Geography of Punjab

Punjab is a border state in the northern part of India, which is known for its agriculture and brave people. On this page, we will share some important information about Geography of Punjab. It includes the information about geographical position of Punjab, land formation, climate of the state, rainfall, rivers and other related information. These important notes about geography will help you improve your general knowledge about the state of Punjab. To view the Punjabi version of this page, click on ਪੰਜਾਬ - ਭੂਗੋਲਿਕ ਜਾਣ ਪਹਿਚਾਣ. The information on this page is divided into following sub-sections:

Geographical Position

  • Punjab is a small state situated in NorthWest part of India.
  • It is a border state, having international border with Pakistan on the western side. River Satluj and Ravi flow along most parts of this international border.
  • Punjab shares its border with four states - Jammu & Kashmir in North, Himachal Pradesh to the East, Haryana on the SouthEast and South direction, Rajasthan towards the Southwest.
  • On the map, it is triangular in shape. Pathankot district is at the top of the triangle, Fazilka and Patiala are respectively at the bottom left and right corners of this triangular shape.
Longitudinal and Latitudinal Extent of Punjab
  • The latitudinal position of the state extends from 29.30 degree North to 32.32 degree North.
  • The longitudinal position of Punjab is between 73.55 degree East to 76.50 degree East.
  • The local time of Punjab is same as the time in other states of India. It is 5:30 hours ahead of GMT.

Area of Punjab

  • The total area of Punjab is 50,362 square kilometers and this is around 1.54% of the total geographical area of India.
  • If we rank the Indian states according to area, Punjab is at 20th position amongst all 29 states of India. Rajasthan is the largest state of India.
  • The share of agriculture land is almost 82% of the total area of the state.
  • Almost 5% of the area is covered by forests. Hoshiarpur district has the largest forest cover, having almost 34% of the total forests of the state.
Land Formation
  • The state of Punjab is situated in the Indo-Gangetic alluvial plains, also called as Great Plains.
  • Most of the land of Punjab is an alluvial plain formed by the sedimentation deposited by many rivers flowing through this land.
  • The literal meaning of word Punjab is Land of Five Rivers and these five rivers are Satluj, Beas, Ravi, Jhelum and Chenab.
  • The main rivers in today's state of Punjab are Satluj, Beas and Ravi. These rivers are fed by the waters from melting of snow in Himalayas, so flow throughout the year i.e. these are perennial rivers.
  • Shivalik hills which are situated at the foothills of himalayas, form the eastern boundry of the state along the state of Himachal Pradesh. The semi-hilly area in this part is locally known as 'Kandi' area.
  • Some parts along the southwest corner are semi-arid. It includes areas of Fazilka and Muktsar districts. This area is at the edge of Thar desert, which is largest desert in Asia.
  • The water level in semi-hilly areas in Shivalik hills, which includes parts of Pathankot, Hoshiarpur and Ropar districts, is very deep.
  • There is problem of water logging in many parts of Fazilka and Muktsar districts. In these areas, water can be found at a depth of 2-4 meters, but this cannot be used for irrigation or drinking purpose.
  • In the plains of Punjab, the average elevation above the sea level is around 180 meters to 330 meters. The slope of land is from Northeast to Southwest direction. The slightly hilly areas of Hoshiarpur and Ropar districts, which are located along the Shivalik hills, have elevation of above 500 meters.
  • Pathankot railway station in the northeast corner is at 330 meters and the Abohar railway station in the southwest corner is at a height of 180 meters above sea level.
  • Punjab lies in the seismic zone III and IV. Half of the state from the Shivalik hills side is in zone IV which includes Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Ropar, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana, Jalandhar districts. The districts is seismic zone III are - Firozpur, Fazilka, Mansa, Sangrur, Moga, Patiala and Bathinda.

Rivers and Wetlands

  • Satluj, Ravi and Beas are the major rivers of Punjab. These rivers are tributaries of Indus river.
  • There are three major wetlands in the state - Hari Ke Pattan, Kanjli and Ropar wetland which are included in the list of Wetlands of International Importance, also known as Ramsar Sites. There are total 26 Ramsar sites in India.
  • Hari Ke Pattan near Tarn Taran is the confluence point of Satluj and Beas rivers and is the largest wetland in Punjab. Due to arrival of large number of migratory birds, it is declared as a bird sanctuary.
  • Ghaggar, Sirsa and Kali Bein are some other important rivers of Punjab. These rivers are fed by the rain water and flow mainly during the rainy reason.
  • Ranjit Sagar dam is the largest dam of Punjab. It is built over the waters of Ravi river and is used for hydroelectric, irrigation and flood control purpose.
  • Shahpur Kandi dam is the other major dam located downstream of Ranjit Sagar dam at a distance of few kilometers from it.
  • The state is divided into three geographical regions - Majha, Malwa and Doaba. This is mainly due to separation of these areas by Satluj and Beas rivers.
  • The area between Beas and Ravi is known as Majha and is also called as Bari Doab.
  • The area between Satluj and Beas rivers is called as Doaba and also known as Bist Doab.
  • The area on the south of Satluj river is known as Malwa.

