.

Bathinda fort
Bathinda fort
Bathinda chowk
Bathinda chowk


Chandigarh is the capital city of Punjab. Chandigarh serves not only as the Capital of Punjab, but also the mainly Hindi speaking state of Haryana which formally part of Punjab as well. Chandigarh however administratively is not under the jurisdiction of either state, it is administered by the Central government and hence classified as a union territory.

Punjab comprises 20 administrative districts, which regionally fall into three main parts:

  • Majha — border area with Pakistan
  • Doaba — area that lies between Beas River and Satluj River
  • Malwa — southern part of the state
Mohindra College, Patiala
Mohindra College, Patiala

Get in

By plane

To come to India the two main Airports are in Delhi & Mumbai, But these are not the only options available, there are there are more than 334 civilian airports in India 238 with paved runways and 108 with unpaved runways.

To get to Punjab the best options are these:

Delhi Is the main port when traveling into India by Air. Indira Gandhi International Airport [2] has been under heavy renovations, Now a stunning looking airport, is one of the nicest and most busiest airports in the world. Only a few hours drive or a few hours by Train.

Amritsar also has a International airport, it is one of the only ones in Punjab, The Raja Sansi International Airport [3] is open 24 hours, and is a closer drive to some parts of Punjab then New Delhi.

By train

India's rail network is the longest of any country. Trains run at an average of around 50-60 km/h, which means that it can take more than two days to get from one corner of the country to another. Rail operations throughout the country are run by the state-owned company, Indian Railways. The rail network traverses through the length and breadth of the country, covering a total length of around 63,000 km (39,000 miles). Out of this a total 16,693 km of track has been electrified till now and 12,617 km have double tracks.

Trains can be caught very easily through out India to get to Punjab, For very cheap. Trains are often the best way to experience India and Punjab.

Transit Bus
Transit Bus
  • Cars -In Punjab is One of the best ways to get around, You can either rent a car, Get a taxi for less. Taxi's usually don't have a problem driving to where ever you want within the district. It is very common to see the owner of the Car sitting in the back with a Driver driving the car.
  • Two-wheelers -Most popular mode of transport in terms of number of cars.
  • Autorickshaw -An auto rickshaw (auto or rickshaw or tempo in popular parlance) is a three wheeler vehicle for hire. They typically have no doors or seatbelts. They are generally yellow or green in colour and have a black or green canopy on the top. An auto rickshaw is generally characterized by a tin/iron body resting on three small wheels (one in front, two on the rear), a small cabin for the driver in the front and seating for three in the rear.Hiring an auto often involves bargaining with the driver.
  • Bus -You can get on a bus in most town in Punjab. They go all over the country.
  • Golden Temple, Amritsar.
  • The Royal Punjabi Palaces and monuments of Patiala.
  • Purana Quilla in Bathinda.
  • Wagha Border.
  • Bhakra Nangal Dam across the Sutlej River. *Mehdiana Sahib Gurudwara.
  • The Gurudwaras and historic monuments at Anandpur Sahib.
  • Hussaini Wala Border, Ferozpur.
  • Chandigarh, the modern city designed by French architect Le Corbusier.
  • The Royal Punjabi Palaces of Faridkot.
  • Historic monuments in Fatehgarh Saheb, Chamkaur Saheb and Sirhind, which saw a lot of action during Guru Gobind Singh's time as the 10th Guru of Sikhism.
  • Historic monuments in Nabha and Sangrur.
  • Ancient Fort at Bathinda, in Bathinda. *The Gurudwara Bhabour Sahib, a Sikh place of worship, as well as several other holy places and an Ashram are located at Nangal.
  • Shahpur kandi fort and Madhopur headworks near Pathankot.
  • Ancient Buddhist and Hindu archeological sites at Sanghol in Fatehgarh Sahib and Dholbaha in Hoshiarpur district respectively.
  • Indus Valley civilization site at Ropar
  • Gurdwara Nanaksar and Gurdwara Mehdiana Sahib at Jagraon


Tourism in Punjab is principally suited for the tourist interested in culture, ancient civilization, spirituality and epic history. Punjab has a rich history incorporating Sikhism and Hinduism. Along with the celebrated Punjabi culture, the royal Punjabi palaces, historic battles, shrines, temples and examples of Sikh Architecture.

Some of the smaller country towns are also a must see for the person who wants to see the true Punjab, with their traditional Punjabi homes, monuments, temples, farms, and everyday life.

