Chandigarh, also called “the city beautiful” is a city that is the capital of two states and a union territory as well. The phrase ‘the city beautiful’ is apt, perhaps because the architecture of the city accentuates the aesthetics of it and compliments its label of being the first planned city of India. The architecture was designed by a famous French architect named Le Corbusier in the 1950’s who was well-known for his modern designs that have now become common in western countries.
Chandigarh is connected to Mumbai and Delhi by flights that are provided by as many as six companies. The city is also connected to the national highway number 1 which connects to Delhi and it takes about four hours from Delhi to get to this beautiful city by this route. You can travel by a bus or rent a car; however, it is advisable to avoid Government transportation and travel services as they may prove too bourgeois for a city that is anything but. You can also choose to travel by train and there is a good frequency of trains from Delhi as well as from other parts of the country. Shatabdi express, Jana Shatabdi express (economical), and the Paschim Express from Mumbai are some of the trains that can be opted for.
These are twenty two kilometers or approximately ten miles from Chandigarh and were designed by the Mughals. However, the splendor and beauty of these gardens still remain and many people from India as well as from other parts of the world come to visit these gardens. Pinjore gardens host the annual mango festival and have various attractive picnic spots. These gardens are sprawled over many acers and have a mini zoo and a Japanese garden as well. They are a nice place to relax if you are planning an excursion around the city.
This is an artificial lake in Chandigarh that is located at the foothills of the Shivalik Mountains. This lake was built by Le Corbusier and still attracts many people from India and from abroad. The lake has a membership based club and also provides opportunity for recreational activities such as kayaking, boating, rowing, and water skiing. However, many people are attracted by the tranquility and the picturesque ambience that this place provides.
The rock garden is located near the Sukhna Lake and is one of the unique gardens in the world. This garden is sprawled over forty acres and is dotted with scenic landscape and waterfalls. What makes these gardens unique is that there are many statues of musicians, dancers, and animals. These are made of concrete and are covered with pottery and most of the items used in these gardens are made from recycled material or waste. This garden was the brain child of a person called Nek Chand who started building it secretly when the city was being rejuvenated after the partition. It was discovered by the government in 1975 and is now run by the Rock garden society.
Morni is a tourist place located near Chandigarh which can be visited in September or March because the other months are either too hot or humid. The Morni hill is located near two lakes that lie on opposite sides of the hill. There is a resort for tourists and the place is habitable as well as enjoyable. The ideal activity here would be trekking and forest walks. Many people from the city come here to enjoy nature’s closeness and the raw beauty of the place. There are three roads that connect Morni hills to Chandigarh and other nearby cities.
There are several hotels in the city and range from the budget variety to the very expensive and plush ones. The government has also started a bed and breakfast scheme that facilitates to accommodate the frugal traveler who does not want to spend too much. Rooms are available for approximately twenty dollars per night along with breakfast. There are other hotels in Chandigarh that also pamper the customers with their lavish offerings. One of the hotels is Taj Chandigarh which is among the most luxurious hotels in the city. However it is possible to find reasonably priced accommodation if you are ready to scour for it.
The local transport consists of privately operated taxi cabs, auto rickshaws, and buses. The buses are economical as well as reasonably comfortable and charge a fixed amount for any distance; the price is usually less than ten rupees or twenty American cents. It is advisable to use the buses if you plan to travel alone and save money. Another facility is the special double Decker bus that lets you visit various tourist spots at a very low rate. You can use one ticket to board or disembark these buses at anytime during that day. However, if you are ready to spend a little more with others then a radio cool cab can be just perfect. These cabs are more luxurious compared to normal ones and the expenses can be shared if you are traveling with friends or relatives.
There are numerous restaurants and eateries to satisfy your palate and you can find fast food joints such as McDonalds, Pizza Hut, and Dominos. However there are other local eateries and restaurants that can give you a taste of the local flavor. On the other hand, it is advisable to avoid street vendors if you are visiting the country for the first time since these may not be very hygienic. Apart from these you can also enjoy your meals at the hotel that you are staying in. Good quality hotels usually provide food that is not too spicy but is hygienic.
Safety and other facts
Chandhigarh is considered one of the safest place in India since it has the lowest crime rate compared to any other Indian city. It is also adorned with many shopping malls in Sector 17, Sector 22, and Sector 35. This city is a paradise for people who love shopping and also has many handicraft and hand made goods for sale at a place called Kalagram on Manimajra- Chandigarh road. Another shopping attraction is Sector 17 which is one of the most expensive high end markets in the city and caters to the need of higher class people with disposable income. This place adorns a different look in the Diwali festival and offers the shoppers a chance to win expensive gifts including cars and state-of-the-art household equipments.