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Punjab

Punjab is a state/Union Territory of India.

Punjab is a state in northwest India. Neighbouring regions are Punjab, Pakistan to the west, Jammu and Kashmir to the north, Himachal Pradesh to the northeast, Haryana to the south and southeast and Rajasthan to the southwest. Total area is 50,362 square kilometres (19,445 square miles). The population is 24,000,000 (2,000 CE).

The word Punjab is a combination of the words 'Punj', meaning five and 'Aab', meaning water. Punjab is a region of five rivers, the Setluj, Bias, Ravi, Chenab and Jehlam. After partition, the western half of the region went to Pakistan and the eastern half to India. Punjab is an agricultural state, with land fertility unparalleled in the world. The largest crop is wheat. Other important crops are cotton, sugarcane, millet, barley and fruit. Textiles and flour milling are the major industries. Road, rail and river transportation links are extensive throughout the region.

Sikhism is the main religion of the Indian Punjab, with about 60% of the population. Amritsar is the site of the Golden Temple, the main place of worship. The Jains also consider Amritsar to be an important city. The language of the people is Punjabi on both sides of the border, although the alphabet used is different - Gurmukhi on the Indian side and Shahmukhi on Pakistani side, a modified form of Arabic. The state capital of Punjab is Chandigarh. Other major cities include Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Patiala.

The Indian state of Punjab was created in 1947, when the Partition of India and Pakistan split the former Raj province of Punjab between the two new countries. The mostly Muslim western part of the province became Pakistan's Punjab state; the mostly Sikh and Hindu eastern part became India's Punjab state. Several small Punjabi princely states, including Patiala, also became part of India. In 1950, two Punjab states were created; Punjab included all of the former Raj province of Punjab, while the princely states were combined into a new state, the Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU). In 1956, PEPSU was merged into Punjab state, and several northern districts of Punjab in the Himalayas were added to Himachal Pradesh.

The capital of Punjab province, Lahore, ended up in Pakistan after partition, so a new capital for Indian Punjab state was built at Chandigarh. On November 1, 1966, the mostly Hindu southeastern half of Punjab became a separate state, Haryana. Chandigarh was on the border between the two states, and became a separate union territory which serves as the capital of both Punjab and Haryana.