Punjab, the boisterous state of North India, is a beautiful place that is rich in mainly Sikh culture and traditions. Punjab literally means the land of five waters since it is home to five rivers, namely Sutlej, Chenab, Beas, Jhelum and Ravi, all of which are the tributaries of the river Indus.
Sikhism is dominant in Punjab since it originated here in the 15th century and almost 75% of the Sikh population lives in Punjab. Therefore, to experience a different culture that celebrates unique festivals and follows a distinct tradition, visit Punjab and indulge in the following things on your visit to this beautiful state.
Witness The Glorious Golden Temple
Also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib, the famous Golden Temple is the most sacred Sikh pilgrimage site in the world. It is called Golden Temple since the stunning dome of the shrine is made of 100 kg of pure gold!
Built amidst a man-made pool or sarovar, taking a dip in this waterbody is believed to relieve the devotee of all sins. Head to the Golden Temple early in the morning to have langar made from the world's largest free kitchen in Golden Temple.
Watch A Bhangra And Gatka Performance
PC: Pete Birkinshaw
Bhangra is the tradition Punjabi dance form while Gatka is a traditional form of martial arts - which is now performed purely for the purpose of demonstrations. These cultural performances are usually done during various occasions like weddings or festivals like Baisakhi. You can watch Gatka being performed in gurdwaras occasionally as well.
Have The Delicious Punjabi Cuisine
Punjab has its own distinct cuisine that has its own form of cooking and ingredients that is the result of an ancient agriculture and farming lifestyle. Tandoori is a form of cooking that was originated in Punjab while the form of having flatbreads or rotis was also born in Punjab.
Don't forget to sarson ka saag with makki ki roti along with a glass of lassi to get the real taste of Punjab!
Attend The Retreat Ceremony At Wagah Border
The infamous Wagah Border separates India and Pakistan since it falls between Amritsar in India and Lahore in Pakistan. Everyday, a magnificent Beating Retreat Ceremony takes place at the Wagah border right before sunset.
People from both the countries line up in thousands on each side to watch this performance that is undertaken by soldiers from Indian and Pakistani military together. The retreat begins at 4.15 pm during winter and 5.15 pm during summer and goes on for 45 minutes.
Shop For Juttis And Phulkari
PC: Shashwat Nagpal
Phulkari is a traditional embroidery work that originated in Punjab, where "phulkari" literally means "flower work". Shop from the beautiful collection of Phulkari shawls and scarfs found in the shops galore of Amritsar or Patiala.
Also look out for traditional juttis, a kind of footwear that is popular in Punjab. You will find them in various vibrant colours and designs for cheap throughout Punjab.
Celebrate Lohri And Baisakhi
PC: Michael Clark
Lohri is a Punjabi winter festival that marks the end of winter and Baisakhi marks the Sikh New Year. Lohri is usually celebrated in January while Baisakhi usually falls on April 13 or 14.
Celebrate Lohri with bonfire and have delicious food made mainly of sugarcane, nuts or mustard greens. If you visit Punjab during April, don't miss on the Bhangra performances showcased during Baisakhi.
Pay Your Respect At Jallianwala Bagh
PC: Bijay chaurasia
Every Indian history textbook mentions the cruel and terrifying massacre of Jallianwala Bagh that occurred during the British Raj in 1919. In order to commemorate the ones who passed away in this massacre, Jallianwala Bagh has been turned to a memorial and therefore, holds great national importance.
Stroll through the walls dotted with bullet marks and plaques narrating the story of the incident.