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Punjab

Punjab is a state in North-central India. The region is bordered by Pakistan to the west. The state’s capital is Chandigarh, a Union Territory and also the capital of the neighbouring state of Haryana.

Punjab is the home of the Sikhs, butter chicken and bhangra (music and dance form). In this region Sikh gurdwaras (places of worship) outnumber Hindu temples.

Major tourist sites in the state include: Harmandir Sahib or Golden Temple in Amritsar, Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, Wagah Border (border with Pakistan), Sheesh Mahal in Patiala, Fort at Bathinda, Rock Garden in Chandigarh, rose Garden in Chandigarh, etc.

Punjab literally translates the land of five rivers with agriculture being the largest industry in the region. Mango fruit is largely cultivated in the southeast of the Punjab among oranges, pomegranates, apples, peaches, fig, mulberry, quince, apricot, almond, plum, and other fruits.

Punjabi culture consist of traditional bhangra and giddha forms of dance and music, Punjabi film industry, seasonal and harvest festivals such as Lohri, Basant, Vaisakhi and Teeyan. Punjabi wedding traditions and ceremonies are a strong reflection of Punjabi culture. Marriage ceremonies are known for their rich rituals, songs, dances, food and dresses, which have evolved over many centuries.

Punjabi cuisine is widely popular abroad. The main features of Punjabi cuisine is its diverse range of dishes. The region specialties are sarson da saag (vegetable dish made from mustard leaves and spices), Tandoori chicken, Shami kebab, makki di roti (bread made from corn flour), etc.

The region was conquered by many ancient empires including the Gandhara, Nandas, Mauryas, Sungas, Kushans, Guptas, Palas, Gurjara-Pratiharas and Hindu Shahis and its culture combines Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, Afghan, Sikh and British influences.

Major fairs and festivals in Punjab include: Kila Raipur Sports Festival, also known as Rural Olympics, - a three days of rural sports such as bullock-cart races, kabaddi, strongman contests, folk dancing, etc., Holla Mohalla – famous for kirtan (Sikh hymns), martial arts demonstrations and re-enactments of past battles, Baba Sheikh Farid Aagman Purb Festival rich in cultural performances to commemorate the Sufi saint, Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan – a four-day music festival showcasing Indian classical instrumentalists and vocalists.

Punjab is the only state in India with a majority Sikh population with Sikhism being predominant faith (60%), other religions include Hinduism (37%), Christianity, Jainism and Buddhism. The Punjabi language is the official language of the state.

Punjab has hot summers with maximum temperature of 49 °C (120 °F) and cold winters reaching 0 °C (32 °F). Hottest months are April to June, monsoon season is from July to September and winters December to February.

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