Enterprise and endeavour, these two words symbolize the essential spirit of the people of Punjab. Since Independence, over 5 decades, the state has earned its epithet: "of Granary India" through the enterprising spirit, and untiring toil of its people.Its average growth rate of 10% is amongst the highest in the country, clearly reflecting the progressive economy of the state .Punjab also boasts a 58% literacy rate and the highest per capita income in India. Today's Punjab has become a land of boundless opportunities, offering distinct advantages for investment and industry. Since the recent liberalization of India's economy, Punjab has started making its mark on the global business mainstream, with major players from around the world forming joint ventures in the field of agri-business.
Privileged by nature and the dynamism of its people, Punjab is a land of rivers, fertile soils and steady achievement.
With its inimitable style of transforming every potential opportunity into a success story, the state was the first to translate agricultural technology into the "green revolution", recording highest growth rate in food production. From a minor producer it emerged a major rice surplus state. Providing the impetus for the "White revolution", during Operation Flood, it was Punjab that recorded the highest per capita availability of milk.Today's Punjab has over 2.04 lakhs of small and medium industries and about 600 large scale industries. It leads in the manufacture of machine and hand tools; printing and paper cutting machinery; auto parts and electrical switch gear. The state also provides more than 75% of the country's requirement for bicycles, sewing machines, hosiery and sports goods. At par with the highest quality standards in the world, these products have carved a niche for themselves in markets across the globe.
Facts about Punjab
50,362 square kilometers (Punjab occupies 1.54 % of the country’s total geographical area.)
Punjab is situated in the northwest of India, it is bordered by Pakistan on the west, the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Himachal Pradesh on its northeast and Haryana and Rajasthan to its south.
243.59 Lakh for the year 2001
Rural: 160.96 Lakh
Urban: 82.63 Lakh
Punjabi and Hindi.
Many people are fluent in English and Urdu
Rupee (100 paise equals one rupee)
Black Buck -
Locally called kala hiran, the Black Buck is a graceful antelope is blessed with a striking colour and spiraled horns. The fawn’s coat is yellowish but it becomes turns black at maturity. It is found in the plains and avoid forests and hilly tracks. Mostly found in herds of 20-30, large herds may number several hundreds. With a keen eyesight and speed, it responds to alarm call by leaps and bounds.
Baz (Eastern Goshawk)
Find Punjab on the globe at 29’30’’ N to 32’32’’ N latitude and 73’55 E to 76’50 E longitude,
Climatically the state has three major seasons. Hot weather (April to June) when temperature rises as high as 110F.
Rainy season (July to September). Average rainfall annual ranges between 96 cms sub-mountain region and 46 cms in the plains.
Cold weather (October to March). Temperature goes down as low as 40F.
Major Land Features:
Most of Punjab is a fertile plain; toward the southeast one finds semi-arid and desert landscape; a belt of undulating hills extends along the northeast at the foot of the Himalayas. Four rivers, the Ravi, Beas, Satluj and Ghaggar flow across the state in a southwesterly direction. They have numerous small and seasonal tributaries. In addition, Punjab is watered by an extensive canal system.
Punjab leads the nation in infrastructure. The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) infrastructure index gives Punjab a rating of 191 – highest in the country. Even the most industrially developed State of Maharashtra figures at a low level of 111 only, against the national average of 100.
Highest per capita generation in the country, which is 2.5 times the national average. Quality power without power cuts is available at cheaper rates. Future planned projects ensure easy availability. Concessional tariff for night loads has been introduced in the state. Punjab has surplus electricity and industry gets electric connections without any delay subject to system constraints. The quality of power is also far better than any state in the Northern India and the tariff is one of the lowest. The generation of power continues to get priority treatment from the state. All 12,484 villages in Punjab have been electrified since 1974.
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Telephone and Allied facilities are available to all cities and small towns. It is possible to directly dial for International calls from a large number of villages also.
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There are 2,478 branches of scheduled commercial banks in Punjab. The state is also served by a network of 635 branches of the Punjab State Cooperative Bank. On an average, each branch services a population of 9,414, an area of 24 square kilometers or a cluster of five villages.
There are 230 allopathic (western medical system) and six ayurvedic (Indian medical system) hospitals (one 105 bed hospital at Patiala and five 10 bed hospital at jalandhar, Bathinda, Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur and Amritsar) and one Homeopathic hospital in the state. They range from 50-bed hospitals in smaller towns to larger hospitals attached with the five medical colleges - one each at Patiala, Faridkot and Amritsar and two at Ludhiana having facilities for
dealing with complicated cases and acting as referral hospitals and teaching colleges. The Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research at Chandigarh has facilities equal to the best available in any metropolis. Private medical facilities are also reliable and are available even in the semi-urban and rural areas of the state. At the level below the district one finds smaller hospitals: there are 1,450 allopathic, 473 Ayurvedic,Dispensaries, 17 ayurvedic Swasth Kendras and 34 Unani (Arab/Persian medical system) and 105 homeopathic dispensaries. In addition the state has 446 Primary Health Centers and 105Community Health Centres. There is one doctor for every 1,589 of the population and one hospital bed for every 864 people - ratios which are probably the best in the country.About 76 per cent of the villages have protected drinking water supply.Life expectancy for men and women is 66.6 years which is second highest in the country. All these factors add up to a healthy hardworking population.
