Punjab is a state in northern India bordered by the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir to the north, Himachal Pradesh to the east, Haryana to the south and southeast, Rajasthan to the southwest, and the Pakistan occupied province of Punjab to the west. Chandigarh is the joint capital of Punjab along with Haryana, and Ludhiana is the largest city in the state of Punjab.

The region of Punjab was originally called Sapta Sindhu, the Vedic land of the seven rivers flowing into the ocean. The Sanskrit name for the region, as mentioned in the Ramayana and Mahabharata for example, was Panchanada which means “Land of the Five Rivers”. The word Punjab is a compound of the Persian words ‘panj’ (five) and ‘ab’ (waters), “the land of five rivers”. The five rivers are the Sutlej, Beas, Ravi, Chenab and Jehlum.

During the period when the epic Mahabharata was written, around 800–400 BCE, Punjab was known as Trigarta and ruled by Katoch kings. The Indus Valley Civilization spanned much of the Punjab region with cities such as Ropar. The Vedic Civilization spread along the length of the Sarasvati River to cover most of northern India including Punjab. This civilisation shaped subsequent cultures in the Indian subcontinent.