Punjab, Land of Five Rivers

Punjab is the land of five rivers, Chenab, Jhelum, Beas, Ravi and Sutlej.

Chenab River, Punjab, Pakistan
Chenab River, Punjab, Pakistan

It is one constituent province of Pakistan. Though its language is Punjabi, yet the title Punjab comes from the Persian language. It is the greenest province that houses almost half of the total population of Pakistan.

Punjab is bound by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Indian Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan in north, northeast, southeast, southwest, and west respectively. Its area is 205,344 square kilometers, which is divided into 36 districts. Temperature varies from -2 to 40C.

Wheat Harvesting Punjab, Pakistan
Wheat Harvesting Punjab, Pakistan

By and large, Punjab is plain. In northwest and southwest, hills are gracing it with summer resorts. The Potohar plateau too is in the northwest. A desert in its southwest adds further diversity to its geography. Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Multan, and Gujranwala are its principal cities.

Punjab dates from the Indus civilizations. Harappa ruins suggest it was leading a sort of perfect life 5,000 years ago. Its riches kept on inviting plundering armies of various ethnicities. Its fertile land tempted many amongst the invaders to settle here. They included Aryans, Iranians, Turks, Afghans and Arabs. Mughal occupation of Punjab lasted from 16th to 19th century. They were followed by the Sikhs and the British. It got halved as a result of partition.

Harappa Indus Valley, Punjab, Pakistan
Harappa Indus Valley, Punjab, Pakistan

Agriculture features the economy of the province. Industry and services to make a contribution to the national economy. Punjabi is yet to be the official language of this province.

Badshahi Mosque Stunning View from the Lahore Fort Balcony
Badshahi Mosque Stunning View from the Lahore Fort Balcony

For a tourist, Punjab is a richly diverse experience. Lahore is its capital for several centuries. It is its largest city as well. Moreover, it is the cultural, and intellectual, aesthetic capital of Pakistan. This city was founded by one of the pioneer Hindu gods. It is the greatest recipient of Mughal and colonial legacies, which quench the thirst of history and architecture. It matches every taste with its many contractions. These include theater, historical places, food, shopping malls, gardens, Sufism (Islamic mysticism), qawwali (Islamic devotional singing), places of worship, etc. The walled city mesmerizes non-natives with its labyrinth alleys.

Once you cross Lahore, the diversity appears in numerous forms. Some examples are in the following.

Bibi Jawindi Tomb, Uch Sharif, Punjab Pakistan
Bibi Jawindi Tomb, Uch Sharif, Punjab Pakistan

The 4,000 years old Multan houses the greatest number of majestic tombs and shrines in the whole of Indian sub-continent. It is believed it was Multan where The Sanskrit Rig-Veda was penned. The 8th century started bringing Muslim saints. The Mughal explored and polished its talent of artistry, architecture, ceramics and music.

Noor Mahal, Bahawalpur, Pakistan
Noor Mahal, Bahawalpur, Pakistan

Bahawalpur is a defunct princely state. This remote city is the gate to old Cholistan desert of 20,000 square kilometers. Some of its settlements are 6,000 years old.

Derawar Fort in Cholistan, Punjab, Pakistan
Derawar Fort in Cholistan, Punjab, Pakistan

Uch Sharif date from 6th century BC. It began hosting Muslim saints in the 13th century. Tombs and Shrines feature it.

The Queen of Mountains, Murree, Punjab, Pakistan
The Queen of Mountains, Murree, Punjab, Pakistan

Murree sub-district is the most sought after resort in the sizzling summer of central and southern Punjab. The adjacent Potohar Plateau bears the Salt Range. The Salt Range is famous for its Katas Raj temples. Some of those are 2,000 years old. The Khewra Salt mines are providing salt since the invasion of Alexander and the third largest mines in the world.

Katas Raj Temple, Punjab, Pakistan
Katas Raj Temple, Punjab, Pakistan

Then, seeing Punjabis is a treat itself. These life-loving people are famous for their warm hospitality. Their company makes a tour a striking addition to one’s treasure chest of memories.

Marala, Punjab, Pakistan
Marala, Punjab, Pakistan

The variation of Punjabi is obviously noticeable in southern and northern parts in the form of Seraiki and Potohari respectively. Punjab is also famous for its produce. Rice of Narowal, Mangos of Muzaffargarh and Multan, Oranges of Sargodha, Guavas of Sharaqpur, cotton of Vehari, furniture of Chiniot are a few examples to quote.