Punjab (Listeni/p?n'd???b/) is a state in North India, forming part of the larger Punjab region. The state is bordered by the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir to the north, Himachal Pradesh to the east, Haryana to the south and southeast, Rajasthan to the southwest, and the Pakistani province of Punjab to the west. The state capital is located in Chandigarh, a Union Territory and also the capital of the neighbouring state of Haryana.
After the partition of India in 1947, the Punjab province of British India was divided between India and Pakistan. The Indian Punjab was divided in 1966 with the formation of the new states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh alongside the current state of Punjab.
Punjab is the only Sikh majority state in India.
Agriculture is the largest industry in Punjab. Other major industries include the manufacturing of scientific instruments, agricultural goods, electrical goods, financial services, machine tools, textiles, sewing machines, sports goods, starch, tourism, fertilisers, bicycles, garments, and the processing of pine oil and sugar. Punjab also has the largest number of steel rolling mill plants in India, which are located in "Steel Town"—Mandi Gobindgarh in the Fatehgarh Sahib district.
The word Punjab is a compound of the Persian words panj (five) and ab (waters). Thus Panjab roughly means "the land of five rivers". The five rivers are the Sutlej, Beas, Ravi, Chenab and Jehlum (also spelled Jhelum). Traditionally, in English, there used to be a definite article before the name, i.e. "The Punjab". The name is also sometimes spelled as "Panjab". While the Greeks already referred to Punjab as Pentapotamia, an inland delta of five converging rivers, the name Punjab was given to the region by the Central Asian Turkic conquerors of India, and popularised by the Turco-Mongol Mughals
During the period when the epic Mahabharata was written, around 800–400 BCE, Punjab was known as Trigarta and ruled by Katoch kings. The Indus Valley Civilization spanned much of the Punjab region with cities such as Rupar. The Vedic Civilization spread along the length of the Sarasvati River to cover most of northern India including Punjab. This civilisation shaped subsequent cultures in the Indian subcontinent. The Punjab region was conquered by many ancient empires including the Gandhara, Nandas, Mauryas, Sungas, Kushans, Guptas, Palas, Gurjara-Pratiharas and Hindu Shahis. The furthest eastern extent of Alexander the Great's exploration was along the Indus River. Agriculture flourished and trading cities such as Jalandhar, Sangrur and Ludhiana grew in wealth.
Due to its location, the Punjab region came under constant attack and influence from both west and east. Punjab faced invasions by the Achaemenids, Greeks, Scythians, Turks, and Afghans. This resulted in the Punjab witnessing centuries of bitter bloodshed. Its culture combines Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, Sikh and British influences.
Sikhs in Punjab
The roots of Sikhism began at the time of the conquest of northern India by Babur. His grandson, Akbar, supported religious freedom and after visiting the langar of Guru Amar Das had a favourable impression of Sikhism. As a result of his visit he donated land to the langar and had a positive relationship with the Sikh Gurus until his death in 1605. His successor, Jahangir, saw the Sikhs as a political threat. He arrested Guru Arjun Dev because of Sikh support for Khusrau Mirza and ordered him to be put to death by torture. Guru Arjan Dev's martyrdom led to the sixth Guru, Guru Har Gobind, declaring Sikh sovereignty in the creation of the Akal Takht and the establishment of a fort to defend Amritsar.
