The Punjab (پنجاب (Shahmukhi); ਪੰਜਾਬ (Gurumukhi)), also spelled Panjab, is a geographical and cultural region in the northern part of South Asia, comprising areas of eastern Pakistan and northern India. Not being a political unit, the extent of the region is the subject of debate and focuses on historical events to determine its boundaries.
There are two main definitions of the Punjab region: the 1947 definition and the older 1846-1849 definition. The third definition incorporates both the 1947 and the older definitions but also includes northern Rajasthan on a linguistic basis and ancient river movements.
- 1947 definition
Using the 1947 definition, the Punjab region borders Kashmir to the north, Sindh and Rajasthan to the south, the Pashtun region and Balochistan to the west, and the Hindi belt to the east. Accordingly, the Punjab region is very diverse and stretches from the hills of the Kangra Valley to the plains and to the Cholistan Desert.
- 1846-1849 definition
Using the Sikh Empire definition, the Punjab region covers a large territory and can be divided into five natural areas:
- the eastern mountainous region including Jammu Division and Azad Kashmir;
- the trans-Indus region including پشاور;
- the central plain with its five rivers;
- the north-western region, separated from the central plain by the Salt Range between the Jhelum and the Indus rivers;
- the semi-desert to the south of the Sutlej river.