The culturally rich state of Punjab is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Deriving its name from a land of five rivers, Punjab State has one of the most fertile agricultural fields in India. Historical landmarks, holy shrines, vibrant culture, exquisite cuisine, surreal landscapes, grand architecture, and happy faces all around, Punjab is the perfect tourist destination for every traveller.
With a history that backs to Indus Valley Civilization, Punjab was once home to the first traces of human habitation in India more than 5000 years ago. Since then, Punjab remained a prominent part of Mauryan, Kushan, Gupta, Harsha, and Mughal empires before the British rule. The presence of fertile soil and abundance of water from five rivers make agriculture a lucrative profession in Punjab. Producing nearly two-third of the total wheat production in the country, Punjab is also known as India's breadbasket. In addition to agriculture, Punjab tourism, Punjabi food, and Punjabi music industries remain the frontiers of its economy.
With music at its centre-stage, the culture of Punjab revolves around a heritage of thousands of years. The pompous folk dance of Bhangra, the Gurmukhi script of Punjabi literature, harvest festivals of Lohri& Vaisakhi, etc. are some of the many popular facets of the Punjabi culture.
Punjab - The Land of Five Rivers
Punjab inherits its name from the five tributaries of the Indus River flowing through the region - Sutlej, Ravi, Beas, Chenab, and Jhelum rivers. These rivers are vital to the agricultural growth in Punjab. Let's learn more about the five rivers of Punjab:
1. Sutlej River
The longest of the five rivers flowing through the Punjab, Sutlej River, is the easternmost tributary of the Indus River. The river originates in Tibet and enters India in Himachal Pradesh, flows through Punjab before meeting Beas River in the Firozpur district. Several large canals branch from the Sutlej River to use the water extensively for irrigation. Bhakra Dam in Punjab uses this river for irrigation and power generation.
2. Ravi River
The Ravi River originates in the Himalayas in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh and is a transboundary river of India and Pakistan. The major multipurpose project for irrigation, hydropower, fisheries, etc. on the Ravi River is Ranjit Sagar Dam at the Punjab-J&K border. Water from the Ravi River is crucial for the harvest of walnut, deodar, pine, and olive in Punjab.
3. Beas River
Originating from the Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh, the Beas River flows through Punjab before merging with the Sutlej River. Named after the Veda Vyasa, the author of the Mahabharat, the Beas River marked the eastern border during Alexander's conquest in 326 B.C. The Beas River supports several irrigation canals for the agricultural fields in Hoshiarpur.
4. Chenab River
Chenab River originates in Himachal Pradesh from the confluence of two rivers, Chandra & Bhaga. Mentioned in Mahabharata and Atharvaveda, Chenab is a major river flowing in India and Pakistan. Punjab utilizes the Chenab River for agricultural use as well as for power generation through Salal and Pakal Dul dams.
5. Jhelum River
The Jhelum River originates from the Kashmir Valley and passes through the Srinagar before entering Punjab in the Jhelum district. The Upper Jhelum Canal from Mangla Dam uses the Jhelum water for irrigation before the river heads to Pakistan.
Tourist Places in Punjab
There are several places to visit in Punjab that are most famous tourist attraction of Punjab. Let's explore these 5 most famous tourist places in Punjab one by one.
The iconic city of Amritsar is one of the top tourist places in Punjab. The spiritual centre of the Amritsar is a testimony to the heroic past of Punjab. Amritsar city is famous for its Golden Temple that attracts more tourists in India than any other destination. The thriving city of Amritsar is agriculturally productive and abuzz with tourism activities. Take a spiritual solace in its Gurudwaras, shop for colourful dresses or footwear at the narrow lanes, and indulge in the savoury cuisine. Apart from the Golden Temple, other attractive places to visit in Amritsar are the JallianwalaBagh for its forgetful massacre and closeness to the Wagah Border between India and Pakistan.
Chandigarh boasts of being the first planned city of India. A union territory being the capital city of both Haryana & Punjab, Chandigarh has the perfect blend of vintage Punjab with modernity. Chandigarh is famous for its mouth-watering street food and leisurely drives. Located at 265 km from the national capital, Chandigarh is a popular punjab tourism places for road trips during weekends. The world-famous Rock Garden designed entirely from discarded waste is a crowd puller. The 8 km-long well-maintained Leisure Valley houses Asia's most exquisite and detailed Rose Garden that calls for a breath-taking view. Boating at the Sukhna Lake amidst serene natural beauty is something that both tourists and locals enjoy.
Named after the Lodi dynasty, Ludhiana is the largest city in Punjab. A true reflection of the lifestyle of locals, Ludhiana offers you a unique experience to witness the beauty of Punjab. Situated on the banks of river Sutlej, Ludhiana is famous for its hosiery industries, gurudwaras, and ancient forts & ruins. A manufacturing hub of India, the city balances in retaining the old world charm and keeping up with the technological advancements. Apart from being an industrial hub, Ludhiana attracts a large number of tourists owing to its historical monuments, delicious food, zoo, amusement park, and many more. Key attractions of the city include the Maharaja Ranjit Singh War Museum, Phillaur Fort, and the peculiar Museum of Rural Life.
The historical city of Patiala is famous for Mughal, Rajput, Punjab architectural styles. Being an erstwhile princely state, Patiala is home to several architectural marvels and calls for a perfect venue to explore the core traditions and cultures of Punjab. The forth-largest city of Patiala has several attractions like Moti Bagh Palace, Sheesh Mahal, Qila Mubarak, Bahadurgarh Fort, etc. for history buffs. From headgears to footwear, from dresses to Salwars, Patiala is the best place to shop for authentic Punjabi clothing and accessories.
5. Jalandhar: A Reflaction of Rich Punjabi Heritage
The city of Jalandhar flaunts the rich culture of Punjab and is one of the best places to visit in Punjab. Once a part of the historical Indus Valley Civilization, Jalandhar is a reflection of the rich Punjabi heritage. Home to several holy shrines, this city blends the commercial growth perfectly with its glorious past. The century-old Iman Nasir Mausoleum and Devi Talab Mandir are quite famous with tourists. Known for its festivals and Bhangra, Jalandhar is the top producer of leather and sports goods.
Best Time to Plan Your Trip
The best time to visit Punjab is probably after monsoon season from October to March as the weather is pleasant, and the landscape is lush green. During these months, the temperature in winters can drop to zero degrees creating a misty climate for a memorable trip and breath-taking views. Additionally, several cultural and religious festivals during these months call for a unique experience.