Punjab is a land hallowed by saints and scarred by battles, an ancient land yielding archaeological treasures, a land of palaces and museums. A visitor to Punjab can see the Golden Temple at Amritsar, the sword of Hazrat Ali at Anandpur Sahib, the world's highest straight gravity dam at Bhakra, India’s Steel City – Gobindgarh, and the world‘s biggest grain market at Khanna. No one has ever gone back from Punjab without leaving a part of himself behind and taking part of Punjab with him.
Punjab is easy to reach by road, rail or air. From Delhi, Chandigarh, the state capital is 246 km and Amritsar, the northernmost city of the state is 446 Kms.
The total road mileage in Punjab is 35,501 Kms of state roads and rural link roads. In addition, the length of national highways is 964 Kms. All the 12,342 villages in the state are linked by all-weather roads and major towns of all adjoining states are connected by national highways. One can drive from one extreme end of the state to the other in six hours. Road travel time from Delhi is about four hoursAll districts and sub-divisional towns have direct bus services to the state capital, Chandigarh. All villages have bus services linking them with the sub-division and district headquarters towns. In addition, there are excellent deluxe bus services between New Delhi and Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Chandigarh. Air conditioned luxury buses ply at almost hourly intervals between New Delhi and Chandigarh. Taxi services between various towns and Chandigarh and to New Delhi are dependable and comfortable.
All major towns and district headquarters have excellent rail links for both passenger and goods traffic. Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Ferozepur and Jalandhar are on the main line and have excellent daily train services to New Delhi including convenient overnight trains. Super fast Shatabdi Express trains connect Delhi to Chandigarh (a comfortable three-hour trip) and Delhi to Amritsar via Ludhiana (equally comfortable and just a little less than six hours). The Shan-e-Punjab train links Amritsar and New Delhi, the Himalayan Queen links Chandigarh and New Delhi and there are numerous trains from Jammu / Amritsar, linking these towns as well as Ludhiana and Jalandhar with New Delhi For more information of various trains and availability schedules, click through the Indian Railway WebSite
There is an international airport at Amritsar located in Rajasansi which is about 11 kilometers from the main city. Outside the aiport, you would find cabs that are not necessarily painted yellow and black. The word ‘Taxi’ would be written on each cab. There is also a car rental facility available in front of the International Arrival Hall.Other domestic airports are located at Chandigarh (12 kilometers from the city), Ludhiana, Pathankot. For more information on flight schedules, availability and book tickets online, go through websites of
Air India Site, Jet Airways or Air Sahara.
This is a city with a hallowed history. The present city dates back to the 15th century but it’s association with India’s national epic, the Ramayan, shows that it’s sacred heritage must be measured, not in centuries but
millenniums. The holiest shrine of the Sikh faith – the Golden Temple – is located in heart of Amritsar and no visit to the city is complete without a glimpse of the temple. In terms of industry and commerce, Amritsar is a city famous for woollen mills and textile processing.
a town of great antiquity. The most important town of area is known as the 'Bastis' (Basti Bawa Khel, Basti
Guzan, Basti Danishmandan and others) tell the story of the domination of this place by Pathan rulers. Jalandhar known for its sportsmen as well as its sports industry is a growing industrial town having steel and iron re-rolling, rubber goods, electric goods, automobile parts and sewing machine factories. Handloom products are also manufactured at Jalandhar.
Ludhiana an important industrial city, is Known as the Manchester of India. It is famous the world over for its hosiery goods. Woollen garments produced here are sold in prestigious shopping centres from Moscow to Montreal and Bangkok to London and New York. The famous Punjab Agricultural University patterned after the land-grant colleges of America, is situated on the outskirts of the city. Rural Olympics of Qila Raipur, Chhapper Mela and Kissan Mela at PAU attracts lakhs of visitors every year.
This city was once the capital of a princely state and traces of royal grandeur are still plain to see here. From the imposing fortress, Qila Mubarak, that occupies the centre of town, to the 19th century palaces, Moti Bagh and Sheesh Mahal at the edge of the city, the
wealth, imagination and typically Punjabi sensibilities of old Punjab are on display. The people of Patiala consider themselves the torchbearers of Punjabi language and culture.
Patiala has long been a centre of trade and commerce but in recent years it is also developing rapidly as a manufacturing city producing a wide range of goods
Entertainment and Recreation:
TV & Cinema:
The entire Punjab is on the TV map of the country. The southern districts near Kasauli receive telecasts from New Delhi. The central, northern and south-western districts are serviced by the Jalandhar Doordarshan Kendra and the relay stations at Amritsar and Bhatinda. All India Radio stations at Chandigarh and Jalandhar, apart from organising programmes, like the TV station at Jalandhar, also relay the National Programme. Cable television has also reached to the farthest corners of the state. The state has over 200 cinema houses and, like the rest of the country has been touched by the video revolution.
