The word "Punjab" is made up of two Persian words 'Panj' and 'Aba', Panj means five and Aab means water. This name was probably given to this land of five rivers possibly in an era when this region came into close contact with Persia
Probably, at the height of its glory it was known as Sapta Sindhu, the land of the 'seven rivers', namely Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, Sutlej and Sarasvati.
It is the chief wheat producing area of the country, and also is the overland entry point into India.
The state is also known for its production of sports and hosiery goods. The holiest shrine for the Sikhs is the Golden Temple in Amritsar, so called because the dome is covered with gold leaf.
50,362 sq km
People Per Sq. km: 482
Baisakhi is celebrated on 13 April. It is the festival when the sight of tall heaps of golden wheat fill the farmerís 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. Itís a dance that cuts across all divisions of class and education. Baisakhi has a special accent as the down of the New Year so also the time where the harvest is gathered in.
Being the famous seasonal fair heralds the advent of spring. Yellow mustard flowers all around create an aura of romantic vive infecting the spirit of the Punjabis. Deeply merged in heart and soul with the Nature, every Punjabi expresses his gratitude with dance and songs.
This festival in the village of Pail during the month of chet (March-April) is celebrated in the honor of Goddess Seetla. The fair is otherwise known as Baheria fair. In the Puja sweet gurgulas i.e. jaggery cakes are offered to the goddess and thereafter to the donkey who is her favourite. All the devotees of Seetla gather near the pond and scoop the earth and raise a small hillock, which is treated as the shrine of the Goddess, and offer Puja. The attraction of the fair is the colorfully dressed donkeys of the plotters
Held in Jagranvan from 14th to 16th day of Phagun honors Abdul Kader Jalani the Muslim Pir. Celebrated by both Hindus and Muslims, lighted earthen lamps are offered near the tomb of the Pir making the light visible from long distances. The fair gets its colour with the Bolian and dances of the village's to the tune of the flute and Toomba.
The festivals of Punjab depict the cultural and religious life of the people. Festivals connected with lunar days are Ekadashi, Pooynamashi and Masya etc, Sankranti falls on the day when sun enters a new Zodiac sign. On festival days people after taking an early bath which believed to harbour and nourish the souls enjoy the days with fun and frolic.
Art and Handicraft
Weaving of durries (cotton bed or floor spreads) in myriad motifs and designs especially by young girls in the villages has been a long tradition in Punjab. Needlework of Punjab is unique.Baghs, Phulkaris, rumals and scarves are intricately designed in rich traditional patterns and motifs. The woodwork of Punjab has also been traditionally famous. Artistic beds with comfortable, skillfully made back rests fitted with mirrors and carved colorful legs called Pawas, low seats called Peeras, Peerian were made by the carpenters in almost every village. Furniture designed with inlay ivory work, colored mirror and engraved woodwork is also exported to different countries.
Places of Interest
Amritsar - the holy city of Sikhs, has grown from a sacred village pond into a spiritual temporal center 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.
The shrine can be reached by a 65 meter long marble causeway. It was in 1802 that Maharaja Ranjit Singh covered the canopy of the shrine covered the canopy of the shrine with gold plated copper sheets, since then it has been known as the Golden Temple. The original shrine was destroyed and the city ransacked in 1764, by Ahmad Shah. Not very far from the Golden temple is a Hindu shrine, Durgiana Temple, dedicated to the goddess Durga. The temple dates back to the 16th century and also has other deities.
How to get there
Amritsar is connected by air with Delhi and Srinagar.
Amritsar is connected by rail with Delhi, Calcutta, Bombay, Varanasi, Wagah (Attari Border) and some other places in India.
Amritsar is connected by bus with Ambala, Chandigarh, Delhi, Ferozepur, Jammu. Some of the road distances are as follows:- Jammu 216 km., Ferozepur 160 km., Chandigarh 235 km., Delhi 435 km. and Wagah 29 km.
In and around
Golden Temple, the holiest of holy Sikh shrines. It has a number of shrines of historical importance, the Akal Takht, (the throne of the timeless God) facing the Golden temple where arms of the warrior gurus, their dresses and emblems can be see., and the eight storied Baba-Atal tower. Besides the Golden temple, there is its Hindu counterpart, the Durgiana Temple, built in recent times; and Jallaianwala Bagh, where, on 13th April 1919, General dyer fired on an unarmed crowd and killed over 300 people. On the foothill of the Himalayas is Anandpur where in 1699 A.D. the last of the Sikh gurus, Gobind Singh,baptized the first five Sikhs into the militant fraternity he called the Khalsa or the pure.
Tower of Baba Atal
Tower of Baba Atal - another landmark of Amritsar is the famous tower of Baba Atal Raj, the son of the sixth Guru, Hargobindji. It is an octagonal, nine-storied structure, with a magnificent view over the city. The inner walls are decorated with frescoes on the life og Guru Nanak.
Baba Bakala Gurudwara
Baba Bakala Gurudwara 45 km - Sacred to the memory of the ninth Guru, Guru Teg Bahadur, the magnificent Gurudwara of Baba Bakala is situated east of Amritsar. An annual fair is held here on Raksha Bandhan day, the night of the full moon in August.
Ram Tirath 10 km - it is the ancient site of a four day festival and fair which has been held here on the night of Kartika Puran Mashi- the night of the full moon in November.
Amanat Khan - A monument of great charm and eloquence, the old Mughal Sarai of Amanat Khan is situated in a tiny village south west of Amritsar. The Sarai has an ornamental Mughal gateway with glazed tile decorations.
Hari-ke-Patten 38 km- A charming picnic spot and a favourite with anglers, the lake at Hari-Ke-Patten is formed at the point where the river Beas and Sutlej meet, 38 km south of Amritsar.