Punjab Travel Guide
- By:Vinay Choubey
A state, whose name is synonymous with exuberance, prosperity and an intense passion for life, Punjab or 'Panj Aab' literally meaning five rivers, is, as it were, the very heart of the country.
Blessed with extremely fertile soil, Punjab is watered by the rivers Beas, Sutlej, Ravi and Ghaggar. Punjab witnessed heavy destruction and damage during Partition, yet, it is one of the most affluent states in the country, today. The per - capita income of the state is nearly twice the all - India average. The mainstay of Punjab's economy, and the source of its affluence is agriculture. Nearly 84 percent of the total geographical area of the state is under cultivation.
Places to see in Punjab:
Amritsar, the holy city of Sikhs, has grown from a sacred village pond into a spiritual temporal centre of Sikh culture. The city gets its name from the pool-Amritsar (Pool of Nectar), which was constructed by the fourth religious preceptor of the Sikh faith. It also lies on the Asian Highway. It is also the city where Jaliyan-wala-bagh, the garden where scores of innocent Indian men, women, children were massacred by the British. Events of such magnitude catalysed the struggle for Indian independence.
Patiala is famous for its healthy food, loving people, wonderful parandaas, exciting Patiala peg and jootis. Easily accessible and well maintained, Patiala is a place that would give one the much-needed tranquility far from urban chaos. The Sports School and the Moti Bagh Palace are some of the places that one must visit to get a clear picture of the past of the state.
Serenity and a city are two diametrically opposite concepts, which however, get belied in the 'City Beautiful'. Chandigarh is a rare epitome of modernization co-existing with nature's preservation. It is here that the trees and plants are as much a part of the construction plans as the buildings and the roads. Thanks to the creative genius of Le Corbusier, the city retains its inherent character even today, as conceived by him in his Master Plan. Corbusier's architectural ingenuity endowed with uniform and standardized structure designs. Wide roads, sector wise divisions, tree-lined avenues, land scaping and a wide piazza, lends the city a special character and a unique orderliness.
Ludhiana is famous for its hosiery and woolen goods and products from Ludhiana are exported all over the world. For its production of hosiery, Ludhiana is also known as the Manchester of India. It also boasts of the world famous Punjab Agricultural University, which organizes the Kisan Mela every Year. Nearby is Killa Raipur, which is famous for its Rural Olympics.
Dances of Punjab:
Bhangra celebrates the harvest and is associated with the festival of Baisakhi (April 13) when the sight of tall heaps of golden wheat fill the farmer’s heart with joy. To the accompaniment of large drums called dhols, he and his fellow villagers circle round and round in a leaping, laughing caper. It’s a dance that cuts across all divisions of class and education. At marriages, parties, or celebrations of any sort, it is quite common for men to break out in Bhangra. There are few sights more cheering than that of a dignified elder in three-piece suit getting up to join the young fellows for a moment of bhangra revelry.
Women have a different but no less exuberant dance called gidda. The dancers enact verses called bolis, which represent folk poetry at its best. The subject matter of these bolis is wide ranging indeed – everything from arguments with the sister-in-law to political affairs figure in these lively songs. Aside from the drums, the rhythm of this dance is set by the distinctive hand-claps of the dancers.
This dance has originally come from Sandalbar (now in Pakistan), but is now very much a part of Punjab folk heritage. It is a dance of graceful gait, based on specific Jhumar rhythm. Dancers circle around the drummer, and keep up a soft, sibilant chorus as they dance.
How to get there:
Chandigarh and Amritsar both have airports are connected to other cities in India by regular flights. Indian airlines do have regular flights from Chandigarh to Delhi, Lucknow, Leh, and Amritsar. Jet air also has regular flights to Chandigarh.
Punjab is extensively linked to the other parts of the country by rail. Chandigarh, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Pathankot, and Jalandhar are the major railway hubs in the state from where one can take trains for most parts of the country.
The entire state is connected through an extensive network of medalled roads. State Highways connect major cities to the state capital. NH 1 or the Grand Trunk Road connects the state with most of the north as well as east India.