Within 20 km of Chandigarh, the slopes of Himachal Pradesh start. Hill stations like Kasauli and Shimla are within 100 km of Chandigarh city. Kalka railway station, one end of the heritage Kalka-Shimla narrow gauge mountain railway is within 30 km of the city.
Getting to Chandigarh
Chandigarh is connected very well to all of India. Here are the options.
Chandigarh airport has several flights to all the cities in India. Major cities like Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru have more than 10 flights per day.
Chandigarh railway station, though on a branch away from the main line, is a well-connected railway station in the Northern Railway zone's Ambala division. The station is on a branch line connecting Haryana's busiest railway station, Ambala Cantonment, to Kalka, the base station for Kalka-Shimla heritage mountain railway. Apart from trains destined for Chandigarh, you can also book your berth on trains destined for Kalka to alight directly at Chandigarh Junction railway station. You can also book a train to the more well-connected Ambala Cantonment station and take a Haryana or Punjab State Transport bus that plies on the New Delhi - Ambala - Chandigarh Express Highway or one of the passenger trains that connects the two cities. If you are coming to Chandigarh from Himachal Pradesh (which we did in trip India 360), then grab the chance to enjoy the mountain train ride from Shimla to Kalka. At Kalka, you can catch a passenger train or a Haryana / Punjab state bus to reach Chandigarh.
Chandigarh is connected by several national highways, the most important one being New Delhi - Kurukshetra - Panipat - Ambala - Jajjhar - Chandigarh Express Highway. Buses from state transport corporations of Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh use the highway to connect New Delhi to Himachal Pradesh. Depending on their route, the buses will stop at one of two ISBTs (Inter State Bus Terminals) in Chandigarh, one being ISBT sector-17 and another being ISBT sector-43. For buses whose routes thread through both the ISBTs, a long halt is made at sector 17, while a short halt is made in a bus stand right outside ISBT sector-43.
Of course you can drive on your own to Chandigarh. The highways are such a treat. If you are driving from the north of Chandigarh, e.g. from Jammu or Punjab, you can use the highway Pathankot - Jalandhar - Ludhiana - Chandigarh route, using one of the cities to join the highway. If you are driving from the south of Chandigarh, but not from the western states (e.g. Haryana, UP, Bihar, MP and all of south India), then it is advisable to reach New Delhi, Panipat or Ambala and then enter the Express Highway. If you are driving from the west of India (e.g. Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, Rajasthan), then you may skip the heavy traffic of New Delhi and use the route Jaipur - Churu - Hisar - Kaithal - Ambala.
Getting around Chandigarh
We won't recommend any transport other than the awesome city buses run by Chandigarh Transport Undertaking. The city buses cover three city conglomerations: Chandigarh Union Territory, Mohali -Zirakpur city areas in Punjab and Panchkula in Haryana, collectively known as Greater Chandigarh or Tri-city. The maximum fare for a single non AC bus trip is ₹20, whereas that for an AC bus is ₹25. In addition, you can get a day pass, that allows you to roam the tri-city area all day in as many bus trips as you please. The non-AC day pass costs ₹50, whereas the AC day pass costs ₹60.
Just be mindful of one thing. Around Sukhna lake area (i.e. sector 1), the buses inexplicably stop plying as early as 7 pm. If you roam around the promenade well into the dusk, you will have the nasty surprise of not finding buses for the next 4 kilometres until you reach the city's commercial centre and transport hub, Sector - 17. Look for an alternative transport such as Uber in such cases. The areas around sector-17 will always have buses even late at night.
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