Almost all the district headquarters have excellent clubs; Chandigarh, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Patiala have outstanding clubs offering all standard facilities of a club in any metropolis such as tennis and squash courts, libraries, card rooms, entertainment, billiards and bar. Many of them have reciprocal membership arrangements with well known clubs in other towns of the country.
Almost every district town offers facilities for tennis but a few like Patiala, Amritsar, Jalandhar and Chandigarh have resources for track/field, squash, horse-riding, indoor sports and swimming pools. There are golf courses at Chandigarh, Patiala, Jalandhar and Amritsar.
Being close to the hills, Punjab is an ideal base for treks in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. For the less adventurous, the hill stations of Shimla and Dalhousie are within driving distance from any part of Punjab.
Hotels and Restaurants:
Hotels offering three or four star facilities are available at Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar. Smaller towns like Patiala, Ferozepur or Bhatinda offer two to three star facilities while in very small towns like Hoshiarpur, Sangrur and Ropar, it would be advisable to either depend on the facilities of the Tourism Corporation or the Government Dak
Bungalows.The bigger towns have
noteworthy restaurants and caterers. The Punjab Tourism Development Corporation has developed picnic spots at Ropar, Neelon (near Ludhiana), Ludhiana, Kartarpur (near Jalandhar), Sirhind (near Patiala), Pathankot and operates well-run restaurants on the Grand Trunk road and other highways as part of its highway tourism facilities.
Culture and History
Punjab is the cradle of the Indus Valley Civilization, more than 4000 years old. Archaeological excavations, throughout the state, have revealed evidences of the magnificent cities of Harappa and Mohenjodaro, that lived and died along the banks of the mighty Indus and its tributaries. The Mahabharata, which narrates life between the 7th and 5th century BC, contains rich descriptions of the land and people of Punjab at that time. It is believed that parts of the Ramayana too, were written around the Shri Ram Tirath Ashram, near Amritsar; and it was in these forests that Lav and Kush grew up.Other great historical discoveries have been unearthed at Ropar, Kiratpur, Dholbaha, Rohira and Ghuram. These relics throw light on the culture and changing architectural styles of Punjab, since the Harappan age. At Sanghol, in Fatehgarh Sahib district near Ludhiana, sites associated with great Mauryan Dynasty, have yielded remarkable relics that record the presence of Buddhism in the region.
ANCIENT FORTS OF THE PUNJAB
The forts and fortresses, though become very largely obsolete in the context and content of modern warfare, due mostly to vulnerability from the air, were deemed until quite recently as the sine quo non of military defense and the last refuge of a combatant power put sadly on the defensive. When defeat seemed imminent or inevitable, they could repair to these citadels of security in the final resort and fight an obviously losing game to vantage through the protraction of the struggle for an incredibly long time and infliction of heavy losses on the investing enemy forces on whom ceaseless fire could be poured by the garrisoned troops nestling in comparative security behind the thick and impregnable walls. Given ample armament, stores and food supplies, the besieged could hold out almost indefinitely taking full advantage of the exposed enemy positions and rendering the batteries directed against them ineffective, sometimes even putting them completely out of action. It happened not infrequently that the continually battered attacking army found it almost impossible to persevere in this unequal contest and was forced to raise the siege on its failure to storm the fort by assault. These edifices, varying in size according to their need or the strategy of their position, were constructed more or less on a uniform plan all over the world, sharing several features of similarity. To begin with there was the moat or ditch spanned by a drawbridge or bridges which could be filled with water so as to impose the first impediment before an investing force. Behind it was the outer wall, generally of great height and enormous thickness, strengthened with towers, bastions or, battlements, at regular intervals and pierced with loopholes, through which arrows, missiles, musket shots or small battery cannonade could be discharged at the assailants. The main entrance through the outer wall was protected by the barbican, with its narrow archway, and strong gates and portcullis. Inside there was usually the outer and inner court, and strong, more or less, detached buildings comprising the military headquarters and the residence of the potentate. In massiveness and strength these buildings were of a piece with the castle-walls to which the defenders retreated only in the last extremity. The Punjab or the Land of Five Rivers has been studded with solid defenses in the form of forts due to its vulnerability from the north through the Khyber and other passes which opened time and again to let in a turbid flood of invaders from time immemorial. Even the incoming Aryans found the Dasyu castles, presumably of the Indus Valley Civilization, interposing a serious check to their advance lower down into the country. The sacred literature of the Aryans is replete with stories of almost incessant fighting against an enemy which, from behind the defenses of their fortified positions, rained death and fire on them through its skill in magic and the black arts. It took the people of the bow and arrow and the horse chariot an immeasurably long time to prevail against the indigenous inhabitants, who resisted them successfully from behind there impregnably fortification of solid masonry. The Aryans, in their turn, on their victorious establishment in the land emulated the example of the conquered enemy through the construction of forts and fortifications as they had come to realize only too grimly the