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Punjab (Pakistan)

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Punjab (Pakistan)
Punjab in Pakistan (claims hatched).svg
Provincial flag of Punjab (Pakistan).png
Quick Facts
Capital Lahore
Government Pakistani province
Currency Pakistani rupee (PKR)
Area 205,344 km2
Population 91,379,615 (2012 est.)
Language Punjabi, Urdu and English.
Religion Islam
Time Zone UTC +5:00

Punjab (Punjabi: پنجاب) is a province in Pakistan, and home to over half the population of Pakistan. When India was divided, the region of Punjab was divided along religious lines. Consequently, the eastern portion became a state in India also called Punjab.


  • Lahore - the provincial capital, and Pakistan's cultural capital
  • Bahawalpur - a city of different Nawab (king) and British palaces, as well as the Derawar Fort
  • Faisalabad-A textile hub of Pakistan
  • Gujranwala-The city of wrestlers, also known for its electrical, ceramics and textile industry
  • Jhelum - famous for its Soldiers
  • Khurrianwala
  • Multan- famous for its mangoes, friendly people and pottery, also lots of tombs and beautiful mosques.
  • Rawalpindi-Military headquarters
  • Sialkot - famous for its sports and leather industry

Other destinations[edit]

  • Cholistan desert
  • Daska
  • Gujrat -famous for its fan and pottery industry
  • Hasanabdal - Sikh Holy site
  • Indus Valley Civilization: Harappa
  • Kehror Pacca
  • Khewra Salt Mine - World's second largest salt mine & tourist complex
  • Murree - famous for its scenic beauty and a popular hill station
  • Nankana Sahib - Sikh Holy site
  • Sargodha
  • Taxila: Gandhara civilization


Punjab is Pakistan's second largest province at 205,344 km² (79,284 sq mi²) after Balochistan and is located at the northwestern edge of the geologic Indian plate in South-Central Asia. The capital and largest city is Lahore which was the historical capital of the wider Punjab region. Nearly 60% of Pakistan's population lives in the Punjab. It is the nation's only province that touches every other province; it also surrounds the federal enclave of the national capital city at Islamabad. This geographical position, and a large multi-ethnic population, strongly influence Punjab's outlook on national affairs and induces in Punjab a keen awareness of the problems of Pakistan's other important provinces and territories.


The major language spoken in the Punjab is Punjabi, the provincial language. Educated people also generally understand and speak Urdu and English. In the south, Seraiki is the main language.

Get in[edit]

Both Lahore and Islamabad have direct flights to numerous international destinations across Asia, the Greater Middle East and Europe. There are buses/train between Delhi and Lahore. From Kashi China one can travel by road via the Karakoram Highway up to Gilgit for about 50$ and from Gilgit there are direct buses to Islamabad for about 5$ but it is a 17 hour journey on harrowingly winding roads.

By plane[edit]

Lahore Islamabad and Sialkot are the main gateways to Outside Punjab by air. However, there are 134 airfields in Pakistan.

  • Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore [1] has been completely renovated with a new terminal for international arrivals and departures. Many airlines are currently operating to the airport including Emirates, Etihad Airways, Indian Airlines, Mahan Air, Qatar Airways, Gulf Air, Singapore Airlines, Pakistan International (PIA), Saudi Arabian Airlines, Thai Airways, Kuwait Airways, Uzbekistan Airways and over four private airlines from Pakistan.
  • Benazir Bhutto International Airport [2] is currently in review to be expanded and modernized to meet the needs of the future passenger numbers, as demand for air travel has increased dramatically. There are many airlines operating into Islamabad including many of the above with Ariana Afghan Airlines, British Airways and China Southern Airlines. The only problem is that the airport is also used by government officials as well as arrivals from foreign diplomats so the airport may shut down as security is increased, so flights may be delayed.

