Punjab

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Punjab is a state in northwest India. The Indian state borders the Pakistani province of Punjab to the west, Jammu and Kashmir to the north, Himachal Pradesh to the northeast, Haryana to the south and southeast and Rajasthan to the southwest. The total area of the state is 50,362 square kilometres (19,445 square miles). The population is 24,289,296 (2000). Punjab’s capital is Chandigarh, which is administered separately as a Union Territory since it is also the capital of neighbouring Haryana. Other major cities of Punjab include Mohali, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Patiala and Jalandhar.

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The word “Punjab” is a combination of the Sanskrit words panj Five, and āb Water, giving the literal meaning of the “Land of Five Rivers”. The five rivers after which Punjab is named are the Beas, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej.

Understand

The Indian State of Punjab was created in 1947, when the Partition of India split the former British Indian province of Punjab between India and Pakistan. Muslims moved to the western part of the province became Pakistan’s Punjab Province; Sikh and Hindu moved to the eastern part became India’s Punjab state. Many Hindus and Sikhs lived in the west, and many Muslims lived in the east, Because of this Punjab Suffered more violence then the majority of the two new nations. Today both governments are working closely with each other so the traditions, and culture of these two Punjab’s stays unified.

On November 1, 1966, the mostly Hindu southeastern half of Punjab became a separate state, Haryana . Chandigarh was on the border between the two states, and became a union territory which serves as the capital of both Punjab and Haryana.

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Talk

The Punjabi language, written in the Gurmukhi script is the prevalent language in the state. But most people are fluent in English and Hindi as well because it is taught along side Punjabi In schools in the state. Urdu is still used in the minority areas in which the majority of people are Muslim, Malerkotla for example has a 70% Muslim population and Urdu has been taught here since before Partition of India.

Religion

Sikhism is the main religion of Indian Punjab and is practiced by majority of the population, The holiest of Sikh shrines, the Golden Temple is located here.. Hinduism is also very common here and many temples can be found in almost every city and town. There is a small Muslim minority left (most of the Muslim population migrated to the Pakistani side after Partition). Still to this day there are many Mosques though out the state, Jain’s and Christians also are here but form a minority.

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Regions

Chandigarh is the capital city of Punjab. Chandigarh serves not only as the Capital of Punjab, but also the mainly Hindi speaking state of Haryana which formally part of Punjab as well. Chandigarh however administratively is not under the jurisdiction of either state, it is administered by the Central government and hence classified as a union territory.

Punjab comprises 20 administrative districts:

* Amritsar

* Barnala

* Bathinda district

* Firozpur

* Fatehgarh Sahib

* Faridkot

* Gurdaspur

* Hoshiarpur

* Jalandhar

* Kapurthala

* Ludhiana

* Mansa

* Moga

* Mohali

* Muktsar

* Nawanshahr

* Patiala

* Rupnagar

* Sangrur

Regionally Punjab is broken into 3 main parts:

* Majha (Border Area which consist of Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Ferozpur Districts)

* Doaba (Area that lies between River Beas and Satluj)

* Malwa (South Punjab)

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Cities

* Amritsar

* Zera

* Barnala

* Chandigarh

* Jagraon

* Jalandhar

* Ludhiana

* Pathankot

Get in

By plane

Amritsar has a International airport, it is one of the only ones in Punjab, The Raja Sansi International Airport is open 24 hours, and is a closer drive to some parts of Punjab then New Delhi.

By train

Trains can be caught very easily through out India to get to Punjab, For very cheap. Trains are often the best way to experience India and Punjab.

Get around

* Cars -In Punjab is One of the best ways to get around, You can either rent a car, Get a taxi for less. Taxi’s usually don’t have a problem driving to where ever you want within the district. It is very common to see the owner of the Car sitting in the back with a Driver driving the car.

* Two-wheelers -Most popular mode of transport in terms of number of cars.

* Autorickshaw -An auto rickshaw (auto or rickshaw or tempo in popular parlance) is a three wheeler vehicle for hire. They typically have no doors or seatbelts. They are generally yellow or green in colour and have a black or green canopy on the top. An auto rickshaw is generally characterized by a tin/iron body resting on three small wheels (one in front, two on the rear), a small cabin for the driver in the front and seating for three in the rear.Hiring an auto often involves bargaining with the driver.

