Earth : Asia : South Asia : India : Plains (India) : Punjab (India)
Punjab (Punjabi: ਪੰਜਾਬ; IPA: [pəɲdʒaːb]) is a state in the northwestern part of The Republic of India. When India gained Independence in 1947 it was divided, the region was divided along religious grounds. Consequently, the western portion became a province in Pakistan.
Located in Northern part of India it borders Himachal Pradesh and the disputed territory of Indian-administered Kashmir to north-east and north and Chandigarh, Haryana and Rajasthan towards south-east, south and south-west.
Sikhism is the main religion and is practiced by around two-thirds of the population, gurdwaras, or Sikh temples, can be found in almost every small town. The holiest of Sikh shrines, the Golden Temple is located here. Hinduism is also very common here, being practiced by about a quarter of the population, but is more concentrated in the cities, but mandirs, or Hindu temples, can still be found in the countryside. Muslims make up a large portion. Jain's and Christians form a minority.
The most common language spoken is Punjabi (Gurumukhi script). Hindi and English are also spoken, mainly in major cities (Amritsar,Ludhiana,Chandigarh,Patiala, Jalandhar) . Get yourself acquainted with local Punjabi words, which can be very helpful in initiating a conversation for daily basis.
Chandigarh is the capital city. Chandigarh is also the capital of the state of Haryana which was formerly a part of Punjab as well. Chandigarh, however, is not administrativelyt under the jurisdiction of either state; it is administered by the Central government, and hence classified as a union territory.
Punjab comprises 20 administrative districts, which regionally fall into three main parts:
To come to India the two main Airports are in Delhi & Mumbai, But these are not the only options available; there are more than 334 civilian airports in India, 238 with paved runways and 108 with unpaved runways.
To get to the state the best options are these:
Delhi Is the main port when traveling into India by air. Indira Gandhi International Airport  has been under heavy renovations. Now a stunning looking airport, it is one of the nicest and most busy airports in the world. Only a few hours drive or a few hours by train.
India's rail network is the longest of any country. Trains run at an average of around 50-60 km/h, which means that it can take more than two days to get from one corner of the country to another. Rail operations throughout the country are run by the state-owned company, Indian Railways. The rail network traverses through the length and breadth of the country, covering a total length of around 63,000 km (39,000 miles). Out of this a total 16,693 km of track has been electrified till now and 12,617 km have double tracks.
Tourism is principally suited for the tourist interested in culture, ancient civilization, spirituality and epic history. Punjab has a rich history incorporating Sikhism and Hinduism. Along with the celebrated Punjabi culture, the royal palaces, historic battles, shrines, temples and examples of Sikh Architecture.
Some of the smaller country towns are also a must see for the person who wants to see the true Punjab, with their traditional homes, monuments, temples, farms, and everyday life.
Many museums are located here :
Markets here are a shopper's haven, but only if you're not afraid to haggle and bump elbows in bazaars. Western-style malls and shopping emporia are creeping in on the outskirts, but there's little Indian about these sanitized shopping experiences, or the goods in them. Until a few years back, all shops closed on Sunday; while rules have been relaxed, many districts are still mostly shuttered.
Punjabi Jutti There is a wide variety of juttis (pronounced 'jeut-tii' in Punjabi or 'jeu-tea' in Hindi/Urdu) available for both men and women. They are usually made of fine leather and are delicately embroidered with threads or beads. Juttis are slip-on in style and are characterized by rising high to the Achilles' tendon in the back and covering the toes with a round or M-shaped heavily-embroidered upper shoe and leaving the top of the foot nearly bare. Some of them are hand-made and have been embroidered beautifully.
While credit cards are commonly accepted, you can not use them to pay at small street side shops. So you need to keep some cash handy. ATMs are available everywhere, so if you have an Indian bank account or credit card, you don't need to carry too much cash either. If you are a foreigner, it is a good idea to carry some cash to avoid charges while using your credit or debit card.
Keep some money in a different currency as well, You will find in some places giving a simple $10 note will change how fast things move.
Foreigners will have to be very careful, as all these stores are road-side stalls. What may seem a good price that the person has quoted to you, it will actually be a rip off. Do not settle for anything more than one-fourth the quoted price.. If they refuse a price just walk away, and they will call you back quoting a lower price. Normally, the more you buy, the less you will have to pay for each individual item.
