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Places to visit in Chandigarh

Discussion in 'Punjab' started by Rajilet, Mar 9, 2017.

  1. Rajilet

    Rajilet New Member

    I am going to be staying in Chandigarh for my studies, and my parents will be dropping me there. I would like to take them around Chandigarh before they leave and would like some recommendations on the places to visit in Chandigarh which they would like. They haven't traveled much, and I want to take this small opportunity to take them around Chandigarh.
     


  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, @Rajilet, welcome to the forum!

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    (Images from Gshashidhar, Chiara, Dipak and Aman)

    Overview

    Chandigarh is often bypassed by tourists reaching the hill stations of Shimla or Kasauli. Being an underrated tourist destination, you can enjoy the slow pace of life in the city though. It is often considered as one of the country's cleanest and most well-planned cities. From its lush and verdant landscapes, to its abundant wildlife, it's almost not like a city. But the presence of modern attractions like shopping malls and theatres would make you think it's as developed as other metro cities. It is also unique in that it serves as the capital of two states, namely, Haryana and Punjab. Tagged as The City Beautiful, Chandigarh would make you experience the more laid-back vibe of a full blown city.

    Places to Visit in Chandigarh

    Historical
    • Capitol Complex Buildings - Chandigarh itself was planned by Swiss-French architect, Charles Edouard Jeanneret, simply known as Le Corbusier. His masterpiece though is the Capitol Complex, found in Sector 1 of the city. Just last year, 2016, this attraction was designated as an UNESCO Heritage Site because of the radical and very contemporary design of the buildings located within the complex. In a way, it's a little bit of Europe in Chandigarh, because the structures are very trendy, minimalistic and largely angular. The main distinguishing feature of the buildings here are their rawness from the unfinished concrete, that somehow, makes the complex look unpolished yet grand. There are three main buildings in the complex, namely: the Palace of the National Assembly, the High Court of Justice and the Palace of Secretariat of Ministers. The Palace of the National Assembly is perhaps the most picturesque building, as it is situated close to a water body, plus overlooks the distant Shivalik ranges. The dramatic use of various shapes in the roof, pyramid, tower and hyperboloid, give a distinct beauty to the very cubical form of the building. Both the High Court of Justice and the Palace of Secretariat of Ministers feature ramp platforms and grilled windows, that make their overall aesthetics very rigid and sharp. For the budding architects, frustrated architects or even lovers of modern art, the Capitol Complex is a can't be missed attraction in the city.
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    Capitol Complex High Court (Image from Aleksandr)
    • Capitol Complex Monuments - There are also three monuments worth visiting in the Capitol Complex. First of which is the Open Hand Monument, signifying an 'Open to Give, Open to Receive' philosophy which stands for the city of Chandigarh. This monument was also a dream project for the architect, Le Corbusier, but it was only 20 years after his death that it was finally completed and inaugurated. Second, there's the Geometric Hill, a very unique structure built with remnants of the construction materials. It stands in a tilted position and somehow, hides the entire complex from the main road view. And finally, Le Corbusier's philosophy of controlling sunlight and heat is manifested in the last monument, the Tower of Shadows. Stand under the monument at any time of the day and you won't experience the sunlight falling upon you. This is the architect's way of showcasing that yes, through the use of architecture, it's possible to manage sunlight and even temperatures.
    Religious
    • ISKCON Chandigarh - The ISKCON Temple in Chandigarh is located Sector 36, specifically in Dakshin Marg. As is with other ISKCON temples, it is dedicated to the Lord Krishna. The temple itself is very simple and smaller, especially as compared to other ISKCON temples. But the spirituality and enchanting ambience of the temple is enough for devotees to keep coming back to it. The main sanctum houses the idol of Lord Krishna and the idol of his consort, Goddess Radha. Both are adorned with lavish clothing and there are fresh flowers everywhere. You can also participate in darshans or aartis conducted regularly in the temple. Inside, there's also a small shop selling religious merchandises or souvenirs.
    • Christ the King Cathedral - The Christ the King Cathedral is Chandigarh's largest Catholic church. It is located on Sector 19, just opposite the Palika Bazaar. The cathedral has a very modern facade, with its cubic shape and a central tower with a carving of Jesus Christ. Inside the church, the design is very simple, with just bricked pillars and white-washed walls. The main altar has a rock-like edifice with statues of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ. This is a fully functional church and masses are held here regularly. However, it becomes alive mainly during December, as Christmas eve approaches.
    Museums