Jahangir attempted to assert authority over the Sikhs by imprisoning Guru Har Gobind at Gwalior. He felt compelled to release him when he began to suffer premonitions of an early and gruesome death. The Guru refused to be released unless the dozens of Hindu princes imprisoned with him were also granted freedom, to which Jahangir agreed. Sikhism did not have any further issues with the Mughal Empire until the death of Jahangir in 1627. His successor, Shah Jahan "took offense" at Guru Har Gobind's sovereignty and after a series of assaults on Amritsar forced the Sikhs to retreat to the Sivalik Hills. Guru Har Gobind's successor, Guru Har Rai maintained the guruship in the Sivalik Hills by defeating local attempts to seize Sikh land and taking a neutral role in the power struggle between Aurangzeb and Dara Shikoh for control of the Timurid dynasty. The ninth Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur, moved the Sikh community to Anandpur and travelled extensively to visit and preach in Sikh communities in defiance of Mughal rule. He aided Kashmiri Pandits in avoiding conversion to Islam and was arrested and confronted by Aurangzeb. When offered a choice between conversion or death, he chose to die rather than compromise his principles and was executed. Guru Gobind Singh assumed the guruship in 1675 and to avoid battles with Sivalik Hill Rajas moved the guruship to Paunta. He built a large fort to protect the city and garrisoned an army to protect it. The growing power of the Sikh community alarmed Sivalik Hill Rajas, who attempted to attack the city, but the Guru's forces routed them at the Battle of Bhangani. He moved on to Anandpur and established the Khalsa, a collective army of baptised Sikhs, on 30 March 1699. The establishment of the Khalsa united the Sikh community against various Mughal-backed claimants to the guruship.
In 1701, a combined army composed of the Sivalik Hill Rajas and the Mughal army under Wazir Khan attacked Anandpur and, following a retreat by the Khalsa, were defeated by the Khalsa at the Battle of Muktsar. Banda Singh Bahadur was an ascetic who converted to Sikhism after meeting Guru Gobind Singh at Nanded. A short time before his death, Guru Gobind Singh ordered him to uproot Mughal rule in Punjab and gave him a letter that commanded all Sikhs to join him. After two years of gaining supporters, Banda Singh Bahadur initiated an agrarian uprising by breaking up the large estates of Zamindar families and distributing the land to the poor Sikh, Hindu and Muslim peasants who farmed the land. Banda Singh Bahadur started his rebellion with the defeat of Mughal armies at Samana and Sadhaura and the rebellion culminated in the defeat of Sirhind. During the rebellion, Banda Singh Bahadur made a point of destroying the cities in which Mughals had been cruel to Sikhs, including executing Wazir Khan in revenge for the deaths of Guru Gobind Singh's sons, Baba Zorawar Singh and Baba Fateh Singh after the Sikh victory at Sirhind. He ruled the territory between the Sutlej River and the Yamuna River, established a capital in the Himalayas at Lohgarh, and struck coinage in the names of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh
Formation of current Punjab
The capital city of the undivided Province of Punjab, Lahore, was allocated to the Pakistani West Punjab during the partition of British India in 1947, so a new capital for Indian Punjab was built at Chandigarh. Shimla was named temporary capital of the Punjab until Chandigarh was completed in 1960.
After years of protest by Akali Dal and other Sikh organisations, finally Punjab was divided on a linguistic basis in 1966. On 1 November 1966, the Hindi-speaking southern half of Punjab became a separate state, Haryana and the Pahari-speaking hilly areas in the north became Himachal Pradesh. Chandigarh was on the border between Punjab and Haryana and became a union territory that serves as the capital of both Punjab and Haryana. During the 1970s, the Green Revolution brought increased economic prosperity for the Punjab, mainly due to the late Pratap Singh Kairon. However, a growing polarisation between the Indian National Congress central government and the main Sikh political party, the Shiromani Akali Dal, developed during the 1970s. Hostility and bitterness arose from what was widely seen by the Akali Dal as increasing alienation, centralisation and discriminatory attitudes towards Punjab by the Government of India. This prompted the Shiromani Akali Dal to pass the Anandpur Sahib Resolution, which asked for granting maximum autonomy to the region of Punjab and other states and limited role and powers of the Central Government.
Punjab is in northwestern India and has an area of 50,362 square kilometres (19,445 sq mi). It extends from the latitudes 29.30° North to 32.32° North and longitudes 73.55° East to 76.50° East. It is bounded on the west by Pakistan, on the north by Jammu and Kashmir, on the northeast by Himachal Pradesh and on the south by Haryana and Rajasthan.
Most of the Punjab lies in a fertile, alluvial plain with many rivers and an extensive irrigation canal system. A belt of undulating hills extends along the northeastern part of the state at the foot of the Himalayas. Its average elevation is 300 metres (980 ft) above sea level, with a range from 180 metres (590 ft) in the southwest to more than 500 metres (1,600 ft) around the northeast border. The southwest of the state is semiarid, eventually merging into the Thar Desert. The Shiwalik Hills extend along the northeastern part of the state at the foot of the Himalayas.
