Pragpur

About 167 km from Amritsar, lies the scenic town of Pragpur, nestled in the state of  Himachal Pradesh. Declared as a Heritage Village in 1997, it is perched at an elevation of about 1,800 ft above sea level. The entire village has been established around a famous pond, called the Taal. While the pond is a quaint natural retreat, visitors also like to pray at the nearby Radha Krishna Mandir, dedicated to Lord Krishna and Goddess Radha. There are many heritage buildings dotting the landscape, some of which include Bhutail Niwas, a 100-year-old  building, and the Judge’s Court, which is a manor built in the Indo-European style of architecture.

The town is also popular for the various festivals that are celebrated with great fervour. Lohri is one such occasion that celebrates the movement of the sun from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere. The Wrestling Festival, organised during the month of September,  also draws huge crowds.

Gurdaspur

Located around 75 km from Amritsar, Gurdaspur was founded by Guriyaji Mahant in the 17th century. Flanked by Rivers Beas and Ravi, this major city of Punjab is the northern-most district of the state. The city has immense historical and spiritual significance and it is said that Mughal emperor Akbar was enthroned here. Alexander, the Great, is also said to have fought one of his many battles in the city. The main attraction is Batala, situated 30 km away, which is said to be the place where Guru Nanak got married. The gurdwara, where the ceremony was held, called the  Kandh Sahib, draws visitors from far and wide. Batala is also the site of the tomb of Sher Khan, foster brother of Akbar. The tomb is a beautiful example of Mughal architecture and invites visitors from around the area. Nearby Batala, lies Qadian, which is the birthplace of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmediyah community.

Other attractions in Gurdaspur include the palace built by Maharaja Sher Singh, son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the tomb of Sayid Imam Ali Shah, a sufi saint. Gurdaspur also boasts a major natural wetland called Keshopur, which attracts thousands of migratory birds from Central Asia and Siberia in winters. The popular species one can sight are wigeon, dub chick, black ibis, gadwall, common teal, pintail and Northern shovelercan.

Gurdaspur

Kapurthala

This city in Punjab is known for the marvellous architecture of its monuments and gardens, which are built in Indo-Saracenic and French styles. The city was founded in the 11th century by Rana Kapur (after whom the city has been named) of Jaisalmer. The main attraction in Kapurthala is the Jagatjit Palace, which was the residence of the erstwhile maharaja. Built in 1908, many believe that it is modelled after the famous Versailles Palace in France. Presently, it is under the care of Sainik School to train and prepare boys for the National Defence Academy (NDA). The Elysee Palace is also worth a visit as its monolithic structure and beautiful facade are a treat for the eyes. It was built in 1962 by Kanwar Bikram Singh in the Indo-French style of architecture. Moorish Mosque and Panch Mandir are some of the other places that warrant a visit. Photography enthusiasts can make a beeline for the Kanjli Wetland that houses a number of mammals and avifauna. The Kanjli Lake makes for a great picnic spot with its picturesque views and amazing surroundings. For science enthusiasts,  the Pushpa Gujral Science City is a must-visit. A spiritual site to visit near the city is Sultanpur Lodi, which is known for its association with Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism.

Kapurthala is closely associated with the founder of the Ahluwalia dynasty, Baba Jassa Singh, who ruled it for many years. Jagatjit Singh, who was enthroned here in 1877 and ruled the city for 71 years is believed to have been the architect of the modern city. Under his reign, Kapurthala acquired a telephone exchange, a modern sewage and water system, an improved judiciary, free and compulsory primary education, a state assembly and state council etc. 

Kapurthala

Jalandhar

Located around 80 km from Amritsar, Jalandhar is a busy city located in the plains between the Beas and Sutlej rivers. The name Jalandhar means an area that lies under water and many believe that the name has been derived from its location between two rivers. It is one of the largest cities in the state and thus has no shortage of tourist opportunities. While visiting this city, one can go to the sacred town of Kartapur, which hosts an annual fair to celebrate Guru Arjan Dev’s birth. Nearby stands Nur Mahal, best known for the ruins of a beautiful medieval sarai (inn) built by Mughal queen Nur Jahan; and Phillaur, known for its fort and archaeological sites dating back to the Harappan period.

Other attractions of the place include St Mary’s Cathedral Church, the Gurdwara Chhevin Padshahi, and the Devi Talab, dedicated to Vrinda, wife of the demon king Jalandhar. Another town close to Jalandhar that is worth a visit is Nakodar. It houses two architectural marvels: the tombs of court musicians Mohammad Momin and Haji Jamal. The Pir of Baba Murad Shah, a sufi (Muslim mystic order) saint also lies here. A grand festival is held in September that attracts musicians and singers from all over the state. One of the oldest classical music festivals in the world, the Harballabh Sangeet Festival, is held in December.

Jalandhar

Ludhiana

Around 140 km from Amritsar, on the south bank of River Sutlej, lies the industrial town of Ludhiana. It is known for the production of industrial goods, machine parts, auto parts, household appliances, hosiery, woollen apparels and garments. The city of Ludhiana was founded during the rule of the Lodi sultans in the 15th century.

If one is visiting Ludhiana, they can stop at the Punjab Agricultural University, which is sprawled over an area of 1,500 acre and is home to the unique Museum of Rural Life, which displays traditional pottery, musical instruments and Punjabi clothing. It was established in 1962 with a purpose to improve profitability and productivity in the agriculture sector. Another attraction here is the annual Kisan Mela that invites farmers from all across the state.

Ludhiana