Chandigarh: Tributes to Le Corbusier & Nek Chand

Chandigarh is a city, district and union territory in India. It is capital of Punjab and Haryana states. It is one of the best planned cities in India and is well known for its architecture and urban design. An article by the BBC in 2015, highlighted Chandigarh as one of the few well planned cities in the world, which have combined architecture and cultural growth with modern outlook. I was very positively surprised to find everything in order – wide roads, disciplined traffic, well marked lanes and signals, gardens, sign boards, office complexes with residential areas, shopping centers and food joints. It is a city with one of the highest per capita incomes in the country. One of the best cities in India to live in. Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier prepared the master plan of Chandigarh.

Top Attractions

The Sukhna Lake

One of the major attractions and an inseparable part of Chandigarh. It is a reservoir at the foothills of the Shivalik hills of the Himalayas. During winter months several migratory birds like the Siberian ducks, cranes and storks can be seen here. The lake is a favorite place with families, nature lovers and those pursuing walking as an exercise regimen. A lovely place for the photographers and painters to capture the energy of the place.

Rock garden of Chandigarh

A sculpture garden in Chandigarh, built from recycled ceramic, industrial and home waste and discarded items. These include bottles, glasses, bangles and electrical waste. This garden was built secretly by Nek Chand Saini, a government official. The garden is visited by millions of people every year and is one of the most famous site in India.

Zakir Hussain Rose Garden

This garden is botanical garden, named after India’s former President – Dr. Zakir Hussain. This is largest garden in Asia, having close to 1600 different varieties of roses. It also has several trees of medicinal value. A refreshing experience to see so many varieties of roses and the beautiful landscape of the garden.

ISKCON Temple

This temple is located in Sector – 36, almost the center of Chandigarh. A blissful and peaceful experience. The floral decorations of the idols are very beautiful.

The Capitol Complex

Chandigarh Capitol Complex designed by the architect Le Corbusier is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It comprises of three main buildings: the Legislative Assembly, Secretariat Building and the High Court, a lake and 4 monuments.

Image credit: Hindustan Times

Le Corbusier Center

This center is setup by the Chandigarh administration, at the office of the city’s architect. It exhibits the life and work of Le Corbusier.

Image credit: worldarchitecture.org

Accommodation

Chandigarh being the capital city of two states of Punjab and Haryana is a center of business and economic activities and also a tourist destination. It is also close to other tourist and religious destinations such as Shimla in Himachal Pradesh and Amritsar in Punjab. Options such as JW Marriott, Hyatt Regency, Taj Chandigarh in premium segment are available. Options like Lemon Tree are available in mid-priced segment. Some good options are also available in Zirakpur, neighboring Chandigarh.

Local Transport

Fleet taxi services such as Ola and Uber are conveniently available in the city. Autorickshaws are also available. Additionally, private taxis can be hired through the hotels. The traffic in the city is well organized. The airport is located at a distance of about 12 Km from the city center. Prepaid taxis are available at the airport.

Food & dining

The Punjabi food is well known all over the world for its preparation and taste. Several good restaurants, dhabas and street food options are available for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies. Barbeque Nation, The Great Bear, Backpackers Cafe and Virgin Courtyard are some of the considerations.

Other attractions

Kasauli

Kasauli is a hill station in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh. Major attractions here are a couple of churches and a Lord Hanuman temple located on a hill. The temple is inside a restricted entry zone, so camera and mobile phones are not allowed. But the views of the mountain ranges are magnifying, the clouds are at a lower altitude than the hills – so the feeling of being above the clouds.

Pinjore

Pinjore is a town in Panchkula district in Haryana. Pinjore is known for “Pinjore Gardens”, the 17th century Mughal garden.

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** My travel experiences before the COVID-19 pandemic

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