| Quick Facts
|| Chandigarh (Shared with the state of Haryana)
|| Indian State
|| Indian rupee (INR)
|| 50,362 km2
|| 27,704,236(2011 est.)
|| Sikhism 60%, Hinduism 37%, Islam 1.5%, Christianity 1.5%, Other 0.4%
|| 230V/50Hz, Indian (Old British)/European plugs
| Time Zone
|| UTC +5:30
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:
Mohindra College, Patiala
Amritsar has an International airport. Raja Sansi International Airport  is open 24 hours.
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.
- Cars -One of the best ways to get around, you can either rent a car, or get a taxi for less. Taxis usually don't have a problem driving to wherever you want within the district. It is very common to see the owner of the car sitting in the back with a driver driving the car.
- Two-wheelers -Most popular mode of transport in terms of numbers.
- Autorickshaw -An auto rickshaw (auto or rickshaw or tempo in popular parlance) is a three-wheeler vehicle for hire. They typically have no doors or seat belts. They are generally yellow or green in colour and have a black or green canopy on the top. An auto rickshaw is generally characterized by a tin/iron body resting on three small wheels (one in front, two on the rear), a small cabin for the driver in the front and seating for three in the rear. Hiring an auto often involves bargaining with the driver.
- Bus -You can get on a bus in most towns in Punjab. They go all over the country. The bus service has improved considerably in last 2-3 years with introduction of deluxe and AC buses. Main entry routes are from Delhi via Ambala or via Delhi-Jind-Sangrur or Delhi-Hissar-Bathinda sections. NH 1 is presently 6-laned from Delhi till Panipat but work is in progress and will be completed till Ambala by 2013.
- Golden Temple, Amritsar.
- The Royal Punjabi Palaces and monuments of Patiala.
- Purana Quilla in Bathinda.
- Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana - An open green area sprawling over 1500 acres. You can go here for a morning run or visit the library.
- Wagha Border.
- Bhakra Nangal Dam across the Sutlej River. *Mehdiana Sahib Gurudwara.
- The Gurudwaras and historic monuments at Anandpur Sahib.
- Hussaini Wala Border, Ferozpur.
- Chandigarh, the modern city designed by French architect Le Corbusier.
- The Royal Palaces of Faridkot.
- Historic monuments in Fatehgarh Saheb, Chamkaur Saheb and Sirhind, which saw a lot of action during Guru Gobind Singh's time as the 10th Guru of Sikhism.
- Historic monuments in Nabha and Sangrur.
- Ancient Fort at Bathinda, in Bathinda. *The Gurudwara Bhabour Sahib, a Sikh place of worship, as well as several other holy places and an Ashram are located at Nangal.
- Shahpur kandi fort and Madhopur headworks near Pathankot.
- Ancient Buddhist and Hindu archeological sites at Sanghol in Fatehgarh Sahib and Dholbaha in Hoshiarpur district respectively.
- Indus Valley civilization site at Ropar
- Gurdwara Nanaksar and Gurdwara Mehdiana Sahib at Jagraon
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.
- Make sure you go visit the Golden Temple, Regardless of what Religion you are of.
- Wagah Border.
- Visit the little towns.
Many museums are located here :
- Amritsar, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum
- Anglo Sikh War Memorial, Ferozeshah
- Little Villages.
- Govt. Museum Hoshiarpur
- Sports Museum, National Institute of Sports, Patiala
- Sanghol Museum
- Art Gallery at Sheesh Mahal
- Qila Mubarak Patiala, Museum of Armoury & Chaneliers
- Guru Teg Bahadur Museum
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.
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:
- Dal makhani (Mah di dal)
- Dal maharani
- Dal amritsari
- Lobiya (Black eyed bean)
- Rajma (Red kidney bean)
- Choley (eaten with bhatoora or naan).(Kabuli Chana)
- Punj ratani dal (mixtures of 5 lentils) etc...
- Saron da saag te makki di roti
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:
- Butter Chicken
- Shahi Paneer (Indian Cheese)
- Tandoori Chicken
- Tandoori Fish
- Paneer Pakora
- Gulab Jamun
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:
- Baked in the tandoor like naan, tandoori roti, kulcha, lachha paratha
- Dry baked on the tava (Indian griddle) like phulka or chapati, jowar ki roti, baajre ki roti and the very famous makke ki roti (these are also smeared with ghee or white butter)
- Shallow fried like paratha, aloo or mooli paratha
- Deep fried like puri and bhatoora (a fermented dough)
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:
- Gulab jamun
- Sohan Papdi/Patisa
- Gajar Halwa
- Bal Mithai
- Sohan Halwa
- Malai Laddu
- Mung Halwa
- Ras malai
- Malai Pan
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.
- Chai is a Indian Tea. It is more popular than coffee, and street vendors called "chai wallahs" (sometimes spelled "chaiwalas") are a common sight in many Punjabi neighborhoods.