The soil characteristics are influenced to a limited extent by the topography, vegetation and parent rock. The variation in soil profile characteristics are much more pronounced because of the regional climatic differences. Punjab is divided into three distinct regions on the basis of soil types: southwestern, central, and eastern.
Punjab falls under seismic zones II, III, and IV. Zone II is considered a low-damage risk zone; zone III is considered a moderate-damage risk zone; and zone IV is considered a high-damage risk zone.
Agricultural fields of Punjab during the monsoon
The geography and subtropical latitudinal location of Punjab lead to large variations in temperature from month to month. Even though only limited regions experience temperatures below 0 °C (32 °F), ground frost is commonly found in the majority of Punjab during the winter season. The temperature rises gradually with high humidity and overcast skies. However, the rise in temperature is steep when the sky is clear and humidity is low.
The maximum temperatures usually occur in mid-May and June. The temperature remains above 40 °C (104 °F) in the entire region during this period. Ludhiana recorded the highest maximum temperature at 46.1 °C (115.0 °F) with Patiala and Amritsar recording 45.5 °C (113.9 °F). The maximum temperature during the summer in Ludhiana remains above 41 °C (106 °F) for a duration of one and a half months. These areas experience the lowest temperatures in January. The sun rays are oblique during these months and the cold winds control the temperature at daytime.
Punjab experiences its minimum temperature from December to February. The lowest temperature was recorded at Amritsar (0.2 °C (32.4 °F)) and Ludhiana stood second with 0.5 °C (32.9 °F). The minimum temperature of the region remains below 5 °C (41 °F) for almost two months during the winter season. The highest minimum temperature of these regions in June is more than the daytime maximum temperatures experienced in January and February. Ludhiana experiences minimum temperatures above 27 °C (81 °F) for more than two months. The annual average temperature in the entire state is approximately 21 °C (70 °F). Further, the mean monthly temperature range varies between 9 °C (48 °F) in July to approximately 18 °C (64 °F) in November.
Punjab experiences three main seasons. They are:
- Hot Season (mid-April to the end of June)
- Rainy Season (early July to the end of September)
- Cold Season (early December to the end of February).
Apart from these three, the state experiences transitional seasons like:
- Pre-summer season (March to mid-April): This is the period of transition between winter and summer.
- Post-monsoon season (September to end of November): This is the period of transition between monsoon and winter seasons.
Punjab starts experiencing mildly hot temperatures in February. However, the actual summer season commences in mid-April. The area experiences pressure variations during the summer months. The atmospheric pressure of the region remains around 987 millibar during February and it reaches 970 millibar in June.
The monsoon brings joy to the agricultural sector as farmers become very busy. Punjab's rainy season begins in first week of July as monsoon currents generated in the Bay of Bengal bring rain to the region.
Temperature variation is minimal in January. The mean night and day temperatures fall to 5 °C (41 °F) and 12 °C (54 °F), respectively. The winter season in northern Punjab is a blight for the poor who cannot arrange for protection against the cold.
Post-Monsoon transitional season
The monsoon begins to reduce by the second week of September. This brings a gradual change in climate and temperature. The time between October and November is the transitional period between monsoon and winter seasons. Weather during this period is generally fair and dry.
Post-Winter transitional season
The effects of winter diminish by the first week of March. The hot summer season commences in mid-April. This period is marked by occasional showers with hail storms and squalls which cause extensive damage to crops. The winds remain dry and warm during the last week of March, commencing the harvest period.
Monsoon season provides most of the rainfall for the region. Punjab receives rainfall from the monsoon current of the Bay of Bengal. This monsoon current enters the state from the southeast in the first week of July.
The winter season remains very cool with temperatures falling below freezing at some places. Winter also brings in some western disturbances.
Rainfall in the winter provides relief to the farmers as some of the winter crops in the region of Shivalik Hills are entirely dependent on this rainfall. As per meteorological statistics, the sub-Shivalik area receives more than 100 millimetres (3.9 in) of rainfall in the winter months. 
