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 Punjab   


PUNJAB

General Information about Punjab :

Population

21.6 Million

Area

50,362 sq. km.

Capital

CHANDIGARH

People per Sq. Km

433

Main Language

PUNJABI


          Punjab is an Indo-Iranian word meaning "the land of five rivers". Punjab lies at the cross-roads of the great civilizations of the world. Historicaly, the area west of Punjab was under the sphere of influence of the Persians, the east was the heartland of the Indian civilization, the south under the influence of the Arabs and the north under the Turko-Mongolian influence. Many great religious movements which found world-wide appeal grew in the fertile plains of Punjab. They include Budhism, Sikhism and many schools of Sufi thought in Islam . This ethnic and religous diversity is reflected in the cultural mosaic of todays's Punjab.

           The historical area of Punjab was defined to the east from the basin of the river Bias (including Dehli) to the basin of River Indus in the west. To the north it was bounded by the Himalayas of Kashmir and to the south it stretched as far as the plains of Cholistan and Rajasthan. Over different periods of history Punjab has seen its boundries expand and shrink. The high time for Punjab was during the reign of Mughal emperor Babur (and also during the time of Ranjit Singh more recently) when Punjab along with Babur's empire streteched from Dehli in the east to Kabul and Ghazni to the West. But never in the history, did the boundries of Punjab shrink so much as they did after the division of  India in 1947. The tragic incident resulted in the division of Punjab into two parts as the Indian state of Punjab and the Pakistani province of Punjab. Indian Punjab was further divided twice for administrative reasons . Today's Punjab(Indian) is about one-fourth of the Punjab that existed before partition.

Punjab suffered the most destruction and damage at the time of Partition of India. Prior to partition the Punjab extended across both sides of what is now the India-Pakistan border, and its capital Lahore is now the capital of the Pakistani state of Punjab. The major city in the Punjab is Amritsar, the holy city of the Sikhs. Chandigarh, a new planned city, was concieved and built in the 1950s to serve as the capital of the new Punjab. In 1966, Punjab underwent another split. It was divided into the predominantly Sikh and Punjabi- speaking state of Punjab and the state of Haryana. At the same time some of the northern parts of the Punjab were hived off to Himachal Pradesh. Chandigarh on the border of Punjab and Haryana, remains the capital of the two states, yet is administered as a Union Territory from Delhi.

The Punjab's per capita income is nearly double the all-India average (in second place is Haryana). Although Punjabi's comprise less than 2.5% of India's population, they provide 22% of India's Wheat and 10% of its rice. The Punjab provides a third of all the milk production in India. Punjab also has a number of thriving industries including Hero Bicycles at Ludhiana.

From the travellers point of view, the area has just one attraction -the beautiful Golden Temple in Amritsar. Apart from this the states are mainly places of transit for travellers on their way to the Himachal hill stations, Pakistan, and Kashmir.

PLACES OF INTEREST

AMRITSAR: Visit the Golden temple - The sacred Sikh sanctuary, marbled, bronzed & covered with gold leaf wherein the Guru Granth Sahib- The Bible of the Sikhs is placed reverently. Also see the Community Kitchen where 10000 pilgrims are fed daily on voluntary and complementary basis. Visit the historic Jallianwala Bagh where Gen. Dyer's bullets killed scores of innocent Indians and the beautiful Ram Bagh Gardens.

CHANDIGARH : Chandigarh was Designed by Le Corbusier, is the state capital of Punjab and Harayana states. The famous French architect. Half day tour includes visit to the Secretariat, High Court, State Library, Assembly Chambers, University, Botanical Garden and the beautiful lake. Asia's largest rose garden, Zakir Gulab Bagh, spread out over 30 acres of land, boasting of 50,000 rose-trees of 1600 different species!!

Covering an area of 56 square kilometres, Chandigarh is the first `planned' city of India. The city has neatly laid out roads and parks, buildings ranging against mountain peaks, boulevards and streets lined by endless rows of trees and shrubs. The city is named after the Goddess Chandi Devi, whose white - domed temple stands on the slope of a hill in the north east of Chandigarh, on the edge of the Shivalik hills. Spread over an area of 114 sq. kms, it is a modern city, built in 47 sectors.

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Punjab Tourism Development Corporation