Punjab, Deriving its name from five full-bodied rivers–Sutlej, Beas, Ravi, Jhelum, and Chenab–which flow through its vast plains, Punjab is representative of abundant things. Located on the north-western edge of India, it is one of the smaller albeit prosperous states of the nation, and home to a lively, hospitable and dynamic people.
The state of Punjab is wedged between Pakistan on the west, Jammu & Kashmir on the north, Himachal Pradesh on the north-east and Haryana and Rajasthan on the south. Physically, the topography of Punjab can be divided into the upper portion of the sub-Shivalik area and the rest of Punjab is situated on the Sutlej – Ghaggar river basin. The Shivalik area at an altitude of 400 to 700 meters above sea level is made up of fluvial deposits of conglomerates, clays and silts-all.
The low Shivalik Hills demarcate the Himalayas from the plains. Rupnagar, Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur districts fall in this zone and run like a wall from north-west to south-east, dividing the Himachal valleys of Sirsa and Una. Topographical changes due to the formation of Himalayas in the recent geographical past gave a basin-like structure to Punjab. The plains of Punjab lie between altitudes 180 meters and 300 meters above sea level. The gradient increases from west to east. The word “Punjab” literally means five waters as the fertile plains of Punjab are drained by five rivers – Chenab, Jhelum, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej.
Punjab Climate comprises of three seasons
a) Summer spans from mid April to the end of June.
b) The rainy season is from the months of early July to end of September.
c) The winter season is experienced during the months of early December to the end of February. The transitional seasons in Punjab are the post monsoon season and the post winter season. Summer in Punjab actually commences from mid April but the temperature starts rising from February onwards. The summer months are followed by the rainy season. Generally, the rainy season in Punjab begins in the first week of July. Rainfall ranges from 250mm to 1000mm. Agriculture in the state highly depends on the rains. Monsoon is heralded by the monsoonal winds blowing over the Bay of Bengal. The post monsoonal transitional season remains quite fair and dry. The winter season in Punjab is mostly experienced in the month of January, when the temperature falls to 5°C in the night and hovers around 12°C in the day. In the post winter transitional season, hail-storms and brief showers occur which cause damage to the crops. The wind becomes dry by the end of March. The Punjab climate has been a significant factor in shaping the economy of the state.
History of Punjab
The history of Punjab goes back thousands of years. Undivided Punjab has been the cradle of the Indus Valley Civilization, the remains of which can be seen at the Ropar archaeological site and its dedicated museum. This fertile ancient land finds mention even in Mahabharata and Ramayana. Infact it is believed that the Ramayana was written here by Valmiki ji. Places like Rupnagar, Kiratpur, Dholbaha, Rohira and Ghuram…all in Punjab; have unearthed artifacts that date back centuries. In Sanghol are 107 statues of the Kushan period evoking memories of a flourishing Buddhist monastery. This monastery was visited by Hiuen Tsang in the 7th century. The milestones in the history of Punjab are the migration of the Aryans to Punjab between 516 BC to 321 AD, immediately followed by Alexander’s invasion, which changed the fate of India as a whole. The last point of Alexander’s entry in India can be seen in Gurdaspur.
The Muslims ruled extensively followed by the rise of the Sikhs from1700 AD to 1849 AD. Punjab has always ranked high when it comes to courage, might and valour. The state made major contributions to the freedom struggle of India though in the process it had to face its own division. Satyagraha, morchas, Jallianwala Bagh massacre…with names like Kartar Singh Sarabha, Lala Lajpat Rai, Udham Singh, Madan Lal Dhingra, Bhagat Singh instantly evoke the memories of the struggle for Indian independence. The list is endless for Punjab has been one of the most happening places in the struggle. Punjab now is shared by India and Pakistan though the ethos continues to be the same on both ends, divided only in body and not in soul. The partition of Punjab with its brutal riots was one of the most traumatic experiences for some and it continues to have its effect today. The flourishing position of the state in terms of agriculture, industry, education and all other fields prove the tenacity that is so unique to the state and its people.
Forestry and Wildlife
The unique eco-system of the Shivaliks is spread over a geographical area of 9448.97 sq. km, and lies in the north-eastern part of the state extending from north- west to south-east along the Himachal Pradesh border. It is spread across the eastern parts of the districts of Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar and Rupnagar. It is now discovered that it was home to the Paleolithic man. There are more than 70 species of trees, 19 species of mammals and 396 species of birds here. Some of the fruit trees that grow well here are apple, peach, fig, mulberry, apricot, almond, plums, oranges and pomegranate. There are many varieties of snakes, wild boar, squirrels, hog deer and mongoose.
People, Religion, Culture and Art
Punjab covers a versatile spectrum of beliefs and faiths, mainly consisting of followers of Sikhism, Hinduism and Islam. Known as the thriving ground of many ancient religions like Buddhism, Jainism and Christianity, Punjab today comprises of majority of Sikh people.
The culture of Punjab is best reflected in its folklore, ballads of love and war, fairs and festivals, dancing, music and literature. Punjab holds numerous religious and seasonal festivals, such as Dussehra, Diwali, and Baisakhi, as well as anniversary celebrations in honour of Gurus and saints. Bhangra, jhumar, and sammi are the popular dance forms. Bhangra dominates popular music in India with ardent following internationally. Giddha, a native Punjabi form, is a humorous song-dance performed by women. In addition to Sikh religious music, semiclassical Mughal forms, such as the khayal, thumri, ghazal, and qawwali, continue to be popular. Six prominent gharanas of vocal Hindustani classical music came into existence in Punjab.
These gharanas are:
1) Talwandi Gharana
2) Sham Churasi Gharana
3) Kapurthala Gharana
4) Hariyana Gharana
5) Kasur Gharana
6) Patiala Gharana
Punjab hosts the Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan, the oldest festival of Indian classical music in the world, every year at Jalandhar.
Thai Airways, Jet Airways, Qatar Airways, Air India, SpiceJet and Emirates are has flights to Punjab from all metropolitan cities in India and other countries.
Hyatt Amritsar, Best Western Merrion and Ramada Amritar are the hotels which resides in the Punjab. Use the search window to Book your accommodation.
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