Chandigarh, beautiful city of gardens set against the backdrop of the great Siwalik mountains is designed by the French architect Le Corbusier. This 1st planned modern city of India serves as the capital of both Punjab and Haryana, but it belong to both the states. It was constituted as a union territory on 1st November, 1966 and is administered by the Government of India.
HOW Â TO Â REACH
Chandigarh is conveniently linked to the rest of the country by air, road and rail network and below are the details on how to reach to Chandigarh.
Chandigarh has an international airport which is located just 11km away from the city centre. Indian Airlines connect the city with other major cities like Mumbai , Delhi, Jammu, and Amritsar.
The rail network serves the city conveniently. Chandigarh Railway Station is about 8km from the City Centre. Important trains like the Shatabdi Express and the Himalayan Queen Service connect Chandigarh to other parts of the city on a regular basis.
The city boasts of an excellent road-network. It is also conveniently located within motor-able distance from a number of major cities of the North India. National Highways 21 and National Highway 22 run through the city connecting it to the major cities and states of the country. Near perfect road condition and breathtaking views on either side of the road offers a pleasant drive.
WHAT TO SEE
The Capitol Complex:-
The Capitol Complex designed by Le Corbusier in Sector 1, which stands aloof dominating the city, is the seat of the government. It is the joint headquarters of Punjab and Haryana. The three main geometrical buildings in this complex are the Legislative Assembly, the High Court, and the Secretariat. Besides these three majestic edifices, there are also a number of monuments based on Corbusierâ€™s personal philosophy. Separated by large piazzas, the subtle and most evocative grouping of these buildings is of breath-taking beauty.
The High Court:-
The High Court is a classic work of modern architecture. It is one of the first monuments to be built in the Capitol complex. The structure of this building has a double roof, projecting over the office block, like an inverted umbrella shading its lower part, symbolizing the law as an umbrella of shelter for the ordinary citizen. The 3 vertical piers, rising 60 feet from the floor and painted in bright colours at the grand entrance of the building facade represents the ‘Majesty of Law’.
The Legislative Assembly:-
The Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) which stands facing the high court is at the south eastern end of the Capitol Piazza. This building which is square in plan with a monumental portico standing free from the main building has a removable dome and a mural by Le Corbusier. A pyramid covers the upper chamber of the erstwhile bicameral system and offers an exciting counterpoint to the cupola, lending artistic grace to the entire complex.
The secretariat, which is the headquarters of both Punjab and Haryana, is the largest building in the Capitol Complex. This 8 storeyed linear slab-like elongated building, with concrete walls is intended as a work place for about 4000 people. The 800 foot long facade of the Secretariat are broken in half in a dozen places with projections, recesses, stair towers, changes in pattern and the likes.
Sukhna lake an artificial, manmade lake spread over 3 square kilometers on the northern border of Chandigarh is beautifully located with mountains and reserve forest land in its background. The lake was created by the architect Le Corbusier in 1958 by diverting the Sukhna Choe, a seasonal stream that flows down the Shivalik mountain ranges.
The Chrysanthemums Show:-
The Chrysanthemums Show is held at the Terraced Flower Garden in December. Competitions are held and hundreds of varieties of the flower are on display in the garden situated at Sector 33.
The Festival of Gardens:-
The biggest rose show in the country, also known as ‘Rose Festival’ is celebrated in the last week of February. Zakir Rose garden, the venue of the Rose festival, displays huge varieties of roses. The festival includes flower shows, performances of music and dance; both classical and folk, exhibitions by local artists, photographers and craftsman. This three-day festival is intended to encourage people to stroll through the Rose Garden and enjoy the sight of the blooms.
The Mango Festival:-
This festival is held in June at Pinjore Gardens, 20 Kms from Chandigarh. Mango-growers from all over India are invited to enter their prized fruits in the various competitions. Visitors can see and taste all the traditional varieties of the fruit as well as the latest hybrids from the agricultural universities. Agro and food industries processing mango, display their jams, pickles and canned fruits.
The Plaza Carnival:-
This three-hour programme held every Saturday in Central Plaza situated in Sector17, is a huge draw. This carnival encourages talented local artists. The attractions of the Plaza carnival vary every Saturday. It is a cultural show with events like songs, dance, plays and many other items.
The City Museum opened in 1997, narrates the growth of Chandigarh city. The museum displays some rare plans, sketches and relevant photographs prepared by the Master Planner of the City. It also gives a glimpse of the original documents pertaining to the planning and evolution of the city. The museum arranged in three stories is dedicated to the History, Plan and execution of Development and the Present and Future of Chandigarh.