By train[edit]

Punjab has train links with its neighbor, the Republic of India to the east. The Samjhauta Express is the more common, running on Tuesdays and Fridays between Delhi and Lahore via the Attari/Wagah border crossing. Tourists should be aware that after recent terrorist attacks on the train, which caused many casualties and strained relationships between the two neighbors, it is strongly advised that you take taxis or buses to and from the border instead.

By car[edit]

From ancient times people have been travelling through Punjab using the Grand Trunk Road that runs through Pakistan and into the Indian subcontinent. It is a rewarding but time consuming way to see this part of the world. New highways have been developed and the country is due for an expansion in its highway network. Currently, a world-class motorway connects the cities of Lahore, Islamabad and Faisalabad

Punjab is connected to China through the Karakoram Highway, a modern feat of engineering that traverses a remarkably scenic route through the Karakoram and Himalayan mountains. It is about to be expanded from the current 10m wide to 30m because of the increase in trade traffic due to the Gwader port opening.

By bus[edit]

From India: While there is international service running to Lahore from Delhi it is just as fast, much more flexible, and much cheaper to take the journey by stringing together local transport and crossing the Wagah border on foot.

From China: While there is international service running to Islamabad from Kashgar it is just as fast, much more flexible, and much cheaper to take the journey by stringing together local transport and crossing the border on foot.

Get around[edit]

By Plane, Train, Taxi, Bus

From ancient times people have been travelling through Punjab using the Grand Trunk Road that run through Pakistan and into the Indian subcontinent. It's a rewarding but time consuming way to see this part of the world. New highways have been developed and the country is due for an expansion in its highway network. Currently, a world-class motorway connects the cities of Lahore, Islamabad and Faisalabad

See[edit][add listing]

The province is home to many well known historical sites including the Shalimar Gardens, the Badshahi Mosque, and the ruins of the ancient city of Harrapa. The Anarkali Market and Jahangir's Tomb are prominent in the city of Lahore, as is the Lahore Museum, while the ancient city of Taxila in the northwest was once a major centre of Buddhism. Many important Sikh shrines are in the Pakistani portion of Punjab, including the birthplace of the first Guru, Guru Nanak (born at Nankana Sahib). You can visit the Wagah border parade; it is called the beating retreat ceremony between the IBSF and the Pakistani Rangers. There is also the largest salt mine in Asia situated the Khewra Salt Mines.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Golf
  • Cricket
  • See art galleries, museums
  • Concerts
  • Desert Safari
  • Jeep Rallies
  • Shopping
  • Eco tours
  • Trekking
  • Biking
  • Para gliding

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

Punjabi food mainly consists of various kinds of kabobs eaten with either flatbread or rice. Food tends to be either mild or very spicy, depending on where you are, so state your preference before beginning to eat. In general, most of the same food you can find in the highest quality restaurants/hotels there is available commonly in the markets (but European-style food is generally reserved for the former).

  • The types of flatbread (collectively referred to as Nan are:
    • Nan - A soft and thick bread that often requires special clay ovens and cannot be properly made on home stoves. It is recognized by its larger, white exterior.
    • Roti/Chapatti - A homemade bread that doesn't have as much flavor as naan. It is a cheap alternative that is ready in minutes.
    • Paratha - An extremely oily version of the roti. Usually excellent if you're going out to eat, but beware of health concerns; often it is literally dripping with oil because it is meant to be part of a rich meal. Pratha is more delicious if you cook it in pure oil like "desi ghee".
    • Sheer Mal - This is a slightly sweetened, lightly oiled bread that has waffle-like squares punched in it. It is often considered the most desirable bread and is a delicacy to most people. Often paired with nihari.
    • Taftan - Much like the sheer mal but with a puffed-up ring around it. This is generally just as good as the sheer mal but easier to eat liquidy shorba with.

As you might have noticed, Nan is usually used to pick up liquid and soft foods like shorba and beans. Utensils are not commonly used during meals in Pakistan except to serve dishes (unless someone is eating rice and would like to be polite or is unpracticed eating it by hand). Attempting to cut a naan with a knife and drink shorba with a spoon may elicit some amusement around you. Watching others may help.

