Punjab also spelt Panjab, is a state in the northwest of the Republic of India, forming part of the larger Punjab region.The state is bordered by the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh to the east, Haryana to the south and southeast, Rajasthan to the southwest, and the Pakistani province of Punjab to the west. To the north it is bounded by the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. 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 state in India with a majority Sikh population.
The term Punjab comprises two words: "punj" meaning five and "ab" meaning water, thus the land of five rivers. The Greeks referred to Punjab as Pentapotamia, an inland delta of five converging rivers. In Avesta, the sacred text of Zoroastrians, the Punjab region is associated with the ancient hapta həndu or Sapta Sindhu, the Land of Seven Rivers. Historically, the Punjab region has been the gateway to the Indian Subcontinent for most foreign invaders.
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 xenonym/exonym from the Persian words panj (Persian: پنج) and Āb (Persian: آب), thus PanjĀb means "Five Rivers", which roughly means "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". The name Punjab was given to the region by Maharaja Ranjeet Singh.
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 Harrapa (modern-day Punjab, Pakistan). The Vedic Civilization spread along the length of the Sarasvati River to cover most of Northern India including Punjab. This civilization 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 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 Persians, Greeks, Scythians, Turks, and Afghans. This resulted in the Punjab witnessing centuries of bitter bloodshed. Its culture combines Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, Afghan, Sikh and British influences.
The Pakistani city of Taxila, founded by Takṣa, the son of Bharat, who in turn was the brother of the Hindu deity Rama, was reputed to house Takshashila University, the oldest university in the world. One of its teachers was the great Vedic thinker and politician Chanakya. Taxila was a great centre of learning and intellectual discussion during the Maurya Empire. It is today a United Nations World Heritage site.
Punjab is located in northwestern India, and has an area of 50,362 km2. 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 meters above sea level, with a range from 180 meters in the southwest to more than 500 meters 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.
Punjab's climate is characterised by extreme hot and extreme cold conditions. Annual temperatures in Punjab range from 1 °C to 46 °C (min/max), but can reach 49 °C in summer and 0 °C in winter. The northeast area lying near the foothills of the Himalayas receives heavy rainfall, whereas the area lying further south and west receives less rainfall and experiences higher temperatures. Average annual rainfall ranges between 960 mm in the submountain region and 460 mm in the plains.
Punjab has three seasons:
- Summer (April to June), when temperature typically rise as high as 100 Fahrenheit.
- Monsoon season (July to September), when the majority of rainfall occurs.
- Winter (December to February), when temperatures typically fall as low as 0 °C.
The area of Punjab can be divided into:
- Malwa is a region of Punjab south to river Sutlej. The Malwa area makes up majority of the Punjab region consisting 11 districts. Cities such as Ludhiana, Rupnagar, Patiala, Sangrur, Bathinda, Mansa, Firozpur,Fazilka, Rajpura, Moga and Ajitgarh are located in the Malwa region. Malwa is also famous for cotton farming.
- Majha is a historical region of the Indian Punjab comprising the modern districts of Amritsar, Pathankot, Gurdaspur and Tarn Taran. It lies between rivers Ravi, Beas and the Sutlej. This region is called the heartland of Punjab and is celebrated as being the 'Cradle of Sikhism'.
- Doaba is the region of Indian Punjab between the rivers Beas and Sutlej. The name "Doaba" literally translates to "land between two rivers" ("Do" two, "Ab" river; Punjabi). 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, Rupnagar,Nawanshahr and Kapurthala.
The state of Punjab has 22 districts which comprise sub-divisions, tehsils and blocks.
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Fazilka and Pathankot are Newly built districts in Punjab in 2013 and by the total number of districts has became 22.
The state capital of Punjab is Chandigarh. There are 22 cities and 157 towns in Punjab. The major cities in Punjab are Ludhiana, Moga, Jalandhar, Nawanshahr, Amritsar, Patiala, Ajitgarh, Bathinda.
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: ਭੰਗੜਾ (Gurmukhi) 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 Punjabisin 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. Bhangra Empire is considered one of the best Bhangra team in world.
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, 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 Gurmukhī 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.
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 most 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 Stadium, International Hockey Stadium, Gandhi Sports Complex Ground and Surjit Hockey Stadium.