Things to do in Punjab for a Peek into the Culture & Tradition

Top things to do in Punjab

Punjab is the centre of Sikhism, replete with umpteen Gurudwaras, historical sites, shrines and museums. There is a lot to explore and several exciting things to do in Punjab. You can take a tour of the age-old forts, or walk to the Wagah Border or shop at the markets. Ofcourse, you have to visit the world famous Golden Temple and the historically significant Jallianwala Bagh. And do not forget gorging onto some delicious Punjabi cuisine especially Sarso Saag and Bajra Roti. Take a look at the comprehensive list of top things to do in Punjab given below.

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Here is the list of 20 Things to do in Punjab for a Peek into the Culture & Tradition

1. Find Peace at the Marvellous Golden Temple in Amritsar

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One of the most spiritual places in India, Golden Temple, also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib, is the holiest shrines in Sikhism and is alive with religious fervour and sacredness. Its divinity is a thing that can only be experienced and not described. After going through a tumultuous period of demolitions, it was rebuilt by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1830 purely with marble and gold. In spite of the thousands of people milling about in the premises of the temple, the only voice you will hear around you is silence interspersed with chants of the Sikh prayers. Visiting here is one of the top things to do in Punjab.

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2. Pay Your Respects at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar

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Located near the famous Golden Temple of Amritsar, Jallianwala Bagh is a public garden that also houses a memorial to commemorate the massacre of peaceful celebrators by the British forces. Spread over 6.5 acres of land, Jallianwala Bagh is associated with one of the saddest days in Indian History when thousands of innocent people were killed on the orders of General Dyer as they gathered for a peaceful celebration of Baisakhi. There is a memorial tablet at the entrance which serves as a record of history. The place has now been turned into a beautiful park and is managed by the Jallianwala Bagh National memorial trust.

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3. Walk Down to the Wagah Border in Amritsar

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Located at a distance of 22 km from Lahore and 28 km from Amritsar, Wagah Border marks the boundaries between Indian and Pakistani borders. It runs along the Grand Trunk Road between Amritsar in Punjab, India, and Punjab in Lahore, Pakistan. People from all over the country visit this place to witness the Beating Retreat Ceremony that is held every day before sunset. Be sure to include visiting here in your bucket list of things to do in Punjab.

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4. Visit the Poiltical Institution od Sikhs- Akal Takht in Amritsar

Akal Takht (Throne of the Immortal) is the highest political institution of the Sikhs, founded by the sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind in 1606. Located in the famous Golden Temple complex of Amritsar, the Akal Takht is one of the five Takhts of the Sikhs. These Takhts are seats of power and authority among the Sikh community, and the place of the Jathedar, the highest spokesmen among them. The Akal Takht is meant to be a symbol of political sovereignty and justice, where the spiritual and earthly concerns of the Sikh people could be addressed and examined.

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5. Admire the Architecture of Khair-ud-Din Masjid in Amritsar

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Famous for its architecture, Khair-ud-Din Masjid was established by Mohd. Khairuddin. It was the place from where the great call for waging war against the looting British was announced by Tootie-e-Hind, Shah Attaullah Bukhari. A symbol of liberalism and Muslim heritage in town, the mosque is pretty popular among the tourists. Be sure to include visiting here in your topmost things to do in Punjab.

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6. Shop for Phulkari Dupattas and Juttis at Hall Bazaar in Amritsar

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Offering electronic items, ornaments, best quality books, handicrafts and ready-made garments, Hall Bazaar is famous for its Mughal style gate, complete with a giant clock with caption "Amritsar - Sifti Da Ghar". Although when here, you should definitely buy the vibrant phulkari dupattas and the nagra jootis. Shopping for these items is one of the top touristy things to do in Punjab.

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7. Learn About the Partition of India at Partition Museum in Amritsar

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The Partition Museum, the first-ever museum in the entire world to focus on the stories and trauma of the millions who had to suffer from the bloody consequences of a ruthless partition; was recently opened up at Town Hall in Amritsar. Developed by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust (TAACHT), the museum is a part of the newly inaugurated Heritage Street at Amritsar, which begins from the Golden Temple and ends at the Town Hall. Collections at the Partition Museum include newspaper clippings, photographs as well as personal items that were donated by people who had witnessed and lived during the Partition.

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8. Gorge on Some Delicious Sarso Da Saag and Bajre ki Roti

Punjab is synonymous to food and incomplete without its mouthwatering delicacies rich in color, ingredients, spices and the most elaborate and grand cooking styles. The national cuisine borrows some of its most popular and lip-smacking items from Punjab's menu from Paratha, Tandoori Chicken, Naan, Pakoras to delicacies of Paneer but the most popular still remains Sarso Saag and Bajra Roti. Punjabi food is almost identified with a generous use of 'Ghee' or butter to give the food a rich flavour.

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9. Marvel at the Architecture of Virasat-e-Khalsa Anandpur Sahib in Anandpur Sahib

The Virasat-e-Khalsa Sikh museum was built in the honour of Sikhism and celebrates the glorious Sikh history. Visitors will be thrilled to see relics and memoirs of the struggles and triumphs of Sikh warriors over the past centuries. The building is made in a fortress-style design with a majestic bridge connecting the two structures on either side of a ravine. The smaller building complex on the west comprises of a grand entrance plaza, a double-storey library for research and reference purposes, several exhibition galleries and a huge auditorium with a capacity of 400.