Agriculture in Punjab
The plains of Punjab do not have any thick forests. The only available flora are patches of grass, small bushes, and shrubs. In the southeastern part of Punjab and the areas of Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur and Multan, mangoes are grown. Other varieties of fruit grown in abundance are oranges, apples, figs, quinces, almonds, pomegranates, peaches, mulberries, apricots and plums.
Major cultivation of rich flora and fauna can be seen in the Shivalik ranges. Due its rich flora and fauna, it has been termed a micro-endemic zone of India. There is a wide variety of angiosperms in the area, including 355 types of herbs, 70 types of trees, 70 types of shrubs of all sizes, 19 types of climbers, and 21 types of twines. Besides angiosperms, the region is home to 31 kinds of pteridophytes and 27 kinds of bryophytes, while a special species of gymnosperm named Pinus roxburghii can be seen in the ranges of Punjab.
The fauna of the area is rich, with 396 types of birds, 214 kinds of Lepidoptera, 55 varieties of fish, 20 types of reptiles, and 19 kinds of mammals. The state of Punjab has large wetland areas, bird sanctuaries that house numerous species of birds, and many zoological parks. Wetlands include the national wetland Hari-Ke-Pattan, the wetland of Kanjli, and the wetlands of Kapurthala Sutlej. Wildlife sanctuaries include the Harike in the district of Tarn Taran Sahib, the Zoological Park in Rupnagar, Chhatbir Bansar Garden in Sangrur, Aam Khas Bagh in Sirhind, Amritsar’s famous Ram Bagh, Shalimar Garden in Kapurthala, and the famous Baradari Garden in the city of Patiala.
Animals and birds
A few of the rivers in Punjab have dangerous species of crocodiles. The extraction of silk from silkworms is another industry that flourishes in the state. Production of bee honey is done in some parts of Punjab. The southern plains are desert land; hence, camels can be seen. Buffaloes graze around the banks of rivers. The northeastern part is home to animals like horses. The desert area has dangerous species of snakes like the cobra and sangehur. Wildlife sanctuaries have many more species of wild animals like the otter, wild boar, wildcat, fruit bat, hog deer, flying fox, squirrel and mongoose.
Naturally-formed forests can be seen in the Shivalik ranges in the districts of Ropar, Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur. Patiala is home to the Bir forest while the wetlands area in Punjab is home to the famous Mand forest.
Botanical gardens exist throughout Punjab. There is a zoological park and a tiger safari park, as well as three parks dedicated to deer.
The state bird is the baz (northern goshawk). (Melierax poliopterus), the state animal is the blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra), and the state tree is the shisham (Dalbergia sissoo).
Government and politics
Each of the states of India possesses a parliamentary system of government, with a ceremonial state Governor, appointed by the President of India on the advice of the central government. The head of government is an indirectly elected Chief Minister who is vested with most of the executive powers. The state legislature, the Vidhan Sabha, is the unicameral Punjab Legislative Assembly, with 117 members elected from single-seat constituencies. The capital of Punjab is Chandigarh, which also serves as the capital of Haryana and is thus administered separately as a Union Territory of India. The judicial branch of the state government is provided by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Chandigarh. The current Government was elected in the 2012 Assembly elections as the coalition of SAD and the BJP won 68 out of 117 Assemble seats and Prakash Singh Badal of the Shiromani Akali Dal is the current Chief Minister.
The state of Punjab is divided into five administrative divisions and twenty-two districts.
Districts of Punjab along with their headquarters, before 2007
The area of Punjab can be divided into:
Majha, a historical region of the Indian Punjab comprising the modern districts of Amritsar, Pathankot, Gurdaspur and Tarn Taran. It lies between the Ravi, Beas and Sutlej Rivers. This region is called the heartland of Punjab and is celebrated as being the 'Cradle of Sikhism'.
Doaba, the region of Indian Punjab between the rivers Beas and Sutlej. The name "Doaba" literally translates to "land between two rivers" in Punjabi ("Do" = two, "Ab" = river). It is one of the most fertile regions of the world and was the centre of the Green Revolution in India. To this day, it remains one of the largest per capita producers of wheat in the world. The cities in Doaba are Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar(Nawashahr), Kapurthala and Phagwara .