* Bus -You can get on a bus in most town in Punjab. They go all over the country.

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See

* Golden Temple, Amritsar.

* The Royal Punjabi Palaces and monuments of Patiala.

* Purana Quilla in Bathinda.

* Wagha Border.

* Bhakra Nangal Dam across the Sutlej River. *Mehdiana Sahib Gurudwara.

* The Gurudwaras and historic monuments at Anandpur Sahib.

* Hussaini Wala Border, Ferozpur.

* Chandigarh, the modern city designed by French architect Le Corbusier.

* The Royal Punjabi Palaces of Faridkot.

* Historic monuments in Fatehgarh Saheb, Chamkaur Saheb and Sirhind, which saw a lot of action during Guru Gobind Singh’s time as the 10th Guru of Sikhism.

* Historic monuments in Nabha and Sangrur.

* Ancient Fort at Bathinda, in Bathinda. *The Gurudwara Bhabour Sahib, a Sikh place of worship, as well as several other holy places and an Ashram are located at Nangal.

* Shahpur kandi fort and Madhopur headworks near Pathankot.

* Ancient Buddhist and Hindu archeological sites at Sanghol in Fatehgarh Sahib and Dholbaha in Hoshiarpur district respectively.

* Indus Valley civilization site at Ropar

* Gurdwara Nanaksar and Gurdwara Mehdiana Sahib at Jagraon

Tourism in Punjab is principally suited for the tourist interested in culture, ancient civilization, spirituality and epic history. Punjab has a rich history incorporating Sikhism and Hinduism. Along with the celebrated Punjabi culture, the royal Punjabi palaces, historic battles, shrines, temples and examples of Sikh Architecture.

Some of the smaller country towns are also a must see for the person who wants to see the true Punjab, with their traditional Punjabi homes, monuments, temples, farms, and everyday life.

* Make sure you go visit the Golden Temple, Regardless of what Religion you are of.

* Wagah Border.

* Visit the little towns.

Many museums are in Punjab State as well:

* Amritsar, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum

* Angol Sikh War Memorial, Ferozeshah

* Little Villages.

* Govt. Museum Hoshiarpur

* Sports Museum, National Institute of Sports, Patiala

* Sanghol Museum

* Art Gallery at Sheesh Mahal

* Qila Mubarak Patiala, Museum of Armoury & Chaneliers

* Guru Teg Bahadur Museum

* Rural Museum, Punjab Agricultural University

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Buy

Punjab is a shopper’s haven, but only if you’re not afraid to haggle and bump elbows in bazaars. Western-style malls and shopping emporia are creeping in on the outskirts, but there’s little Indian about these sanitized shopping experiences, or the goods in them. Until a few years back, all shops closed on Sunday; while rules have been relaxed, many districts are still mostly shuttered. Saturday is thus the main shopping day and hence also the most crowded.

While credit cards are commonly accepted in Punjab, you can not use them to pay at small street side shops. So you need to keep some cash handy. ATMs are available everywhere, so if you have an Indian bank account or credit card, you don’t need to carry too much cash either. If you are a foreigner, it is a good idea to carry some cash to avoid charges while using your credit or debit card.

Keep some money in a different currency as well, You will find in some places giving a simple $10.00 note will change how fast things move.

Foreigners will have to be very careful, as all these stores are road-side stalls. What may seem a good price that the person has quoted to you, it will actually be a rip off. Do not settle for anything more than one-fourth the quoted price.. If they refuse a price just walk away, and they will call you back quoting a lower price. Normally, the more you buy, the less you will have to pay for each individual item.

Eat

Punjabi cuisine can be non-vegetarian or completely vegetarian. It is widely popular however there is some misunderstanding in Western Cultures that Punjabi cuisine is completely curry based. The level of spices can vary from minimal to very prevalent. One of the main features of Punjabi cuisine is its diverse range of dishes. Home cooked and restaurant Punjabi cuisine can vary significantly, with restaurant style using large amounts of clarified butter, known locally as desi ghee, with liberal amounts of butter and cream with home cooked concentrating on mainly upon wheat masalas (spice) flavorings.

Within the state itself, there are different preferences. People in the area of Amritsar prefer stuffed parathas and milk products. In fact, the area is well known for quality of its milk products. There are certain dishes which are exclusive to Punjab, such as Mah Di Dal and Saron Da Saag (Sarson Ka Saag).

