One day 36 years ago, Nek Chand, a humble transport official, began to clear a little patch of jungle to make himself a small garden area. He set stones around the little clearing and before long had sculpted a few figures recycled from materials he found at hand. Gradually Nek Chand's creation developed and grew; before long it covered several acres and comprised of hundreds of sculptures set in a series of interlinking courtyards. After his normal working day Chand worked at night, in total secrecy for fear of being discovered. When they did discover the garden, local government officials were thrown into turmoil. The creation was completely illegal - a development in a forbidden area. However, rather than demolishing the garden, they decided to give Nek Chand a salary so that he could concentrate full-time on his work, plus a workforce of fifty labourers. The park is open daily from April to September between 9AM-1PM and 3 to 7PM Between October and March, it is open from 9AM-1PM and 2 to 6PM
Most of the capitol complex is fenced off due to tight security, the open hand is accessible and from there you can see the main buildings, albeit in the distance. If you want a closer look at the Capitol, you need permission from the Tourist Bureau, in the ‘Deluxe Administration building’ in Sector 9, or (which is much more convenient) to the new tourist office just nearby the high court. Please note the capitol and bureau are only open on M-F. The tourist bureau is not well signed, you’ll need to ask. It’s in the single story building out the back. Bring your passport and prepare for the beginning of the most amazing experience in Indian bureaucracy. The tourist bureau gives you three letters giving you permission to visit the three main buildings of the Capitol complex, The Secretariat, the High Court and the Assembly, but it may take hours for you to obtain the letters. It is one of 17 worldwide works by the architect Le Corbusier to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
A very convenient (as well as very expensive) place to eat, chiefly on account of the fact that it is open round the clock. Multi-cuisine offerings such as "Fijian Mango and Walnut Salad" (₹500), "Naples Grilled Panini" (₹650), salmon pasta (₹600), "Barbados Prawns" (₹1,050). Frequent misspellings of the names of Italian dishes, unpardonable at ''these'' prices (e.g. "Penne Pomodoro Bassilico" for "penne al pomodoro e basilico", etc.). "Spaghetti con Fungi [''sic'']", apart from the misspelling, is translated in the menu as "Black fungus [''sic''] in pesto cream sauce", which may put some off (unnecessarily). The buffet breakfasts (7AM~10:30AM; ₹675), lunches (12:30PM~3PM; ₹1,100), and dinners (7:30PM~11:30PM; ₹1,300~₹1,400) here are mostly geared towards the Indian palate and best avoided (the atmosphere, somewhat sterile in the best of times, also changes for the worse during these communal feeding periods). The WiFi comes at a premium here (₹140 for 30 minutes).
You have to jump through some hoops to visit the Secretariat. First you need to find ‘Reception’, which is just a small building out the back, and show them your letter to get a visitor permit, then you need to see Security, who will let you in, then you need to see the main security officer inside, who will send you up to the Registrar, who will then send you back to the main security office. Thankfully you are escorted through most of this confusing, overly complex procedure, usually by a junior soldier with large machine gun. The whole process takes about 30 min. to an hour. Once it’s all clear you can go up to the roof, check out the geranium gardens and take in an expansive view of all of Chandigarh. Then they’ll let you have a look out the front, which is more interesting.
Elante Mall at Chandigarh is among the largest malls in North India, which covers 20 acres of area. It is a mixed use development project which includes entertainment, hotels and business. Elante Mall has a retail space of over 1 million square feet. across "ground level and three upper levels". In the retail area, Elante Mall hosts various national and some huge internal brands like Heckett London,Apple ( eStore..Powered by Beyond Computers), Marks & Spencer, Brook Brothers, Rolex, Harley Davidson, Promod etc. Elante boasts of a great food court, a wonderful courtyard full of cafes, sports bars and has various clothing brands. In the entertainment section Elante Mall has PVR cinemas for entertaining large numbers of crowds.