- Lassi is a traditional North Indian beverage, made by blending yogurt with water, salt, and spices until frothy. Yogurt is mentioned in ancient Indian texts, and so is buttermilk. Yogurt sweetened with honey is used in Hindu rituals. Traditional lassi is sometimes flavored with ground roasted cumin. The Lassi is sometimes uses a little milk and is topped with a thin layer of malai, a clotted cream, also known as Devonshire cream. Lassis are enjoyed chilled as a hot-weather refreshment. With a little turmeric powder mixed in, it is also used as a folk remedy for gastroenteritis.
- Sharbat is a popular Middle Eastern and South Asian "juice" that is prepared from fruits or flower petals. It is sweet and served chilled. It can be in concentrate form and eaten with a spoon or mixed with water to create the drink. It was popularised by the Mughal rulers one of whom sent for frequent loads of ice from the Himalayas to get a cool refreshing drink.
- There are many types of liquor and beer available at most restaurants. Imported brands are also available in some of the higher- class restaurants but the price is much steeper. There are also some liquors and beers available that are of very poor quality; you can usually distinguish the quality by the price-- you'll get what you pay for. You can expect to pay up to 3 or 5 times the price of local liquors for IMFL. Usually only a selected few imports are available and Johnnie Walker is usually one of them. If you are taking a gift for people, who you know that drink and won't get offended, then taking some kind of Scotch Whisky is a good idea.
- Desi Daroo,(also known in different parts of the country under other names). It is made by fermenting the mash of sugar cane pulp in large spherical containers made from waterproof ceramic (terra cota) up to near 100% alcohol. However, it is a dangerous drink, mainly because of the risk of alcohol or copper formaldehyde poisoning.
- Coffee, also known as Madras Filter Coffee or kaapi is a sweet milky coffee made from dark roasted coffee beans (70%-80%) and chicory (20%-30%), especially popular in the southern states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The most commonly used coffee beans are Peaberry (preferred), Arabica, Malabar and Robusta grown in the hills of Kerala (Malabar region), Karnataka (Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru) and Tamil Nadu (Nilgiris District).
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.
- Laundry service is offered in most hotels, even budget accommodations. If you would rather save the money and do it yourself, buckets are found in almost all bathrooms - but perhaps wash it out well first.
- Exercising outdoors is not recommended due to the level of pollution and swimming in rivers is also not recommended. You'll want to look for a hotel with a gym or a pool (many offer day passes), or an evening/morning walk can be taken in the parks.
- Vaccination as a precaution.
There are many different daily newspapers:
- The Tribune - Punjab's oldest newspaper
- The Indian Express - National daily published from Chandigarh.
- Hindustan Times - National daily published from Chandigarh.
- The Times of India - The Only National Daily Of INDIA.(Sub-Circulatories - The Times Of Chandigarh), The Economic Times , The Business Times]
- The Pioneer- National daily published from Chandigarh.
- Business Line- Business daily newspaper.
- Ajit - Local daily published in Jallandher
- Punjabi Tribune - Punjabi edition of The Tribune
- Rozana Spokesman
- Jag Bani
- Dainik Bhaskar - National Hindi daily published from Chandigarh.
- Amar Ujala - National Hindi daily published from Chandigarh.
- Dainik Tribune - Hindi edition of The Tribune.
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.
- Prefix +91 If you are calling from outside India, each city has a separate 3-4 digit area code. Phone numbers are seven digits long but on occasion you will find a six digit number listed. That is probably an old listing. They made the changeover from six to seven digits a few years back, when they allowed private service providers to offer telephony. Just add a "2" to the old number and it should work just fine, however if that does not work try prefixing "5". All mobile numbers, however are 10 digits long and begin with "7", "8" or "9", and should not be dialed with the city prefix. If you don't get through to a mobile number, try adding a "0" or "+91" before you dial it.
- Phone booths can be found all over the State. Though they are coin operated, there is usually someone to run the place. (Typically the phones are attached to a roadside shop) You need to keep putting 1 rupee coins into the slot to extend the talk time, so keep a change of 1 rupee coins handy with you. The person running the booth will usually have them. If you find a booth marked STD/ISD, you can call internationally or anywhere within the country. Fees will be charged according to the time spent and a meter runs to keep track of your time. You pay when you have finished your call. Often it is difficult to find one that is open early in the morning or late at night.
- Cell phone coverage in the state is excellent. There are many service providers offering a wide variety of prepaid and postpaid plans. Among them are Airtel , Spice Telecom  and Vodafone Essar . There are many other companies as well, these are just the main ones used. Majority of the networks are GSM so if you have a cell phone you bring with you, chances are it will run on this network. Some companies like Reliance Mobile , TATA Indicom  offer CDMA networks also, but usually they insist that you but the CDMA handset from them only.
- Cybercafes are located at virtually every street corner and the rates are quite low. Just keep in mind that they have probably not kept pace with advances in hardware or software, so if you find yourself in one of them, don't be surprised if you are stuck with a really small monitor, Windows 98 and IE 5.0. Also data security is an issue. Change your password after you use it at a cybercafe.
|This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!