Chandigarh is a habilinger of change, with its well planned environment focusing on the Sun, space and verdure, with magnificent backdrop of the Shivalliks. With its lush green surroundings, sparkling gardens, shady trees, clean wide roads, excellent communications and the most charming people, the city surely stands up to its name as the City Beautiful.
Chandigarh was conceived as the first planned city of independent India in the early 1950s. Declared the common capital of the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana , Chandigarh is the cleanest and most pollution-free city in India. Natural beauty coupled with a multicultural population has given rise to an impressive line-up of gardens, galleries, museums complimented by some outstanding architecture. Chandigarh was earlier selected to repalce the former capital of Lahore, which became part of Pakistan at partition in 1947.
The city enjoys wonderfully clement weather due to its location at the foot of the Shiwalik Hills, the outermost edge of the Himalaya. It boasts of broad boulevards, parks and lawns, a beautiful lake and is fast developing as a third home for the Information Technology industry after Bangalore and Hyderabad.
Sukhna Lake, the man made lake is located on the southeastern boundary of the Chandigarh city. The picturesque Sukhna Lake situated in the foothills of Shivalik range is an idyllic place for quiet communion with nature and for offering water sports activities such as boating, yachting, water skiing, etc. The creation of Lake was one of the greatest gifts from Le Corbusier and P. L. Varma, the Chief Engineer. To preserve its tranquility, Corbusier insisted that it be forbidden to motor boats and the top of the promenade prohibited to vehicular traffic. The lake is a perfect hangout for peaceful, romantic walks.
Rock Garden : A Unique Piece Of Art
Next to Sukhna Lake, the rock garden is an expression of one man`s whimsical but unique creativity in the city of Chandigarh, called Rock Garden. Situated in the thick forest area of sector 1, this world famous fantasy holds its own charm for the visitors. The Rock Garden can safely be billed as Chandigarh`s top draw as it attracts most tourists.
The brain child of Mr. Nek Chand, the sculptures of this one of its kind garden have been fashioned out of waste and discarded material like electric wires, broken bangles, machine parts, broken ceramics and just about anything that caught the creator`s fancy. Today, the park occupies an area of 10 hectares and is home to more than 5,000 sculptures. Meanwhile, Nek Chand has internationally been recognised as an important figure in the field of non-mainstream art.
Zakir Hussain Rose Garden, Asia`s largest rose garden is located next to the city centre, in sector 16. Sprawling over 30 acres of land, the garden boasts of more than 1600 kinds of roses. Affording a sight to behold during spring, the rose plants have been planted beautifully in carved-out lawns and flowers beds. Like the cultural zone, which is just across the road in Sector 10, Dr. M.S. Randhawa also planned this garden, as his interest in horticulture and fondness for flowers was profuse.
Every year, at the end of February or beginning of March, a grand festival known as Rose Festival, is celebrated at this garden. Over 20,000 people visit this festival. It`s one of the great celebrations in the city. There are lots of competitions, cultural celebrations and many other events.
The Museum and Art Gallery
Located in sector 10, the building housing the museum and the art gallery, is itself, a work of great art. Historical and modern paintings and sculpture of vast range are housed in museum. There is a rich collection of rare Pahari and Kangra miniatures in the museum.
For the interest of anthropologists there is a collection of fossils of prehistoric man and his implements, unearthed in India. Within the complex is the Museum of Evolution and the exhibition gallery housing interesting features.
The museum complex remain open 10.00 am to 4.30 pm on all days except Mondays.
Chandi Devi Temple
The temple of goddess Chandi is approximately 15 kms from Chandigarh. The city of Chandigarh derives its name from this temple located in the vicinity of the city and a fort or `garh` beyond the temple called Chandigarh.
Jayanti Devi Temple
This temple is 13 km from Chandigarh Bus Stand. Actually, the ancient temple of Jayanti Devi is situated in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh but the `Pindi` of Devi was brought here from that temple. This beautiful temple is situated on the bank of Jayanti River surrounded by Shivalik hills.
Ancient Shiv Temple of Saketri
The temple at Saketri is an ancient historical Shiv temple, just 5 kms from Mansa Devi Temple and about 20 kms from Chandigarh bus stand. Thousands of devotees throng this temple on the sacred day of Shivratri for `pooja` and to get blessings of Lord Shiva.
Mansa Devi Temple
The temple of Mansa Devi is about 15 kms from Chandigarh bus stand and situated in the state of Haryana . Devotees from all over the country visit this temple for blessings of goddess Mansa Devi. There are two temples, one is new and the other old. The Maharaja of Patiala built the new temple.
Naina Devi Temple
This temple is situated at an altitude of around 1300 metres. The holy place is linked by a cable car. The reservoir of Bhakhra Dam presents a splendid view at the backdrop.
Gurudwara Nada Sahib
Nada was a very small village in Patiala State, which is situated in Haryana and about 15 kms from Chandigarh. On returning after his victory on Mughals, Guru Gobind Singh Ji stayed at this place and Nadu Shah, a follower of his welcomed and served him. Guruji blessed Nadu Shah and said that due to his services, the place would be known by the name of Nada Sahib. Thousands of people come here to fulfill their wishes, from all over the India and abroad.
Anandpur Sahib or Takhat Sri Keshgarh
Keshgarh Sahib is one of the five `Takhts` (Throne) of the Sikh religion. The ancient and impressive `Gurudwara` is highly revered by the Sikhs. Here, Guru Gobind Singh Ji baptised the first five beloved ones and created `Khalsa Panth` in 1699 A.D. It is a revered Sikh centre, which is blessed by Guru Teg Bahadur.
Gurudwara Dukhniwaran Sahib
This place is situated near Patiala. In 1732 Guru Teg Bahadur Ji visited this place. it is believed that by taking bath in this holy place one gets cured of any disease. Basant Panchami is a special day for taking bath in this place.
Indian Airlines flies regularly to the city from Delhi, Amritsar and Leh.
Chandigarh is fairly easy to reach from any city in North India by rail. The railway station lies 8km southeast of the city centre and is slightly inconvenient to reach. Chandigarh is linked by train to Delhi, Kalka and Shimla.
Buses connect Chandigarh to cities like Amritsar, Dharamshala, Delhi, Jaipur, Manali and Shimla. The city`s bus station is a large, crowded, messy and noisy place that serves as a major link for Himachal-bound travellers.
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