Located in the fertile plains of Punjab, Jalandhar has made a name for itself in a very niche industry – sports. From badminton shuttles to carom boards, gym gear to treadmills, if its sports related, Jalandhar probably sells it. It is quite easy to find a Jalandhar taxi service for easy transport around the city.
A Post-Independence Boom
Even though the sports industry in Jalandhar has existed for more than a century, it saw great boom post-independence as games like cricket and football became an essential part of the average Indian’s recreational time. Many attribute the growth of the sports industry in Jalandhar to the arrival of skilled labourers from Sialkot (now in Pakistan) post the partition of 1947. Sialkot was the original bastion of sports in Western India with factories owned by esteemed Hindu and Sikh business families set up in the late 19th century. By 1885, British India had started to export sporting goods like cricket willows and footballs. In many ways, Jalandhar became the new sports capital of India because of the unfortunate and often-bloody forced migration of 1947. The sports industry is so important to the city’s economy that special economic zones have been set up just for this manufacturing segment.
As cricket exploded as the most watched sport in the eighties, Jalandhar city saw many cricket equipment manufacturing companies set up. Jalandhar makes around a quarter of all the cricket equipment used around the world. For more than a century, this thriving Punjabi city has been on the forefront of India’s sports industry. Some of the biggest names in cricket get their bats hand-crafted in the city – Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni and Steve Waugh are all names we are familiar with.
Legends of Many Games
Away from the sports equipment industry, Jalandhar has a rich sporting culture. The JCT Mills football club was a very famous team of the region before the senior squad was dismantled. Now JCT academy is one of the best breeding grounds for future football talent in India.
Though cricket is a popular sport played by the majority, Jalandhar has had only one tryst with the international game. This happened in 1983 at the Burlton Park stadium when India hosted Pakistan. Even though the game ended in a tame draw, the spectators were treated to a double-century by Anshuman Gaekwad. Harbhajan Singh who has been a part of many memorable Test cricket wins for India is from Jalandhar.
Hockey and Punjab are synonymous and Jalandhar is one of the best talent hubs for the game. The biggest games are played at the Surjit Singh Stadium, named after one of Jalandhar’s most famous hockey players and a Team India legend. Today many league games are played here. Ajit Pal Singh is another luminary of Jalandhar’s hockey legacy, a World Cup-winning captain. Pargat Singh, another captain of India, is from Jalandhar.
Explore Sports City
When you are visiting Punjab’s old capital, you will find something sports-related in almost every corner, from little alleyway shops to major industrial centres churning out equipment in tons. Sports are an integral part of the history of Jalandhar and comprise a major factor in making this one of India’s most prosperous cities. You can rent a car in Jalandhar and explore the many sports venues and industrial areas with complete freedom and mobility.