, state of India
, located in the northwestern part of the subcontinent. It is bounded by the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir
to the north, Himachal Pradesh
to the northeast, Haryana
to the south and southeast, and Rajasthan
to the southwest and by the country of Pakistan
to the west. Punjab
in its present form came into existence on November 1, 1966, when most of its predominantly Hindi-speaking areas were separated to form the new state of Haryana. The city of Chandigarh
, within the Chandigarh union territory, is the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana.
The word Punjab is a compound
of two Persian
(“five”) and āb
(“water”), thus signifying the land of five waters, or rivers (the Beas
, and Sutlej
). The word’s origin can perhaps be traced to panca nada
for “five rivers” and the name of a region mentioned in the ancient epic the Mahabharata
. As applied to the present Indian state of Punjab, however, it is a misnomer: since the partition of India in 1947, only two of those rivers, the Sutlej and the Beas, lie within Punjab’s territory, while the Ravi flows only along part of its western border. Area 19,445 square miles (50,362 square km). Pop. (2011) 27,704,236.
Relief, drainage, and soils
Punjab spans three physiographic regions, the smallest being the Siwalik Rangein the northeast, where elevations reach about 3,000 feet (900 metres). Farther south, the narrow, undulating foothill region is dissected by closely spaced seasonal torrents, locally known as chos, several of which terminate in the plain below without joining any stream. To the south and west of the foothills lies the broad flat tract, with low-lying floodplains separated by slightly elevated uplands. This region, with its fertile alluvial soils, slopes gently from an elevation of about 900 feet (275 metres) in the northeast to about 550 feet (170 metres) in the southwest. The southwestern part of the plains, formerly strewn with sand dunes, has mostly been levelled off with the expansion of irrigation projects.