Punjab where the verses of the Rig Veda reverberated in the air. Since then, the land of five rivers has witnessed and been a part of, the greatest episodes in India’s history. It has fascinated travelers with its culture with its celebratory approach towards life. Punjab is a state in northern India. Forming part of the larger Punjab region, the state is bordered by the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir to the north, Himachal Pradesh to the east, Haryana to the south and southeast, Rajasthan to the southwest, and the Pakistani province of Punjab to the west. The state covers an area of 50,362 square kilometres of India’s total geographical area.
It is the 20th-largest Indian state by area. In the 2011 census, Punjab is the 16th-largest state by population, comprising 22 districts. Punjabi is the most widely spoken and official language of the state. The main ethnic group are the Punjabis, with Sikhs forming the demographic majority, followed by Hindus. The state capital is Chandigarh, a Union Territory and also the capital of the neighboring state of Haryana. The five rivers from which the region took its name were Sutlej, Ravi, Beas, Chenab and Jhelum; Sutlej, Ravi and Beas are part of the Indian Punjab.
At the Golden Temple in Amritsar, you find spiritual solace and the importance of voluntary service at the langar (community kitchen). Throughout this state, enormous in its size, you come across its historical legacy in the form of monuments, forts and palaces. Punjab is also famous for its cuisine, with the lassi having gained a national popularity today. As you explore its cities or go off the beaten path, you come across experiences that are unique to the Punjab.
Where is Wagah Border?
Wagah Border is the only road crossing between India and Pakistan, a fact quite interesting in itself. Wagah is situated between Amritsar in India and Lahore in Pakistan, at a distance of almost 29km from the city itself. This is where you find the Radcliffe Line, the line dividing India and Pakistan during the partition of India in 1947. It is at the Wagah Border that the lowering of the flags ceremony is conducted, an event where patriotic emotions are on in full display.
Lowering of the flags of India and Pakistan is an event which draws crowds in large numbers including elderly people, children and foreign nationals. The carefully choreographed movements by both the BSF and Pakistan Rangers displays patriotic aggression and is marked by great nationalistic fervor and enthusiasm. Both the BSF and Pakistan Rangers compete in a bid to outdo each other. During the course of the entire event, the air is filled with deafening cries of nationalist slogans.
The ceremony commences with BSF and Pakistani Rangers marching with aggressive steps towards the gates from their respective sides. The gate is then thrown open, following which the soldiers salute each other in a carefully choreographed manner and start lowering the flags. The flags are then folded carefully and carried back to their own respective countries. The highlight of the ceremony occurs when the soldiers return to the border to conduct a final handshake. Once the gates are slammed shut, any further exchanging of glances between the two sides is effectively stopped. At this point, cries of “Jai Hind” and “Pakistan Zindabad” pervade the air.