Top 12 Places to Visit in Punjab

Top 12 Places to Visit in Punjab

By CarolUpdated Oct. 19, 2021

Located in the northwestern part of India, Punjab is one of India’s most prosperous states. The state attracts hundreds of visitors from around the world with its culture, food, spirituality, and history.

Punjab is home to many important sites to the Sikh community. The most famous one is the Golden Temple in Amritsar. The state is also home to many forts and palaces, such as Moti Bagh Palace in Patiala, Lodhi Fort in Ludhiana, and Jagatjit Palace in Kapurthala.

Highlights

  • The Golden Temple in Amritsar is famous for being made of marble and gold.
  • The Rock Garden of Chandigarh is home to more than 2,000 sculptures made from urban and industrial waste.
  • Qila Mubarak in Bathinda is one of the oldest surviving forts in India.
  • The Imam Nasir Masjid is an 800-year-old mosque built on the Grand Trunk Road of Jalandhar.
  • The Mukteshwar Temple is a 350-year-old temple located on top of the Mukteshwar hill station near Pathankot.

1. Amritsar

Recommended visiting time: 2–3 days

Amritsar is a city located about 15 miles east of the border with Pakistan. It is Punjab’s largest and most important city as it is the commercial, cultural, and transportation center as well as being the spiritual capital of Sikhism.

The Golden Temple there is the city’s most famous attraction. Restored by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1830, the temple is made of marble and gold and attracts Sikhs seeking divine comfort and religious fulfillment from around the world. It is especially beautiful at night when its magnificent gold dome is illuminated.

Jallianwala Bagh near the Golden Temple was the site of the 1919 Amritsar massacre, where a large group of unarmed protesters was shot by British troops. Visitors can see the walls of the garden still bearing bullet marks and also a gallery filled with pictures of Indian freedom fighters.

  • Perfect for: history lovers
  • Insider tip: Visitors should remove their shoes and cover their heads before entering the Golden Temple.

2. Chandigarh

Recommended visiting time: 2–3 days

The capital city of Punjab, Chandigarh is the best-planned city in India. It is situated on the Indo-Gangetic Plain and is about 165 miles north of New Delhi. With its well-developed infrastructure and relatively low population density, the culture there combines both traditional Punjab and modernity.

The main attraction in this city is the 25-acre Rock Garden of Chandigarh. In this massive open-air exhibition hall, visitors can see more than 2,000 odd sculptures made from urban and industrial waste. They were all created by the artist Nek Chand over a period of 20 years.

Nature lovers can visit Sukhna Lake. Located at the foot of the Shivalik Hills, this man-made lake entertains its visitors with views of its pristine blue waters. For couples wanting a romantic date, you can also rent a boat to paddle across the lake.

Perfect for: couples on vacation

Insider tip: Sukhna Lake is closed from May to July.

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3. Patiala

Recommended visiting time: 1–2 days

Situated about 30 miles southwest of Chandigarh, Patiala is the fourth-largest city in Punjab. The city has an amazing resemblance to the 18th and 19th-century Punjab, particularly the Malwa region, with its structures blending a mixture of Mughal and Rajput architecture.

One of the city’s best attractions is Moti Bagh Palace. This magnificent palace was originally built in the 1840s and was expanded in 1920. The structure is a Rajasthani architectural marvel with the presence of elevated, dome-shaped pavilions and overhanging enclosed balconies.

Another great example of the blend between Mughal and Rajasthani architectural styles is the Qila Mubarak complex. Travelers can visit various sections of the complex, such as the Ran Baas, or guesthouse, and the Darbar Hall, which holds a museum containing rare cannons, swords, shields, and maces.

Perfect for: history lovers

Insider tip: Patiala is famous for its slip-on leather footwear called jutti, which can be a perfect item for a souvenir.

4. Bathinda

Recommended visiting time: 1–2 days

Bathinda is one of the oldest cities in India. It is famous for being a historical and religious hub dating back to 7000 BC. This city is particularly significant for the Sikh community as the place where Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, fought bravely against the Mughals.

