Deriving its name from five full-bodied rivers–Sutlej, Beas, Ravi, Jhelum, and Chenab–which flow through its vast plains, Punjab is representative of abundant things. Located on the north-western edge of India, it is one of the smaller albeit prosperous states of the nation, and home to a lively, hospitable and dynamic people.
Widely acknowledged as the cradle of civilization, it is a land of ethnic and religious diversity, having borne and shaped a number of religious movements that include Sikhism, Buddhism and Sufism. The Punjabi language, too, finds its origin in the Indo-European linguistic family that includes Persian and Latin. Naturally replete with fertile soils and rich water sources, it is primarily an agricultural state, and has continually and infinitely contributed towards the food security of the Indian Republic. Punjab’s many festivals–Teej, Lohri, Basant, and Baisakhi, to name some–are celebrations that mirror the farming ethos.
Amritsar is amongst the most revered sites of the world. It was founded as recently as the 16th century. Its name is a derivative of the Amrit Sarovar (pool of nectar) amidst which stands the Golden Temple, the most sacred of Sikh shrines. Amritsar has all the makings of a well-rounded tourist destination; its ancient legends, historical monuments, places of worship, old bazaars, theatre traditions and colourful festivals all serve as a window to its robust past. Excursions to the Harike Bird Sanctuary and visits to the India-Pakistan border at Wagah are an absolute delight, while breaking bread or celebrating Diwali with the denizens of this hospitable city is without parallel.
Chandigarh, the capital of the northern Indian states of Punjab and Haryana, was designed by the Swiss-French modernist architect, Le Corbusier. His buildings include the Capitol Complex with its High Court, Secretariat and Legislative Assembly, as well as the giant Open Hand Monument. The nearby Rock Garden is a park featuring sculptures made of stones, recycled ceramics and industrial relics.
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