The state of Punjab is home to some tantalizing establishments. Surrounding them predominately, is a rich religious history. Punjab is the birthplace of Sikhism. So it hordes an impressive number of Sikh temples known as ‘Gurdwara’. All of them come with a profound past coupled with their architectural excellence. Many Hindu temples and Mosques are also present here, demonstrating the secular culture of the state. There is no shortage of natural beauty either. Presented below are 30 places to visit in Punjab.
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Top 30 Places to Visit in Punjab, India
1. Jagjit Club
First up on this list of places to visit in Punjab, this gorgeous edifice lies in the core of Kapurthala. The inspiration for this piece of architecture came from Greco-Roman architecture. The columns of the building evoke a resemblance to the Acropolis of Athens. You will notice the Coat of Arms of the former leading family of Kapurthala with the dictum “Pro Rege et Patria’ i.e. “For King and Country”. It used to be a Church in the early 19th century. Thereafter, it served as a cinema hall. Today, it functions as a club with a dining hall, a badminton court, and a card room.
2. Gurudwara Baba Atal Rai
Baba Atal Rai was the son of Guru Hargobind Sahib, the 6th Guru of the Sikh community. Legend has it that when he was 9 years old, he revived a friend back to life after his untimely demise. This incurred the anger of his father. Realizing his mistake, Baba Atal Rai entered a deep meditation. Soon he passed away. A 9 storied building was constructed to reflect the 9 years of his life.
The building is double octagonal in shape, one rising to the outside and the other towards the inside. A narrower octagonal base from the inside supports nine floors and finishes in a dome. Besides, this building has a cardinal door in each direction. The door to the south however, acts as the primary entrance.
3. Bathinda Fort
Next on this list of places to visit in Punjab, Bathinda Fort is the oldest fort in India that is still intact. It is almost 1400 years old! Raja Deb and King Kushana established it. It holds immense historic value. Four cannons owned by Babur can be found here .The first empress of India, Razia Sultana, lived here after her dethroning and imprisonment. During her captivity, Malik Ikhtiar-ud-din Altunia, the 13th century governor of Bathinda, was infatuated with her. Eventually they married. This site was re-established as a pilgrimage for the Sikhs later on.
4. Mahraja Ranjit Singh Museum
The first ruler of the Sikh empire, Mahraja Ranjit Singh, owned several palaces. His summer palace turned into a museum which holds all his possessions and memorabilia. Weapons, armors, coins, manuscripts, paintings belonging to Mahraja Ranjit Singh are preserved here. A replica of the Kohinoor diamond can also exists. A beautiful garden covers the museum on all sides. You will get to observe the famous statue of the king riding a horse in the garden. The garden is known as Ram Bagh.
5. Khalsa College
Next on our list of places to visit in Punjab, this is one of the oldest educational institutes in Punjab, founded way back in 1892. The architectural prowess of the building is simply fascinating. Both ancient Indian and Mughal architecture served as its inspiration. Bhai Ram Singh was the chief designer of the building. It was built as a means to provide higher education to the Sikhs and Punjabis in the British era. This college takes pride in a rich alumni. It has given birth to countless freedom fighters, scientists, researchers, sportsmen, political personalities and writers.
6. Shri Ram Tirth Temple
This temple is an icon of Hindu mythology. Constructed with lime yellow stones, it stands tall to honor the birthplace of Kusha and Luava – the twin sons of mythological figures Rama and Sita. The religious scriptures depict this place as the dwelling of saint Balmiki. People believe that Hanuman dug up the well that exists nearby the temple. The place is easily accessible hence the locals gather frequently to offer prayers. The temple organizes a 5 daylong event each year, around the time of Diwali.
7. Golden Temple
One of the most renowned tourist destinations of Punjab. Also known as, Darbar Sahib or Harmandir Sahib, it is a sacred spot for the Sikh community. This lusciously golden temple is also aptly named ‘Swarn Mandir’. Astonishingly enough, the temple is actually constructed with real gold! The sunrise and sunset views of this place is a sight one must experience at least once in a lifetime. Situated in the middle of a beautiful lake. The holy book of the Sikh community, Guru Granth Sahib is inside the temple. This place is quite close to the Amritsar Railway Station. That makes it easy to get to.
