If you happen to make some trip in the northern part of India, I must certainly recommend you to visit Punjab, the land of the Sikhs and home of the bhangra music. Before the partition of India, Punjab was a province which was divided between India and Pakistan. However, after the partition Punjab in India became a state while it still remains a province in Pakistan. I am quite surprise when I sometimes talk to Indian friends who don’t even know that there is a province called Punjab in Pakistan. Anyways, I am not here to talk about who knows what about Indian history. The word Punjab literally means the Land of Five Rivers (Beas, Sutlej, Ravi, Chenab and Jhelum River) and has lot of history of invasion and battles. Today, Punjab is doing well and is known as the most fertile region of India. The state is also called as the Granary of India or India’s Bread-Basket. The economy is doing well and the state is well connected through road, air and train offering a great experience for locals and even for tourists that would like to explore this part of India.
Considered as one of the largest cities in Punjab, Amritsar is also home to The Golden Temple. While Amritsar is the spiritual center for the Sikh religion you can certainly come here and explore different culture and food here. Amritsar literally means Holy Pool of Nectar and the holy Golden Temple attracts more visitors not just from across India, but also from across the globe as tourists come here to view the pure gold dome illuminated at night time. The city is well divided between the old walled city and the new swanky town that symbolizes the globalization and rapid development happening across Punjab.
When you are in Amritsar you should also check out the Wagah Border that connects India and Pakistan and the Jallianwala Bagh. Watch out the Wagah Border Ceremony also known as flag lowering ceremony that happens during the evening time every single day.
Well, also let me say that if you are a foodie you should definitely make a trip to Amritsar that offers wide range of Punjabi cuisine that will tempt you for more. Try out the Punjabi lassis, Punjabi thalis and Amritsari Kulchas and Dal Makhnis for vegetarian meal and Amritsari fish tikka and chicken tikkas for those love sea food and non-vegetarian meals.
When you are done with Amritsar you can take a trip to Jalandhar which is around 144 kilometers from Chandigarh. While Jalandhar is the oldest city in the state it has seen some rapid urbanization and modernization. Well, let me be honest it is not a huge city, but it will offer you some great experiences that you want when you are here in Punjab. If you just want to relax and wander around the city, Jalandhar is the best city on your cards. You will find many local and branded shops here for food and shopping where you can make rounds and explore the city. If you love shopping in malls Jalandhar can offer you the right experience. Try out the bakers in Jalandhar that can offer you something different when it comes to cakes and baking products. You can also have some fun at Wonderland Theme Park, St Mary’s Cathedral Church and many temples across the city.
You might not really hear about Pathankot because this city is not really a tourist hotspot, but if you love to explore locations that offer you peace of mind and relaxation you must visit Pathankot. The city is strategically located at the center of three states, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, so if you want to head to Himachal Pradesh or Jammu and Kashmir you can halt here before continuing your journey up in the high mountains.
The city is located at the foothills of Kangra and Dalhousie and offers more greenery than any other city in Punjab. The ruins of Shahpurkandi Fort that was made in 1505 by Jaspal Rana Pathania still remains the main attraction of the city.
Located on the southeastern side of Punjab is Patiala which certainly gets more share of limelight and has always been in popular culture. Patiala remains popular for its rich culture, food, traditional turban, Patiala salwar (Patiala female trousers), Patiala jutti and parandas (a tasseled tag for braided hair).
It is also a shopping paradise for those who want to explore the old markets in the city rather than exploring the air conditioned malls. This city is known for fun loving and friendly people that love to live life king size. If you are ready to shop some authentic Punjabi dresses you know where to head to now. Patiala is not too far from Chandigarh so you can travel between the cities in probably less than two hours. If you are staying in Chandigarh you can always checkout Patiala in the day and return by evening time.
Last but not the least is Chandigarh that certainly remains the main city you should visit when you are in Punjab. Although, Chandigarh is a Union Territory it serves as the capital for Punjab and Haryana. It is the first planned city in India and is well known for its architecture and urban design. It also has managed to be the cleanest city in India.
The city also offers many gardens that are strategically located like Zakir Hussain Rose Garden, Rock Garden, Shanti Kunj and Terrace Garden. When you are in the city you can explore places like Sukhna Lake, Open Hand Monument, Cactus Garden, Butterfly Park and Garden of Fragrance.
Chandigarh is also known as the shopping destination in Punjab so you can ask for Sector 17 for electronic goods, books, clothes, shoes, and much more. You can also explore some local restaurants for that authentic Punjabi cuisine that can allow you to taste the real Punjab right here, right now.