Punjab, with its fertile farming land, is one of the most prosperous states of India. It is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh to the north, Haryana to the east and south, and Pakistan (the neighbouring country) to the west. It is the land of five rivers — Ravi, Beas, Sutlej, Chenab and Jhelum — and abounds in natural beauty. The tourism department of the Punjab Government has developed some comprehensive package tours for sightseeing the eminent tourist attractions.
Most attractive tourist spots in Punjab
Patiala, including its Sheesh Mahal, is the place to come to explore the royal Punjab of the past. Once one of India’s gorgeous princely states, Patiala offers a glorious insight into the history of the 18th and 19th century Punjab. A tourist will be greeted by opulent palace buildings, gardens and parks. The Moti Bagh palace houses an excellent art gallery, and the Qila Mubarak Complex with its series of palaces, inner fort, and audience hall. Sheesh, Mahal is an exquisite palace in Patiala that flaunts the flamboyant grandeur of the erstwhile Maharajas.
Amritsar and the Golden Temple are the most famous tourist attractions of Punjab and India. Amritsar was founded in 1577 by Guru Ram Das-the fourth Guru of the Sikhs. It is the spiritual capital of the Sikhs. It gained its name ‘Amritsar or ‘Amrit Sarovar’ meaning the ‘Holy Pool of Nectar’, from the body of water around the Golden Temple. The exquisite Golden Temple attracts pilgrims from all over the world. The dome of the temple is an inverted lotus-shaped structure and covered by a layer of pure gold which gives a brilliant dazzle in the summer sun, hence the name Golden Temple. It looks particularly arresting at night when it is beautifully illuminated. The Golden Temple is also called Harmandir Sahib or Sri Darbar Sahih. This Gurdwara is located in the central part of old Amritsar. It is on a rectangular platform surrounded by the water of Amrit Sarovar. The architecture of the Harmandir Sahib is a combination of the Hindu and Muslim styles.
Anandpur Sahib stands on the north-western corner of Chandigarh Known as the ‘Holy City of Bliss’ and as the motherland of Khalsa, the place has a significant religious prominence. Sriguru Teg Bahadur was believed to have brought the holy place into being in 1664. Thus Anandpur Sahib is flanked by a 17th-century fortress, and framed between a towering mountain range and river.
Goindwal Sahib holds immense significance in reference to the Sikh religious pilgrimage sites. It lies south-east of Amritsar and only 30 km away from the city.
Kiratpur Sahib Gurudwara was established in 1627 by the sixth Sikh Guru Sri Har Gobind Sahib in a small peaceful town at the foothills of the Shivalik Range in Punjab. He lived the last few years of his worldly life here in Kiratpur.
Dera Baba Nanak has situated 35 km to the west of Gurdaspur in Punjab, on the left bank of the river Ravi. The great Guru Nanak Dev spent the last twelve years of his precious worldly life in Dera Baba Nanak. The whole place was, in fact, the abode of Guru Nanak, but it was on this bank that he chose to meditate. A beautiful Gurudwara stands here today to commemorate the place.
Jallianwala Bagh was the site where hundreds of innocent and unarmed protesters were trapped and massacred by the British army on 13 April 1919. Remains of bullet marks, pierced walls, and a martyrs’ well — which became the funeral ground for thousands of people who jumped off to protect themselves from the firing — are testimonies of the biggest tragedy in India under the British rule.
Wagha Border, 28 km away from Amritsar, separates India from Pakistan. Major tourist attraction here is the “Lowering of Flags” ceremony conducted by the security forces of India and Pakistan. Every day of the year, just before sunset, this flag lowering ceremony takes place. The ceremony lasts for around 45 minutes in total. It starts with high patriotic spirits, and soldiers march towards the gate at the border which is thrown open when they reach there.
The colourful and exuberant State also boasts of a diverse cultural heritage and abounds in festive celebrations throughout the year. The State where Bhangra music and Dhaba culture reigns is a shopaholic’s paradise with its woollen and hosiery products, carpets, Jutes and other handicrafts, especially in Jalandhar and Ludhiana. Thus Punjab tourism has plenty to offer to tourists all across the world.