The Punjab is a province of Pakistan. It is the country's most populous region with about 56% of Pakistan's total population. The Punjab is home to the Punjabis and various other groups. Neighboring areas are Sindh to the south, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the west, Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Islamabad to the north, and the Indian Punjab to the east. The main languages are Saraiki and Punjabi and their dialects are Mewati, Potowari . The provincial capital is Lahore. Punjab has been known as the "Land of the Five Rivers" since Vedic times. The name Punjab literally translates from the Persian words Panj , meaning Five, and Ab meaning Water. Thus Punjab can be translated as (the) Five Waters - and hence the Land of the Five Rivers, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej and the Beas. These five rivers are all the tributaries of the Indus River. The province was founded in its current form in May 1972.
Punjab is Pakistan's second largest province at 205,344 km² (79,284 mi²) after Balochistan and is located at the northwestern edge of the geologic Indian plate in South Asia. The provincial level-capital and main city of the Punjab is Lahore which has been the historical capital of the region. Other important cities include Multan, Faisalabad, Jhang, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Jhelum and Rawalpindi. Undivided punjab is home to six rivers, of which five flow through Pakistani Punjab. From west to east, these are: the Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej. 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 the Pakistan's other important provinces and territories. In the acronym P-A-K-I-S-T-A-N, the P is for PUNJAB.
The province is a mainly a fertile region along the river valleys, while sparse deserts can be found near the border with Rajasthan and the Sulaiman Range. The region contains the Thar and Cholistan deserts. The Indus River and its many tributaries traverse the Punjab from north to south. The landscape is amongst the most heavily irrigated on earth and canals can be found throughout the province. Weather extremes are notable from the hot and barren south to the cool hills of the north. The foothills of the Himalayas are found in the extreme north as well.
Punjab Culture and History
Punjab Arts and Crafts
Arts and crafts in Punjab are of two types, either folk crafts, found primarily in rural areas, comprised of cotton textiles, basketry, and embroidery etc…,or royal crafts found in urban areas, particularly in Lahore, where tile, handcrafted woodwork, hand carved ivory and bone, ‘naqqashis’, architectural crafts, as well as silver and gold hand filigreed jewelry are made.
Lahore is the center for hand knotted carpets that are still made in keeping with the same traditions since the Mughal period. Colorful silk and cotton fabrics, like the khaddar cloth of Kamalia, are popular, and still woven on handlooms, either block printed, or beautifully embroidered with fine details by hand. Multan is most famous for its hand woven bed covers and handmade leather sandals with gorgeous bead work and ornate designs.
Every village and many markets have potters that can be seen working and producing the same traditional vessels, jugs, cups, and containers as their ancestors did centuries ago. Multan is known for its blue glazed pottery that can be traced back to Persian influence of the 13th century, hand painted using the same constituents of their predecessors to produce the illustrious colors uniquely produced from this area. Rawalpindi, Bahawalpur and Gujrat also produces pottery fired in hand made earthen kilns and colorfully painted.
Chiniot is especially known for its hand hewn woodwork a trade that has been past down from generation to generation. Their work is often inlaid with brass, bone, ivory, and semi precious stones from the mountains. In addition to royal crafts, and carpets, Lahore has many metal designers working with copper, brass and iron producing unique furniture and decorative items.
Graphic Arts, and landscape paintings continue to be produced as well as more complex modern trends. The main art centers in the province are Al-Hamra, the National College of Arts, Fine Arts Department of the Punjab University and the Lahore Art Gallery, all located in Lahore.
Fairs and festivals
The culture of Punjab derives its basis from the institution of Sufi saints. The Sufi saints spread Islam and preached and lived the Muslim way of life. People have festivities to commemorate these traditions. The fairs and festivals of Punjab reflect the entire gamut of its folk life and cultural traditions. These mainly fall in following categories:
Religious and seasonal fairs/festivals
Religious fairs are held on special days of Islamic significance like Eid ul-Adha, Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi, Ashura, Laylat al-Qadr and Jumu'ah-tul-Wida. The main activities on these special occasions are confined to congregational prayers and rituals. Melas are also held to mark these occasions.
Devotional fairs or Urs
The fairs held at the shrines of Sufi saints are called urs. They generally mark the death anniversary of the saint. On these occasions devotees assemble in large numbers and pay homage to the memory of the saint. Soul inspiring music is played and devotees dance in ecstasy. The music on these occasions is essentially folk and appealing. It forms a part of the folk music through mystic messages. The most important urs are: urs of Data Ganj Buksh at Lahore, urs of Hazrat Sultan Bahu at Jhang, urs of Hazrat Shah Jewna at Jhang ,urs of Hazrat Mian Mir at Lahore, urs of Baba Farid Ganj Shakar at Pakpattan, urs of Hazrat Bahaudin Zakria at Multan, urs of Sakhi Sarwar Sultan at Dera Ghazi Khan, urs of Shah Hussain at Lahore, urs of Hazrat Bulleh Shah at Kasur, urs of Hazrat Imam Bari (Bari Shah Latif) at Rawalpindi-Islamabad and urs of Shah Inayar Qadri (the murrshad of Bulleh Shah) in Lahore.
