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Location : Punjab
Languages : Punjabi, Hindi
Area : 114 square kilometers
Temperature : In summers, 27-44 degree Celsius; in winters, 1-16 degree Celsius
Major Attractions : Rock Garden, Rose Garden
Best Visiting Time : February/March
A capital to Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh is named after Chandi, a deity that is revered throughout the city. Distinguished from Indian cities for being the first planned city, it is home to several architectural buildings that were carved with dexterity and organization. As you visit the city, you will be able to view numerous structures laid down by renowned architects like Le Corbusier, Mathew Nowicki, and Pierre Jeanneret.
The meticulous urban planning and the clean surroundings catch the fancy of a visitor. The high rate of HDI (Human Development Index) and a strong economy make it one of the places worth living. Besides, its idyllic location amidst Shivalik hills adds to the charm.
History Behind Creation :
India, after getting independence in 1947, was bifurcated into two parts; this resulted in division of the state of Punjab in two parts. While the western portion became a part of Pakistan, the eastern part ceded to India but sans a capital. P.L. Verma was chosen as the engineer for creating the capital city. Chandigarh was chosen as it was a fertile agriculture land with immense scenic beauty. Flanked by many rivulets and seasonal streams, the city became the obvious choice for the engineers.
The next step after the site was being chosen was to search for skilled architects. Hunt was carried out abroad and a graduate of MIT, Albert Mayer, was chosen for the purpose. He was assigned the responsibility to draft a master plan and details about residential complexes, City Center, and main road cris-crossing the city. But Mayer had to leave the project and French architect Le Corbusier was roped in to carry the task. He created an economical plan and made certain modifications to the original master plan. City of Chandigarh was created as a result.
The beautiful city of Chandigarh is known for its natural landscapes and charming tourist attractions. The tour can be highly refreshing, in fact, matching with the ambience of the city itself. Let's talk a bit about the places that you may be interested to roam about:
Rock Garden :
This sculpture garden was founded by Nek Chand. Sprawled over an area of about 40 acres, the premises of this picturesque garden comprise of several waterfalls and water steams. You may be surprised to know that several sculptures within it are made from industrial waste, scrap material, bangles, glasses, ceramics, and other electric waste. The initial impression that a garden must be consisting of trees and plants is nullified as soon as you enter it. Instead, you come across countless number of sculptures; the figures of dancing damsels, marching armies, flying birds. While dancers are created from parts of automobiles, others are made from broken glass and scrap material. Your visit to this garden of one of its own king will leave a lasting impression on your mind.
Rose Garden :
Credited for being the biggest garden of roses in entire Asia, this garden is named after India's President Zakir Hussein. A beautiful creation by M.S. Randhawa, this fascinating place covers 30 acres of land. There are about 1600 different varieties of rose that can be seen growing here. Botanists have also developed a number of hybrid varieties. To enjoy your trip to the fullest, visit it in either February or March when the flowers are in their full blossom. A plethora of Culture activities and competitions are organized during the celebration of an annual fair; the inhabitants from surrounding area look forward to this joyous occasion.
Sukhna Lake :
Sukhna rivulet flows on the southeastern side of Chandigarh. During rainy season, water from this body of water used to overflow its banks; in order to prevent that, Sukhna Lake was carved out; it hampered the free flow of the river and diverted the direction of flow. Visit this place of picturesque beauty for enjoying the fascinating surroundings. Spend a day here picnicking; make most out from boating and rafting facilities, or just stroll through the area in the evening. A children park and an eating outlet pull a large crowd of the tourists. This spot of recreation is a liked by people of all ages.
Leisure Valley :
This thematic valley is a set of continuous thematic gardens that were created by Le Corbusier. Stretched between sector 1 and 53, Leisure Valley is an epitome of the paradisiacal beauty that is reflected in the spirit of Chandigarh. Rajendra Park is from where the valley starts. Mirroring the landscape theme, this portion is laced with vast canopies of trees and lush greenery. You can go for pleasure-generating long walks or enjoy horse riding. At Smriti Upvan which is also a part of Sector 1, you will see trees planted in memory of those who have left the earthly abode. Thousands of trees are planted by people here every year to commemorate their departed ones.
At Bougainvillea Garden, the colorful varieties of numerous Bougainvilleas will enthrall your senses. Fitness Trails at Sector 10 are meant for allowing you to have physical exercises amidst transcendental beauty presented by nature. Other parks worth mentioning are Terraced Garden, Topiary Park, and Botanical Garden.
Capitol Complex :
This seat of Government comprises of three edifices called Secretariat, High Court and Legislative Assembly. These imposing structures are the symbols of nobility and stateliness and stand majestically over its premises. The brilliant architecture exemplified by them was the result of sheer dedication of Le Corbusier. The fascinating location of these structures amongst the foothills of Shivaliks make the site even more spectacular. An open hand monument is also situated nearby and sends out the message of "acceptance" to the world.
Shopping Center :
A hub of several government as well as private run offices, the shopping center is twined with countless shop complexes. The market is flooded with stylish show rooms, departmental stores and an array of fashion houses. As the road is pedestrianised, visitors find it easy to roam about. It is good if you plan to go out in the evening as pleasurable lighting effects create an aesthetic effect.
The city has numerous luxurious accommodations that are equipped of state-of-the-art facilities and offer a comfortable stay. A few names that you may find useful are Taj, Park View, Shivalik View, and Mountview. Kwality Regency, Piccadilly, Classic, Alankar, Park Inn are some other private hotels that are laced with modern amenities.
Chandigarh welcomes you by its sheer beauty and exceedingly charming nature. A vacation here will let you enjoy your stay to the fullest. So be ready to plunge yourself in the world of astounding ecstasy.