Chandigarh, also known as The City Beautiful, is a city and a union territory in the northern part of India that serves as the capital of the states of Haryana and Punjab. As a union territory, the city is ruled directly by the Union Government of India and is not part of either state.The city of Chandigarh was the first planned city in India post-independence in 1947 and is known internationally for its architecture and urban design.The city experiences extreme climate and uneven distribution of rainfall. The roads in Chandigarh are surrounded by trees and it has the third highest forest cover in India at 8.51% followed by Lakshwadeep and Goa.
The city tops the list of Indian States and Union Territories by per capita income in the country. The city was reported to be the cleanest in India in 2010, based on a national government study, and the territory also headed the list of Indian states and territories according to Human Development Index. The metropolitan of Chandigarh-Mohali-Panchkula collectively forms a Tri-city. This is the first smoke-free city in India.
Government Museum and Art Gallery
The Government Museum and Art Gallery is one of the most renowned museums in India because of the unique collection of art objects, paintings and sculptures like miniature paintings from Pahari, Rajasthan and Gandharan sculptures. This museum owes most of its exhibits to the partition of India in 1948 when nearly 40 percent of objects were brought here from Lahore Museum. The museum was inaugurated in 1968 and is situated in the heart of Chandigarh with a sprawling campus. The Museum has four major wings like the art gallery, the national history museum, the national gallery of portraits and the Chandigarh architecture museum.
Shanti Kunj is true to its name because it is a garden of peace and tranquillity which provides a break from all the noise and pollution. It is located between Rose garden and the Cricket stadium so it can be easily visited. The garden has many types of plant and tree varieties which can be of the flowering kind or therapeutic. The lush greenery of Shanti Kunj is irrigated by a natural stream which divides the garden into five sections with different plant varieties. If one wants to meditate and enjoy the quiet among beautiful flowers, Shanti Kunj is the place to be.
One of the biggest amusement parks in India is the Funcity amusement park which includes games for fun seekers of all age groups. It has some of the best hi-tech hydraulic and water games set up in nearly 43 acres. It is situated about 20 km from Chandigarh but is worthwhile to spend a day enjoying all the rides and sights. One of the major attractions of the park is the 5D cinema theatre which takes viewers into a totally different world. The water rides in Funcity are popular and give a cool experience to all the visitors.
One of the must-visit places in Chandigarh is the Garden of Fragrance with its clean and intoxicating fragrant trees and plant varieties. It is one of the three major gardens in Chandigarh. The Garden of Fragrance is situated in Sector 36 south of the Hibiscus Garden. The Garden of Fragrance has an advantage of not being crowded most of the time and it has frequent health conscious individuals working out on the laid tracks. It is a well-known picnic spot and is visited by local people out on a picnic with their families during mornings and evenings.
This famous museum was established in 1985 and has beautiful dolls which have been collected from around the world. This museum was initially started to provide amusement to children but has progressed well such that it has earned fame and is recognized world-wide. This museum contains dolls and marionettes from different countries like Germany, Russia, Korea, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, etc. The attractive display of Indian dolls in various attire of the states in India mesmerizes all the visitors. Fairy tale characters recreated as dolls are also a big hit. There is also a toy train ride for the benefit of kids which amuses children immensely.
It is a place where the culture and practices of Rajasthan tribes are being united such that visitors are given a peek into what makes up their culture. It is situated in a remote place and the grandeur and mysterious charms of the village art and culture are being reproduced to make one enjoy it in peace. Choki Dhani is designed to provide entertainment in all forms and has live shows like magic shows and camel rides. The merit of this program is the food they provide. The thali feature provided is based on traditional Rajasthani cuisine.
Sukhna Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes and lies at the foothills of the Shivalik Hills. It is a man-made lake about 3 km long created during 1958. A stream called Sukhna Choe was dammed and thus gave rise to the Sukhna Lake. It is a peaceful spot with scenic waterfront and the calling of birds adds to the serene atmosphere. A number of water sporting activities like boating, water skiing, yachting are carried out here. Picnics during the morning and evening are common and it is a meeting spot for locals who want to relax after a long day.
Nek Chand’s Rock Garden of Chandigarh is one of the most architecturally lauded spots in India. It is made of sculptures, statues and other art objects which are made with the help of industrial and domestic waste. It was single-handedly created by Nek Chand in 1957 among the bottom of the gorges of Sukhna Lake and later it was taken over by the government. The Rock Garden is built like a maze with interconnecting courtyards which compose of many art objects and sculptures. The most unique feature of the Rock garden is that it is completely made of waste materials, recycled industrial scraps, home scaprs and other waste. Nek Chand, along with the government’s help, set up centers to collect rags and ceramics which were then used to continue building the various monuments and statues and sculptures in the garden. The Rock Garden currently stands covering an area of around forty acres. The Rock Garden is built like a maze with interlinking paths and branched off directions. Thus, one has to be careful and methodical if one wants to look at all the exhibits. One can easily lose track of the paths and can miss many displays as it branches off in two directions. One must be sure to go in through one path and come out through another.
Zakir Hussain Rose Garden of Chandigarh is a beautiful place for lovers of roses. More than 1600 varieties of roses adorn the garden and are known to trap the visitors heart with their fragrance and beauty. It is a large garden extending in acres in all directions with not only roses but contains a number of medicinal trees and shrubs. The garden contains benches and trails for exercising. Food stalls are available and entry is free but unlike other places, picnic is not allowed. Rose garden celebrates a festival annually with splendid decorations of flowers, dance, food and gifts to winners.
The Butterfly Park in Sector 26 of Chandigarh is dedicated to extensive care of butterflies spread over a wide area of seven acres. The landscaping is attractive and pleasing to the eye and the park contains a number of plants and trees which make the visitor relax and enjoy the bright and beautiful butterflies. Different varieties of trees are planted and, since butterflies require flowers, many flowering plants like marigold, salvia, petunia and dahlia are also planted.
Leisure valley is most definitely the place to visit in Chandigarh and is an aesthetically important tourist attraction. It is a garland or chain of beautiful and unique gardens which can tease the five senses of the visitors. It is a stretch of gardens starting from Rajendra Park in Sector 1 and stretches about 8 km consisting of many parks and gardens like Rose Garden, Shanti Kunj, Bougainvillea Garden, Hibiscus Garden, Garden of Fragrance, etc. A 3-day long carnival in the Leisure Valley including all the gardens, annually scheduled in February, is a renowned festival nation-wide and also attracts visitors from other countries.