The Punjab (Gurumukhi Punjabi: ਪੰਜਾਬ; Shahmukhi Punjabi: پنجاب; IPA: [pəɲdʒaːb]) is a populous and prosperous area of the Indian subcontinent.
The name comes from the Persian words panj (five) and āb (water), thus the (land of) five rivers. Four of them – Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, and Sutlej – are tributaries of the mighty Indus and the fifth, the Beas, is a tributary of the Sutlej. The Indus River runs along the western edge of the area, in places forming the border between the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Today Indian and Pakistan each have a state called Punjab. Each contains a small capital territory that is administered separately.
|Punjab (India) |
A state of northern India.
Union territory functions as the capital of Punjab and of Haryana.
|Punjab (Pakistan) |
A province of eastern Pakistan.
|Islamabad Capital Territory |
The only territory federally administered by Pakistan. It hosts Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan.
- 1 Chandigarh — India's first planned city. It is also the capital of two states of India: Haryana and Punjab
- 2 Amritsar — a holy city with the centre of Sikhism, the Golden Temple
- 3 Faisalabad — a textile hub of Pakistan
- 4 Islamabad — the capital city of Pakistan
- 5 Lahore — the capital of the Pakistani Punjab, and Pakistan's cultural capital
- 6 Ludhiana — an industrial city, sometimes called the Manchester of India
Two of the subcontinent's most important archaeological sites are in the Punjab:
- 2 Sahiwal – nearby Harappa has important ruins from the Indus Valley Civilisation, around 2000 BCE.
- 3 Taxila – a major trading city and centre of learning in the Gandharan period (about 1000 BCE to 1000 CE).
Being well-watered and relatively flat, the Punjab has always been one of the more prosperous regions of the subcontinent. It was a province of the Mughal Empire, then the centre of a Sikh Empire, and (after two Anglo-Sikh wars in the 1840s), part of British India.
In 1947, British India was split into two independent countries, India and Pakistan. The British Punjab province was divided along religious lines. India got the eastern part of the province, with the capital being Chandigarh. Pakistan got the western part of the province, with the capital being Lahore.
Punjabi is the main language in the region and widely spoken on both sides of the border. Most educated people on the Indian side of the border speak Hindi as a second language, while those on the Pakistani side of the border speak Urdu.
For the use of English there is a big diversity between different areas of the Punjab. Education is generally high in big cities and a great many of residents understand and speak a form of English. You will not have any problem communicating in English in major cities. At most places, English, as most people you will encounter can communicate in broken English at the very least.
There are six international airports in the Punjab: five in Pakistan and one in India.
The Punjab is home to many well-known historical sites including the Shalimar Gardens, the Harappa civilisation and the Taxila University. Amritsar is famous for its Golden Temple and the Jallianwala Bagh incident in 1919. Chandigarh is the first planned city of India designed by a Swiss-French architect. Wagah is a town situated at the border of India and Pakistan, which is regularly open for foreigners.
- Tea (called chai in both India and Pakistan) is popular throughout the region. It is more popular than coffee.
- Lassi is a traditional North Indian beverage, made by blending yoghurt with water, salt, and spices until frothy. Traditional lassi is sometimes flavored with ground, roasted cumin. The Lassi is sometimes made with 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.
The people of the Punjab are hospitable. Punjabi people are usually kind at heart. You will most likely not feel threatened while you are there, but take the usual precautions. Especially in Pakistan, they tend to welcome foreigners very warmly.
- India — A country of ancient and rich cultural heritage with the Himalayan Mountains in the north, Thar Desert in the west and the Indian Ocean in the south.
- Pakistan — Rich in culture and history, varying climates and terrains from hot deserts to snowy mountains, and home of 5 of only 14 8,000-metre mountains on earth.