Punjab is one of the most lively parts of India and has a population that truly believes in living the good life. From music to food and from clothes to cars, everything about the state is loud, proud and rich. There are plenty of interesting facts and things for visitors to do. We pick out some of the highlights in our Punjab travel guide discovering off-beat things to do, farming, cooking, colours, festivals, and great pujabi people
Punjab travel guide: Things to do and see
1. Join the celebrations: Punjabis love to share their joy and celebrate every important moment of life. No wonder, they celebrate festivals with great zest and revelry. One of their most important festivals is Baisakhi. This marks the Punjabi New Year and is celebrated with lots of music, dancing and feasts. It falls on the 13th of April, every year. Another important regional festival is Basant Panchami, which is celebrated in February or March to welcome spring. Kite flying is an integral part of the festival and people are dressed in bright yellow, which signifies joy and a golden harvest.
2. Eat to your heart’s content: Punjab is filled with fertile fields and people here love to eat. Feasts are a big a part of every celebration and the state’s most famous dish is “makke ki roti and sarso ka saag” which is topped off with a giant glass of lassi. In big cities like Chandigarh and Amritsar you can find many international food chains but nothing beats the local cuisine of Punjab. If you are staying with a homestay take a cookery lesson to learn first hand how to make some of the local delicacies.
3. Visit the Golden Temple: The Golden Temple in Amritsar is one of the most famous gurudwaras in the world. The temple is visited by millions of people and people from all backgrounds volunteer to serve guests of the temple as well as the needy. It is one of the most beautiful gurudwaras in India and no trip to Punjab is complete without visiting it.
4. Jallianwalla bagh: Jallianwalla bagh was where the massacre of 13th April 1919 took place. On that day 1000s of peaceful protestors, including women and children, were gunned down by the British army. Remnants of the horrific day are preserved at the protected site.
5. Wagah Border: This border separates India from Pakistan and is for the Beating of the Retreat ceremony. The ceremony is a wildly exaggerated show of strength from both sides. The ceremony starts at sunset and the audience participates enthusiastically with music and dance. The Wagah border is located 29 kms from Amritsar and tours combining a trip here with a visit to the Golden Temple can easily be arranged.
6. Sheesh Mahal: Located in Hoshiarpur is the Sheesh Mahal or Glass Palace. This palace was built in 1911 and is home to many valuable pieces of art and history. Some of them are depictions of King George V’s coronation ceremony, statues of various deities, and even life-size statues of King George V, Queen Victoria and their courtiers.
7. Fatehgarh Sahib: This is a sacred town located about 50 kms from Patiala. There is a famous gurudwara here which honours the victory of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur over Sirhind. The town has four memorial gates that stand as tributes to four important people from the Sikh history associated with Sirhind. Other than historical and religious value, the town’s natural beauty attracts visitors from all over.
8. Chandigarh: Chandigarh serves as a capital to both Haryana and Punjab. It is a city with a big heart and is constantly buzzing with activity and music. The most popular places to see here are the Rock Garden and Sukhna Lake. Rock Garden is a 40 acre park which was founded in 1957. It’s famous for sculptures made of recycled material like broken glass, bangles, ceramics and plastic bottles. The garden is located near the Sukhna Lake, which is a manmade Lake. It is a popular place for locals to enjoy a morning or evening walk.
9. Farming: Punjab is an agriculturally oriented state. This is particularly true of Punjab’s hinterland where most families own acres of fertile fields and farmhouses. You can stay in a farmhouse-style homestays and participate in daily chores like farming, milking cows and churning the butter and more.
Punjab travel guide: Interesting facts
- Sukhna Lake was such a beloved part of the city that Pierre Jeanneret, who was one of Chandigarh’s planners asked for ashes to be immersed in the lake.
- Chandigarh was india’s first planned city.
- On the festival of Hola Muhalla in 2009, the Sikh community created a world record by achieving highest number blood donations made in a single day.
- Recent archaeological excavations revealed that punjab’s history can be traced as far back as the Indus Valley Civilisation.