  • Types of kababs (mainly made of Beef or Lamb) are:
    • Seekh Kabab (سيخ کباب) - A long skewer of beef mixed with herbs and seasonings.
    • Shami Kabab (شامي کباب) - A round patty of seasoned beef, softer than seekh kabobs.
    • Chapli Kabab (چپلي کباب) - A spicy round kabob that is a specialty of Peshawar.
    • Chicken Kabab (مرغ کباب) - A popular kabob that is found both with bone and without.
    • Lamb Kabab (کبابِ برہ گوشت) - The all lamb meat kabob is usually served as cubes.
  • More Pakistani Foods:
    • Roasted Chicken (whole) (مرغ بريان) - A whole chicken roasted. Very famous around Pakistan. You'll see them on the rotisserie while driving on Lahore streets.
    • Biryani (برياني) - A dish with mixed pieces of chicken and rice. It smells nice from the saffron and other seasonings added.
    • Chicken Tikka - Barbecued chicken with a spicy exterior. Looks like a huge, red chicken leg and thigh. For all meat lovers. Its available most anywhere.
    • Haleem - Thick soup-like mix of tiny chunks of meat, lentils and wheat grains.

There are too many shorbas, or sauces, to enumerate. However, you should know of the most common ones.

  • Vegetarian
    • Daal - Yellow (plain) or brown (slightly sour) lentil "soup". Usually unspiced. Common to all economic classes.
    • Aloo Gobi - Potatoes and cauliflower. Cooked so that both are soft and breakable with finger pressure.
    • Bhindi - Okra (can be bitter)
    • X + ki sabzi - A vegetarian mixture with 'X' as the main ingredient.
  • With Meat
    • Aloo Gosht (Potatoes and Meat) - Chunks of potato and goat meat in gravy. Levels of spiciness vary. One example of a generic dish that includes most things + Gosht(meat).
    • Nihari- Beef simmered for several hours. A delicacy often eaten with Nan, Sheer Mal, or Taftan. Few people will have this available without spice. Eat with lemon, fried onion and caution: it is one of the spiciest curries.
    • Paye - Very, very wet salan, often served in a bowl or similar dish. Eat by dipping pieces of naan in it, maybe finishing with a spoon. Hard to eat.
  • Desserts
    • Enjoy a variety; ice cream can be found in an abundance of flavors such as the traditional pistachio flavored Kulfi;
    • Falooda (فلودہ) is tasty rosewater desert. The sweets are extremely popular in Pakistan and called different things depending on where you go. Eat small chunks at a time, eating large pieces can be rude and will generally be too sweet.
    • Kulfi is a very traditional made ice-cream mixed with cream and different types of nuts.
    • If you want to go to some ice-cream parlors, there are some good ice-cream parlors in Lahore like "Polka Parlor" "Jamin Java" "Hot Spot".

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Tea (or Chai as it is referred to in Pakistan) is popular throughout the country.
    • Both black and green tea (Sabz chai or qahvah) are common and are traditionally drunk with cardamom and lots of sugar. Lemon is optional but recommended with green tea.
    • Kashmiri chai is a milky tea with almonds and nuts added to give additional flavor. This tea is very popular during weddings and in the cold season.
  • Coffee is also available in all major cities.

In the warmer southern region, sweet drinks are readily available throughout the day. Look for street vendors that have fruits (real or decorations) hanging from their roofs. Also, some milk/yogurt shops serve lassi. Ask for meethi lassi for a sweet yogurt drink and you can also get a salty lassi which tastes good if you are having "bhindi" in food or some other rich dish. There is also a sweet drink called Mango Lassi which is very rich and thick, made with yogurt, mango pulp, and pieces of mango.

Drink sealed bottled water, not the water from local taps. Water from local taps will be infected and it is highly likely you will end up ill.

Stay safe[edit]

The people of Punjab are very hospitable. They tend to welcome any foreigner very warmly.

For your own safety it is strongly recommended not to attend any rallies, protests or religious gatherings.

Get out[edit]

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