Punjab is home to many archeological treasures, museums, monuments and other tourist attractions. The best thing about Punjab is its beautiful blend of heritage and culture with modernity.
Click on the following links to view details of various places of historical importance of Punjab:
Evidence of Harappan Culture, Ropar
At Ropar, called Rup Nagar (the ‘town of beauty’) in olden times, evidence of Harappan culture of the Indus Valley Civilisation and relics of Alexander’s Army have been discovered.
Sanghol, Fatehgarh Sahib
Archaeological digs here have yielded relics which date back from Harrapan Culture of 6th century A.D. A Stupa and a Buddhist monastery complex of the Kushan era (1st-2nd Century AD) have also been unearthed here.
Gobindgarh Fort, Amritsar
Artillery attacks were frequent when Punjab was still open to depredations of the Afghan hordes. This early 19th century fort designed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh showcases special defence mechanisms against such attacks.
The fort housed Gen Dyer during the British Raj who got an execution house constructed in front of his bungalow and witnessed execution of prisoners from his house. This execution house, called Phansi Ghar still stands there acting as a witness to the bygone era of Freedom Struggle.
This schooner shaped fort stood like a ship in a sea of sand. With a design that is suited to the desert environment, this fort is reputed to be 1800 years old.
The tenth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh also visited this fort and a small Gurudwara commemorates his visit.
Qila Mubark, Faridkot Fort
Situated 30 Kms south of Ferozepur, this fort is about 800 years old. The old fort was built by Raja Mokulsi on square-shaped land, measuring more than 10 acres. The beauty of this fort lies in its magnificent architecture. Elegantly designed in European style and constructed by skilled masons, it is a masterpiece of workmanship.
Qila Mubark, Patiala
Founded in 1764 by Maharaja Ala Singh, this was originally a kuchi-garhi or a mud fort which was later raised into a sprawling, double storied structure with a massive gate beautiful arches. The Qila Mubarak complex stands in 10-acre ground in the heart of the city, and contains the main palace or Qila Androon, the guesthouse or Ran Baas and the Durbar Hall. The highlight of the fort is its museum.
Anandpur Sahib Fort, Ropar
Picturesquely set against the Naina Devi ranges, this brick fort was built by Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth Sikh Guru. Anandpur Sahib was defended by five forts and all of them have become victims of the ravages of war and times. The central fort Anandgarh Sahib is still extant in parts. Every year during the Holi celebrations in March-April, thousands of Sikh pilgrims meet here to participate in a fair known as Hola Mahalla.
Phillaur Fort, Ludhiana
Designed by Dewan Mohkam Chand, the brave general of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, this fort faced the British border along Ludhiana. It houses a police training centre now.
Shahpur Kandi Fort, Pathankot
In Shahpur, a little town on the left bank of the River Ravi, the 16th century Shahpur Kandi Fort nestles at the foot of the towering Himalayas and overlooks the river. Near the fort are some Muslim tombs and a mosque.
Summer Palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Amritsar
The palace spreads across 84 acres and has a garden of rare plants, trees and flowers, surrounded by a boundary wall, 14 feet high and a moat all around it. This beautiful palace had also several equally beautiful built clusters which the British converted into clubs and libraries.
The entrance of the palace called the Darshani Deori has a unique design. It has four two-storied towers in the cardinal directions. There are two tanks, one connecting the palace with water channels fitted with fountains and the other with the air-conditioning pipes circuiting the outer walls and the bathing tanks of the double-storied part of the residence.
Moti Palace, Patiala
The Qila (fort) was also the residence of Patiala dynasty. The residential part was called Qila Androon or the Inner Fort. Its living apartments have names like Jail Walla Palace for royal prisoners, the Moti (pearl) Palace, the Shish (mirror work) Palace, the Rajmata (Queen Mother) Palace, the Palace of Colours and the Palace of the Moon. The recreational structures were called the Putli (Puppet) Ghar and Bagh Ghar or the Garden House. Its richly painted chambers are peerless.
The Shish Mahal, Patiala
This palace, was ensconced in a forest. It had amazing terraces, gardens, fountains and an artificial lake. There are two watch towers in the north and the south. Shish Mahal, the residential palace, is connected with a suspension bridge, a copy of the Lakhsman Jhula at Rishikesh.
The palace has galleries displaying antique paintings, bronzes, sculptures and portraits of the Maharajas of Patiala. The highlight is the gallery which displays the world’s largest collection of medals, decoration and orders of various countries.
The best and most impressive Palace in Punjab was that of the ex-ruler of Kapurthala which has now been converted into a Sainik School.
Museums in Punjab possess an extensive range of paintings and sculptures by contemporary Indian artists as well as a collection of Indian miniatures of the Mogul, Rajasthani, Pahari and Sikh schools. The museums also house a fine collection of medals, arms and armours, objects of princely states with sections on Archaeology, Anthropology, Tribal and folk arts depicting different concepts and scopes in the patterns of Art and Culture. Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum, Amritsar
The summer palace of erstwhile king, Maharaja Ranjit Singh is now transformed in to a wonderful Museum. The manuscripts on display in the museum give a clear account of the rich history and tradition of the Sikh province especially of the time of Ranjit Singh.
