Punjab thus means "The Land of Five Waters", referring to the rivers Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej, and Beas. All are tributaries of the Indus River, the Chenab being the largest.
Punjab, a state bordering Pakistan, is the heart of India?s Sikh community. The city of Amritsar, founded in the 1570s by Sikh Guru Ram Das, is the site of Harmandir Sahib, the holiest gurdwara (Sikh place of worship). Known in English as the Golden Temple, and surrounded by the Pool of Nectar, it's a major pilgrimage site. Also in Amritsar is Durgiana Temple, a Hindu shrine famed for its engraved silver doors.
Punjab, one of the northernmost states of India, is bordered by the Pakistani province of Punjab to its west, Jammu & Kashmir in the north, Himachal Pradesh in the northeast, Haryana in the south and southeast, and Rajasthan in the southwest.
Archaeologists have discovered evidence of life in the Punjab region as early as 7000 B.C. By around 3000 BC, life grew in and around the Indus Valley, which gave rise to the Indus Valley Civilization. Then, there was the evolution of historic cities like Harappa (near Sahiwal in West Punjab) and Mohenjo Daro (near Sindh). After 19th century BC, there was the sudden decline in these civilizations. Next thousand years saw the dominance of Aryans, who migrated from the North-West (1500-100 BC), over the Indus region. The oldest book of human history, Rig Veda, is supposed to be written in the region only, during the Aryan period.
Punjab was continuously attacked by the Persian kings, as it was lying just at the outskirt of the Persian Empire. The Persian king King Gustasp conquered the region in 516 BC. Consequently, Punjab became the wealthiest satrapy i.e. a province of the Persian kingdom. Greeks, the strong competitors of the Persians, also had a lure for Punjab territory. In 321 BC, the Great Greek King Alexander invaded Punjab, breaking the authority of the Persian kings. He invited all the chieftains of the Persian Satrapy to come and surrender to him.
After a stretch of time, the Greek empire in the east was disrupted by the ascendancy of the Bacterians. In the second century BC, Bacterian king Demetrius I added Punjab to his kingdom. During the same period, the Northern Sakas successfully wrestled the power of the area from the Indo-Greeks. The white Huns established their rule over the state in the later 3rd century AD. Now, it was the turn of the Arabs to get attracted to the land. They conquered the area of Multan in 8th century AD. Meanwhile, Mahmud, the ruler of Ghazni, attacked Punjab 17 times during his reign. However, the Ghaznavids were uprooted by the Ghauris, who spreader as far as Delhi. Then, there were subsequent short-term rules of the Mamluks, Mongols, Khiljis and Tughluqs.
Punjab had a picture of chaos and disorder when Maharaja Ranjit Singh took over as its ruler, on 12th April 1801. Ahmad Shah Abdali's empire in India had crumbled. Punjab was under the Afghan rule since 1757 and they had to face the rising power of Sikhs. Sikhs joined hands to overthrow Taimul Shah and his Chief, Jalal Khan. Afghans had to return and Lahore came under the Sikhs in 1758. Jassa Singh Ahluwalia became the head of the Sikh sovereignty. Under his rule, the domain of Sikhs considerably grew over Punjab. After the death of Jassa Singh, Afghans started gaining power again. However, that was short term, as Maharaja Ranjit Singh built up a strong force to counteract them.
One of the main rivals to be defeated by Ranjit Singh was Shah Zaman. Shah Zaman, despite his previous defeats, attacked Lahore and surrounded Sikhs from all the sides. The Afghans now planned to attack Amritsar, which was well answered by the forces of Ranjit Singh. Ranjit Singh won the hearts of everyone in Punjab, irrespective of religion and status. It was on July 7, 1799 that the victorious Ranjit Singh entered Lahore. He finally acquired a kingdom in the Punjab, which stretched from the Sutlej river in the east to Peshawar in the west, and from the junction of the Sutlej and the Indus in the south to Ladakh in the north. Ranjit Singh died in 1839 and a succession struggle followed his death.
British entered the province of Punjab with 32,000 troops by 1845 and moved to the Sutlej frontier. British and Sikh troops engaged in the First Anglo-Sikh War near Ferozepur, in the late 1845. The war ended the following year and the territory between the Sutlej and the Beas fell into the hands of the British rule, along with Kashmir. As per the Peace Treaty and the Treaty of Lahore, Punjab was totally annexed by the British East India Company and Dhalip Singh, the minor Sikh ruler, was pensioned off. The black day of the Jalianwala Bagh Massacre occurred at Amritsar, in 1919. It agitated the Sikhs to revolt against the tyranny of the colonial rule. The 1940 Lahore Resolution of the Muslim League made Punjab the center of a bloodier struggle.
In 1946, communal tensions erupted between the majority Muslims of Punjab and the Hindu and Sikh minorities. The British Punjab province, which forms the present day Punjab province of Pakistan and the Punjab of India were partitioned in 1947, prior to independence. The Indian state of Punjab has never seen back after independence. The Green Revolution in the 1960s swept the land and consequently, it developed to become the bread-basket of the country. Punjab has grown ever since both in the economical and moral matter. Today, it is counted amongst the popular tourist destinations of the country as well.
Language And Culture
The Sikh religion originated in the 15th century in the Punjab region and Punjabi is the predominant language spoken by Sikhs. Most portions of the Guru Granth Sahib use the Punjabi language written in Gurmukhi, though Punjabi is not the only language used in Sikh scriptures.
The culture of Punjab is the richest culture in the world. Punjabi songs are full of melody and energy. The dance styles of Punjab has more flavor with its bhangra, giddha, kikli and sammi.Bhangra" is one of the most famous dance forms of Punjab. With the loud drumming of the dholak, people dance with zeal to the tunes of the music. "Giddha" is another important variant of dance practiced by Punjabi women. Bolis are lyrically sung and danced by women. Other popular dance forms are Jhumar, Dhankara and Gatka. Irrespective of age or religion, Punjabis love to dance and enjoy themselves to mark festivity. Folk music is the soul of Punjabi culture. Folk music comprises of simple musical instruments like dholak and dhol drum. Punjabi music relates to the zestful people of Punjab.. Boliyas are sung and music is played in tune with the lyrics. Punjabi songsat the wedding range from emotional interludes to very peppy beats, where there is a constant chiding of the bride and groom. A sense of humor is essential to enjoy the wedding songs.
State animal: Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra)
State bird: Baaz (Accipiter gentilis)
State flower: Gladiolus (Gladiolus grandiflorus)
State tree: Sheesham (Dalbergia sissoo)
How to Reach
Amritsar and Ludhiana are the two main airports in Punjab linked to Delhi by regular flight services. The Union Territory of Chandigarh functions as the capital of Punjab and Haryana also has a domestic terminus that is connected to many places of importance in India.
Punjab has an extensive railway network, which links it with different corners of the country. Punjab Railways have major railheads at Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Ferozepur, Jalandhar and Pathankot. Several trains run through the state, of which Shatabdi Express is an important one.
The best mode to reach Punjab is via Road while enjoying the drive through green and yellow mustard fields. The eateries located on the roadside in entire Punjab known as dhaba offer finger licking food. There are several luxury buses that can be taken from Delhi to reach the city of Chandigarh.