A big fair/mela is organized at Jandiala Sher Khan in district Sheikhupura on the Mausoleum of Syed Waris Shah who is the most loved Sufi poet of Punjab due to his claasic work known as Heer Ranjha. The shrine of Heer Ranjha in Jhang has been one of the most visited shrines in Punjab.
Industrial and commercial fairs
Exhibitions and Annual Horse Shows in all Districts and National Horse and Cattle Show at Lahore are held with the official patronage. National Horse and Cattle Show at Lahore is the biggest festival where sports, exhibitions, and livestock competitions are held. It not only encourages and patronizes agricultural products and livestock through the exhibitions of agricultural products and cattle but is also a colourful documentary on the rich cultural heritage of the Province with its strong rural roots.
In addition to the religious festivals, Punjabis celebrate seasonal and harvest festivals which include Lohri, Basant, Baisakhi and Teej.
There are two areas of Punjab in pakistan, which are southern punjab and north punjab. Both these areas have their own weather pattern like north punjab is more wet and south punjab is little drier than north punjab. Most areas in Punjab experience fairly cool winters, often accompanied by Western Disturbance rain. Woolen shawls are worn by women and men for warmth because few homes are heated. By mid-February the temperature begins to rise; springtime weather continues until mid-April, when the summer heat sets in.
The onset of the southwest monsoon is anticipated to reach Punjab by june, but since the early 1970s the weather pattern has been irregular but monsoon reaches Punjab in the second week of july. The Pothohar Plateau also receives a good deal of rainfall during the winter season. The spring monsoon has either skipped over the area or has caused it to rain so hard that floods have resulted. June and July are oppressively hot. There are many hot places in Punjab, one of them is Multan where 54C temperature was recorded in june 1993. when the mercury was reported to have risen to 54°C. In August the oppressive heat is punctuated by the rainy season, referred to as barsat, which brings relief in its wake. The hardest part of the summer is then over, but cooler weather does not come until late October.
Climatically, Punjab has three major seasons as under:
• 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 cm in the plains.
• Cold weather (October to March). Temperature goes down as low as 40F.
Most areas in Punjab experience fairly cool winters, often accompanied by rain. By mid-February the temperature begins to rise; springtime weather continues until mid-April, when the summer heat sets in.
Recently the province experienced one of the coldest winters in the last 70 years. Experts are suggesting that this is due to global climate change.
Saraiki is the fourth most widely spoken language in Pakistan, behind Punjabi, Pushto (Pashto), and Sindhi; and within Punjab Province it is one of the two major languages.
Mewati is an Indo-Aryan language, classified as an unclassified language in the Central Indo-Aryan languages, and is spoken by about five million speakers in Alwar, Bharatpur and Dholpur districts of Rajasthan, and Faridabad and Gurgaon districts of Haryana states of India, as well as parts of southern Pakistan.
It is closely related to the Punjabi and is considered a transitional dialect between Lahnda and Pahari. It is often referred to as Pahari-Pothwari. Dialects include Dhundi-Kairali, Chibhali, Mirpuri, Jhelumi, Pindiwali and Punchhi (Poonchi).
Punjabi or Panjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by inhabitants of the historical Punjab region (north western India and in Pakistan ).For Sikhs the Punjabi language stands as the official language in which all ceremonies and rituals would take place.
According to the Ethnologue 2005 estimate, there are 88 million native speakers of the Punjabi language, which makes it approximately the 13th most widely spoken language in the world. According to the 2008 Census of Pakistan, there are 76,335,300 native Punjabi speakers in Pakistan and according to the Census of India, there are 29,102,477 Punjabi speakers in India.
Punjabi language has many different dialects, spoken in the different sub-regions of greater Punjab. The Majhi dialect is Punjabi's prestige dialect. This dialect is considered as textbook punjabi and is spoken in the historical region of Majha, centralizing in Lahore and Amritsar.
Rivers of Punjab
Jhelum River or Jhelum River is a river that flows in India and Pakistan. It is the largest and most western of the five rivers of Punjab, and passes through Jhelum District. It is a tributary of the Chenab River and has a total length of about 480 miles (774 kilometers).