  • Make sure you go visit the Golden Temple, Regardless of what Religion you are of.
  • Wagah Border.
  • Visit the little towns.

Many museums are in Punjab State as well [4]:

  • Amritsar, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum
  • Angol Sikh War Memorial, Ferozeshah
  • Little Villages.
  • Govt. Museum Hoshiarpur
  • Sports Museum, National Institute of Sports, Patiala
  • Sanghol Museum
  • Art Gallery at Sheesh Mahal
  • Qila Mubarak Patiala, Museum of Armoury & Chaneliers
  • Guru Teg Bahadur Museum
  • Rural Museum, Punjab Agricultural University


Film in India is very popular as well, Many Western Movies are sold, and theaters are open that just cater to Hollywood movies. India's own film industry is the largest in the world in terms of the ticket sales and the number of films produced annually (877 feature films and 1177 short films were released in the year 2003 alone). They call it Bollywood, These films are enjoyed by everyone and they are sold practically every where you go.

Tv is available and found throughout most homes. There are channels availble in English, Punjabi, Hindi, and urdu. So theres always something on, you will never get bored.


Punjab is served by 11 leading public institutes of excellence in higher education (listed below). 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 Agricultural University is one of the world's leading authorities in agriculture.

  • Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.
  • Punjabi University, Patiala.
  • Panjab University, Chandigarh.
  • Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana.
  • Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar.
  • Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot.
  • Punjab Veternary Sciences University, Talwandi Sabo.
  • Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University.
  • National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education & Research, Mohali
  • National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar.
  • Thapar University, Patiala.

The current Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh was educated at Panjab University, Chandigarh.


Punjab is a shopper's haven, but only if you're not afraid to haggle and bump elbows in bazaars. Western-style malls and shopping emporia are creeping in on the outskirts, but there's little Indian about these sanitized shopping experiences, or the goods in them. Until a few years back, all shops closed on Sunday; while rules have been relaxed, many districts are still mostly shuttered.

While credit cards are commonly accepted in Punjab, you can not use them to pay at small street side shops. So you need to keep some cash handy. ATMs are available everywhere, so if you have an Indian bank account or credit card, you don't need to carry too much cash either. If you are a foreigner, it is a good idea to carry some cash to avoid charges while using your credit or debit card.

Keep some money in a different currency as well, You will find in some places giving a simple $10.00 note will change how fast things move.

Foreigners will have to be very careful, as all these stores are road-side stalls. What may seem a good price that the person has quoted to you, it will actually be a rip off. Do not settle for anything more than one-fourth the quoted price.. If they refuse a price just walk away, and they will call you back quoting a lower price. Normally, the more you buy, the less you will have to pay for each individual item.


You might be able to find a Job in a local Call center or fast food restaurant. So if your there for a while go to Chandigarh, You will able to find a Job here very easily.


Punjabi cuisine can be non-vegetarian or completely vegetarian. It is widely popular however there is some misunderstanding in Western Cultures that Punjabi cuisine is completely curry based. The level of spices can vary from minimal to very prevalent. One of the main features of Punjabi cuisine is its diverse range of dishes. Home cooked and restaurant Punjabi cuisine can vary significantly, with restaurant style using large amounts of clarified butter, known locally as desi ghee, with liberal amounts of butter and cream with home cooked concentrating on mainly upon wheat masalas (spice) flavorings.

Within the state itself, there are different preferences. People in the area of Amritsar prefer stuffed parathas and milk products. In fact, the area is well known for quality of its milk products. There are certain dishes which are exclusive to Punjab, such as Mah Di Dal and Saron Da Saag (Sarson Ka Saag).

Due to the three majority Religons which are Sikhism, Hinduism, ans Islam. Pork and Beef sales do not happen in Punjab.

Pulse, bean and / or lentil preparations:

  • Dal makhani (Mah di dal)
  • Dal maharani
  • Dal amritsari
  • Lobiya (Black eyed bean)
  • Rajma (Red kidney bean)
  • Choley (eaten with bhatoora or naan).(Whole Bengal gram e.g Bengal chickpeas)
  • Punj ratani dal (mixtures of 5 lentils) etc...
  • Saron (sarson) da saag te makki di roti

These are generally soaked overnight or for at least 8 hours and gently simmered on the embers of a tandoor (A clay oven of the shape of a horizontally sliced pot) along with ginger, garlic and a few other garam masala (whole spices like cardamom, cinnamon, mace, and bay leaf).

