India Chandigarh Gurdwara Vaisakhi Baisakhi edited

Chandigarh


Chandigarh, located at the foothills of Shivalik hills, is ~250kms north of New Delhi.  Also the gateway to hills – Jammu & Kashmir and the picturesque province of Himachal Pradesh, it is very well connected by road, rail and air and easy to reach.

Background:

Chandigarh is the first planned city of India.  It has been nicknamed as city beautiful for its architecture and cleanliness.  It was designed and planned by French architect Le Corbusier in 1952.  Being a union territory, one city province, it is capital of itself, and adjoining provinces of Punjab and Haryana, hence is flooded with government offices and employees.

The map of Chandigarh resembles more like an open hand.  This is the reason for the shape of the open hand monument apart from the message of ‘Open to Receive, Open to Give’.  With time, development has taken place distorting the shape of the hand but the hand can still be made out in the map.

For architecture students / enthusiasts, Chandigarh is a very popular name because of the modern architecture design and planning introduced by the Le Corbusier.  Capitol Complex is a must see for those interested in architecture

Key Facts

City Population ~1.1 million
Tourist Population ~1 million annually
On Tourist Circuit No
Weather Dry, extreme summers & cold winters
Best time to go Late September to March
Why Go? City Beautiful, Rock Garden, Punjab, Hills
Location of Sites North and Center
Location of Hotels Center and South
Airport Yes (International)

Weather:

Chandigarh has dry but extreme weather.  In summers, temperature touches 45 degree Celsius regularly while in winters, you can expect lowest temperatures of under 5 degree Celsius at night often.  July and August are the rainy months in Chandigarh.  For more details, you can check the temperature range for every season in weather section on India page

Why Go 

See good part of India, Rock Garden, Gateway to hills – Himachal Pradesh / Jammu & Kashmir, and food and hospitality of Punjab

 

Points of Interest:

Chandigarh has few points of interest, though the main part of visit lies in enjoying evenings in several parks and quality of life offered by the city than sight seeing alone.

 

Rock Garden (Sector 1): 

Its only kind in the world, garden containing statues and sculptures made from waste and discarded materials such as ceramic, electric sockets, bangles, earthen pots etc.

 

Capitol Complex (Sector 1):  

Buildings designed by Le Corbusier which are considered to be the first to adopt modern architecture principles.

 

Rose Garden (Sector 16):

Large garden with large patches of grass and rose beds.  Each rose bed comprises of one species of rose.  In total there 1600 species of roses in the rose garden, spread over 30acre. It is best visited in Winters when roses flower.

 

Sukhna Lake:

Northern end of the city, it is a natural lake.  It is the best place in town to relax and enjoy evening walk around a water body and listen to classical music

 

Fragrance Garden (Sector 36): 

Well maintained large public garden.  Another good option for walking and enjoying the evening.

 

Sector 17 (Strolling & Shopping): 

Unlike modern concept of malls, sector 17 is an open shopping area.  It has large blocks housing shops on the ground floor and offices above.  Large open spaces make it an excellent and relaxing experience to shop esp in evenings and on a warm day in winters.

 

Elante Mall (Food and Shopping): 

Newly built modern mall at par with the best in the world.

 

Reaching Chandigarh:

Being well connected with other cities, reaching Chandigarh is never a concern.  Multiple trains run every day from New Delhi and other cities. Aircon bus to / from Delhi runs almost every hour while non-aircon buses run every half hour.  By air, direct flights are available from / to Srinagar, New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore at least one per day if not more.

 

Hotels and Stay:

Sectors 17 / 22 / 35 / 43 have bulk of hotels.  Industrial area is the new hub for hotels.  It is close to railway station and airport, but far from the city and typically caters to business travelers.

Budget Hotels:

  • Oyo Rooms – Aggregator of rooms. It has partnerships with various hotels and offers standardized experience of stay at budget and mid range prices.
  • Several hotels in Sector 35 / 43, southern part of city.

Mid Range Hotels:

  • Sector 35 / 43 / 22, and Industrial Area.
  • Piccadilly and Sunbeam Hotel in Sector 22 opposite sector 17 bus stand are mid ranged hotels.

Luxury Hotels:

  • Mountview Hotel – Sector 10 and Shivalikview – Sector 17 are well run five and four star respectively hotels.
  • Taj Hotel, Sector 17, and JW Marriot, Sector 35 – five star hotel.

 

Food & Eating:

Modern and ‘cool’ cafes can be found in Sector 9 & 10,  and few in Sector 35.  Bar / discs and fine dining restaurants are located on Madhya Marg Sector 8 & 26.  Elante Mall also has wide range of options from fast food to fine dining.  Zomato is a popular app to browse and choose a place to eat.  You can select sector or cuisine type to browse through the options available.

 

Commuting within Chandigarh:

Public transport though reliable and available is not the most preferred mode of movement for the locals.  Personal conveyance or cabs are the preferred choice and comfortable mode along with the auto-richshaw, called auto in local lingo.  Radio cabs run in the city 24X7 but they have to pre-booked over phone with atleast 10-15mins notice.  Uber, as usual, is booked through its app.  Waving hand and boarding is not popular and technically not allowed by these cab firms.

Bicycles on rent, a recent addition, are available from Sukhana Lake only.

 

Tourist Office:

Website:  www.chandigarhtourism.gov.in

Office Location:  ISBT (Bus Stand) Sector 17, Plaza (Shopping Area), Sector 17, Sukhna Lake, and Near Capitol Complex, Sector 1 (To reach here ask for / tell cab driver near high court building, judges entrance).

 

Day Trips – Anandpur SahibUcha Pind / Sangol, Patiala

Short Trips (1 – 3 nights) – Shimla; Kasauli; Solan, Chail, Dharamsala, Amritsar

Avi