The river Jhelum rises from a spring at Verinag situated at the foot of the Pir Panjal in the south-eastern part of the valley of Kashmir in India. It flows through Srinagar and the Wular lake before entering Pakistan through a deep narrow gorge. The Kishenganga (Neelum) River, the largest tributary of the Jhelum, joins it, at Domel Muzaffarabad, as does the next largest, the Kunhar River of the Kaghan valley. It also connects with Pakistan and Pakistan-held Kashmir on Kohala Bridge east of Circle Bakote. It is then joined by the Poonch river, and flows into the Mangla Dam reservoir in the district of Mirpur. The Jhelum enters the Punjab in the Jhelum District. From there, it flows through the plains of Pakistan's Punjab, forming the boundary between the Chaj and Sindh Sagar Doabs. It ends in a confluence with the Chenab at Trimmu in District Jhang. The Chenab merges with the Sutlej to form the Panjnad River which joins the Indus River at Mithankot.
The Chenab River is formed by the confluence of the Chandra and Bhaga rivers at Tandi located in the upper Himalayas in the Lahul and Spiti District of Himachal Pradesh, India. In its upper reaches it is also known as the Chandrabhaga. It flows through the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir into the plains of the Punjab, forming the boundary between the Rechna and Jech interfluves (Doabs in Persian). It is joined by the Jhelum River at Trimmu and then by the Ravi River Ahmedpur Sial. It then merges with the Sutlej River near Uch Sharif, Pakistan to form the Panjnad or the 'Five Rivers', the fifth being the Beas River which joins the Satluj near Ferozepur, India. The Chenab then joins the Indus at Mithankot, Pakistan. The total length of the Chenab is approximately 960 kilometres. The waters of the Chenab are allocated to Pakistan under the terms of the Indus Waters Treaty
The Ravi is a trans-boundary river flowing through Northwestern India and Northeastern Pakistan. It is one of the six rivers of the Indus System in Punjab region (name of Punjab means "Five Rivers").
The main Ravi River flows through the base of Dalhousie hill, past the Chamba town. It is located at an elevation of 2,807 feet (856 m) (where a long wooden bridge existed to cross the Ravi River). It flows into the south-west, near Dalhousie, and then cuts a gorge in the Dhauladhar Range, before entering the Punjab plain near Madhopur and Pathankot. It then flows along the Indo–Pak border for80 kilometres (50 mi) before entering Pakistan and joining the Chenab River. The total length of the river is about 725 kilometres (450 mi)
Ujh River is another major tributary of the Ravi River. its source is located in the Kailash mountains at an elevation of 4,300 metres (14,100 ft), close to the Bhaderwah Mountains in Jammu district. After flowing for 100 kilometres (62 mi) stretch, it joins Ravi at Nainkot in Pakistan.
As the Ravi flows past Lahore in Pakistan (26 kilometres (16 mi) below Amritsar in India) it is called 'The river of Lahore' since that city is located on its eastern bank. After passing through Lahore the river takes a turn at Kamlia and then debouches into the Chenab River, south of the town of Ahmadpur Sial. On its western bank is the town of Shahdara Bagh with the tomb of Jahangir and the Tomb of Noor Jahan.
The Sutlej River is the longest of the five rivers that flow through the historic crossroad region of Punjab in northern India and Pakistan. It is located north of the Vindhya Range, south of the Hindu Kush segment of the Himalayas, and east of the Central Sulaiman Range in Pakistan.
The Sutlej is sometimes known as the Red River. It is the easternmost tributary of the Indus River. Its source is at Lake Rakshastal in Tibet near Mount Kailas, and it flows generally west and southwest entering India through the Shipki La pass in Himachal Pradesh. In Pakistan,it waters the ancient and historical former Bahawalpur state. The region to its south and east is arid, and is known as Cholistan a part of Bahawalpur Division. The Sutlej joins with the Beas River in Hari-Ke-Patan, Amritsar, Punjab, India, and continues southwest into Pakistan to unite with the Chenab River, forming the Panjnad River near Bahawalpur.The Panjnad joins the Indus River at Mithankot. Indus then flows through a gorge near Sukkur, flows through the fertile plains region of Sindh, and terminates in the Arabian Sea near the port city of Karachi in Pakistan.
The waters of the Sutlej are allocated to India under the Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan, and are mostly diverted to irrigation canals in India. There are several major hydroelectric projects on the Sutlej, e.g. the 1000 MW Bhakra Dam, the 1000 MW Karcham-Wangtoo and the 1650 MW Nathpa Jhakri Hydroelectric Dam. There has been a proposal to build a 214-kilometre (133 mi) long heavy freight canal, known as the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL), in India to connect the Sutlej and Yamuna rivers. However, the proposal met obstacles and was referred to the Supreme Court.
The Sutlej was known as Sutudri in the Vedic period.