You might be able to find a job in a local call center or fast food restaurant. So if you're there for a while, go to Chandigarh. You will able to find a job here very easily.
Punjabi cuisine can be non-vegetarian or completely vegetarian. It is widely popular however there is some misunderstanding in Western Cultures that Punjabi cuisine is completely curry based. The level of spices can vary from minimal to very prevalent. One of the main features of Punjabi cuisine is its diverse range of dishes. Home cooked and restaurant Punjabi cuisine can vary significantly, with restaurant style using large amounts of clarified butter, known locally as desi ghee, with liberal amounts of butter and cream with home cooked concentrating on mainly upon masalas (spice) flavorings.
Within the state itself, there are different preferences. People in the area of Amritsar prefer stuffed parathas and milk products. In fact, the area is well known for quality of its milk products. There are certain dishes which are exclusive to Punjab, such as Mah Di Dal and Saron Da Saag (Sarson Ka Saag).
Due to Hindu religious beliefs, Beef is a banned item which is neither consumed or sold on Punjab.
Pulse, bean and / or lentil preparations:
These are generally soaked overnight or for at least 8 hours and gently simmered on the embers of a tandoor (A clay oven of the shape of a horizontally sliced pot) along with ginger, garlic and a few other garam masala (whole spices like cardamom, Coriander, Cumin, Black pepper, Cloves, cinnamon, mace, and bay leaf).
These are then combined with a tangy masala base which could include tomato or dried mango (aamchur powder) or even pomegranate seeds (anar dana). The character typical to the bean or whole lentil preparation is that the shape is retained intact, but the gentlest pressure would make it into a paste.
Dollops of cream and butter provide for the rich finishing touch. Garnishing is usually with shredded coriander leaves and julienne s of ginger.
Other very popular Punjabi food include:
The Punjabi breads are generally flat breads; only a few varieties are raised breads. The breads may be made of different types of flour and can be made in various ways:
The tandoor also allows for tasty chicken and meat preparations including seekh kebab, tandoori chicken, reshmi tikka and malai tikka.
Sweet deserts are a favorite as well, They are handed out on birthdays and other special events. Here a list of some Popular ones:
Fast food chains
There are fast food restaurants in almost every city. McDonald's, Subway, Pizza Hut, Domino's, KFC and many others can be found. There are also many Indian fast food shops catering to western style food. No restaurant serves beef, due to Hindu religious beliefs.
Drinks are the same as the ones through out India, but they have a Punjabi twist to them.
Nightlife is exciting in some spots (non-existing in most parts); for example in Chandigarh, although being a Union Territory, there are lots of discos and nightclubs. Almost all are for straight couples only, so singles might not be allowed in, other than free entry for girls and women on some occasions. Other than that, there are many shops and eat-in restaurants. Also, Night Food Street (NFS), a group of overnight food serving shops is operational (7PM to 8AM) on Gheri-Route, near DAV college, CHANDIGARH.
Power outages and water shortages happen not just every day, but often several times on the same day, with summers especially bad. Better places have water tanks and generators to alleviate the pain, but keep a flashlight handy at night and do your part by not wasting too much water.
There are many different daily newspapers:
Punjabi people are usually kind at heart. You will most likely not feel threatened while you are there, but you need to take the usual precautions.
Make sure you are paying attention to your surroundings. Pickpocketing is common in some parts. Try putting your wallet in your front pocket; don't carry a lot of things with you at one time; for instance don't bring passports, tickets, etc. Try not to always use Rs.1000 and Rs.500 bills, especially not in smaller shops. You might be surprised to know that many shops, except the big retails chains, don't accept plastic money (credit and debit), so have some bills handy.
Keep extra precaution when traveling via car at nights in deserted or rural/agricultural areas. It is in these areas bandits and thugs try to car jack cars by deliberately placing obstacles on the road such as sharp objects connected to string to pop car tires. The aim of this is to make the occupants of the vehicle get out and inspect the damage, while the criminals who hide in the dark come out and demand money. Travel in city area like Amritsar don't experience this crime, Be wary of the traffic; don't assume; be very careful on the road. Public displays of affection are not usually tolerated, especially non-straight.