My photos from Punjab
Population: 22 million
Area: 50,300 sq km
Main Language: Punjabi
Literacy Rate: 57%
Best Time to Visit: October to mid-April
Before Partition in 1947, the Punjab used to cover part of Pakistan and present-day Punjab, with Lahore as the capital. Lahore is now the capital of the Punjab state in Pakistan. The main city in the Punjab is Amritsar, the holy city of the Sikhs. The main reason why most people come to Punjab is to see the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
I have yet to meet anyone who did not enjoy their trip there. Some major battles were fought in Punjab, which helped shape the destiny of India. For years, Muslim invaders entered India through Punjab.
The Mughals gained control of Northern India after the Battle of Panipat in 1526. In 1966 Punjab was divided into the mainly Sikh and Punjabi-speaking state of Punjab, and the predominantly Hindu and Hindi-speaking state of Haryana. Chandigarh is the capital of both states. It is a Union Territory. Punjab is the richest state in India. It accounts for a high percentage of the wheat and dairy production in India. Ludhiana and Jalandhar are major industrial cities. Punjabis as a class are hard-working people who take pride in their work. Sikhs as a class are friendly, helpful, and fair people. They believe in working hard for a living.
They are usually efficient, and will often try to charge higher prices for their services. In the past there has been tension in Punjab. Sikh militants have wanted to form an independent Sikh nation called Khalistan. In 1983, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the Sikh militant leader, shut himself up in the Golden Temple in Amritsar and the violence in Punjab increased. In 1984, Indira Gandhi dismissed the state government and the Central government ruled Punjab directly. By the summer of 1984, over 350 people had been killed. In June, under Indira Gandhi’s order, the army stormed the Golden Temple in what was known as “Operation Blue Star.”
Although a commando raid was intended, the attack turned into a full-scale battle. At the end of it, more than 750 people had been killed, including Bhindranwale and 200 soldiers. Four of the six generals who planned Operation Blue Star were Sikhs. Many Sikhs considered the attack on the Golden Temple to be a sacrilege. Thousands of Sikhs deserted the army. Although gradually the mood calmed, Indira Gandhi was assassinated on October 31 by two of her own Sikh bodyguards. Massive riots in Delhi and other places followed in which Hindus killed thousands of Sikhs. After this, the militant movement in Punjab became even more powerful.
Violence escalated in 1988 and militants reoccupied the Golden Temple, but this time the police dealt with the situation relatively peacefully. Many Sikhs boycotted the elections in 1992. Since then, it has been basically calm. Sikh militants are not aggressive toward tourists.