    • Government Museum - Just by looking at the Government Museum from the outside, you can guess who was its architect, which was Le Corbusier. The museum can be divided into four sections, namely: the Natural History Section, the Chandigarh Architecture Section, Art Gallery Section and the National Gallery of Portraits Section. The first two sections are housed in two separate buildings while the last two sections are housed in one building. The Natural History Section has various displays depicting the evolution of man throughout the years. There are various dioramas depicting the ways of life back then during the era of the Homo Erectus or even the Homo Habelis. This section also includes a dinosaur section that mainly highlights the fossils of these gigantic species that were excavated in India. Onto the Chandigarh Architecture Section, this building highlights the development of the city over the years. From the year it was planned and designed by architect Le Corbusier, until the progress that it has today. The last sections, the Art Gallery and National Gallery of Portraits, mainly has arts in the form of paintings and statues. The Art Gallery has a vast collection of miniature paintings of the Pahari School of Art, from the dynasties of the Mughals, Mewars and even the Kangras. Some of the artists are known but many are not, still the beauty of the paintings cannot be emphasised enough. The last section, the National Gallery of Portraits is a must visit for Indians as it highlights the country's struggle for independence during the British reign. In this section, in the form of newspaper clippings, books, rare photographs and audio recordings, the tourist can experience this important part of Indian history.
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    Government Museum (Image from Explore Chandigarh)
    • Le Corbusier Centre - Take a rare glimpse of the office of the city's architect at the Le Corbusier Centre. Here, you would find the original documents used during the planning of the city of Chandigarh. From the layouts, to the sketches, to the sample map, you can find them all here. Correspondence letters of the architect to other important individuals, like Jawaharlal Nehru, can also be found here. The antique furnitures like tables and chairs used by the architect are also retained here. Scale models of buildings like the Tower of Shadow can also be viewed here. In a way, it can give one a glimpse of how the city was planned and it can also help the tourist in their sightseeing of the city.
    • International Dolls Museum - Last on this section is the International Dolls Museum, located in Sector 23 of the city. This museum was established in 1985 by Rotarian RK Saboo. The main stars here are the over 300 dolls bought from different countries, including Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Indonesia, Russia and more. That's not all though, alongside the dolls is a small description telling the culture of the country where it belongs, giving one a bit of an overview of the nation itself. There is also a specific section for dolls just from India's different states. There are also about 25 dolls showcasing the different tribes of the country. Kids would certainly enjoy the sections where local dolls were made to look like characters from fairy tales like Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. For the boys, there's a replica of the German Toy Train here that they can surely enjoy.
    Gardens
    • Chandigarh Rose Garden - The Chandigarh Rose Garden is located in Sector 16 and is also known as the Zakir Hussain Rose Garden. This is Asia's largest rose garden, with a variety of over 16,000 roses. As you enter the garden premises, a metal wind chime would greet you, which gives an added beauty to the place due to the constant chiming of the metal pieces. Setup in a planned and well-manicured way, the garden is a delight to the eyes. From the solid coloured roses, to the differently hued roses, you're bound to enjoy the beauty of nature, easily accessible from the city centre. The best time though for visiting this garden is from February to March, when the annual Rose Festival is held here and the roses are in full bloom.
    • Chandigarh Rock Garden - The Chandigarh Rock Garden is a masterpiece of Nek Chand who gathered city rubbish to create this paradise of artworks. It was in the middle of the 20th century when Nek Chand began collecting city waste products, from rocks, to ceramics, to bangles. In a hidden spot near the Sukhna Lake, he gathered all these products and created various sculptures out of them. For many years, this paradise was hidden from the public until it was discovered by the local government. Thankfully, instead of demolishing this quaint paradise, it was opened to the public and since then, Nek Chand's Rock Garden has been gaining popularity amongst Indian and foreign tourists. Why not? The ideal of creating something from waste is truly a difficult task to fulfil and this entire garden is an example of the premise. Sculptures of animals and humans going about their daily lives can be found here, of materials like bangles, broken pottery pieces and pebbles. The backgrounds upon which these sculptures are located are made of broken tiles. Truly a world-class attraction that you can't miss is the Chandigarh Rock Garden.
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    Rock Garden (Image from Design Non-Stop)
