Information About Punjab - History Geography Festivals Travel

History of Punjab
Punjab got its name from two Persian words, punj and ab which means five and water respectively. Around 800–400 BCE when the epic Mahabharata was written, Punjab was ruled by Katoch kings and was known as Trigarta. Vedic civilization was spread in Punjab also. Punjab was once ruled by Gandhara, Sungas, Kushans, Guptas, Nandas, Mauryas, Palas, Gurjara-Pratiharas and Hindu Shahis. After Indian Independence, Punjab Province of British India was divided into West Punjab and East Punjab. Shimla was the temporary capital of Punjab until Chandigarh was completed in 1960. Haryana carved out from Punjab on 1st November 1966. Chandigarh was made a union territory and it is serving as the capital of both Punjab and Haryana.

Geography of Punjab
Punjab is located on the north western part of India. It is surrounded by Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan. It shares international border with Pakistan to its west. Punjab has an average elevation of 300 meters and it is spread in 50362 sq kms, making it the 19th largest state in the country. Punjab comes under seismic zones II, III, and IV. Punjab has extremely hot summers and cold winters.

Government and Administration of Punjab
For administration purpose Punjab is divided into five divisions and 22 districts. Shiromani Akali Dal and Indian National Congress are the major political parties in the state. Punjab legislative assembly consists of 117 seats. Punjab contributes 13 members to the Indian Assembly in which three are reserved for Scheduled Castes. Punjab and Haryana High Court takes the Jurisdiction responsibilities of Punjab and Haryana and Union territory of Chandigarh.

Language and Culture of Punjab
Punjab has number of folk dances under its belt, which are performed on important occasions. Giddha, Sammi and Bhangra are the important dance forms in the state. 1st two dances forms are for women and later are for men. Bhangra is popular music form in the state which is incorporated in the western countries also. Turban is an integral part of the Punjabi attire for Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus with time Hindus and Muslims have given it up. Punjabi Weddings are a grand affair and are known for its celebrations. Lassi, yoghurt drink is widely consumed in Punjab. Punjabi is widely spoken followed by Hindi and English. Malwai, Pahari, Shahpuri, Doabi, Kangri, Hindko, Pothowari are some of the dialects which are widely used in the state.

Education Status in Punjab
Punjab has literacy rate little more than 75%. Punjab houses 32 universities including private, state and deemed universities. Punjab Agricultural University is one of the leading agriculture institutions. Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, is one of the oldest medical institutions which started its operation in 1894. IIT, IIM, ISB, University College of Nursing are some of the prominent colleges in the state.

Economy of Punjab
Punjab is known as “Granary of India" or "India's bread-basket". Punjab economy mainly depends on agriculture. Punjab produces 2% of the world's cotton and wheat, and 1% of world’s rice. Other than this sugar cane, fruits and vegetables are widely grown. Rice and wheat are double cropped in Punjab. Punjab has good infrastructure and has the lowest poverty rate in the country. Punjab has approximately 194,000 small scale industrial units and 586 large and medium units.

Tourism in Punjab
Punjab tourism is best for tourists interested in ancient civilization, heritage, culture, and spirituality. Bluelist 2008 has voted the Harmandir Sahib as one of the world’s best spiritual sites. It is attracting more people than the Taj Mahal. The Wagah Border flag lowering ceremony is a popular tourist attraction which starts with high patriotic spirits. Kila Raipur near Ludhiana hosts rural Olympics in the month of February. Patiala one of India's richest princely states, offers insight of the history of 18th and 19th century Punjab. Anandpur Sahib was the birth place of the Khalsa (Sikh brotherhood).

Festivals Celebrated in Punjab
Basant Panchami is celebrated in January and February, symbolizing blossomed mustard fields that glows in the farms of Punjab. Hola Mohalla is celebrated in March. It was started by Guru Gobind Singh Ji where Sikhs gather in huge number to conduct mock battles and military exercises. Baisakhi is the first day of Sikh New Year, also known as anniversary of Khalsa. It is celebrated in the month of April. The Chhapaar Mela, Guru Purab, Harballabh Sangeet Mela are some of the important festivals of the state. Apart from these all Indian major festivals are celebrated here.

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