Sukhna Lake is an artificial reservoir. A popular place to hang out, one can expect to find residents of the city jogging or strolling along the banks. There is a walking path, a cafeteria, shops and a mini-amusement park and paddleboats. Shikaras are also available. The Sukhna Lake was created in 1958 by damming the Sukhna Choe, a seasonal stream that flows down from the Shivaliks. Storks and cranes make migratory stops at the lake. The lake, incidentally, has Asia's longest water channel for rowing and yachting. Visiting Sukhna Lake in the evening or early morning is a particularly pleasant experience.
Still reasonably new, it is one of the best and easily one of the most expensive places to stay in Chandigarh, part of the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces group with properties in India and abroad (including Zambia, Maldives, and South Africa). Expansive lobby decorated with impressive original sculptural works contrasts starkly with the grubbiness of the neighbourhood outside (but this gives the place its ''raison d'être''). Rooftop swimming pool and all the other usual five-star amenities. Good security; exclusive shopping arcade. Expect to pay for every breath of air you take.
This provides an interesting aspect on how Chandigarh was founded. It begins with the principles on which Chandigarh was built, selection of the Architects, the design for the people etc. The correspondence between the Punjabi officials overseeing the construction of the city, and the Federal Government in Delhi is fascinating, and well worth taking a few minutes to read. Close by is the Government Museum and Art Gallery as well as the Museum of Science and Natural History Museum..
Also called Yadavindra Gardens, these are 20 km (12 mi) from Chandigarh and 15 km (9 mi) from Panchkula, on the Chandigarh-Shimla road. Taxis and buses ply regularly between Pinjore and Chandigarh. Pinjore lies on the foothills of the lower Shivalik ranges. The fascinating gardens in the Mughal style are one of the most popular picnic spots in the region. A mini zoo, plant nursery, Japanese garden, historic palaces and picnic lawns await visitors.
The museum and the combined art gallery is an interesting place to go to. Artefacts range form Harappan period relics to paintings and coins from different areas and time periods. The Art Gallery has good collections of ancient and modern Indian art. Fossils of the local dinosaurs found in the region are on show in the adjacent natural history museum. The buildings that the Museums and Art Gallery are housed in are attractive.
The letter is fine for looking around the High Court; just show it to security at the entrance, around the back, but if you want to take photos you need to surrender your camera, and head in to fill out some more forms in the protocol office, and then take the forms back to security to get your camera back. It’s worth it as the building is amazing, and extremely photogenic. You can’t take any photos indoors.
The Japanese Garden is a park located in Sector 31 in union territory of Chandigarh. Built in 2014 in 13 acres of Land, by Indian Government, it was inaugurated by Shivraj Patil on 7th November 2014. It consists of water bodies, pagoda towers, water falls and golden bamboos. This is first ever garden in Chandigarh with Japanese touch cost around ₹6 crore.
This is the Assembly for both Punjab and Haryana. It's easy to run out of time, so make sure you have a whole clear weekday to appreciate all the capitol buildings.
Don't miss this roadside outlet in sector 8. Providing specialised delicacies like kakoris and galoutis from Lucknow, amritsari fish and special waraqi wraps.
provides connectivity to all major destinations in the neighbouring states Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttaranchal, Jammu, and Delhi (limited).
The city houses the largest rose garden in Asia. It also hosts annual rose festival which is quite popular among local population.
Afro-Portuguese chain restaurant serving flame-grilled chicken in spicy chilli sauce.
There is a whole Chain of Chawla's, the better ones being in Sector 8 and Sector 22.
One of the best places to try the famous '''butter chicken''' of Punjab.
Very popular salad bar. Other locations Sector 35, Mohali, Panchkula.
The most striking thing about the city is the expanse of resplendent blue sky with the mountains in the backdrop. When you approach the city, you see the jagged skyline of the Shivalik Hills looming large over the city and the faint image of an old temple dedicated to Goddess Chandi (15 km from Chandigarh) from which the city got its name.
Chandigarh may appear oddly familiar to Western visitors and idiosyncratic to the rest of India. Because of this, Chandigarh is a good place to visit if you need a break from the chaos of the rest of India. Chandigarh is also a very secure city. With the lowest crime rates in the country you can feel safe at any hour. Enjoy the planned city, with tree lined roads, large beautiful roundabouts, several gardens and on top - a great set of people. Chandigarh and Mysore are considered the cleanest two cities of India.