Due to the three majority Religons which are Sikhism, Hinduism, ans Islam. Pork and Beef sales do not happen in Punjab.

Dollops of cream and butter provide for the rich finishing touch. Garnishing is usually with shredded coriander leaves and juliennes of ginger.

The Punjabi breads are generally flat breads; only a few varieties are raised breads.

The tandoor also allows for tasty chicken and meat preparations including seekh kebab, tandoori chicken, reshmi tikka and malai tikka.

Sweet deserts are a favorite as well, They are handed out on birthdays and other special events.

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Drink

Drinks in Punjab are the same as the ones through out India, But they have a Punjabi twist to them.

* Chai is a Indian Tea. It is more popular than coffee, and street vendors called “chai wallahs” (sometimes spelled “chaiwalas”) are a common sight in many Punjabi neighborhoods.

* Lassi is a traditional North Indian beverage, originally from Punjab made by blending yogurt with water, salt, and spices until frothy. Yogurt is mentioned in ancient Indian texts, and so is buttermilk. Yogurt sweetened with honey is used in Hindu rituals. Traditional lassi is sometimes flavored with ground roasted cumin. The Lassi of the Punjab sometimes uses a little milk and is topped with a thin layer of malai, a clotted cream, also known as Devonshire cream. Lassis are enjoyed chilled as a hot-weather refreshment. With a little turmeric powder mixed in, it is also used as a folk remedy for gastroenteritis.

* Sharbat is a popular Middle Eastern and South Asian “juice” that is prepared from fruits or flower petals. It is sweet and served chilled. It can be in concentrate form and eaten with a spoon or mixed with water to create the drink. It was popularised by the Mughal rulers one of whom sent for frequent loads of ice from the Himalayas to get a cool refreshing drink.

* There are many types of liquor and beer available at most restaurants. A classic liquor found in Punjab is Royal Stagg, which is made by Segrams; the taste and quality is similar to Segrams 7. The beers are actually pretty good, some favorites are Kingfisher, Flying Horse and Taj Mahal. Kingfisher is exported throughout the world. There are also some liquors and beers available that are of very poor quality; you can usually distinguish the quality by the price– you’ll get what you pay for. Imported brands are also available in some of the higher- class restaurants but the price is much steeper. You can expect to pay up to 3 or 5 times the price of local liquors. Usually only a selected few imports are available and Johnnie Walker is usually one of them. If you are taking a gift for people in Punjab, who you know that drink and won’t get offended, then taking some kind of Scotch Whiskey is a good idea.

* Desi Daroo,(also known in different parts of the country under other names). It is made by fermenting the mash of sugar cane pulp in large spherical containers made from waterproof ceramic (terra cota) up to near 100% alcohol. However, it is a dangerous drink, mainly because of the risk of alcohol or copper formaldehyde poisoning.

* Coffee, also known as Madras Filter Coffee or kaapi is a sweet milky coffee made from dark roasted coffee beans (70%-80%) and chicory (20%-30%), especially popular in the southern states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The most commonly used coffee beans are Peaberry (preferred), Arabica, Malabar and Robusta grown in the hills of Kerala (Malabar region), Karnataka (Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru) and Tamil Nadu (Nilgiris District).

NightLife

Night life in Punjab is exciting in some spots, for example in Chandigarh there are lots of Discos and Nightclubs. Many are couple only, So singles are not allowed in. Other then that there are many shops and eat-in restaurants. Also, Night Food Street (NFS), a group of overnight food serving shops is operational (7PM to 8AM) on Gheri-Route, near DAV college, CHANDIGARH.

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District(s)         20

Established       1956-11-01

Capital             Chandigarh

Largest city       Ludhiana

Governor          Sunith Francis Rodrigues

Chief Minister   Parkash Singh Badal

Legislature (seats)         Unicameral (117 Punjab MLAs)

Population

• Density          24,289,296 (15th)

• 482 /km2 (1,248 /sq mi)

Language(s)      Punjabi

Time zone         IST (UTC+5:30)

Area     50,362 km2 (19,445 sq mi)

ISO 3166-2     IN-PB

Punjab Portal: Punjab

Website            http://punjabgovt.nic.in/