I visited Punjab a couple of years ago. Prior to my visit, I was not aware how stunning and budget-friendly this North Indian state is and how much it has to offer to all its visitors. The state is relatively safe for travelers compared to other states in India. Popularly known as The Land of Five Rivers, Punjab is famous for a lot of reasons. The best to visit the exotic state is during the win the season - from October to March. Following are the top ten reasons that make Punjab an ideal travel destination:

1. Harmandir Sahib -

Popularly known as Golden Temple, Harmandir Sahib is located in the holy city of Amritsar. At night, when the moon emits its grace on the temple, the Golden Temple and all the structures surrounding it share their lights with Amrit Sarovar, and together, they cast a spell that envelopes the entire holy site in a positive aura. That is the kind of beauty this place possesses. No matter how sad or upset you are prior to your arrival, by the time you leave, you would be molded into a happy being. The sumptuous langar served at the dining hall of the temple feeds over 50,000 people daily and must not be missed during your visit to the most popular point of interest in Punjab.

2. The Culture -

When it comes to culture, Punjabi culture and tradition are one of the richest in the world. The local language; the ethnic clothes - comprising mainly of a Turban and Kurta Pyjama for males, and Patiala Suits for females; the festivals of Baisakhi, Lohri, and Basant. The state is also well known for its art and craft. Handwoven work such as Phulkari and Shawls find customers from different parts of the world, and so does Calico paintings. Gatka is a Sikh form of martial art in which as many as 52 different weapons can be used at once. The Sikh style of architecture has a certain uniqueness about it. Unlike many other Indian states, Punjab has done a wonderful job in preserving the real essence of its history and culture.

10 Reasons Why Punjab is An Ideal Travel Destination
A young Sardar performing Gatka in Punjab
A young Sardar performing Gatka in Punjab

3. Unlimited Shopping -

From ethnic clothing to classy footwears, from soft quilts to lightweight Shawls, from handmade sports equipment to perfectly crafted swords (for showcase); whatever your need is, there is always something for you in Punjab. For ethnic footwears and swords, visit Amritsar; for sporting goods and winter wears, visit Jalandhar; and for clothes, visit Ludhiana. It would be regretful to return without buying anything from this land.

10 Reasons Why Punjab is An Ideal Travel Destination
Numerous shops are situated at a stretch of row just outside the Golden Temple in Amritsar
Numerous shops are situated at a stretch of row just outside the Golden Temple in Amritsar

4. The Picturesque Mustard Fields -

Another euphoric sighting in Punjab is a mustard field. Ever since Shah Rukh Khan's Raj in DDLJ proposed to Kajol's Simran in the same movie, mustard fields have become an ideal romantic hot spot. There is no better place in the country to see majestic stretches of bright yellow and bright green plants than Punjab. The land is gifted with resources. There are several other crops grown in the state. No wonder, Punjab is an agriculturally advanced state in India.

10 Reasons Why Punjab is An Ideal Travel Destination
A beautiful mustard field in a rural area of Punjab
A beautiful mustard field in a rural area of Punjab

5. The Dance and the Music -

Punjabi form of dance - Bhangra - is arguably the most popular dance form in India. Other popular dance forms include Giddha, Jhumar, Kikli, and Sammi. The energy is so vibrant that it can make even the spectators move their bodies. The same can be said about the music. The songs are full of zeal and are an essential part of Punjabi culture. The peppy beats are totally and the zestful people totally complement each other. Punjabi music and dance are integral parts of a typical Punjabi wedding. Whatever your age or religion is, you have to dance on Punjabi music to know what it feels like.

10 Reasons Why Punjab is An Ideal Travel Destination
Two people performing Bhangra in front of an audience
Two people performing Bhangra in front of an audience

6. The People -

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Punjab is the jolly nature of the people there. During my stay in the different parts of the state, I met some amazing people who went out of their way to help me. The people of Punjab are warm-hearted and extremely welcoming. Whether they are making food or music, whether they are working or dancing, they put their contagious energy into everything they do. No wonder, it is one of the happiest of all the states in the country.

10 Reasons Why Punjab is An Ideal Travel Destination
A young Punjabi with his family
A young Punjabi with his family

7. Jallianwala Bagh -

The park where thousands of innocent Indians were brutally massacred near a hundred years ago is located in Amritsar, in close proximity to the Golden Temple. Seeing the walls pierced by bullets and the well which became a funeral ground for hundreds could send a chill down your spine or a hint of tears in your eyes. The small museum within the premises of the park will provide you with enough information to take you back in time as to what happened at the park on 13th of April, 1919 - the worst public massacre the country has ever experienced. Several English dignitaries have visited this place since then to offer their respect and regrets for the martyrs.

10 Reasons Why Punjab is An Ideal Travel Destination
A message installed outside the Jallianwala Bagh reminding the visitors of the brutal chapter of the
A message installed outside the Jallianwala Bagh reminding the visitors of the brutal chapter of the

8. The Capital City -

Chandigarh, also the capital of Haryana and a Union Territory, is believed to be the most well-planned city in the country. In spite of being a major city, nearly 40 percent of the city is covered with greenery, more than any other Indian city. Popular points of interest include The Rock Garden which is the home to numerous sculptures made of stone, The Cactus Garden comprising of a bevy of Cactus (an endangered plant), The Rose Garden which the largest in the continent, et cetera. The cleanliness of the city will amaze you. Another point of interest in the city is the Musical Fountain at the Sector 17 marketplace.

10 Reasons Why Punjab is An Ideal Travel Destination
The famous Rock Garden in Chandigarh
The famous Rock Garden in Chandigarh

9. Wagah Border -

Situated just about 28 kilometers from Amritsar is the international border of India and Pakistan known as Wagah Border. Every single, just before sunset, thousands of people comprising of locals and visitors witness the renowned Border Parade Ceremony. The feeling and sense of nationalism and pride that rises amidst the ceremony cannot be compared to any other event featuring India and Pakistan. Throughout the ceremony, several patriotic songs are played and kids can be seen performing in. Trips can be arranged easily from Amritsar in a bus, a shared or a private car. Reach early to get the best seat in the stands, for it gets extremely crowded at the time of the beginning of the ceremony.

10 Reasons Why Punjab is An Ideal Travel Destination
Border Security Force commandoes performing the parade in sync at the Wagah Border
Border Security Force commandoes performing the parade in sync at the Wagah Border

10. The Food -

Volumes can be written about Punjabi cuisine. From Makki di Roti and Sarson da Saag (bread made of corn and vegetable made of sunflower green) to Lassi (buttermilk), Punjabi food is one of the best in the country. Traditionally, the dishes contain mainly ghee, butter, sunflower oil, and a variety of spices. The Punjabi cuisine is majorly influenced by locally grown crops. The best places in Punjab to get the real taste and essence of the Punjabi cuisine is in the villages, where people stick to the traditional style of cooking. The other most popular dishes in the Punjabi cuisine include Parathas, Tandoori Chicken, Rajma Chawal, Biryani, Basmati Rice, Paneer, Chaas, Gajar ka Halwa, Tarka Daal, et cetera.

10 Reasons Why Punjab is An Ideal Travel Destination
Lip smacking Punjabi food served at a Dhaba in Mohali
Lip smacking Punjabi food served at a Dhaba in Mohali

Pic credits- Paul Simpson, Jasleen Kaur, Steffi, sankara Subramaniam, amazingarfa, vikramdeep sidhu, adam jones, ian brown, guillhem vellut, sputnik