Punjab, the chief wheat producing area of the country, and predominantly an agricultural state, is the overland entry point into India. The state is also known for its production of sports and hosiery goods. India's (and the world's) biggest bicycle manufacturer, Hero Bicycles, is in Ludhiana.
Prior to partition Punjab extended across both sides of what is now the India-Pakistan border. In 1966, Punjab underwent another split. It was divided into the predominantly Sikh and Punjabi-speaking state of Punjab and Hindi-speaking state of Haryana. At the same time some of the northern parts of the Punjab were hived off to Himachal Pradesh.
Punjab was the part of India that suffered the most destruction and damage at the time of partition, yet today it is far and away the most affluent state in India, the result of sheer hard work.
Punjab shares its' capital with Haryana. Chandigarh is the only Indian city to have been designed and planned by a single architect - Le Corbusier. The city, surrounded by the Shiwalik Hills that hem the great Himalayas, is a model of wide roads and spacious residential colonies. Visit Sukhna Lake, Pinjore Gardens, the Rose Garden and the Rock Garden, where the city's discarded junk has been recycled into bizarre human and animal sculptures. Chandigarh is a good base to travel northwards to the hill resorts of Shimla Kulu, Manali, Dharmashala and Dalhousie.
Home of the Sikhs holiest shrine, the beautiful Golden Temple (so called because the dome is covered with gold leaf), Amritsar is the holy city of the Sikhs. The temple houses the Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Book of the Sikhs. The Community Kitchen feeds 10,000 pilgrims daily, on a voluntary and complementary basis. The historic Jallianwala Bagh is where the British General Dyer's bullets killed scores of innocent Indians.
Ludhiana is another prominent industrial city of Punjab known for its hosiery and woollen garments sold in prestigious stores all over the world.
The modern industrial city of Jalandhar is famous for its sportsmen as well as its' sports goods industry. The monuments of interest here include the 800-year old Imam Nasir's Mausoleum, 200-year old Devi Talab (a tank) and 400-year old Juma Masjid. Another tourist attraction is the Shiva Mandir dating back to the Lodhi era.
The capital of the erstwhile princely state of Patiala, the city is said to have been founded in 1756 by Baba Ala Singh. It has magnificent forts, palaces and gardens. The Quilla Mubarak, the nucleus of Patiala, houses impressive armoury and chandeliers. The Moti Bagh Palace, built in 19th century, is patterned after the famous Shalipaar Gardens of Lahore. It now houses the National Institute of Sports and the Art Gallery. Near Patiala is the Beer Moti Bagh sanctuary where neelgai, black buck and wild boar can be spotted.
Fast Facts of Punjab
Places to visit
Fatehgarh Sahib is a Skih pilgrimage spot. It has a majestic Gurudwara erected in memory of the two younger sons of the 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. At a distance of a few paces from the Gurudwara lies the magnificent Rauza of Hazrat Mujadid Alif Saani Sheikh Ahmed Faruqui.
Aam Khas Bagh
This Mughal monument was initially built by Babar and re-built by Emperor Shah Jehan.
This has a historical tomb of early 17th century. One of the tombs is of Mohammed Momin Hussaini alias Hafizah, a renowned musician during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Jehangir.
18 km from Jalandhar, is Kapurthala, believed to have been built in the 13th century. The city has a Panch Mandir, a Hindu Temple built by a Sikh and a famous mosque designed by a French architect in the Moorish style.
Situated on the left bank of river Sutlej, at a distance of 41 km from Ropar, is Anandpur Sahib, where Guru Gobind Singh baptized the first five Sikhs, the "Panch Pyaras". This place has a number of historical Gurudwaras, with a backdrop of Naina Devi Hill. On the day following the festival of Holi, devotees flock to Anandpur Sahib, to participate in the Hola Mohalla celebrations, re-enacting Sikh battles of yore, with ancient arms and weapons.
Bhakra Dam, the highest gravity dam in the world, is symbolic of resurgent India. It harnesses the turbulent waters of the Sutlej river for irrigation and power generation.
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