Qila Mubarak in Bathinda is one of the oldest surviving forts in India, which is believed to have been constructed between 90 and 110 AD. Visitors can go by the gurdwara, which is a Sikh place of assembly, to honor Guru Gobind Singh.

For nature lovers or those looking for a nice picnic area, the Rose Garden in Bathinda is the perfect place for you. This 10-acre garden is filled with well-maintained lush greenery and a wide variety of rose species.

Perfect for: history and nature lovers

Insider tip: the Rose Garden is best enjoyed during the winter when the roses are in bloom.

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5. Jalandhar

Recommended visiting time: 1 day

Jalandhar, also called Jullundur, is an ancient city located about 20 miles east of the Beas River. The city was part of the historic Indus Valley Civilization and has grown to be an important commercial and industrial hub, especially for sporting goods.

The Imam Nasir Masjid is an 800-year-old mosque built on one of Asia’s oldest and longest major roads, the Grand Trunk Road in Jalandhar. The mosque reflects a Mughal style of architecture, with four minarets surrounding it and mural designs drawn on its walls.

Devi Talab Mandir is a Hindu temple dedicated to Goddess Durga. It is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas or pilgrimage destinations in Shaktism. There, travelers can see a pond where devotees take a dip as a sign of blessing and salvation and a shrine depicting Lord Shiva sitting on a tiger.

Perfect for: history lovers

Insider tip: Stay back during the evening to see the stunning lights coming from the Imam Nasir Masjid.

6. Ludhiana

Recommended visiting time: 1–2 days

Ludhiana is the largest city in Punjab, located on the banks of the Sutlej River. Called the Manchester of India, Ludhiana is named as the easiest city in India to do business in according to the World Bank. It is particularly famous for its legwear industry.

Lodhi Fort is the prime landmark of Ludhiana. Built around 500 years ago by the Muslim ruler, Sikander Lodhi, the place was a military fort that kept out many intruders. Although the fort has not been well-maintained, it still attracts travelers from around the world.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh War Museum showcases extensive records of India's history. The museum holds 12 galleries that tackle different subjects, such as India's ancient history, India's post-independence period, and the Kargil War.

Perfect for: history lovers

Insider tip: Visit Ludhiana in February to witness the Rural Olympics, a sports competition with games such as cart racing, rope pulling, and horse races.

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7. Pathankot

Recommended visiting time: 1 day

Pathankot is a city in the Pathankot district. It shares an international border with Pakistan on its west side. The city is located at the meeting point of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu, and Kashmir and serves as a travel hub for these states.

The Mukteshwar Temple is a 350-year-old temple located on top of the Mukteshwar hill station near Pathankot. The temple is one of the 18 most important temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. There, travelers can see many idols of Hindu deities, such as Shiva, Ganesha, Brahma, Vishnu, Parvati, Hanuman, and Nandi.

Ashapurni Mandir is one of the oldest temples in Pathankot. Built before the arrival of the British, this ancient temple is dedicated to Goddess Ashapurni, a manifestation of Goddess Shakti. Many people go there to seek blessings from the goddess as she is said to grant her followers’ wishes.

Perfect for: people interested in culture

Insider tip: Trekking up to the Mukteshwar Temple will take about 2 hours.

8. Kapurthala

Recommended visiting time: 1–2 days

Kapurthala is a city located 12 miles west of Jalandhar and is also the least populated city in India, with a population of slightly over 100,000. Often referred to as the ‘Paris of Punjab’, Kapurthala is an agricultural and industrial market for producing chemicals, paints, and pharmaceutical products.

Jagatjit Palacewas built in 1908 and served as the residence of Maharaja Jagatjit Singh, the maharaja of the state of Kapurthala. The palace features French and Indo-Saracenic styles of architecture and is now the residence of the Sainik School, which trains boys for the National Defense Academy.

