Soon after my marriage, with my bags packed and thousand emotions in my heart, I was all set for my first visit to Chandigarh, a city full of astonishing beauty and a rare epitome of modernization coexisting with nature’s preservation.
The car journey took us about five to six hours with a relaxing stoppage at Karnal. The Haveli restaurant at Karnal, an upper end dhaba caters mouth watering delicacies along with superior ambience. The children can enjoy on swings there while the adults can indulge themselves in chatpati chaat, panchranga achaar, and shopping. We stopped for longer than needed, but no regrets!
The first few things I noticed as we swerved into Chandigarh were cleanliness, broad well maintained roads and trifling traffic as compared to the plenitude of vehicles in the metros. Soon we reached our two room flat which was going to be our home for next four months. We had no acquaintance in the city but as we left the city, we left behind many friends. The warmth of the people in the city touches the hearts and forms unbreakable bonds.
The city which is nicknamed as ‘City Beautiful’ is best known for Rock Garden, Rose Garden, Sukhna Lake and the market at sector 17. Well dotted with beautiful expansive gardens, cozy restaurants and huge markets, Chandigarh proves to be a wonderful city. Chandigarh Technology Park is the city’s entry gate to the world of information technology.
Chandigarh, which derives it’s origin from two words, Chandi i.e the Goddess of Power and Garh i.e the Fortress has many places of interest for tourists and visitors. Being the garden city of India, Chandigarh boasts of many beautiful gardens. Rock Garden, a state of the art wonder, is a must see for all tourists. With rocks cut in various shapes, sizes and figures, it presents a breath taking view. The balmy gardens with pleasant breezes passing by makes you feel absolutely rejuvenated. A quiet stroll in the garden or simply savoring the beauty of these serene gardens is a great way to spend your time here.
Another attraction of Chandigarh is the Sukhna Lake. With its boating facilities and swings for the children, it is one of the most popular picnic spots of Chandigarh. The placid water of the lake, beautiful green trees and flowery shrubs soothes one’s spirits and mind. For shopping, one doesn’t need to think beyond the famous market at Sector 17. The city is also filled with a large number of restaurants and eateries serving people with truly mouthwatering and appetizing cuisines. Noodle Bar, Backpackers, Copper Chimney, Orchid Lounge, Café Mocha, Manor, Kapil Dev’s restaurant the Kaptain’s Retreat, Bar-be-que Nation are to name a few. New Zealand Naturals is an ice cream corner not to be missed with its wonderful ice creams which are imported from New Zealand itself. To shake a leg at night and to cheer up the spirits, Score, a happening disco, is the perfect place to hit.
Getting to Chandigarh is not a problem at all. The city has an amazing network of roads. The National Highways number 21 and 22 are the main roads connecting Chandigarh with the rest of the country. The inter-state bus terminus is situated in Sector 17. Chandigarh railway station is 8km from the city centre in sector 17. It is well connected to the major Indian cities by train. The civil air terminal at Chandigarh is 12 km away from downtown. Taxis are available round the clock to provide airport transfer. Thus, getting to Chandigarh is very easy by air, rail and road.
Since Chandigarh is located in the plains, it enjoys a moderate weather like other North Indian cities. Summers are very hot here with regular pleasing showers. Winters are quite chilly here. So the ideal time to visit the city is mid August till November. By this time, monsoons are almost over and temperatures keep dropping. The city has maximum number of tourists during this period.
Being located near the foothills of the Shivalik range of the Himalayas, Chandigarh shares close proximity to many of the hill stations. The nearest is Kasauli, a small but a beautiful place. The road distance to many others hill stations like Shimla, Chhail, Dharamshala, Manali, Solan, Timber Trail, Morni Hills and many others is also reduced by couple of hours making the journey less cumbersome.
Overall, Chandigarh is a wonderful place to live in and to visit. The tourists will not face any problems what so ever in terms of eating, shopping or sight seeing. Rickshaw and auto rickshaw rides to commute in the city are very pleasing. It’s a clean city where one can breathe fresh air. The city turns the visit into a memorable experience. It’s a nice city to be in and to visit from time to time.