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10. Spiritual Retreat at Takhat Sri Kesgarh Sahib Ji in Anandpur Sahib

Takhat Sri Kesgarh Sahib Ji is a famous Gurudwara is located right in the heart of Anandpur Sahib and is among the most revered Sikh institutions in the country. Its foundation was laid in 1689, and the Khalsa Panth was born here. The initiation of Khande di Pahul by Guru Gobind Singh Ji happened here on the holy day of Baisakhi in 1699. This sacred shrine holds great importance among locals.

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11. Take a Holy Dip at Sarovar Anandpur Sahib in Anandpur Sahib

The pious and holy waters of the Sarovar Anandpur Sahib are like a cleansing ritual for the soul. This sacred lake, covering an area of about 80 square metres (around 860 square feet) is a must-visit spot for locals and tourists alike. Situated right next to the Takhat Sri Kesgarh Sahib Ji, this Sarovar is flocked by people who come to the holy city of Anandpur Sahib for their pilgrimage dip.

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12. Revisit History at Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sikh Museum in Anandpur Sahib

A visit to Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sikh Museum will be an excellent opportunity for you to learn about the glorious past of Sikhism and witness the grandeur of some priceless relics and artefacts from the past. The museum was built in 1983 to mark the 300th anniversary of the Guru’s martyrdom and is located very close to the Takhat Sri Kesgarh Sahib Ji.

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13. Wildlife Safari at Jhajjar Bachauli Wildlife Sanctuary in Anandpur Sahib

Dig into natures choicest offerings at the Jhajjar Bachauli Wildlife Sanctuary. Located just 15 km away from Anandpur Sahib, this nature reserve is the ideal destination for nature lovers, wildlife photographers and adventure enthusiasts. Situated close to the mighty Sutlej river, this wildlife sanctuary offers truly delightful visual treats of nature to visitors. Visitors should not forget to bring their camera and binoculars.

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14. Visit the Pristine Bhakra Nangal Dam in Anandpur Sahib

The Bhakra Nangal Dam is situated about 38 km away from Anandpur Sahib and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region. It comprises of two dams- Bhakra and Nangal. Bhakra Dam is the second tallest dam in Asia with a height of more than 207 meters while the Nangal Dam is a barrage dam located a few km downstream of the Bhakra Dam. The Bhakra Nangal Dam was built in 1963 on the Sutlej River and is the second largest water reservoir in India. Visiting here is one of the topmost things to do in Punjab.

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15. Wildlife Spoting at Ropar Wetlands in Anandpur Sahib

Situated in the lower Himalayan Shivalik range, and 50 km away from Anandpur Sahib, this ecological zone is a human-made wetland that was created in 1952. Because of its unique features and great biodiversity, it was declared to be a World Heritage Site in 2002. This reserve spreads over 1365 hectares and is home to at least nine different species of mammals, 35 different kinds of fish, nine species of arthropods, ten protozoan species, 11 rotifer species and more than 150 species of birds. Many of these animal species belong to the endangered list, for example, the Chitra Indica turtle and the Python molurus snake.

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16. Explore the Magnanimous Gobindgarh Fort in Amritsar

Gobindgarh Fort echoes the grand stories of Punjab's past. The historic fort represents the glorious past of 257 years, starting with the Bhangi Misl era and ending with the Indian Army after The British East India Company. Gobindgarh Fort was first known as 'Bhagian da Qilla' built by Gujar Singh in 1760's. Visitors can tour the area which has now been extraordinarily developed into a live museum, acting as a repository of Punjab's History. The Tokshakhana which is now a museum in the fort was used to store the famous Kohinoor diamond.

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17. Birdwatching at Harike Wetland and Bird Sanctuary in Amritsar

Harike Wetland Bird Sanctuary is the largest wetland in North India. This man-made wetland spreads into Tarn Taran Sahib, Ferozepur and Kapurthala in Punjab, making it a famous destination for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts. Besides a rich wildlife, the Wildlife Department has constructed earthen mounds with trees in order to increase nesting sites for birds. 45,000 ducks have been recorded to have migrated here during the peak season. Winter season is a treat for bird watcher as 200 species of birds including the cotton pygmy, goose, tufted duck, yellow-crowned woodpecker and yellow-eyed pigeon visit the wetland.

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18. Take a Tour of Qila Mubarak Complex in Patiala

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The Qila Mubarak complex is a rampart fort cum palace built in Sikh Palace architectural style- a derivative of Mughal and Rajput style of architecture in India. It was built under the patronage of Maharaja Ala Singh in 1764. The whole complex comprises of various sections including Ran Baas (guest house), Darbar Hall, Qila Androon, with an underground sewerage system within the Qila, and Qila Bahadurgah.

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19. Tour the Age-Old Lodhi Fort in Ludhiana

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Lodhi Fort is one of the forts in the vicinity of Ludhiana in Punjab. Locally known as Purana Qila or Old Fort, it is a grand structure which now lies in ruins due to poor maintenance. The fort stands on a large piece of land now encroached from all sides. What was once the gateway to Sikander Lodhi's empire and the pride of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, now lies forgotten and in ruins. Even though the fort looks like a pretty ordinary ancient structure without invoking much interest of people, it does have a grand past.

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20. Witness the Rural Olympics at Qila Raipur

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Home to one of the quirkiest festivals you will come around anywhere in the world - Rural Olympics, Kila Raipur is an amazing village whose love for sports and recreation is unmatched anywhere else in the country. The small village is located just 15 km from the city of Ludhiana in Punjab and is like any other village of the state with huge fields of wheat and mustard that stretch as far as eyes can see, and a certain calmness and peace about it, except for the three days of February when the village transforms into a hub of sports, enthusiasm and celebration.

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This post was published by Aqsa Aleem

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