These are then combined with a tangy masala base which could include tomato or dried mango (aam choor powder) or even pomegranate seeds (anar dana). The character typical to the bean or whole lentil preparation is that the shape is retained intact, but the gentlest pressure would make it into a paste.

Dollops of cream and butter provide for the rich finishing touch. Garnishing is usually with shredded coriander leaves and juliennes of ginger.

Other very popular Punjabi food include:

  • Samosas
  • Shahi Paneer (Butter Chicken, but chicken replaced with Paneer (Indian Cheese)
  • Tandoori Chicken
  • Tandoori Fish
  • Paneer Pakora
  • Pakoras
  • Jalabee
  • Gulab Jamun

The Punjabi breads are generally flat breads; only a few varieties are raised breads. The breads may be made of different types of flour and can be made in various ways:

  • Baked in the tandoor like naan, tandoori roti, kulcha, lachha paratha
  • Dry baked on the tava (Indian griddle) like phulka or chapati, jowar ki roti, baajre ki roti and the very famous makke ki roti (these are also smeared with ghee or white butter)
  • Shallow fried like paratha, aloo or mooli paratha
  • Deep fried like puri and bhatoora (a fermented dough)

The tandoor also allows for tasty chicken and meat preparations including seekh kebab, tandoori chicken, reshmi tikka and malai tikka.

Sweet deserts are a favorite as well, They are handed out on birthdays and other special events. Here a list of some Popular ones:

  • Gulab jamun
  • Jalebi
  • Kulfi
  • Peda
  • Sohan Papdi/Patisa
  • Gajar Halwa
  • Jhajariya
  • Pheerni
  • Motichoor
  • Bal Mithai
  • Sohan Halwa
  • Singori
  • Malai Laddu
  • Kheer
  • Mung Halwa
  • Ras malai
  • Malai Pan
  • Imarti
  • Balushahi
  • Kalakand

Fast food chains

There are Fast food restaurants in almost every city. McDonald's,Subway,Pizza hut,Dominos,KFC,and many others can be found. There also many Indian Fast food shops catering to western styles of food. Almost every Restaurant does not serve Beef and Pork, Due to the Muslim and Hindu Communities.


Drinks in Punjab are the same as the ones through out India, But they have a Punjabi twist to them.

  • Chai is a Indian Tea. It is more popular than coffee, and street vendors called "chai wallahs" (sometimes spelled "chaiwalas") are a common sight in many Punjabi neighborhoods.
  • Lassi is a traditional North Indian beverage, originally from Punjab made by blending yogurt with water, salt, and spices until frothy. Yogurt is mentioned in ancient Indian texts, and so is buttermilk. Yogurt sweetened with honey is used in Hindu rituals. Traditional lassi is sometimes flavored with ground roasted cumin. The Lassi of the Punjab sometimes uses a little milk and is topped with a thin layer of malai, a clotted cream, also known as Devonshire cream. Lassis are enjoyed chilled as a hot-weather refreshment. With a little turmeric powder mixed in, it is also used as a folk remedy for gastroenteritis.
  • Sharbat is a popular Middle Eastern and South Asian "juice" that is prepared from fruits or flower petals. It is sweet and served chilled. It can be in concentrate form and eaten with a spoon or mixed with water to create the drink. It was popularised by the Mughal rulers one of whom sent for frequent loads of ice from the Himalayas to get a cool refreshing drink.
  • There are many types of liquor and beer available at most restaurants. A classic liquor found in Punjab is Royal Stagg, which is made by Segrams; the taste and quality is similar to Segrams 7. The beers are actually pretty good, some favorites are Kingfisher, Flying Horse and Taj Mahal. Kingfisher is exported throughout the world. There are also some liquors and beers available that are of very poor quality; you can usually distinguish the quality by the price-- you'll get what you pay for. Imported brands are also available in some of the higher- class restaurants but the price is much steeper. You can expect to pay up to 3 or 5 times the price of local liquors. Usually only a selected few imports are available and Johnnie Walker is usually one of them. If you are taking a gift for people in Punjab, who you know that drink and won't get offended, then taking some kind of Scotch Whiskey is a good idea.
  • Desi Daroo,(also known in different parts of the country under other names). It is made by fermenting the mash of sugar cane pulp in large spherical containers made from waterproof ceramic (terra cota) up to near 100% alcohol. However, it is a dangerous drink, mainly because of the risk of alcohol or copper formaldehyde poisoning.
  • Coffee, also known as Madras Filter Coffee or kaapi is a sweet milky coffee made from dark roasted coffee beans (70%-80%) and chicory (20%-30%), especially popular in the southern states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The most commonly used coffee beans are Peaberry (preferred), Arabica, Malabar and Robusta grown in the hills of Kerala (Malabar region), Karnataka (Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru) and Tamil Nadu (Nilgiris District).