dangers and perils of their exposed positions. On their establishment at Kurkshetra or Thanesar (Sthaneshwar of the Sanskrit terminology) of the first Aryan settlement, styled as Brahmrishidesha, they set up fortifications in the manner of their former enemies and the foundations of the fort constructed by the legendary Dilipa of the Mahabharata can still be traced among the ruins of this ground hallowed by the sanctity of age. In the center of Sthaneshwar, a veritable graveyard of antiquity and archaeology still stands on old ruined fort, about 1,200 ft. square. The remains of towers and bastions indicate the imposing and massive character of the structure.It would seem that in course of time every city or town of any consequence came either to possess a separate fort of its own or was fortified at least as a necessary part of its defensive plan. The town of Karnal, though not quite able to dispute antiquity with Thanesar, is a very ancient place all the same and according to the Mahabharata was founded by Raja Karna. It has ever been a walled town as far as it is possible to trace and may even have had a citadel one time. The town of Panipat, being one of the pats referred to in the Mahabharata, and standing on a high mound consisting of ruins and debris of ages, has an old fort occupying a high mound adjoining, but separate from the town itself. Likewise, Sonepat too had a fort, now reduced to a heap of undistinguished ruin, which has furnished a vast quantity of staple building material in the form of old brick. Traversing higher up to the north, we find that the original town of Ambala too was a walled town once and Ludhiana still has an old fort lying to the north of it. Phillaur ten miles further north has a nice little old fort, which is rendered very conspicuous by its large barbican. It was an important artillery arsenal and magazine up to the time of great uprising of 1857 and had a detachment in garrison, which however kept there. It is today the seat of the Punjab Police Training School. A mention may also be made of the fort of Gobindgarh at Amritsar, lying midway between the Railway Station and the city, which is a rather old-fashioned stronghold surrounded by a deep ditch. Other forts of the Punjab lying further to the northwest such as Lahore, Multan, Dipalpur, Attock and Jamrud, though reeking rich with history, are now in West Pakistan. Almost all the important hill chiefs had small forts perched safe upon inaccessible mountain crests from where they could fight the assailant enemy to advantage. When attacked they would repair to these for security making it extremely difficult and hazardous for the foe to pursue them there.The ancient city and Fort of Sirsa , the ruins of which adjoin the present town, are said to be of great antiquity and are said to have been, founded some fourteen centuries ago by Raja Saras. In the early eighteenth century it became the headquarters of the marauding Bhatti Rajputs who from here and the forts scattered all around it, of which the runs are still clearly identifiable, made raids on the surrounding regions making them devoid of population as well as cultivation. It is on record that in the time of the adventurous career of George Thomas, sometimes designated as the Irish Raja in these parts, the Bhatti clans were able to bring 20,000 men into the field. The Forts of Sirsa, Bhatnair, Abohar and Bhatinda , situated at the angles of a figure nearly square with a side about fifty miles long, were built each on the same plan and of the same dimensions, thus forming a sort of quadrilateral in the path of the invaders from the North-West. Often they interposed a successful barrier in the path of the steadily piercing Muslim hordes. They accordingly obtained considerable celebrity, almost disproportionate with their intrinsic importance, because of their position on the direct route of invasion from Central Asia and Afghanistan. Bhatnair, though actually situated in Rajasthan, would seem to fall in the schematic plan of strategic undivided Punjab forts. Timur attacked it in 1399 in the course of his whirlwind and devastating invasion of India. Muhammad Ghazni captured it in AD 1001 and Khetsi Kondahalt sacked it in 1527. In 1549 Mirza Kamran, brother of the Emperor Hamayun, took the fort by assault on which occasion Khetsi died in the field with 500 Rajputs. It was afterwards taken and retaken down to 1800, when it capitulated to the celebrated George Thomas. The other forts of this series shared much the same vicissitudes and history. The town of Hissar too had a well-known fort as its name so clearly signifies. But time's tyrannous claim appears to have triumphed over it so completely as to reduce it to a mass of undistinguishable ruin. Only maunds of brick cover a large space from which we might obtain a glint of the past importance of the place. The old Fort of Hansi situated right in the heart of Haryana has had a varied and checkered history. It is deservedly celebrated in Indian History on account of its massive strength and reputation for impregnability. Over fifty thousand invaders lie entombed in its immediate vicinity, a living proof of the grim fighting that raged here time and again when the successive waves of marauders tried to wrest this mighty stronghold from its legitimate and rightful masters. Ala-ud-Din captured it in 1200, though not before 20,000 of his tried warriors had kissed the dust and lay stretched in the field. When George Thomas's mercenaries captured Hansi, Hissar, Mehem, the Irishman selected the fort of Hansi as the capital of the New Kingdom. He strengthened and repaired its walls and fortifications. He established a mint, cannon foundry, factories for powder, muskets, matchlocks and other small arms within the fort. It was here that he fought the last battle of his life but it was like playing a losing game. His absence in the Punjab had done the mischief. With supplies all but cut off and treachery rife in the camp Thomas, despite all his dash and intrepidity, was unable to cope with the situation. Perron's gold had bought over most of the officers of the