Open Hand Monument:-
Open Hand monument in the Capitol Complex in sector 1, is made of a metal sheet, 14 metres high and weighing 50 tonnes, rotate freely in the wind from a high concrete pedestal. The hand rises 85 feet from an excavated plaza termed the fosse de la consideration, the pit of contemplation, which is provided for debate on public affairs. The design of this giant hand emblem was conceived by Le Corbusier. Some times it resembles a bird in flight. The symbol stands for peace and unity – ‘Open to give – Open to receive’. It is the official emblem of the city.
The Art Gallery:-
The Art Gallery is one of the most distinctive of its kind with different sections containing a modest collection of Indian stone sculptures dating back to the Gandhara period, together with some miniatures paintings and modern art. It also houses a good collection of modern Indian sculptures and graphics made by renowned artists in their respective fields. The other sections include a collection of Indian textiles, Indian metal and stone sculpture, decorative art, Indian miniature painting and Indian contemporary art. Besides these, there is a small collection of objects in stucco and terra cotta metal, ivory, lacquer, ceramic, enamel and fabric.
Morni Hills, situated in the lower reaches of the Shivalik range, is about 45 kms from Chandigarh. It is a beautiful hill resort in the Ambala district of Haryana. This high projection of the Shivaliks is a protected forest which is an ideal place for trekking, rock-climbing and adventure sports. For wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers, Morni hills is a paradise which offers awesome views.
Jayanti Devi Temple:-
This beautiful temple, 13 km from Chandigarh Bus Stand, is situated on the banks of the Jayanti river surrounded by Shivalik hills.
Mansa Devi Temple:-
Mansa Devi temple, is situated in Panchkula at a distance of 8 km from Chandigarh, in the state of Haryana. According to Hindu scriptures, the temple is one of the 52 ‘Satipiths’ and it is believed that the head of Devi Sati had fallen at this place. There are two temples here. The relatively new temple was built by the Maharaja of Patiala. Millions of devotees from all over the country come here to pay homage to the goddess. There is a large garden of sacred plants attached to the Mansa Devi temple.
Chandi Mandir dedicated to the mother goddess of power ‘Chandi’, is located 15 kms from the city on the Chandigarh- Kalka road. Chandigarh derives its name from the Chandi goddess. The temple is worshipped as a Siddh Peeth, a place where wishes are granted. During the Navratras, thousands of devotees throng to the temple. There is a fort or ‘garh’ beyond the temple, called Chandigarh.
Bhima Devi Temple:-
Bhima Devi Temple dated back to the 11th and 14th centuries is perhaps the oldest temple in India. Situated on the Pinjore Kalka Road at a distance of 22 km from Chandigarh, this shrine is in the Panchayatan style of architecture. Here Durga is worshipped as Bhima Devi. The temple built on the rising foot hills of the Shivalik mountains is now in ruins.
The Leisure Valley:-
The Leisure Valley starts from the foothills in Sector 1 in the north and leaves Chandigarh at its southern most edge in sector 53. Sections of Leisure Valley are known by different names. This Valley contains the famous Rose garden, Rajendra park, Smriti Upavan, Shanti Kunj, Terraced garden, Bougainvillea garden, Traffic park etc.
A picturesque botanical garden, located between the Rock Garden and Sukhna Lake in Sector 1 stretches to about 88 acres. The main attraction of this garden is its rock formations, small lily-pools and rare species of plants kept in the green house.
There is another botanical garden in the Punjab University. Cacti, succulent, ever green and exotic plants are arranged in each corner. This is the only place in Chandigarh where beautiful lotus flowers can be seen.
One more botanical garden is being created in Chandigarh covering an area of 117 acres which include medicinal, exotic and indigenous plants species.
Chamoli, primarily being a pilgrimage spot, does not offer much in terms of shopping attractions. Neither are there exceptional shopping spots, nor any local treasures that can be collected as souvenirs. But there are certain things that the shopaholics can enjoy in the local bazaars around Chamoli. Chamoli is a primarily tribal area and local women wear beautiful tribal jewellery, especially toe rings (bichhuas) and heavy neckpieces (hansulis).
The food available in Chamoli and other districts of Uttarakhand is generally Kumaoni food, which is mouthwatering and has a unique local taste. Most of the available food is vegetarian, and indeed, the main tourist spots in the state are all vegetarian because of the fact that they are deeply religious. There are some local delicacies that tourists must try out in order to experience the local flavor more accurately. Pinalu Gutuk is a mouthwatering preparation made by frying the rich local potato crop and is a must-try for all tourists. Other delicacies are often made with different kinds of lentils and daal, such as Chais and Dhubka, the first a soup-like preparation made with fried urad daal, and the second a delicious rich curry made with a mixture of local lentils and local spices. Different kinds of green-leafy food such as Saag are available, along with a very popular chutney-like spinach preparation called Kaap. Bal Mithai is a popular sweet dish, made with khoya and sugar, and is a must-try for tourists with a sweet tooth.