The very idea of Punjab conjures a state full of hearty and robust people, larger than life and every bit full of vigour. The fertile plains and the emerald green fields are a popular vision of the state. With its rambunctious culture and fun-loving people full of camaraderie, a visit here feels like visiting a place you have always known but never seen before.
Punjab tourism relies on monuments of great personal and cultural value. If you happen to be visiting Amritsar, then your Punjab tour would undoubtedly include the Golden Temple along with the more sombre Jallianwala Bagh, which features a memorial for the numerous people who lost their lives in the massacre there. Nevertheless, Punjab tourism is packed with numerous palaces, temples and other beautiful places to see and explore.
Punjab is in north western India and borders various states such as Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh. What makes it interesting is that it also borders Pakistan to the west. With its many rivers and fertile plains, Punjab is known for its agriculture more than anything else, although cities such as Ludhiana are also industrial towns.
Due to its location, Punjab sees variations in temperature every month. Nevertheless, the climate here is divided into three seasons – summer, monsoons and winter. Summers are relentlessly hot with temperatures going as high as 45 degrees. Monsoons are still relatively better and although it gets humid and wet, the state seems to be washed clean by the rains and everything sparkles with new life. Winters are quite cold, but it is also the time when various festivals are celebrated and Punjab tourism tends to be quite popular at that time.
Punjab is known for its vibrant and colourful culture. In fact, it’s hard not to equate Punjab with the bhangra dance that is famous all over the world. Punjab is also famous for its many festivals and celebrations such as Lohri and Vaisakhi. In fact, these play a huge role in showcasing Punjab’s culture to the world at large. Even events such as weddings have a strong cultural bearing with singing and dancing being an important element, adding to the fun and enjoyment. The other aspect of Punjab is its cuisine that has a number of dishes that have made the state famous. In fact, during a Punjab tour, you must make it a point to try out delicious meals such as sarson ka saag and tandoori chicken to name a few.
Punjab has several places of interest for tourists but many people who come here, undoubtedly head straight to Amritsar to pay their respects at the Golden Temple. The city of Amritsar might be old, but it is considered to be a spiritual centre for Sikhs. The Golden Temple is the holiest gurudwara of the Sikh people and is a sight to behold. This 16th century temple is on a rectangular platform and is surrounded by water. The pool of water that surrounds it is called Amrit Sarovar. Visitors here have to pay their respects by removing their footwear and covering their heads before going inside.
Other important places to see in Amritsar include Jallianwala Bagh, the Wagah Border, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum and Kaiser Bagh Park. Without visiting these, Punjab tourism would be woefully incomplete for you.
The capital city of Punjab, Chandigarh, is a beautifully designed city. Wide roads and aesthetic plans make it one of the best planned cities in India. If you happen to visit Chandigarh, do make it a point to visit The Rock Garden and Sukhna Lake that are quite close to each other. The Rock Garden is a manmade marvel that will leave you in raptures as you navigate through tunnels and spaces to reach the different sections with the mosaic figurines. Sukhna Lake is quiet and charming and the perfect way to spend an evening, watching birds alight on the surface of the lake before taking off. Chandigarh has several other places of note – Butterfly Park, Garden of Fragrance, Sarkaria Cactus Garden and Chhatbir Zoo to name just a few.
Other places that should be a part of Punjab tourism include Jalandhar, an old city which has much historical significance and places such as Tulsi Mandir and Imam Nasir Masjid, Ludhiana with its Lodhi Fort and Rural Heritage Museum, Patiala with its beautiful architecture that brings together Punjabi, Rajput and Mughal cultures, and Bhatinda which is considered to be one of the most ancient cities of Punjab. In fact, Bhatinda houses some monuments that have been around since 3000 BC and there are several places of importance here such as Bhatinda Fort, Qila Mubarak and Bhatinda Zoological Park.
Other places that you should certainly include in your Punjab tour are Pathankot which is really quite beautiful, Kapurthala which has gorgeous monuments and a scenic landscape and Mohali which is famous for its cricket stadium. One of the towns in Punjab is Ropar which was the first Harappan site to be excavated in independent India. This goes to show the deep historical value that some cities in Punjab have.
A visit to Punjab feels like you are travelling back and forth in time. Straddling history and modernity with ease, Punjab is one of the states that will enthral you and remain with you for a long time. If you are keen on visiting Punjab, then do make it a point to check the SOTC website for offers and deals on Punjab tour packages.