Malwa, a region of Punjab south of the river Sutlej. The Malwa area, consisting of 11 districts, makes up a majority of the Punjab region. Cities such
as Ludhiana, Patiala, Mohali, Bathinda, Barnala, Sangrur, Moga, Rupnagar, Ferozepur, Fazilka and Mansa are located in the Malwa region. Malwa is famous for cotton farming.
Public transport in Punjab is provided by buses, auto rickshaws, Indian railways and an international rail connection to Pakistan (Samjhauta Express). The state has a large network of multimodal transportation systems.
Punjab has six civil airports. The Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport in Amritsar and The Chandigarh International Airport in Mohali are the two international airports of Punjab.
Other airports in Punjab are:
- Bathinda Airport
- Pathankot Airport
- Patiala Airport
- Sahnewal Airport
Almost all the major as well as smaller cities of the state are linked by railways. Amritsar Juncton is Punjab's busiest railway station, having trains connecting to all major cities. The Shatabdi Express connects Amritsar to Delhi. The railway junction in Bhatinda is the largest in Asia. The Shatabdi Express connects New Delhi to Bathinda.
The Samjhauta Express is a joint venture between Indian Railways and Pakistan Railways and runs from Attari railway station near Amritsar in India to Lahore Railway Station in Punjab, Pakistan.
All the cities and towns of Punjab are connected by four-lane national highways. The Grand Trunk Road, also known as "NH1", connects Kolkata to Peshawar, passing through Jalandhar and Amritsar. Another major national highway connects Punjab to Jammu, passing through Hoshiarpur and Pathankot. National highways passing through the state are ranked the best in the country[by whom?] with widespread road networks that serve isolated towns as well as the border region. Ludhiana and Amritsar are among several Indian cities that have the highest accident rates in India.
There are also a bus rapid transit system Amritsar BRTS in the holy city of Amritsar.
The following national highways connect major towns, cities and villages:
- National Highway 1
- National Highway 10
- National Highway 15
- National Highway 1A
- National Highway 20
- National Highway 21
- National Highway 22
- National Highway 64
- National Highway 70
- National Highway 71
The culture of Punjab has many elements including music such as bhangra, an extensive religious and non-religious dance tradition, a long history of poetry in the Punjabi language, a significant Punjabi film industry which dates back to before Partition, a vast range of cuisine which has become widely popular abroad, and a number of seasonal and harvest festivals such as Lohri, Basant, Vaisakhi and Teeyan, all of which are celebrated in addition to the religious festivals of India.
A kissa is a Punjabi language oral story-telling tradition that has a mixture of origins ranging from the Arabian peninsula to Iran and Afghanistan.
Punjabi wedding traditions and ceremonies are a strong reflection of Punjabi culture. Marriage ceremonies are known for their rich rituals, songs, dances, food and dresses, which have evolved over many centuries.
Bhangra (Punjabi: ????? (Gurmukhi),; pronounced [p?`?g??`?]) and Giddha are forms of dance and music that originated in the Punjab region. Bhangra dance began as a folk dance conducted by Punjabi farmers to celebrate the coming of the harvest season. The specific moves of Bhangra reflect the manner in which villagers farmed their land. This hybrid dance became Bhangra. The folk dance has been popularised in the western world by Punjabis in England, Canada and the USA where competitions are held. It is seen in the West as an expression of South Asian culture as a whole. Today, Bhangra dance survives in different forms and styles all over the globe – including pop music, film soundtracks, collegiate competitions and cultural shows.
The folk heritage of the Punjab reflects its thousands of years of history. While Majhi and Doabi are considered to be the standard dialect of Punjabi language, there are a number of local dialects through which the people communicate. These include Malwai and Pwadhi. The songs, ballads, epics and romances are generally written and sung in these dialects.