8. Rock Garden
A wonderful garden filled with sculptures. People also know this as “Nek Chand’s Rock Garden”. Nek Chand Saini was the founder of the Rock Garden. He was a government official who liked building sculptures in his leisure. What makes the sculptures unique is that they are made entirely of throw away materials. He used things like tires, bangles, fragments of pipes, ceramic tiles, sinks. Nek Chand collected these materials and secretly built sculptures. They gradually accumulated over the years to reach what they are today. Because of these intriguing materials, the effigies look rather unique. This place also has man made waterfalls and a dolls museum. The museum houses about 200 dolls made from scrap clothing by Nek Chand himself.
9. Wagah Border
This place serves as a symbol of amity between two rivaling nations, India and Pakistan. It stands right between Lahore of Pakistan and Amritsar of India, along the Grand Trunk Road. Everyday just before sunset, the military officials hold the flag retreat ceremony. This has gone on for almost 60 years. The military officials open the Iron Gate and perform a display of pompous marching. The ceremony ends with a handshake between the officials as the flags descend and fold. Public vehicles are not allowed in the no man’s land between the countries. So, if you want to experience this grand spectacle you have to cross about half a kilometer on foot.
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10. Jallianwala Bagh
Up next on this list of places to visit in Punjab, the Jallianwala Bagh is a stone’s throw from the Golden Temple. This site is a testament to a tragic event. On April 13, 1919, the British army shot innocent civilians on this very site. People constructed this memorial to pay homage to the lives lost in 1961. There is a well inside in which many people drowned. This also a memorial monument. The 1600 rounds of bullets are evident to this very day, as bullet holes can be seen on the walls of the site. The greenery and silent atmosphere offer peace of mind as well.
11. Akal Takht
Also known as the Supreme Court of the Sikh community. This is the centerpoint of Sikh political congress. The highest council of the community sits here. The holy book of the community is transferred here at night. Guru Hargobind Sahib constructed this building in June 15, 1606. It is a part of the Harmandir Sahib Complex. It was initially made as a 3.5 meters high platform. Later, the authority built a 5 storied building.
12. Harike Wetlands
This place is often overlooked as it is not specifically built as a tourists spot. But it is one of the largest wetlands of Northern India and offers some fascinating views. This place chock full of of flora and fauna as it is a bird and wildlife sanctuary. If you a wildlife photographer, a bird watcher or simply a nature enthusiast this place is a must see. Every winter, more than 200 species of birds flock here. To enter Harike Wetlands special permit of Harike wildlife office is obligatory.
13. Kila Raipur
A small village of Ludhiana, it is a prominent tourist attraction of Punjab. It hosts a sport event called “Rural Olympics” at the beginning of February every year. People from all parts of India gather here to make statements about their athleticism during the event. Bullocks, dogs and camels also participate. Apart from the bullock-cart race, other event if note are a tug of war and a tractor race. Adrenaline junkies will get to see spectacles such as bicycle races with the tires on fire.
14. Sheesh Mahal
Maharaja Narendra Singh built Sheesh Mahal. Both European and Mughal architecture inspirited him. It is quite close to Old Moti Bagh Palace. As of now it serves as a museum. these houses paintings, metal and ivory relics gather from all over Punjab and Kashmir. It even has artifacts from outside of India, for example, Myanmar, Tibet, England, Russia, Austria and so on. It has an expansive gallery of medals, with a whopping total of 3200 medals. Every year, the Sheesh Mahal hosts the Patiala Heritage Festival.