The Moorish Mosque is considered to be one of the best mosques in Southeast Asia. Built by Maharaja Jagatjit Singh, the architecture and design of the mosque were inspired by the Grand Mosque of Marrakesh in Morocco. It is carved out of marble and features glass panes on its gates, doors, and windows.

Perfect for: architecture lovers

Insider tip: Kapurthala is best visited during the winter months from November to February.

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9. Mohali

Recommended visiting time: 1 day

Located to the west of Chandigarh, Mohali is a commercial hub and the administrative headquarters of the Mohali district. The city forms a tri-city with Chandigarh and Panchkula. While housing many historical places, Mohali has quickly become the IT hub of Punjab.

When visiting Mohali, you should visit the Fateh Burj. Situated in the historical village of Chappar Chiri, it is the tallest victory memorial in the entire country with a height of 100 meters. You can get an amazing aerial view of the surrounding city from the top of the tower.

Another place to visit in Mohali is Gurdwara Amb Sahib. The colossal white structure features pillared corridors with multiple archways at its entrance and a central dome, which reflects the Sikh type of architecture. The place is also famous for its mango trees, which bear fruit in all seasons.

Perfect for: people interested in sightseeing

Insider tip: Gurdwara Amb Sahib is open daily from 4:30am to 8pm.

10. Ropar

Recommended visiting time: 1–2 days

The ancient city of Ropar, also known as Rupnagar, is located about 20 miles northwest of Chandigarh. It is said to be named after Rup Sen, the son of Gujjar Raja Rokeshar who ruled during the 11th century.

For animal lovers, Ropar Wetland is the perfect place to go to. This ecological zone is a man-made wetland that is home to many kinds of endangered animals including nine species of mammals, 35 species of fish, and nine species of arthropods.

Travelers can also stop by the Archaeological Museum. Opened to the public in 1998, the museum displays archaeological remains from the first Harappan site excavated nearby. Some of the artifacts include steatite seals, copper and bronze implements, ring stone,jewelry beads, and gold coins dating back to the time of Chandragupta.

Perfect for: people interested in sightseeing

Insider tip: The Archaeological Museum is open daily, except on Fridays, from 10am to 5pm.

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11. Sirhind

Recommended visiting time:

The city of Sirhind is located about 45 kilometers southwest of Chandigarh. Also known as Gurumaari, Sirhind is famous for its rich history and is a popular pilgrimage destination for the Sikh community.

One of the city’s best attractions is Aam Khas Bagh. This Mughal garden was originally constructed by Emperor Akbar as a resting place or vacation inn. There are several Mughal era monuments around the garden that you can visit, such as the Sard Khana and the Sheesh Mahal.

After going around some of the attractions in Sirhind, make a stop at India’s first Floating Restaurant on the Sirhind Canal. Guests are entertained with the view of flowing blue water underneath while they enjoy their meals due to the presence of glass panels on the restaurant’s floor.

Perfect for: people interested in sightseeing

Insider tip: The Floating Restaurant is open daily from 9am to 11pm.

12. Anandpur

Recommended visiting time: 1–2 days

Anandpur Sahib, simply known as Anandpur, is located in the district of Rupnagar, 95 kilometers northwest of Chandigarh and close to the Pakistan border. It is one of the holiest places for Sikhism as the place where the Khalsa Panth, the worldwide community of Sikhs, was formed.

Anandpur houses many gurdwaras, which are Sikh places of assembly, that were built to commemorate various gurus. The most famous one is Gurdwara Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, which marks the birthplace of the Khalsa Panth and one of the five religious authorities (five Takhts) of Sikhism.

You can also visit Virasat-e-Khalsa, a museum of Sikhism, which was built to honor and celebrate the glorious Sikh history. Built in a fortress-style design, the museum holds relics and memoirs of previous Sikh warriors as well as scriptures written by Guru Gobind Singh.

Perfect for: history lovers

Insider tip: Visit Anandpur during Holi to celebrate a unique version of the festival. Instead of throwing colored powder, travelers are entertained with mock battles featuring sticks, knives, axes, and swords.

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