    • Terraced Garden - The Terraced Garden is located in Sector 33 of Chandigarh. In contrast to the former garden, this one houses a number of chrysanthemums. The arrangement of the garden is in a form of terrace with different levels, hence the name. For the full blooming of the chrysanthemums, you must visit during the month of December, which is also the time when the annual Chrysanthemum Show is held here. During this event, chrysanthemums in various varieties are displayed, both in grown soil form and pot soil form. Even in normal days, the garden is a peaceful haven especially with its level setup. You can even enjoy the night fountain show that is conducted here daily.
    • Japanese Garden - This is a fairly newer garden in Chandigarh, located in Sector 31 and inaugurated just in 2014. This garden differs in that it has mainly a Japanese theme, from its miniature Japanese temple, to the various statues of a dragon, crocodiles, fish and lion slash dog. The presence of other structures like the mini bridge and yin yang symbol also indicate Japanese design elements. For the Buddhists, there's a statue of Gautama Buddha here that they can also visit. For the little ones, the garden has a Rock Garden too, where they can have many photo opportunities in. For the adults, there's a meditation centre here where they can connect with their spiritual self in.
    • Garden of Fragrance - The Garden of Fragrance is located in Sector 36, just behind the ISKCON Temple. As the name suggests, the garden boasts of whiffs of different species of jasmine like the night jasmine or the Arabian jasmine, plus a variety of other plants like the plumeria and damask rose. There are various shrubs and plants that envelope the place as well. Well-laid paths provide for wonderful strolls around the Garden of Fragrance. If you have children with you, there's a small park with a few swings and slides that they can use. Recently, an open-air gym was constructed in the garden as well, which means you can enjoy being fit and healthy while in the presence of these aromatic smells.
    • Chandigarh Botanical Garden & Nature Park - Next we have the Chandigarh Botanical Garden & Nature Park which is located in the Sector 12 of the city. With the aim of preserving the natural flora of the country, this garden was established in 2002 but was inaugurated 5 years later in 2007. This garden differs in that it has a rich number of medicinal and herbal plants mainly used in India for Ayurvedic treatments. Thus, you're bound to find various species of such medicinal plants like citronella, lemon grass, mint, geranium, tulsi and chameli here. Large trees and flowering plants are also abundant in the garden. In the Patiala-Ki-Rao section of the Nature Park, there's a lake as well where tourists can enjoy boating in. An attraction for the whole family, the Chandigarh Botanical Garden & Nature Park would enable one to understand the practical usage of various plants in the daily lives of humans.
    • Shanti Kunj - Aptly named the Peace Garden, find you solace here in the Shanti Kunj, an underrated garden in Chandigarh. Perhaps it's because of its location close to the popular Rose Garden in Sector 16. But if you're someone who loves serenity more than anything else, this garden would be suitable for you. The beauty of the garden lies in its stream that actually divides the whole place into several sections. You can cross over these water ways by bridges, which is the most photographed structures in the garden. Various flowers and fruit trees flank the sides of the garden, giving it its natural charm. Sitting areas are widely available too or you can opt to have a picnic in the grass areas instead. Shanti Kunj was also the first garden in Chandigarh to receive an open-air gym, which is why locals enjoy visiting this place more than the tourists.
    • Bougainvillea Garden - Next on this section is the Bougainvillea Garden, which is located in Sector 3 of Chandigarh. As the name suggests, the garden has various species of bougainvilleas but they can't always be found in full bloom. The best feature of the garden is its jogging slash walking path where guests can enjoy doing their health regimens in. Also located within the garden is the Chandigarh War Memorial, which highlights the names of over 8,000 soldiers who have sacrificed their lives for the country.
    • Pinjore Gardens - The Pinjore Gardens is a Mughal-style garden located in Pinjore, around 22 kilometres away from Chandigarh. Much like the Mughal gardens of Srinagar, the Pinjore Gardens is setup in various terraces or levels. Although it was Nawab Fidai Khan who built the garden, the restoration and overall beauty of it is credited to Yadavindra Singh, a ruler from the Patiala dynasty. Some of the terraces have small palaces, designated as mahals, which can also be visited by the tourists. A water channel goes through all the terrace levels which gives immense beauty to the gardens. Various fruit trees and plants flank the sides of the gardens too. There's a toy train too which can take you around the entire gardens more comfortably.
    Parks
