Punjab, popularly known as the “Granary of India” or “India’s Bread Basket” is spread over an area of 50,362 sq. km. It shares its borders with Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana. The state also shares an international border with Pakistan of about 425 km.
- Capital – Chandigarh
- Districts -14
- Population – 2,77,43,338
- Assembly seats – 117
- Lok Sabha seats – 13
- Rajya Sabha seats – 7
- Literacy rate – 70.73%
- Sex ratio – 893
- Life expectancy rate – 72.1years.
- Infant mortality rate – 26
Gopi Chand Bhargava was the first chief minister of the state which originated as ‘Punjab Province’ on 15 August 1945 when India achieved independence. The state separated from Himachal Pradesh and Haryana to become a self-governing state on 31 October 1966. The current incumbent Captain Amarinder Singh of Indian National Congress (INC) was sworn in as the state’s 15th Chief Minister on 16 March 2017.
During ancient times, the Indus Valley Civilisation covered substantial portions of the Punjab region.
The state has been ruled by the Persians, Alexander, Indo-Greek Kingdoms, Muslim Invaders, Mughal rulers, Delhi Sultanate and the British.
Under Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s rule, Punjab saw Sikhism emerge as the powerful and dominating religion in the state. The state is the birth place of Sikhism, the religion founded by Guru Nanak.
- The Wagah border is one of the most famous international road crossings in the world running between India and Pakistan. Attari is the last Indian village on the border.
- It is the only Indian state to have an international railway station connecting India with Pakistan.
- Takshashila, the first and oldest university of the world, dated even before Buddha’s birth was located in undivided Punjab.
- Punjab shares its capital, Chandigarh with Haryana.
- The state is divided into three regions, Majha, Doaba and Malwa.
- Punjabi written in the Gurmukhi script is the state language though English, Hindi and Urdu are also widely spoken.
Land of Five Rivers
The name of the state means the ‘land of five rivers’ (Punj means five and Aab means water) namely Sutlej, Ravi, Chenab, Jhelum and Beas. It has been also regarded as ‘Panchnanda’ and ‘Trigarta’ in Mahabharata.
Punjab is a major attraction for devotional tourism. The Harminder Sahib or the Golden Temple, the holiest Sikh shrine, is situated in Amritsar. Three out of the five Takhts of Sikhism are in Punjab, at Anandpur Sahib, Sri Akal Takht Sahib and Damdama Sahib.
Lohri, the harvest season and Baisakhi are celebrated by performing the traditional dances, Bhangra and Giddha.
‘Food Bowl Of India’
Punjab is one of the most fertile lands in India and, therefore, an agrarian state. It produces 43% wheat and 23% rice in the country. It also generates over 70% quality cotton for India.
It also has a large number of steel rolling mills and plants in Mandi Govindgarh, popularly known as ‘Steel town’ or ‘Loha mandi’, in Fatehgarh district. Batala is known as ‘Iron bird of Asia’ because it supplies huge quantities of cast iron.
Ludhiana, also known as “The Manchester of India” is a major exporter of hosiery and woolen products.