Crazy About Punjabi Food And Music? Here's A Guide To ACTUALLY Visiting The Land It All Comes From

Tripoto

It is unfortunate and almost heartbreaking that Punjab, one of the strongest cultural forces in the world right now, is terribly overlooked by travellers. From defining historical monuments to the kulcha streets of Amritsar, there is so much to do, love and experience in Punjab that every trip delayed to this state is a loss.

So, before you end up ignoring the marvels of Punjab again, here is practically everything you could do in Punjab.

For history lovers

Before India's partition in 1947, Punjab was the largest state of India as a large part of it was across the border in Pakistan. The state is also known for being home to the highest population of Sikhs in India. The detailed history of Punjab, its rulers and people, will require an elaborate academic description that my words cannot do justice to. So, instead, let me point you in the direction of surviving structures and monuments around that still tell the colourful narrative of Punjab's history.

Where: Amristar

Built by a local chieftain in the 18th century, the Gobindgarh Fort is one of the oldest forts in Punjab. It was acquired, conquered and re-built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in early 1900s, who then named it after the Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh. The fort is just 2.5km from Golden Temple and is easily reached by public transport.

(c) Raghbirkhanna

Photo of Gobind Garh Fort, Amritsar, Punjab, India by Sreshti Verma

Where: Patiala

In the heart of Bathinda lies the oldest surviving fort in India, Qila Mubarak, which was built sometime between 90-110 AD. Popularised by the story of Razia Sultan, the history of the premises of Qila Mubarak goes back till the Stone Age. Handmade tools such as stone-axe from that period were excavated from the area. The fort is just 3km from Patiala Bus Stand and is easily reached by public transportation.

Where: Patiala

Built by Punjab's most famous patron of arts, Maharaja Narinder Singh, Sheesh Mahal is known for its impressive collection of artefacts from all over the world. Sheesh Mahal is part of the Qila Mubarak complex and also serves as a museum, giving a glimpse into the world of Punjab royalty in the 19th century.

Lodhi Fort

Where: Ludhiana

Located on the banks of Sutlej, the Lodhi Fort was built 500-years ago by the Mughal emperor Sikander Lodhi. Now, the fort stands in ruins, but still gets visited regularly by history enthusiasts. To reach Lodhi Fort, just take an auto from wherever you are in Ludhiana. Traffic can get really bad in the city, so driving is not recommended.

Jagatjit Palace in Kapurthala (c) Graham Beards

Photo of Sheesh Mahal, Moti Bagh, Patiala, Punjab, India by Sreshti Verma

Elysee Palace

Where: Kapurthala

Kapurthala is known as the most royal city of Punjab. Home to the royal Patiala family, Kapurthala has brilliant architectural marvels all over. From the Jagatji Palace, which is now the Sainik School, to Elysee Palace, inspired directly from the Parisian palace of the same name. Once you reach Kapurthala, take any public transport to the palaces, they are easily accessible.

For the culture chasers

The culture of Punjab has contributed to popular Indian music and food more than any other. But there is a deep sense of solidarity, brotherhood and communal harmony in the culture of Punjab that people often miss out on. There are few must visit places in Punjab that will provide you with a heartfelt experience of what it is really like to be a Punjabi.

Hola Mohalla Festival

Where: Ropar

This year the Hola Mohalla Festival will be starting from 13th March, make sure to plan your trip around this amazing Sikh festival. Celebrated extensively for three days in the Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara grounds in Ropar, Hola Mohalla was started by Guru Gobind Singh to fortify the Sikh community. Read more.

(c) Thakur Dalip Singh

Photo of Crazy About Punjabi Food And Music? Here's A Guide To ACTUALLY Visiting The Land It All Comes From by Sreshti Verma

Where: Ludhiana

Popularly called the 'rural Olympics', the Kila Raipur Sports Festival is held in Kila Raipur in Ludhiana every year in the month of February. The event gives recognition to several rural sports such as Tirinjen, Kikli, Gheeta Pathar, Khidu, Kokla Chhapaki, Chicho Chich Ganerian and Kabbadi. Sportsmen from all over Punjab and northern states of India consider it an honour to compete at Kila Raipur.