Night life in Punjab is exciting in some spots, for example in Chandigarh there are lots of Discos and Nightclubs. Many are couple only, So singles are not allowed in. Other then that there are many shops and eat-in restaurants. Also, Night Food Street (NFS), a group of overnight food serving shops is operational (7PM to 8AM) on Gheri-Route, near DAV college, CHANDIGARH.


Power outages and water shortages happen not just every day, but often several times on the same day, with summers especially bad. Better places have water tanks and generators to alleviate the pain, but keep a flashlight handy at night and do your part by not wasting too much water.

  • Laundry service is offered in most hotels, even budget accommodations. If you would rather save the money and do it yourself, buckets are found in almost all bathrooms - but perhaps wash it out well first.
  • Exercising outdoors is not recommended due to the level of pollution and swimming in rivers is also not recommended. You'll want to look for a hotel with a gym or a pool (many offer day passes). Or a evening/morning walk can be taken in the parks.


In Punjab there are many different daily newspapers:


  • The Tribune - Punjab's oldest newspaper [Circulated only in Punjab in the Chandigarh,Panchkula and Mohali regions]
  • The Indian Express - National daily published from Chandigarh.
  • Hindustan Times - National daily published from Chandigarh.
  • The Times of India - The Only National Daily Of INDIA.(Sub-Circulatories - The Times Of Chandigarh), The Economic Times , The Business Times]
  • The Pioneer- National daily published from Chandigarh.
  • Business Line- Business daily newspaper.


  • Punjab Kesari


  • Dainik Bhaskar - National Hindi daily published from Chandigarh.
  • Amar Ujala - National Hindi daily published from Chandigarh.
  • Dainik Tribune - Hindi edition of The Tribune.

Stay safe

Punjabi People are very kind hearted, you will not feel threatened at all while you are there, But you need to be careful about some things.

Make sure You are Paying Attention. Pick Pocketing is Very common in some parts of the Country. Try putting you wallet in your front pocket, Don't carry a lot of things with you at one time, For instance don't bring passports,tickets,ect. Try not to always use Rs.1000 and Rs.500 bills.

Try to avoid Rallies,protests and you should be fine.

  • Prefix +91 If you are calling from outside India, each city has a separate 3-4 digit area code. Phone numbers are seven digits long but on occasion you will find a six digit number listed. That is probably an old listing. They made the changeover from six to seven digits a few years back, when they allowed private service providers to offer telephony. Just add a "2" to the old number and it should work just fine, however if that does not work try prefixing "5". All mobile numbers, however are 10 digits long and begin with "9", and should not be dialed with the city prefix. If you don't get through to a mobile number, try adding a "0" or "+91" before you dial it.
  • Phone booths can be found all over the State. Though they are coin operated, there is usually someone to run the place. (Typically the phones are attached to a roadside shop) You need to keep putting 1 rupee coins into the slot to extend the talk time, so keep a change of 1 rupee coins handy with you. The person running the booth will usually have them. If you find a booth marked STD/ISD, you can call internationally or anywhere within the country. Fees will be charged according to the time spent and a meter runs to keep track of your time. You pay when you have finished your call. Often it is difficult to find one that is open early in the morning or late at night.
  • Cell phone coverage in the state is excellent. There are many service providers offering a wide variety of prepaid and postpaid plans. Among them are Airtel [5], Spice Telecom [6] and Vodafone Essar [7]. There are many other companies as well, these are just the main ones used. Majority of the networks are GSM so if you have a cell phone you bring with you, chances are it will run on this network. Some companies like Reliance Mobile [8], TATA Indicom [9] offer CDMA networks also, but usually they insist that you but the CDMA handset from them only.
  • Cybercafes are located at virtually every street corner and the rates are quite low. Just keep in mind that they have probably not kept pace with advances in hardware or software, so if you find yourself in one of them, don't be surprised if you are stuck with a really small monitor, Windows 98 and IE 5.0. Also data security is an issue. Change your password after you use it at a cybercafe.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

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