garrison and held their families as hostages. Thomas stood valiantly to his guns and put up a most heroic defense but the odds against him were such that he was eventually obliged to yield the fort. Another old fort calling for mention is that of Ferozepur fort . Now used for commissariat purposes for three-quarters of a century, it must at one time have been a place of considerable strength. It is an irregular building, one hundred yards long and about fifty broads surrounded by a ditch ten feet wide and ten feet deep. It is described as being picturesque and almost English in appearance. Through repeated alterations it has, however, been changed quite out of recognition. It was the scene of the grand durbar and review that Lord Auckland held there in 1838 at which Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Lion of Punjab, with his generals was present and witnessed the elaborate maneuvers purposely arranged to impress him and to bring conviction home to him that it would be catastrophic for him to embroil himself in the Afghan War. The spick and span turn out of the troops, the mimic warfare and display of discipline, tactics and strategy so impressed Ranjit Singh that throughout the Afghan campaign, despite its reverses and changes of fortune, he continued in an attitude of benevolent neutrality at least. There are three forts in the territory formerly comprised in the erstwhile Patiala State which seem deserving of more than a mere passing mention. In the first place there is Fort Bhatinda around which grew a city bearing the same name. It is one of the oldest towns in Punjab and of considerable historical importance. The fort is reputed to have been built by a Hindu Raja, named Dab in the second century of the Christian era. That means that it has been in existence for about 1900 years. It is constructed of large archaic type of brick, which was used for construction long before the advent of Islam. The origin of the name Bhatinda is variously explained. It may have been called as Bhattian da kot or Bhattian da adda, meaning the fort of the Bhattis or the abode of the Bhattis, which through the inevitable corruption of words was changed into the name now current. The Bhattis were an ancient Rajput tribe, which flourished in these environs. Many of them turned Muslim and before the partition of the province were divided fifty-fifty between the faith of their fathers and the creed of between the faith of their fathers and the creed of Muhammad and still took legitimate pride in their proud Rajput ancestry. The fort of Bhatinda constituted the twin capital with Lahore of the well-know Brahman dynasty of the Pals, of which Jai Pal and Anand Pal were among the last scions, who were subdued and supplanted by the Ghaznavids though not without valiant but unsuccessful resistance. On the conquest of northern India Muhammad Ghori appointed his favorite slave and general Kutb-ud-Din Aibak, and later king in his own right and the founder of the slave dynasty, to the governorship of the Bhatinda fort for the coercion and subjugation of the turbulent Bhattis. That ill-starred Queen, Razia, the daughter of King Altamash, who was the first woman to assume the throne in India, was first incarcerated here on her defeat and dethronement. The fort next became the scene of her unsuccessful attempts to regain her throne. The rest of its history is steeped in oblivion but it was an important point d' appui both of the Sultanate of Pathans and the Empire of the Mughals. In the middle of the eighteenth century on the decadence of the Mughal rule it passed into the hands of Ala Singh of Patiala. It was renamed as Gobindgarh by Maharaja Karam Singh of Patiala in commemoration of the reputed visit of Guru Gobind Singh to the place in the days when from his venue in the jungles of Bhatinda he was challenging and fighting the mighty Mughal Empire. A muafi of 50 ghumaons of land was assigned for the upkeep of the Gurudwara in the fort. The fort of Bhatinda still stands grim and gaunt in its lordly vaunt of having shared for ages a notable part in the schematic plan of India's defense. The walls of the citadel which slope from base upwards are of extraordinary massiveness and strength, tapering upwards from 53 feet below to 35 feet at the top and rising to a height of hundred feet. The bastion tower of burj is 120 feet above the ground level and is still in a wonderful state of preservation. There are in addition four large bastions one at each corner and 32 smaller ones, i.e., 8 to each wall. The larger bastions have a circumference of 291 feet at the top. Taken all in all it is one of the mightiest structures in its line built nobly and well. The Qila Mubarik or the fort of triumph, of which the foundation is attributed to Baba Ala Singh, was completed by his grandson and successor Maharaja Amar Singh. It contains the royal palace and other appurtenant subsidiary buildings. Then there is the beautiful Fort of Bahadurgarh , situated nearly five miles from the town of Patiala, which though only 123 years old and not an ancient for exactly, is a stately, graceful and imposing. Begun in 1837 by Maharaja Karam Singh, it took eight years to build entailing a cost of millions of rupees. Two circular walls or ramparts surround the fort, the outer wall being 110 feet apart from the inner one. A pacca moat or ditch 25 feet deep and 58 feet wide surrounds the outer wall, which is 29 feet high. The circumference of the fort is nearly 1 1/3 miles. Maharaja Karam Singh gave the fort its present name in commemoration of the sacred visit of Guru Tegh Bahadur in the time of Saif Khan, who was a brother of Fidai Khan and a foster brother of Aurangzeb himself. The legend goes that the Guru had predicted the rising of a fort on the self-same spot. The Maharaja also built two Gurudwaras, one inside and another outside the fort. This fort like that of Phillaur, was used one time as the Training School for Police. The Pathankot fort is reputed to have been built as far back as the 12th century AD by one Raja Jet Pal. Through nothing over-brilliant and falling in the category