Punjab also spelled Panjab, is a state in northwest India. The Indian state borders the Pakistani province of Punjab to the west, Jammu and Kashmir to the north, Himachal Pradesh to the north-east, Haryana to the south, Chandigarh to the south-east, and Rajasthan to the south-west. The total area of the state is 50,362 square kilometres (19,445 square miles). The population is 24,289,296 (2000). Punjab's capital is Chandigarh, which is administered separately as a Union Territory since it is also the capital of neighbouring Haryana. The major cities of Punjab include Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar and Patiala. The state is the location of one of the world's first and oldest civilizations, the Indus Valley Civilization, India's first civilization.
The word "Punjab" is a combination of the Persian words 'panj' (Five), and 'āb' (Water), giving the literal meaning, the Land of Five Rivers. The five rivers after which Punjab is named are the Beas, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej; Agriculture is the largest occupation in Punjab. The majority of Punjab practices one of two religions. Punjab is the one and only place in the world where Sikhism is the most practiced faith. Sikhism is practiced by about 63.9% of the population. 34.9% of the population practices Hinduism.
The Punjabi language, written in the Gurmukhi script is the prevalent language in the state. Professor Har Gobind Khorana, famous Nobel laureate and biotechnologist was educated at Punjab University.
Punjab has the best infrastructure in all of India and as a result it is becoming attractive to foreign companies looking for bases and manufacturing zones for their Indian operations. Tourism is a swiftly expanding area and many analysts predict huge potential. Tourism in Punjab is principally suited for the tourist interested in culture, civilization, spirituality and epic history. More specifically tourism is particularly suited for the person who is interested in epic history, the celebrated Punjabi culture, royal Punjabi palaces, historic battles and of course the world-renowned examples of Sikh architecture, shrines and temples.
Excluding agriculture, major industries include the manufacture of scientific instruments, electrical goods, machine tools, textiles, tourism, sewing machines, sports goods, starch, fertilizers, bicycles, and the processing of pine oil and sugar. Also, a big source of Pakistani rice.
Punjab (the five rivers region) is one of the most fertile regions on earth. The region is ideal for wheat-growing. Rice, sugar cane, fruits and vegetables are also grown. Indian Punjab is called the "Granary of India" or "India's bread-basket." It produces 14% of India's cotton, 20% of India's wheat, and 9% of India's rice. In worldwide terms, Indian Punjab produces 2% of the world's cotton, 2% of its wheat and 1% of the world's rice. The largest grown crop is wheat. Other important crops are rice, cotton, sugarcane, pearl millet, maize, barley and fruits.
Facts at a glance
Capital – Chandigarh. Time zone – IST (UTC+5:30). Area – 50,362 km² (19,445 sq mi). Largest city – Ludhiana. District(s) – 20. Population – 24,289,296 (15th). Density – 482 /km² (1,248 /sq. Language(s) – Punjabi. Established – 1956-11-01.