Ancient Pinjab, the land of the Vedas, Indus Valley Civilisation, Taxila University, of milk and honey, art and artifacts, rich agriculture formed a part of the Persian Empire in 522 BC when king Darius had occupied it. In 322 BC Alexander had entered India through Punjab. In later years it saw the rise and fall of the Mauryans, Dactrians, Greeks, Sakas, Kushans and Guptas.The medieval Punjab saw the supremacy of the Muslims.15 th and 16 th centuries mark a period of watershed in the history of Punjab. It was Guru Gobind Singh, the 10 th Guru, who transformed the Sikhs into the Khalsa.But soon after his death Raj based on secularism on account of internal intrigues and British mechanization. After two abortive Anglo-Sikh wars, Punjab was finally annexed to the British empire in 1849.Punjab was constituted as a separate province of India in 1937.With the partition of India Punjab was divided between India and Pakistan as East Punjab and West Punjab.
Punjab - At A Glance
Area: 50,362 sq.km; Capital: Chandigarh; Language: Punjabi; Airports: Amritsar andChandigarh; Popular Places: Amritsar, Jalandhar, Anandpur Sahib, Ludhiana, Sirhind, Patiala, Bathinda, Faridkot, Firozpur, Pathankot.
The home of the world famous Golden Temple founded by Guru Ramdas, the 4 th Guru of the Sikhs, in 1579 and completed by Guru Arjun Dev who also enshrined in it the holy book of his successor Sikhs the Guru Granth Sahib. In 1803,the renowned Maharaja Ranjit Singh, covered the lower half of the temple with marble and the upper half was encrusted later with pure gold leaf which has given the name Golden Temple.Amritsar is the most important seat of Sikh history and culture, trade center and also the gateway for travelers coming to India on the overland route through Pakistan.
Places of Interest
(1) Golden Temple (2) Jallianwalla Bagh (3) Baba Atal Rai Tower.
How to reach : Amritsar is connected by air with Delhi and Chandigarh.You can travel by rail to Bhopal, Delhi, Howrah, Jaipur, Lahore, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nanded, Patna, Tatanagar and Vadodara.Amritsar is connected by road with all major cities of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
Hotel Accommodations: Hotel Mohan International, Hotel Ritz Plaza, Hotel Suncity Tower, Hotel Astoria, and Grand Hotel.
One of Sikhism’s holiest sites with a number of historic
gurdwaras, Anandpur Sahib has been a pilgrimage site for over 300 years. Anandpur Sahib, which lies 75km northwest of
Chandigarh, can be reached by road or train. Gurdwara Kesgarh Sahib is a large gurdwara and the spot where the Khalsa was born.
Ludhiana is famous in the world for its hosiery goods. The textiles center of India, Ludhiana the site of great battles during the First Sikh War. The archaic, bureaucratic muddle of the offices of the old law courts is worth a look.
Standing amidst the ruins of beautiful mosques and tombs, Sirhind was an important city during the Mughal period. It is an important site of pilgrimage for Sikhs and Sunni Muslims. Most trains between Delhi and Amritsar stop here.
About 35km south of Sirhind is Patiala, which was once the capital of an independent Sikh state. Off the main tourist route, it is a city of palaces and gardens. One of the largest palaces in Asia, Motibagh Palace is a mish – mash of European, Mughal and Hindu styles surrounded by lawns and gardens. The Punjab Government Archives in the Baradari complex has a rich collection of manuscripts. The palace is at the south end of Mall Road. There are hotels and restaurants in the town center and local buses link Patiala with local towns and train stations.
The railway line from Delhi passes through Bathinda, which was an important town of the Pathan Sur dynasty but now focused on industry.
Faridkot is named after a famous Sufi mystic, Baba Farid, whose work appears in the Guru Granth Sahib. Some 350 km northwest of Delhi, close to the Pakistan border, it was once the capital of a Sikh states of the same name and ha a 700-year-old fort famous for its mirror work and murals.
Firozpur, almost on the border, is 382km northwest of Delhi; before Partition the train line continued to Lahore, now in Pakistan.
Pathankot, in the extreme north of Punjab, is an important railhead for those traveling to Dharamsala and Dalhousie.