Sanghol Museum, Fatehgarh Sahib
The Sanghol museum is a repository of archaeological findings of Punjab’s ancient civilization.
A vast treasury of about 15000 antiquities has been collected, it comprises of antiquities of diverse nature like sculptures, terracotta, pottery, seals, sealing, coins, ivory, carvings, precious stones and other art objects.
One of the most important monuments here is a Stupa with Buddhist monastery dating back to 1st and 2nd Century A.D.
Angol Sikh War Memorial, Ferozepur
Angol Sikh War Memorial museum stands witness to some of the fiercest battles fought between the Sikhs and the British. The museum has an impressive array of large paintings by Sikh artists showing scenes from the battles. Maps showing battle formations and tactics of both sides are also of interest.
Govt. Museum, Hoshiarpur
At this museum fossils and rare sculptures collected from the archaeological site of Dholbaha are on display. The rare relics displayed here date back to the Stone age.
Rural Museum, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana
One can view exotic exhibits of the faded aspects of the rural Punjabi culture here. Rare relics of the era gone by, its arts, handicrafts, modes of eking out a living make the finest of displays.
Museum of Armoury & Chandeliers, Qila Mubarak, Patiala
The Darbar Hall contains rare cannons, swords, shields and maces, daggers of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, sword of Nadar Shah, etc. It also has a rich collection of chandeliers from Europe--one of the best collections in the world.
Art Gallery at Shish Mahal, Patiala
Rare collection of miniature paintings in Kangra, Rajasthan and Patiala styles are on display here. There is a special section on Tibetan Arts and Artefacts. Its Medal Gallery contains the world's largest collection of Medals and decorations.
Sports Museum, National Institute of Sports, Patiala
A unique exhibition centre, this museum contains rare photographs, medals and kits of the great Indian sportsmen. It is set in the sylvan surroundings of Moti Bagh Palace.
Guru Teg Bahadur Museum, Anandpur Sahib
This museum depicts the saga of Sikh history. Its paintings have been done by leading contemporary artists of Punjab.
It is a highly revered religious building, with a dome covered with gold. It is a holy shrine for the Sikhs but people from various other religions also drop in here to catch a glimpse of this holy place. The temple is exquisitely adorned with intricate designs and carvings. It is a must-see site if you plan to travel to Punjab.
This is the border between India and Pakistan and lies on the Grand Trunk Road. The “lowering of the flags” ceremony is performed here every evening.
Spread over three square kilometers on the northern border of the city, it is a beautiful man-made lake. It is a wonderful spot to escape to from the humdrum of the city life and is ideal for enjoying nature’s beauty in peace. This lake is also a favored spot for the ardent bird watchers as sizeable population of a variety of birds drop in here during the winter months from Central Asia and Siberia.
Ranjit Sagar Dam
The Dam has abundance of natural beauty, serene atmosphere and open spaces.
Bhakra Dam, Nangal
The Bhakra Dam constructed on Satluj river in November, 1955 is a multipurpose Bhakra Project which includes (apart from Bhakra Dam), the Nangal Dam, Nangal Hydel Channel, Ganguwal and Kotla Power Houses. It has contributed majorly to the town’s prosperity.
The birthplace of Khalsa, Anandpur Sahib, is located on the left bank of the river Sutlej. The town was founded by Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth Sikh Guru. Gurudwara Keshgarh Sahib is the most important of the shrines as it is here that Khalsa was created in 1699 on the day of Baisakhi (13th April).
Khalsa Heritage Complex
To commemorate the Tercentenary year of the Birth of the Khalsa, the Government of Punjab envisioned the Khalsa Heritage Complex at Anandpur Sahib as an inspiring tribute to the heroic and poignant saga of the Sikhs and the Punjab.
Built on a 100-acre site, the Complex has presently been conceived as two functionally integrated sets of buildings. The Western complex forms the gateway for the town. It houses functions that respond directly to the needs of the people — changing exhibit galleries; a two-level research and reference library centered around a great reading room open to vistas of water gardens to house rare archival materials, books, journals as well as audio visual resources; and a 400-seat auditorium to host seminars and cultural events.
Pushpa Gujral Science City
It is the largest and the second Science City in India. The biggest project of its kind in Northern India, Pushpa Gujral Science City is far more than being just a Museum or a Theme Park. An 18-foot-high eye-catching model of dinosaur, a GSLV missile and a globe made out of tiny 26 lakh colourful tiles present an awesome view from outside. A kids park, a health gallery and an artificial lake are the other attractions.
Purana Quila, Mehdiana Sahib Gurudwara, Hussaini Wala Border in Ferozpur, Asafwala War Memorial, Gurudwara Bhabour Sahib and Shahpur kandi fort are some of the other tourist attractions in Punjab.
* Errors and Omissions Exempted