For centuries, the historical state of Punjab has been ruled by numerous heroic kings of the country, resulting in the construction of eye-catching buildings, monuments, and lavish palaces. While rural Punjab is known throughout the country for its lush green terrains, paddy fields, and wheat outputs, urban Punjab is known for its link with Sikh Gurus and brave rulers. The historical and scientific architectural worth of the forts and palaces created throughout the state is highly praised. The artistic brilliance of most of these heritage buildings is deserving of praise, and they give history lovers considerable material to ponder. Punjab is a must-see for anyone interested in ancient civilization, spirituality, or history. The people here are extremely proud of their religion and culture, as evidenced by their happy grins.
1. Sri Harmandir Sahib
The Golden Temple in Amritsar is the first thing that springs to mind whenever someone mentions Punjab. It is the Sikh community’s most important cultural treasure, not just a temple or a tourist attraction. It is one of the Indian subcontinent’s most valuable assets. The work began in 1577 AD with the excavation of the Amrit Sarovar, a sacred lake. Sri Guru Amar Dass Ji devised the idea, and Sri Guru Ram Dass Ji carried it out. Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji started the construction of Sri Harmandir Sahib in 1588 AD. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikhs’ holy book, was first introduced in this holy sanctuary in 1604 AD. The temple’s architecture conveys a message about life. The temple is erected at a lower level than the surrounding area, opposing human pride and ego. The presence of four gates in four directions denotes that this location is open to all. Visiting this temple would undoubtedly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
2. Jallianwala Bagh
In the history of British rule in India, April 13, 1919 is remembered as a dark day. Thousands of nonviolent protests were ruthlessly slaughtered by a British unit led by General Reginald Dyer, who suspected a plot against British power since the nonviolent protest was planned by Mahatma Gandhi against the Rowlatt Act’s implementation. The bloodbath occurred in the Jallianwala Bagh grounds, as British troops opened fire without warning.In the history of the British rule in India, April 13, 1919, is remembered as a dark day. Thousands of nonviolent protests were ruthlessly slaughtered by a British unit led by General Reginald Dyer, who suspected a plot against British power since the nonviolent protest was planned by Mahatma Gandhi against the Rowlatt Act’s implementation. The bloodbath occurred in the Jallianwala Bagh grounds, as British troops opened fire without warning.
A memorial was built at Jallianwala Bagh after independence to remember the sacrifice of the innocent Indians. Dr Rajendra Prasad, India’s first President, dedicated the memorial. Visitors are still haunted by the memories of the spine-chilling incident left by gunshot marks on the wall.
3. Akal Takht
The Akal Takht, which means ‘everlasting seat,’ is the high throne of the Sikh Gurus in the Harmandir Sahib. The seat was built in 1606 by Guru Hargovind Sahib. The Akal Takht, one of the five thrones of the Sikhs, served as a judicial seat for the Sikh Gurus to render decisions on religious matters.
The Akal Takht was built 12 feet high, in violation of Emperor Jehangir’s decree, breaching the 3 foot limit for all thrones except the Emperor’s. During Operation Blue Star in 1984, it was vandalized and eventually repaired with contributions.
4. Quila Mubarak
The beautiful Quila Mubarak lies in the middle of Bhatinda, evoking memories of the great monarchs of the past, such as Kanishka, Sultan Mahmud, Razia Sultana, and Prithvi Raj Chauhan. The fort was built on King Kanishka’s initiative during the Kushana dynasty, and it is also known as the Bhatinda Fort. In this medieval fort, Rajia Sultana, the first lady to hold the throne of Delhi, was imprisoned. The fort is divided into two sections, one of which is known as Quila Androon and the other as Quila Mubarak.
The royal family used to live in Qila Androon. It is designed in a grand architectural style that combines Rajasthani and Mughal influences. A visit to this magnificent quila is an experience of awe and magnificence.
5. Sheesh Mahal
Sheesh Mahal, often known as the ‘Palace of Mirrors,’ is a magnificent visual marvel in Patiala. It was once the residence of the Patiala Kings. Maharaja Narinder Singh conceptualised the palace’s design. A section of the palace is made of tinted glass, which adds a splash of colour to the castle’s beauty. Rajasthani painters painted murals on the walls and ceilings depicting ancient tales. The splendour of the premises is enhanced to a heavenly amount by a beautiful garden, fountains, an artificial lake, and a bridge known as the Lakshman Jhoola.
6. Wagah Border
The Wagah Border, which runs along the Grand Trunk Road and is 22 kilometres from Lahore, Pakistan, and 28 kilometres from Amritsar, India, marks the border between India and Pakistan. The Wagah Border Ceremony, also known as the Beating Retreat Ceremony, is the main attraction. It takes place every day. Every evening, shortly before dusk, Indian and Pakistani soldiers gather at this border station for a 30-minute display of military friendship and showmanship. The international gates will be closed, and both countries’ flags will be lowered during this ceremony. Since 1959, the Indian Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers have held a flag ceremony.
Entertainment is also provided as a show of national pride for the thousands of visitors who come here every day. The crowd participates in chanting the Indian national anthem, applauding, and Bollywood-style dancing to Hindi songs during the build-up to the ceremony.
7. Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum
The Maharaja Ranjit Singh Museum is located in Amritsar’s Company Bagh. It was the summer home of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the first king of the Sikh Empire, after whom the museum is named. The Maharaja’s life, as well as the history, art, and architecture of the Sikh community in the 18th and 19th centuries, are currently on display at the museum. The museum is 1.5 kilometres from Amritsar Junction and 4 kilometres from the Golden Temple.
The museum, which was converted into a museum in 1977, contains several antiquities and personal things of the Maharaja, such as his armour and weaponry. It also has wonderful paintings, manuscripts, and coins from previous ages on display. This reflects Maharaja’s secular ethos as well as the province’s rich history. The paintings generally represent scenes from the court and camp of the Sikh ruler. Among all of them, the one showing the city of Lahore is the most well-known among observers. The famous Rambagh Gardens surround the palace, which is known for their monument of the legendary monarch with his horse.
8. Khair-ud-Din Masjid
Khair-ud-Din Masjid was built in 1876 by Mohd. Khairuddin is known for its architecture. The Khairuddin Masjid, also known as Jama Masjid, is a majestic mosque that played a significant role in India’s independence war. From the brackets of this mosque, Syed Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari, a Muslim scholar and political leader, urged the people to take up arms against British rule. It was from here that Tootie-e-Hind, Shah Attaullah Bukhari, issued the momentous call to wage war against the plundering British.
This spectacular formation, built in the arcuate style, is reminiscent of classic Islamic architecture, with exquisite beams and arches. The Jama Masjid’s walls are embellished with beautiful calligraphy Aayats. Built of white marble stone, the intricate designs including miniature paintings are done in green colour that perfectly compliments the white and pops out immediately. This insanely beautiful mosque is visited by locals as well as tourists regularly.
9. Gurdwara Mata Kaulan
On the west side of Amritsar’s Golden Temple sits Mata Kaulan’s sacred shrine, also known as Gurudwara Mata Kaulan. This Gurdwara is named after Bibi Kaulan, a renowned devotee of Guru Har Gobind. The older members of the Sikh community recall her kirtans, which she sang diligently every evening.
Guru Har Gobind encouraged worshippers to take a plunge in the Kaulsar Sarovar before heading to the Amrit Sarovar, which is located next to the Gurdwara Mata Kaulan. The Sarovar is also the first holy water tank in the Muslim world to be named after a woman.
9. Guru Ke Mahal
Guru Ke Mahal, which houses the Granth Sahib and their gurus, was founded by Guru Ram Das in 1573 as a little cottage that grew to house the Sikhs’ famous gurus. Gurudwara Guru Ke Mahal is a simple cottage located on Guru Bazaar’s main street near the Golden Temple in Ramdaspur’s holy city (now known as Amritsar).
The structure was converted into a Gurdwara after it served as a house for Sri Guru Ram Das, the founder of Amritsar. It’s a three-story tabernacle with an elevated platform on which the Sikhs’ holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, is kept.
The Mahal’s structure is separated into three levels. The Gurus used to meditate in the basement, which now functions as a meditation space. On the second floor, there is space for people to sit together and participate in kirtans. The Guru Granth Sahib has been repeated on the uppermost floor. On Baisakhi, Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur is said to have been born in the Mahal. As a result, Baisakhi is also his birthday. On Baisakhi, in addition to the usual rituals, special kirtans and langar known as Guru ka Langar are held. On Guru Tegh Bahadur Jayanti, hundreds of Sikhs and tourists flock to this religious monument.
This simple small cottage, founded by Sri Guru Ram Das Ji, quickly became known as the headquarters of Sikh gurus, albeit it was shortly relocated. The subsequent gurus expanded and embellished this small cottage till it resembled a Mahal.
10. Gobindgarh Fort
Gobindgarh Fort, also known as Gujar Singh Fort, is a mediaeval military bastion in the heart of Amritsar, built by the Bhangi Misi Rulers in the 1760s. The fort, which was originally built of mud, was seized by Maharaja Ranjit Singh and renamed Gobind Garh after the prominent Sikhism religious figure Guru Gobind Singh. The fort was built with bricks and lime andis by Ranjit Singh. A parapet and two doorways may be found on every corner of the fort. Nalwa Gate is the main entrance, and Killer Gate is the back gate. The fort houses the Maharaja’s treasury, weaponry, and other personal effects. The fort is said to have a hidden underground tunnel that leads to Lahore.Gobindgarh Fort, also known as Gujar Singh Fort, is a mediaeval military bastion in the heart of Amritsar, built by the Bhangi Misi Rulers in the 1760s. The fort, which was originally built of mud, was seized by Maharaja Ranjit Singh and renamed Gobind Garh after the prominent Sikhism religious figure Guru Gobind Singh. The fort was built with bricks and lime andis by Ranjit Singh. A parapet and two doorways may be found on every corner of the fort. Nalwa Gate is the main entrance, and Killer Gate is the back gate. The fort houses the Maharaja’s treasury, weaponry, and other personal effects. The fort is said to have a hidden underground tunnel that leads to Lahore.
In Punjab, there are numerous historical sites to visit, each of which will reveal its own unique stories from the past. Punjab, as one can see, has a plethora of tourism attractions. The state offers diverse tourism and is rich in culture and heritage. Punjab is rich in culture, heritage, gastronomy, festivals, fairs, rural life, indigenous arts and crafts, old castles and monuments, religious sites, and much more.