of modest and minor structures, this edifice is a stern reminder of the days when a Rajput was pledged to hold his own even against mighty odds. If the worst came to the worst, he could retire to his fort and fight his own feud out like a man with his back to the wall. These citadels of security whatever they be were yet the hall-mark of respectability and a man was a man for all that. From this fort a road strikes east to Dharmsala and the Kangra Valley. As we ascend the valley from Pathankot the first parao or halting station is reached at Nurpur, a small commercial town, where yet another ancient Fort of the Pathania rajas meets us rising along the precipitous edge of a hillock to the west of the town. It is built in the typical Mughal style, though representing two varieties of architectural developments. It would seem that the fort, though commenced and party built in Akbar's time, was not completed until about a century later in the time of Aurangzeb since the impress of these two variant epochal building crafts is only too clearly discernible to leave one in any doubt. The earlier portions are in the style of Akbar with which Fatehpur Sikri has made us only too familiar, while the superstructure is definitely of the time of Aurangzeb. Its construction is attributed to have been undertaken by one Raja Vasudeva who presumably was a contemporary of Akbar but he did not apparently live to complete it which one of his successors did. Out attention is specially drawn by the basement of an ancient temple which was recovered after careful digging from within the precincts of the fort in 1886. Experts were of the view that the temple was much anterior to the fort in date as indicated by the profuse decorations and patterned carvings on the outer walls. The pride of place in the line of forts, however, goes to the Kangra Fort , from which the town of Kangra or Nagarkot (the city of the fort) itself derives its name. It is perhaps the oldest extant structure in the land to have defied alike time's tyrannous claims. The earthquake of 1905 played great havoc with it to which battered wall and fissured battlements bear ample evidence. It occupies a picturesque and strategic position above the Ban-Ganga torrent, not far from its confluence with the river Beas, overlooking the scenery of Kangra Valley, which has been described as possession "sublime and delightful contrasts. The valley is a picture of rural loveliness and repose; it is irrigated by numerous streams; interspersed with homesteads amidst groves and fruit trees, and in the background are lofty mountains with oak forests on their sides, above them pine trees, and above all the eternal snows and masses of bare granite, on the southern slopes of which the snow cannot rest." The fort which is three miles in extent enjoys great local as well as historical prestige as its roots lie dug deep in myth and legend some claiming for it and age contemporaneous with the Mahabharata itself. Be that as it may, its possession by the Katoches of Jalandhara is confirmed as going back to 1800 years or more. It long enjoyed a reputation for invulnerability and was first assailed by Muhammad of Ghazni as treachery was rife in the house. In no other way can one explain his sudden side-deflection to this mountainous region from the direct line of his advance soon after having surmounted the confederacy of Anand Pal and his associates unless he had been hid in the fort of Kangra together with the rich treasures accumulated by the devotions of endless generations of the Hindus in the temple of the goddess Vajreshvari or Mata Devi. Vast quantities of coined money and gold and silver bullion were carried off. The treasure included a house of white silver, like to the houses of rich men, the length of which was thirty yards and the breadth fifteen. It could be taken to pieces and put together again. And there was a canopy, made of the fine linen of Rum, forty yards long and twenty broad, supported on two golden and two silver poles, which had been cast in moulds. "The Sultan returned to Ghazni with his booty and astonished the ambassadors from foreign powers by the display of jewels and unbored pearls and rubies, shining like sparks, or like wine congealed with ice, and emeralds like fresh sprigs of myrtle, and diamonds in size and weight like pomegranates." The celebrated golden image was sent to Macca, where it was trodden under foot by the faithful. The fort was held by the Muslim garrison for thirty five years after which it was recovered by the Hindus who made good the damage to the fort and the buildings comprised in it which it had suffered in the process of this abysmal holocaust and the subsequent occupation. The descendants of the Katoches of hoary antiquity remained in undisturbed possession and control of it till AD 1360. Firuz Tughluq, who like his imperialist predecessors wanted to bring as much territory under his away as possible, was an ardent and fanatical Muslim and could thus ill brook these Hindu Rajas flaunting their independence behind the protection of their mountain citadels. He must subdue them to submission and reduce them to the position of feudatories like all the rest. He accordingly organized an expedition against Kangra, the haughtiest and strongest of the lot. Not being able to check the king's advance through an open engagement, the Raja made the necessary preparations to defy the enemy and offer resistance from behind the walls of the fort. Firuz, accordingly invested the fort with a view to storming it to surrender not thinking into be a difficult proposition really, but these who had learnt to enjoy the blessings of mountain nymph sweet liberty could not be divested of it so easily. The garrison despite great privations clung on to their posts remarkably well inflicting losses on the besiegers at every available opportunity in order to force them to raise the siege. It stood out a protracted siege of six long months without displaying the least sign of weakness, hesitation or irresolution. Firuz Tughluq who had not witnessed such dauntless courage in his career of triumph