There are a number of folk tales that are popular in Punjab. These are the folk tales of Mirza Sahiban, Heer Ranjha, Sohni Mahiwal, Sassi Punnun, Jagga Jatt, Dulla Bhatti, Puran Bhagat, Jeona Maud etc. The mystic folk songs and religious songs include the Shalooks of Sikh gurus, Baba Farid and others. They also include Kafis, Hamds, Baits, Dohas, Lohris, Sehra, and Jugni.
The most famous of the romantic love songs are Mayhiah, Dhola and Boliyan. Punjabi romantic dances include Dhamaal, Bhangra, Giddha, Dhola, and Sammi and some other local folk dances.
Most early Punjabi literary works are in verse form, with prose not becoming more common until later periods. Throughout its history, Punjabi literature has sought to inform and inspire, educate and entertain. The Punjabi language is written in several different scripts, of which the Shahmukhi, the Gurmukhi scripts are the most commonly used.
Punjabi Folk Music is the traditional music on the traditional musical instruments of Punjab region. There is a great repertoire of music from the time of birth through the different stages of joy and sorrow till death. The folk music invokes the traditions as well as the hardworking nature, bravery and many more things that the people of Punjab get from its gateway-to-India geographical location. Due to the large area with many sub-regions, the folk music has minor lingual differences but invokes the same feelings.
Bhangra music of Punjab is famous throughout the world.
Punjabi music has a diverse style of music, ranging from folk and Sufi to classical, notably the Punjab gharana and Patiala gharana.
Punjab is also home to the Punjabi film industry, often colloquially referred to as 'Pollywood'. It is known for being the fastest growing film industry in India. It is based mainly around Chandigarh city. The first Punjabi film was made in 1936. Since the 2000s Punjabi cinema has seen a revival with more releases every year with bigger budgets, homegrown stars, and Bollywood actors of Punjabi descent taking part.
One of the main features of Punjabi cuisine is its diverse range of dishes. Home cooked and restaurant cuisine sometimes vary in taste. Restaurant style uses large amounts of ghee. Some food items are eaten on a daily basis while some delicacies are cooked only on special occasions.
Festivals and traditions
Punjabis celebrate a number of festivals which have taken a semi secular meaning and are regarded as cultural festivals by people of all religions. Some of the festivals are Bandi Chhor Divas(Diwali), Mela Maghi, Hola Mohalla, Rakhri, Vaisakhi, Lohri, Teeyan and Basant.
Kabbadi (Circle Style), a team contact sport originated in rural Punjab is recognised as the state game. Field hockey is also a popular sport in the state. Kila Raipur Sports Festival, popularly known as the Rural Olympics, is held annually in Kila Raipur (near Ludhiana). Competition is held for major Punjabi rural sports, include cart-race, rope pulling. Punjab government organises World Kabaddi League, Punjab Games and annual Kabaddi World Cup for Circle Style Kabbadi in which teams from countries like Argentina, Canada, Denmark, England, India, Iran, Kenya, Pakistan, Scotland, Sierra Leone, Spain and United States participated.
Punjab also have many magnificent stadiums like Guru Gobind Singh Stadium, Guru Nanak Stadium, Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium, International Hockey Stadium, Gandhi Sports Complex Ground and Surjit Hockey Stadium.
Tourism in Indian Punjab centres around the historic palaces, battle sites, and the great Sikh architecture of the state and the surrounding region. Examples include various sites of the Indus Valley Civilization, the ancient fort of Bathinda, the architectural monuments of Kapurthala, Patiala, and Chandigarh, the modern capital designed by Le Corbusier. The Golden Temple in Amritsar is one of the major tourist destinations of Punjab and indeed India, attracting more visitors than the Taj Mahal, Lonely Planet Bluelist 2008 has voted the Harmandir Sahib as one of the world’s best spiritual sites. Moreover, there is a rapidly expanding array of international hotels in the holy city that can be booked for overnight stays. Another main tourist destination is religious and historic city of Sri Anandpur Sahib where large number of tourists come to see the Virasat-e-Khalsa (Khalsa Heritage Memorial Complex) and also take part in Hola Mohalla festival. Kila Raipur Sports Festival is also popular tourist attraction in Kila Raipur near Ludhiana. Shahpur kandi fort, Ranjit sagar lake and Muktsar Temple also popular attractions in Pathankot.