15. Qila Mubarak
Situated across about 10 acres of land, this historical monument lies at the heart of Patiala. It is a complex comprised of 10 courtyards and several palaces. The fort carries distinguishing mud walls. Some noteworthy establishments include, Quila Androon, Raan Baas and the Darbar Hall. Quila Androon is comprised of 13 chambers with mythological paintings on the wall. Moreover, the Darbar Hall contains an armory housing a myriad of cannons, maces, swords, shields. And underground sewage system exists beneath the fort.
16. Sukhna Lake
Formerly known as the Chakraborty Lake, this lake is located in Chandigarh. Apart from other places to visit in Punjab, It originates from Shivalik Hills, a mountain of the Himalayas. There is a golf course to the south of it. Le Corbusier and Chief Engineer P L Verma constructed this lake by building a dam against the stream Sukhna Choe, in 1958. The view of the sun setting over Chandigarh city is absolutely magnificent. Local residents usually exercise or partake in morning walks on the roof of the dam. Many food festivals take place near this lake. One worth mentioning is the Mango Festival.
Our next pick on this list of places to visit in Punjab, is a museum bearing the history and origins of Sikhism. The Virasat-e-Khalsa was modeled mimicking the architectural style of Punjab. Two complexes make up the entire museum. The eastern complex has 5 permanent exhibition galleries which symbolize the 5 virtues of Sikhism. The western complex has an auditorium, a library and temporary exhibition galleries. If you are visiting Anandpur Sahib, spare some time to give this place a tour.
18. Butterfly Park
Chandigarh hosts many species of butterflies. You can encounter a lot of them in the Butterfly Park. It sits near Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology. The park extends over 7 acres of land. The authority has built up a carefully curated garden filled with many species of trees and flowers. Trees such as Citrus Salix, Ashoka, Amla, Capris, Mango, Calotrpis, Palm, etc are grown here. 35 species of butterflies thrive here using the flowers for breeding. Some of them include Blue Mormon, Chocolate pansy, Common Blue Bottle, Common Grass Yellow, Apefly, Commander and Angled Castor.
19. Rose Garden
If you are a flower enthusiast. The Zakir Husaain Rose Garden is sure to catch your fancy. It is acknowledged as the largest rose garden in Asia. This botanical garden gets its name after the former president Zakir Hussain. It boasts 30 acres of land. About 1600 different species of Rose bloom here. Every year, the annual rose festival is observed here. It lasts for 3 days. Furthermore, you will also get to see a host of medicinal plants in this garden.
20. Citrus County
Citrus County is a farmstay situated in Hoshiarpur. It is famous for its lush greenery and serene atmosphere. If the countrysides charm you, this place might be worth a visit. It encompasses a wide area at the Foothills of Shivalik ranges on the Jalandhar – Kangra border. The homestay is two storied with huge glass windows to enjoy the view outside. It has 4 air conditioned rooms with all the modern amenities. If you are feeling adventurous, you can also stay in the 6 air conditioned tents available.
21. Lodhi Fort
This is a brilliant vestige of the Lodhi dynasty. It bears the local name of “Purana Qila“ or Old Fort. It was constructed by Sikander Lodi on the 15th century. this stands on the bank of the Sutlej river which was a favorable position to defend against sudden attacks. The fort basically functioned as a military stronghold. In the 19th century, Mahraja Ranjit Singh took over the fort. Finally the control of the fort changed hands to the British during British ruling. Even though the current condition of the fort is rather miserable it still holds much historical value.
22. Hydraulic Research Station
Although not a tourist destination by strict definition, this place might still pique your interests. If you are curious about power generation and water resource management, you will love it here. Located at Malikpur, Pathankot, it is easy to reach by taxi. Many models of dams and irrigation systems are present here. These will help you to gain practical knowledge about how the flow of water generates electricity. The researchers present can also brief you about how to manage calamities like flood and water logging.
23. ISKCON Sri Sri Gaur Radha Gokulananda Temple
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) founded this temple. This prominent place of worship for the Hindu community is positioned at Moni Chowk. Idols of many deities are here, including but not limited to Radha and Krishna. Tiny stalls are put up outside the temple which sell religious texts, T-shirts and pictures of the Hindu Gods. Winter is a really good time to visit the place. . It is about 2.4 kilometers away from the Amritsar Bus Terminal. So, it can be reached without much trouble.
