Six hours in Garden city - Chandigarh

1st May 2019

We have heard a lot about this city during our childhood, it used to be called “ Garden City” and had usurped Bengaluru as the holder of this title. After all these years of growing up in south India which anyway boasts of much more advanced and developed set of cities, towns and villages, we finally got to visit one of India’s cleanest and exemplary cities. The only unfortunate part of this visit was that it was just for 6 hours that we could explore this city.

Photo of Six hours in Garden city - Chandigarh 1/1 by Rararaasta
Lane discipline for cyclists is unbeatable.
Day 1

This short span of time could look like a shortcoming, but we as a couple have now formed a reputation of utilizing even half a day exceedingly well. We had everything sorted and planned exactly what all places had to be visited. After reaching early by around 6 am, we decided to get a small place to keep our luggage and get ready for the day ahead. Being early summer it was quite bright and mildly sunny already and the bus stand had a few options to unload and the room was quite convenient with same basic amenities. The first thing we planned was note down the important places nearby which could be visited on foot. So we headed to this eatery called Lahori Dhaba that was luckily open even at 7 am.The moment we had their tasty stuffed Alu and Gobi parathas we knew we were in for a great day ahead.

The truck look gives it an extra bit of authenticity, doesn't it?

Photo of Lahori Dhaba, 44D, Sector 44- D, Chandigarh, India by Rararaasta

Lip smacking Alu paratha with achar and dahi!

Photo of Lahori Dhaba, 44D, Sector 44- D, Chandigarh, India by Rararaasta

Embarking on foot we ambulated towards our first destination “garden of annuals”. This was a simple park and quite well maintained and we enjoyed how friendly and easy it was to walk in Chandigarh. There is another thing that absolutely stands out in this city and that is the ease with which one can use the cab-sharing facilities like Uber. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the city is well planned and relatively smaller.

Strolling in one of the numerous gardens that we crossed.

Photo of Garden Of Annuals, Sector 44 A, Sector 44, Sector 50D, Chandigarh, India by Rararaasta

The next destination was the Zakir Hussain Rose garden, which boasts of over 50000 rose bushes, and 16000 different varieties spread over 30 acres. Naturally we did not have the time to visit the entire place and neither was it the season for budding roses. However it did offer some amazing opportunities to spot birds like the sunbird, parrots, Myna and so on.

Spotted this one peeping out of its home!

Photo of Rose Garden, Jan Marg, 16B, Sector 16, Chandigarh, India by Rararaasta

An olive sunbird basking under the morning sun.

Photo of Rose Garden, Jan Marg, 16B, Sector 16, Chandigarh, India by Rararaasta

Another Uber and few minutes later we arrived at the Capitol Complex, which is the government compound, designed by Le Corbusier. It is a UNESCO world heritage site and is open to visitors for a free guided tour. It is recommended that you opt for this tour to get a glimpse of this man’s genius in design and architecture and also fathom as to what most of india’s cities and towns could have achieved if they had only employed a mastermind to design the complete layout of the city. These tours are arranged thrice everyday at 10AM,12PM and 2PM.

palace of assembly

Photo of Capitol Complex, Sector 1, Chandigarh, India by Rararaasta

Punjab and Haryana High court

Photo of Capitol Complex, Sector 1, Chandigarh, India by Rararaasta

Open hand monument

Photo of Capitol Complex, Sector 1, Chandigarh, India by Rararaasta

Our final destination was the world-famous Rock Garden by Nek Chand. It was extremely hot as we reached here around noon, but the things that the place offered was too much to neglect. Apparently when the city of Chandigarh was being designed and built, every bit of rubble and trash from the construction of the city was brought here and used to design the unique exhibits. To better understand the significance of each exhibit there is a QR code available next to each which one can scan using a mobile app, we found this feature commendable although we saw none of the other visitors using it. After spending a good couple of hours we exited the park and got ready for some nice Punjabi street food. It was time for a plate of khulcha chole and some thirst-quenching shikanji.

*Rock garden is open from 9AM -7PM from April 1 to September 30 and from 9AM to 6PM in winters. An adult ticket would cost you INR 30.

Installation made of bangles!

Photo of Rock Garden, Sector 1, Chandigarh, India by Rararaasta

Yummy kulche chole!

Photo of Rock Garden, Chandigarh, Uttar Marg, Rock Garden of Chandigarh, Sector 1, Chandigarh, India by Rararaasta

The trip had come to an end but nothing about Chandigarh left our minds. The city is exemplary in every walk of life and when we actually walked around the city we noticed some very unique signboards “rabbit crossing – drive watchfully”. This shows the great care the city and its citizens show for all living beings around. Who could forget the clear lane demarcations for cyclists all over the city? Even Bandra Kurla complex in Mumbai ideated something like this except that it now functions like a parking lot for taxis. It’s not just the lanes, but walking platforms have reflectors to show the end of the roads for erratic and drowsy drivers. The list can go on but so must life after the trip. We hope other cities and towns can take inspiration from this Garden city!