so far was averse to dealing with people cast in such heroic mould too drastically and sent an emissary to the Raja to sound him about submission and unconditional capitulation, assuring him on his part full pardon and generous treatment. There had been as earlier offer too but since it bore no guarantee the Raja had turned it down with haughty disdain that he would much rather die as a Raja than be reduced to the state of a miserable, cringing beggar. He would think twice before turning down the present one since he realized quite fully that the protracted siege had exhausted the patience of combatants on either side, nerves had been frayed and tempers soured and that he was finding himself in dire extremities. Discretion was the better part of valor in the existing situation and the Raja made an unreserved submission. The king on his part received him most kingly, admired the gallantry and bravery of a proud Rajput that he had shown so demonstrably and by way of a pun on the Raja's previous reply made the generous gesture publicly in order to dispel his misgivings finally, "You are a Raja today and you will be a Raja for ever." The fort was restored to him together with his conquered dominion and the king contented himself with the bare acceptance of nominal suzerainty.Two hundred years later the fort was taken and permanently occupied by the Emperor Akbar. But the Rajputs proved most troublesome to the Mughal governors of the Punjab and repeated expeditions had to be launched in their territory to check them in their recalcitrant and refractory career. The Emperor Jehangir visited the fort and the town in person is still known as the Jehangiri Darbaza. The sanatoria of the Kangra valley doubtless offered him sites for residence in the summer months but he presumably exchanged if for the superior attractions of Kashmir. The vigorous rule of the Emperor Shah Jahan reduced the Rajas of the hills to the conditions of tributaries, enjoying a good deal of power, and possessing the privilege of building forts and making war on one another. It is presumed that one or other branch of the Kotach family remained in occupation of the fort as it gained or acquired ascendancy in the ancestral hereditas. Guru Gobind Singh when he took up cudgels on behalf of the oppressed in his fight with tyrannous and persecuting rulers, encouraged the hill Rajas to flout the skirts of the hills between the Sutlej and the Yamuna, lent assistance to the Rajas in their frank revolt against Imperial officers and joined with them in defeating the local governor. Thus the hill chiefs became practically independent in the sequel. The last of the Katoch family who reigned as Raja at Kangra was Sansar Chand, who succeeded in gaining possession of the renowned old fort in 1784. He was very ambitious, and sought to extend his dominions on every side; but in 1803 he had to contend against Ranjit Singh, who was then becoming an important power in the Punjab. Defeated by him in the plains, Sansar Chand turned his arms against Kahlur; but the Raja of that little state called in the Ghurkas to assist him. They defeated the invader, but could not take his fort. A period of anarchy followed, both parties plundering the country in turn; till at last Sansar Chand asked Ranjit Singh to help him. The required assistance was given, and the Ghurkas were defeated; but Ranjit Singh, though he had promised to allow Sansar to retain his dominions, gradually encroached upon them. The old Katoch Raja eventually surrendered the fort and lost his kingdom forever. It was annexed by Ranjit Singh who offered the dispossessed sovereign a jagir , but Sansar Chand refused to accept it, and supported himself by a revenue of Rs. 20,000, which he had assigned for the support of his female household; this property Ranjit Singh left untouched, and it forms the jagir of Raja Shamsher Singh, the present representative of the family. Sansar Chand died in 1824. He had a most colorful personality and was famous for his patronage of art and music. He assiduously nursed the Kangra Valley School of Painting, which constitutes a fitting memorial to him for all time. At this time all the small hill states fell one after the other into Ranjit Singh's hands. After the defeat of the Sikhs and at the annexation of the Punjab, the Fort of Kangra stood a siege, and the valley, including the Jalandhar Doab, and the hills between the Sutlej and the Ravi, came under British administration.
Punjab, the land of five rivers and integrated cultural history, is a treasure trove for an avid tourist. For this land of the great gurus not only boasts of ancient monuments but throbs with historical embodiments. It is no secret that whoever comes to this land of yellow fields with blue mountains providing the romantic and picturesque backdrop has never gone back without imbibing the essence of Punjab.
There is no dearth of breathtaking palaces, for Punjab was the seat of royalty, as the imposing Quila Mubarak will tell you. Museums galore and so are the religious places with the Golden Temple offering succour to the mind and soul of any one visiting. If you are a wild life freak, then Punjab can take you on a tour of the sanctuaries, which are hot favourites with migratory birds. Since this state borders Pakistan, there are two main posts from which you can peep into the land that was once an integral part of Punjab and experience the feelings of the people separated by a line.
The much truncated India's portion of present Punjab is divided into three natural regions :the Majha,the Doaba and the Malwa.
Amritsar – Ram Tirath - Sarai Amanat Khan -Wagha Border – Amritsar
Ram Tirath takes us back to the times of Ramayana, at Sarai Amanat Khan we come down to a highway inn of the Mughul times, at Wagha Border we suddenly land into the present. The pageant of the beating of the retreat and the change of guard within handshaking distance of the Indian and Pakistani forces here makes the most charming of the spectacles as a daily evening drill. Ascertain the timings before you leave to see this spectacle since these are changed seasonally.