24. Moorish Mosque
Maharaja Jagjit Singh Bahadur sanctioned the mosque in 1917. 13 years passed before the construction work finally ended. Monsieur M Manteaux, a French architect, built the Mosque under supervision of Mian MeherDin. The interior dome of the mosque features artworks done by Mayo School of Art, Lahore. The overall architectural style bears resemblance to the Grand Mosque of Marrakesh in Morocco. A wooden replica of this mosque is exhibited in the Lahore Museum. A well-kept garden surrounds the mosque that is sure to give you peace.
25. Pushpa Gujral Science City
A popular destination for school excursions, many tourists flock here as well. This 72 acre place is a joint venture by the Punjab and the Indian government. It is on the Jalandhar-Kapurthala Road. You can learn about a wide range of topics here, including but not limited to biological, physical and social sciences, farming, engineering technologies, IT, nuclear science, stages of evolution and civilization. Facilities available here include multiple 3D theaters, an earthquake simulator, a replica of Jurassic Park, a Health Gallery, an Energy Park and many more. The entry tickets charge from 160 to 200 INR.
26. Thunder Zone Amusement and Water Park
Thunder Zone Amusement and Water Park in Chandigarh is one of the oldest and largest water parks in northern India. It is about 4 km away from Mohali. It was first opened on 15 May 2002. The area of the park is about 11 acres.. Beautiful greenery surrounds the park. It features a many heart pumping rides. Moreover, the water park has four pools with a host of water rides. In addition, you will find about 12 exclusive rides here such as the Columbus Ride, Caterpillar Ride, Octopus Ride, Swinging Chairs and Music Bob.
27. Bilwanwali Mosque
Next up on our picks of places to visit in Punjab, this mosque was built during Emperor Jahangir’s reign. People also know this place as the mosque of Kamal-ud-din Khan, Bhir and Sarai Dohara. It stands on the main Ludhiana highway. There are rooms with balconies on all sides. Furthermore, the main gate features exquisite brick carvings among colorful tiles. The two domes of the mosque are shaped like pears.
28. Khatkar Kalan
This is a remote village located near the outskirts of Banga town in the Nawanshahr district. This place is widely reputed as the birthplace of Bhagat Singh, who fought for the freedom of India. A museum was made here to perpetuate his memory, on his 50th death anniversary. The museum features photographs, a copy of Bhagwat Gita signed by Bhagat Singh, notes written by him, one page from the first Lahore Conspiracy Case and and many of his possessions.
29. Elysee Palace
The Elysee Palace is one of Kapurthala’s main tourist attractions and specially chosen for this list of places to visit in Punjab. It is 36 km from Jalandhar. It gets its name from the former presidential residence of France. Likewise, it seems to be inspired by French architecture. Kanwar Bikrama Singh built the palace in 1862. Compared to many palaces and forts scattered throughout Punjab, it endured the tides of time well. It still retains its former glory and does not look like a construction aged almost 200 years. Now, it functions as an educational institution. Despite that, people with a taste for architectural beauty will surely enjoy the view of this grand palace.
30. Bir Talab Deer Park
Roughly 7 km away from Bhatinda city, this place is a must see for animal lovers. Furthermore, It is home to several species of deer such as black buck, sambar, Indian hog deer, Sangai and Chital. In 2015, the Central Zoo Authority of India sanctioned the revamp of the park. Since then it became a zoo. At present it features a tiger safari with leopards and cheetahs along with many other wildlife. An interpretation center was also set up which enables the visitor to observe the wildlife up close. Apart from this, the tickets for entry only cost 5 INR. The working hours of the park is 9 to 5 pm.
If you love knowing about the ancient past, a tour across Punjab will cement itself as an unforgettable experience in your life. Whether the locations inspired by European architecture, or the serene atmosphere of the Gurdwara, Punjab has a lot up its arsenal to charm you.