Forest Cover in Punjab

The forest cover in Punjab is 2442 sq. km. (2014-15) and it is almost 5% of the total area of Punjab. The districts of Punjab with high forest covre are Hoshiarpur, Ropar and Pathankot. The main reason of high forest cover in these districts is that the large parts of these districts lie in the semi-hilly area which is not suitable for wheat or rice crops and extent of urbanization is less. The Hoshiarpur district has maximum forest area of 819 sq.km. which is roughly 1/4th of the total area of the district and it makes 34% of the total forests of the state. The main trees planted in these forests are Shisham (Tahli in Punjabi, state tree of Punjab), Kikar, Euclyptus and Khair. The general perception about meaning of forest cover is large blocks of land covered with densely populated trees. But contrary to this meaning of forests, the forest cover in Punjab mainly includes the trees planted around the roads, canals and rivers etc.

Rainfall and Climate

  • In broad terms, the climate of Punjab is classified as Subtropical Semi-arid climate type.
  • Most parts of the state receive abundant rainfall during the monsoon season. The average annual rainfall in the state is around 500mm. It is the five years average for the period from 2011 to 2015.
  • The northeast parts of the state, which includes Gurdaspur, Pathankot, Hoshiarpur and Ropar districts, receive the maximum rainfall. The average rainfall in Gurdaspur and Pathankot districts is around 1100mm. Dhar Kalan block in Pathankot district is the wettest part of the state.
  • The rainfall in the semi-arid parts in the southwest parts, which includes parts of Fazilka, Firozpur, Mansa and Muktsar districts, receives least rainfall. The average annual rainfall in these parts is around 180mm. Abohar (Fazilka district) is the driest block in the state.
  • In summers, the temperature during the day remains close to 40-45 degree celcius. The peak summer season is during the period from mid-May to mid-July.
  • The winters are also harsh in the state. During the peak winter season from mid-December to mid-February, the temperature goes down to around 5 degree celcius.

Kandi Area in Punjab

Shivalik hills are situated along the eastern boundary of Punjab. This sub-mountaineous or semi-hilly area near the Shivalik foothills is locally called as Kandi area. This area is spread accross almost 6-8 kilometer belt along the border with Himachal Pradesh. Most parts of Hoshiarpur & Pathankot districts and some parts of Ropar, Nawan Shahr & Mohali districts lie in Kandi area of Punjab. Due to rocky soil and being a hilly area, its not good for crops like rice or wheat. Mangoes and other fruits are grown in large quantity in this area. A list of some of the blocks which are part of Kandi area is given below:
  • Hoshiarpur - Hoshiarpur-II, Bhunga, Dasuya, Mukerian, Hajipur, Talwara, Mahilpur, Garshankar
  • Pathankot - Dhar Kalan, Pathankot, Sujanpur
  • Nawan Shahr - Balachaur, Saroya
  • Mohali - Derabassi, Majri
  • Ropar - Ropar, Anandpur Sahib, Nurpur Bedi

Bet Area in Punjab

The floodplains along the rivers of Punjab are locally called as Bet area. These areas are found all over the state in form of large belts along the rivers. The land in these areas contain slightly sandy soil and not very fertile for agriculture. Over the past centuries, these areas were periodically flooded. But with the construction of dams like Bhakra (Satluj), Pong (Beas) & Ranjit Sagar (Ravi) on the major rivers of Punjab, now the chances of floods in these areas are reduced to almost negligible. Some of the blocks having most of their villages classified as bet area are:
  • Sidhwan Bet, Machhiwara, Ludhiana-II (Ludhiana)
  • Chamkaur Sahib (Ropar)
  • Bhunerheri (Patiala)
  • Derabassi (Mohali)
  • Shahkot, Lohian Khas (Jalandhar)
  • Dorangla, Kahnuwan, Narot Jaimalsingh (Gurdaspur)
  • Balachur (Nawan Shehar)
  • Ajnala, Chogawan (Amritsar)
  • Firozpur, Makhu, Mamdot, Guru Har Sahai (Firozpur)

State Symbols of Punjab

  • Sheesham (Tahli in Punjabi) is the state tree of Punjab. It is also known as Indian Rosewood and grows mainly along the banks of rivers. The wood of this tree is termite & pest resistant and is used in making furniture.
  • Northern Goshawk (Baaz in Punjabi) is the state bird of Punjab. Due to lost of natural habitat, only very few birds of this species are seen in the state.
  • Black Buck (Kala Hiran) is the state animal of Punjab. The animal is found mainly in the Abohar wildlife sanctuary, which is an open sanctuary spread over many villages and contains thousands of animals of this species.