Amritsar - Dera Baba Nanak -Qadian-Kala naur-Gurdaspur-Pathankot.
At Dera Baba Nanak the first Prophet of Sikhism, Sri Guru Nanak
Dev Ji spent the last days of his life. At the historic Gurudwara built in his memory holy robes that were presented to him at Mecca are still preserved. Qadian is the home of the founder of the Ahmedyia Sect of the Muslims. At Kalanaur,Akbar-the-great was coronated. Pathankot is India's link city to the State of Jammu and Kashmir and the best tourist destinations of Himachal Pradesh.
Amritsar-Tarn Taran-Hari-Ke-Pattan - Goindwal Sahib - Sultanpur Lodhi – Kapurthala( Kanjli lake) –Jalandhar
A majestic gurudwara with a golden dome and a large holy pool having healing powers is built at Tarn Taran in the memory of 5th Prophet of Sikhism, Sri Guru Arjan Dev ji.Hari-Ke-Pattan is a wild life sanctuary of international fame. Goindwal Sahib was the seat of Sikhism during the life time of the 3rd Prophet of Sikhism Sri Guru Amar Dass ji. It has a deep well with 84 steps. The faithful say that if you recite Jap Ji Sahib, a composition of the first Prophet of Sikhism at each step after a bath you cross the cycle of 84,000 lives and attain moksh. At Sultanpur lodhi Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji spent 12 years in the service of Nawab Daulat Khan Lodhi. It was from here in 1500 A.D. that he had begun his first holy travel towards the east and the south to preach the Word of God. Kapurthala is renowned for beautiful palaces and buildings. Kanjli lake receives several species of migratory birds and is a fulfilling picnic spot.
Amritsar - Baba Bakala – Kartarpur - Jalandhar.
At Baba Bakala the 9th Prophet of Sikhism Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji had revealed himself to Makhan Shah Lobana. Kartarpur was founded by the 5th Prophet of Sikhism. The authenticated , handwritten copy of Sri Guru Granth Sahib complied and edited by him and having his seal is located here. It is also famous for the manufacture quality world-furniture. Jalandhar is the oldest city of Punjab. Today it is internationally famous for the manufacture of sports goods and landmarks connected with the Hindu religion.
Chandigarh , Ropar (Rup Nagar), Anandpur Sahib, Bhakra - Nangal, Ropar, Chandigar
Ropar is famous for its archeological funds. The valley of river Sutlej, from Kiratpur Sahib to Anandpur Sahib was the seat of Sikhism for almost 80 years and is full of historical gurudwara, Takhat Sri Keshgarh Sahib being the most important becauseon the day of Baisakhi in 1699 the 10th Prophet of Sikhism had consummated the Sikh into the Khalsa -saint soldier. Within Ropar town there is a wetland thrown up by river Sutlej . The valley is also full of historical landmarks. At Bhakra we have the world's highest straight gravity dam.
Ludhiana - Moga - Ferozepur - Bhatinda - Malout - Muktsar-Faridko
Ludhiana is Punjab's home of industry and famous Punjab Agriculture University. At Moga the multinational Nestle Company manufactures a large variety of food specialties . The border town of Ferozepur is known for its memorials to the freedom fighters of India. At a nearby town on Ferozepur- Moga road called Zira a beautiful Jain Swetembar Temple with ancient icons and wall paintings is located. Bathinda has an 1800 years old fort and a multinational firm Pepsi has set up plants here to manufacture Agro products. Malout is an old mandi town,where produce from surrounding areas is brought for sale. Muktsar is connected with the victory of the Sikh forces commanded by the 10th Prophet Sri Guru Gobind Singh over the Mughal forces of the Governor of Sirhind in 1705. Faridkot, the capital of erstwhile Phulkian state, is famous for its fort and palace having remarkable paintings, mirror - work and frescoes designed all over their walls.
Patiala-Nabha-Malerkotla - Ludhiana - Fatehgarh Sahib - Chandigarh.
Patiala is renowned for its palaces, museums, sports, cuisine, fashionware. Nabha a smaller State became famous as the venue of the freedom struggle where Pandit Nehru had come to court arrest. Horlicks, the British firm runs a flourishing tonic food plant here to enrich beverages. Malerkotla is a Muslim Pathan state in Punjab . When the Governor of Sirhind had ordered the entombment of the two younger holy sons of the 10th Sikh Prophet,Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the ancestor of the Nawab of Malerkotla had protested. In recognition of this act this state was not molested during the holocaust of 1947. For embroidery , insignias and handiwork artifacts Malerkotla is famous in India. Fatehgarh Sahib and Sirhind nearby have several historical buildings, especially of the Muslim era. Chandigarh is an ideal starting point for visiting Punjab.
Jalandhar-Hoshiarpur, either back to Jalandhar or Ropar-Chandigarh.
Connected both by rail and road the old town of Hoshiarpur is famous for its Vedic Research Institute, Bhrigusamhita system of astrology, manufactures, especially, inlay work and lacquer finish furniture , musical instruments and an archaeological museum.