Chandigarh City in One Day
Chandigarh City, city beautiful, is a small city in North India, hub of upper north India and gateway to hills. It is still a small city for India with population of over 1mn. Chandigarh City may not offer a cosmopolitan life of big and global cities, avenues to nurture and develop your artistic side, but is one of the most comfortable to live in as a resident more importantly, it has enough to appreciate nature, and practice the artist in you. It is not big on tourist circuit yet with many limiting their exposure to seeing a glimpse of it while changing bus to go to hills. It has lot more to offer than changing bus. Perhaps spending high energy one full day before leaving for the next town is justified. My advice will be to reach here in evening by train from Delhi, the best and most convenient medium and start your exploration next morning. Next morning:
- Start your day early with walk in Sukhana Lake. The walking path is little less than 2.5km one way and covers about half of the lake’s circumference. You can enjoy some cool breeze and Classical Indian music while walking on walking track or jogging on the jogging track. Walking track is cemented while jogging track is well rolled flat dirt road to cushion your spine and knees.
- Come back to your hotel and get ready for the 10am walking tour of the capitol complex. It is a free walk tour run by the tourism department. It covers the important, high security buildings and areas of Chandigarh which are out of bound to the general public. Budget 2hrs for the walk. Apart from 10am, walk can also be done at noon and at 3pm if there is sufficient demand.
- After the walk tour, walk for ten minutes to see the only kind of its place in the world – Rock Garden. Started in 1976, it has now spread to an area of over 40 acres or 1,61,874 m2. Why it is the only such place in the world? Because all of the statues, sculptures, and other artwork has been made from waste / discarded house and industrial materials. To know more about Rock Garden, click here to read my blog post.
- After visiting Rock Garden, have lunch in trendy cafes of Sector 9 / 10 or restaurants in Sector 26 and then explore the non-mall, high streets markets aggregated in a block – Sector 17 for shopping of clothes, souvenirs and more.
- From Sector 17, you can go to the art gallery and museum to see the sculpture art of ancient times and portraits from and of Indian Independence struggle. It also has a section on Dinosaurs and Evolution of Man which might of interest to kids. Guided tours run every hour from 10:30am, with last tour beginning at 3:30pm.
- From Art Gallery / Museum, stroll in Rose garden, across the road, which has all the species of roses in the world. Best time to visit Rose Garden will be in winters when roses are blooming. Other times, only for green space and walk.
- Evening can be spent in the world class Elante Mall, with option to watch movies in equally world calls multiplex and dinner in many of the multi cuisine and fine dining restaurants.
- Fitness enthusiasts, can jog in the Leisure Valley in Sector 10 or in well maintained Fragrance Garden (Sector 36) and Shanti Kunj Park (Sector 16). Please note that Leisure valley though built to provide you with physical rigor to maintain reasonable fitness, is not well maintained. Tracks have been built with elevations and instruction boards have instructions of walking pace to be maintained with other physical movements that you should be doing to remain fit with note for heart patients. But sadly tracks are not being cleaned, and boards rusted, making them useless. This is how it was in February 2015.
- Next day, board early morning / afternoon train to Delhi or leave for Hills / Shimla by bus or train or airplane to Srinagar
If you can afford one more day for Chandigarh City, then I would suggest you to spread out the attractions and enjoy the pace of the city instead of rushed, short of time exploration. Explore the cafes and gardens of Chandigarh City including Hibiscus Garden in Sector 33. The pub / disco scene is small in Chandigarh City but present in Sector 8 (Madhya Marg) or again in Sector 26. To avoid disappoint, it will be advised to lower your expectations, if not crush them, for pubs / discs esp on weekdays 😀