The Beas River is the second easternmost of the rivers of the Punjab, a tributary of Indus River. The river rises in the Himalayas in central Himachal Pradesh, India, and flows for some 470 km (290 miles) to the Sutlej River in South Punjab of India.
The river begins at the Rohtang Pass in the state of Himachal Pradesh, merging with the Sutlej at Harike Pattan south of Amritsar in Punjab, India via Mandi. The Sutlej continues into Pakistani Punjab and joins the Chenab River at Uch near Bahawalpur to form the Panjnad River; the latter in turn joins the Indus River at Mithankot. The waters of the Ravi, Beas (Vipasha) and Sutlej (also known as Shathadru) rivers are allocated to India under the Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan.
How to Reach
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 to Lahore. From Kashi China one can travel by road via the KKH upto Gilgit for about 50$ and from Gilgit there are direct buses to Islamabad for about 5$ but 17 hours of journey on harrowingly winding roads.
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 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 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 are delayed.
Punjab has train links with its neighbour 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 a casualty and strained relationships between the two neighbors, it is strongly advised that you take taxis or buses to and from the border instead.
From ancient times people have been travelling through Punjab using the Grand Trunk Road that run 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. Which is about to be expanded from current 10m wide to 30m because of the increase in trade traffic due to Gwader port opening.
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.
Where to Stay
In Punjab you can easily find so many hotels in each and every city of it. The hotels may be 5 star, seven stars, and three stars. Normal rates hotels, cheap hotels and simple accommodation can be easily avail in any city of Punjab. Different types of guest houses, ans rest houses are also available. So the ease of accommodation can be avail in any city of Punjab.
What to Eat
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 declicious 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 - A long skewer of Beef mixed with herbs and seasonings.
Shami Kabab - A round patty of seasoned Beef, softer than seekh kabobs.
Chapli Kabab - A spicy round kabob that is a specialty of Peshawar.
Chicken Kabab - A popular kabob that is found both with bone and without.
Lamb Kabab - The all lamb meat kabob is usually served as cubes.
More Pakistani Foods:
Roasted Chicken (whole) - A whole chicken roasted. Very famous around Pakistan. You'll see them on the rotisserie while driving on Lahore streets.
Biryani - A dish with mixed pieces of chicken and rice. It smells nice from the saffron and other seasonings added.
Chicken Tikka - Barbequed chicken with a spicy exterior. Looks like a huge, red chicken leg and thigh. For all meat lovers. Is 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.
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.
Aloo Gosht (Potatoes and Meat) - Chunks of potato and goat meat in gravy. Levels of spice 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.
Enjoy a variety; ice cream can be found in an abundance of flavors such as the traditional pistachio flavoured Kulfi;
Falooda (?????) 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".
What to Drink
Tea (or Chai as it is referred to in Pakistan) is popular throughout the country.
o 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.
o Kashmiri chai is a milky tea with almonds and nuts added to give additional flavour. 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.
What to Do
- See Art galleries, Museums
- Desert Safari
- Jeep Rally s
- Eco tours
- Para gliding
Places of Attraction
- Mountains & Hill Stations of Punjab
- Pir Sohawa
- Fort Munro
Parks of Punjab
- Jallo Park
- Changa Manga
- Safari Park
- Lal Sohanra National Park
- Sozo Water Park
- Gulshan Iqbal Park
- Jinnah Park
- Iqbal Park
- Model Town Park
- Race Course Park
Forts of Punjab
- Lahore Fort
- Rohtas Fort
- Derawar Fort
- Cholistan Desert Forts
- Multan Fort
- Rawat Fort
Tombs of Punjab
- Jahangir's Tomb
- Asif Jah's Tomb
- Nur Jahan's Tomb
- Anarkali's Tomb
- Allama Iqbal's Tomb
- Qutb-ud-Din Aibak Tomb
- Dai Anga's Tomb
Historical Structures and Buildings
- Tilla Jogian
- Lahore Old City
- Shalimar Gardens
- Shahi Hammam
- Hiran Minar
- Kamran's Baradari
Shrines of Punjab
- Uch Sharif
- Shrine of Data Ganj Bukhsh
- Shrine of BahaudDin Zakiria
- Mausoleum of Rukn-I-Alam
- Shah Shams Tabrez
Famous Mosques of Punjab
- Shah Faisal Mosque
- Badshahi Mosque
- Wazir Khan Mosque
- Golden or Sunehri Mosque
- Bhong Mosque
- Mahabbat Khan Mosque
- Dai Anga Mosque
- Shah Jahan Mosque
- Tauba Mosque
- Pearl Mosque
Salt Range of Punjab
- Kallar Kahar
- Khewra Salt Mine
- Nandna Fort
- Choa Sedan Shah