Farmstays in Punjab

There has been a growing trend of farmstays in Punjab. Travellers from all over India and the world are interested in experiencing the farm life in the agriculture haven of India. There are several budget and luxury options available for a farmstay in Punjab. The Citrus Country Farms, Punjabiyat and Prakriti Farms are few of the trusted and must visit places in Punjab.

For those driven by religion and spirituality

Punjab is considered one of the most secular places in India as Sikhism, the dominant religion, is largely considered to be among the more secular of faiths. Other than Sikhism, Punjab is home to followers of other major religions as well, such as Islam, Christianity and Hinduism. There are several temples, mosques and gurudwaras in Punjab, but here are a few that you must visit on your next trip.

Where: Pathankot

The Mukteshwar Mahadev Dham in Pathankot is one of the must visit places in Punjab as it is valued deeply by the locals for its wish-granting powers. The temple is said to have been established by Pandavas to worship Mata Chintapurni. The temple is just 22km from Pathankot and can easily be reached from the National Highway 20.

(c) Himanshu Sharma

Photo of Mukteshwar Temple, Thara Jhikla, Pathankot, Punjab, India by Sreshti Verma

Where: Amritsar

The holiest gurudwara of Sikhism, the Sri Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar was founded by the fourth Sikh guru, Guru Ram Das in 1577. The construction was expanded by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in later years, who was an avid visitor of the gurudwara all his life. To visit Sri Harmandir Sahib, just reach Amritsar and take an auto to the gurudwara.

Where: Jalandhar

The seat of the bishop of Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, the St. Mary's Cathedral is situated in the cantonment area of the city. Built in 1847, the St. Mary's Cathedral in Jalandhar is one of the must visit places in Punjab. Once you reach Jalandhar, take an auto towards Mall Road, from where the church is easily accessible.

(c) Nabanita Sinha

Photo of St. Mary's Cathedral, Mall Road, Jalandhar Cantt, Jalandhar, Punjab, India by Sreshti Verma

Where: Kapurthala

The inspiration of Moorish Mosque's construction comes directly from the Grand Mosque of Marrakesh in Morocco. Commissioned by Maharaja Jagatjit Singh, this mosque is a symbol of secularism practised all around Punjab. The Jalandhar railway station is close to the Moorish Mosque in Kapurthala; from there you can take any form of public transport to reach here.

Where: Ropar

The city of Ropar is home to a large number of gurudwaras and is also one of the most sacred places for Sikhs in India. Anandpur Sahib is a massive gurudwara complex that also hosts the famous Hola Mohalla festival. Regular buses from all major cities of Punjab come to Anandpur Sahib on daily basis.

For the foodie

To many people in India, Punjab is synonymous to great food and why not? The state has been sustaining, improvising and improving the taste of Mughlai cuisine for centuries.

Even the basic staple of the farmer, makki ki roti with sarson ka saag, is a favourite in almost every north Indian household. If history, culture or religion are not your driving forces to visit Punjab, then the food will most definitely do the trick.

If you are a foodie then here are some delicious eateries that should top your list of must visit places in Punjab.

Ahuja Lassi

Where: Dhab Khatikan, Near Hindu College, Hathi Gate, Amritsar

Must try: Kesar Lassi

Bharawan Da Dhaba in Amritsar

Where: Near Amritsar Municipal Corporation, Town Hall, Amritsar

Must try: Sarson da saag with makke di roti

Kulcha Land

Where: Shop No. 53 Kundan Nagar,Near back side singh Sabha Gurudwara, Extn., Model Town, Ludhiana

Must try: Paneer Kulcha with Amritsari Lassi

(c) Sumit Malhotra

Photo of Anandpur Sahib, Punjab, India by Sreshti Verma

Aman Chicken in Ludhiana

Where: Near Shastri Nagar, Railway Crossing, Pakhowal Road, Jagjit Nagar, Ludhiana

Must try: Butter Chicken

Chawla Chicken Treat

Where: Sco-1, Patiala - 147001, 22 Phatak

Must try: Chicken Tandoori

Pal Dhaba

Where: SCO no 151-152 Sector 28 D, Chandigarh

Must try: Everything mutton!

Have you explored Punjab yet? Share your itinerary with travellers on Tripoto and give them a sneak peek into your adventure.

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