    • Butterfly Park - The Butterfly Park is located in Sector 26 of Chandigarh. Spread over 26 acres of land, the park was established in 2012 purely as a habitat for the butterflies. There are around 35 species of butterflies residing in the park though spotting them can be hard as they mainly reside in the wild areas of the park. For sure butterfly spotting, visit the Butterfly Conservatory of the park, which is mainly an enclosed glass house where some butterflies are kept in captivity for the tourists to view them easily. Don't worry as the conservatory has enough flowers and plants to nourish the butterflies still. For the adventure seekers, they can instead partake on a nature trail in the park, to discover the butterflies on their own. Flower such as petunias and marigolds can be found in abundance here as these are the main nutrition sources of the butterflies. The central lotus pond is such a serene place, where you can enjoy the views of overgrowth of lotus.
    • Children Traffic Park - This is a unique park concept that you can't find elsewhere in India. The Children Traffic Park is located in Sector 23 of Chandigarh. This park aims to teach children the concepts related to road, such as traffic lights meaning, road signals and road rules. It's best visited during the late afternoon though as there's a track here used for driving license tests during early mornings. If you have children with you and you want to teach them the practical aspects of road safety, then this attraction would be a huge help for you.
    Nature & Wildlife
    • Sukhna Lake - The Sukhna Lake is located in Sector 1 of Chandigarh and was also created by the same architect, Le Corbusier. The water from the lake comes from a stream originating from the Shivalik ranges but nowadays, the water also comes from the rain. This is the most popular attraction of Chandigarh as well, thronged by tourists from in and out of India. With the backdrop of the Shivalik ranges and the calm waters, you're bound to spend a few hours just passing by time here. But for the adventure seekers, don't worry, as the lake has a wide array of activities for you, from yachting, boating, surfing and even water skiing. The areas around the lake can be very busy, with various food stalls or activities like camel riding and biking.
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    Sukhna Lake (Image from Vikas)
    • Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary - The Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary is located just next to the Sukhna Lake. This is actually a reserve forest with nature trails that tourists can enjoy. The trail is amidst a well-laid path and throughout the trek, you can enjoy hearing the chirping of the birds. During migratory winter season, bird species like storks, cranes, black drongos, rollers and more can be found here. Larger animals like sambars, porcupines, common mongooses and wild boars also reside here though can be harder to spot.
    • Nepli & Kansal Reserve Forests - The Nepli and Kansal Forest Reserve is located in Sector 19 of Chandigarh. However, to access the reserve forests, one must procure an entry permit from the Forest Department of Chandigarh. These are the most virgin and wildest jungles of the city, being home to large animals like nilgais, spotted deers, jungle cats and more. The trekking trail from the Nepli Reserve Forest to the Kansal Reserve Forest is around seven kilometres long. It's best undertaken during early morning so that you can avoid the harsh heat of the sun.
    • Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park - The Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park is located about 20 kilometres away from Chandigarh, specifically in Zirakpur. It is also known as the Chhatbir Zoo and was established in the year 1977. Initially, the zoo was just very small but later on, it expanded, so did the number of animals here, which accounts to about 85 species. The mammals residing here are around 300 in number which includes royal Bengal tigers, Indian elephants, gazelles, Indian leopards and Himalayan black bears. Various bird species and reptiles also reside in the zoo. You can opt to tour the zoo by foot or by their battery-operated golf cart. Entry fees are very minimal and you can choose to skip this attraction if you have already been in the larger zoos or wildlife reserves of India.
    Leisure
    • Fun City - Fun City is located in Surya, which is about 20 kilometres away from Chandigarh. This is North India's largest theme park, comprised of both an amusement park and water park. The amusement park is just small, catering mostly to the children with its carousel, train rides, round and round rides and more. The water park is suitable for the whole family as it has various sections like a family pool, wave pool and lazy river. Of course not missing are the fun slides, ranging from straight ones, to spiral ones, to tube ones. So once you're done exploring the city of Chandigarh, reward yourselves with a leisure trip to the Fun City.
    Conclusion

    This ends our sightseeing guide on the city of Chandigarh. If you love the colours of plants and flowers, you would enjoy Chandigarh, which boasts of various gardens and parks filled with endless greenery. While the heritage and religious sites are more limited, the ones listed above can give you a simple glimpse of Chandigarh's past and also its spiritual connections. And finally, for the thrill-seekers, you can enjoy adventurous activities in the nature and wildlife areas of the city, as well as a popular leisure attraction that surely would keep your little ones busy for a day or more.

    Good luck and I hope this helps you!:)
     

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