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Chandigarh Travel Guide

Chandigarh enjoys the dual privilege of being a city and a union territory that serves as the capital of two states, Punjab and Haryana. The name Chandigarh translates as "The Fort of Chandi" and has been derived from an ancient temple called Chandi Mandir, devoted to the Hindu goddess Chandi. It is also referred to as "The City Beautiful" due Chandigarh city to its beautiful surroundings, central grid of gardens, each dedicated to different species of flora.

After the partition of British India into India and Pakistan in 1947, the former British province of Punjab was also split between India and Pakistan. The Indian state of Punjab required a new capital city to replace Lahore, which became part of Pakistan after the partition. After several plans to make additions to existing cities were found to be unfeasible for various reasons, the decision to construct a new planned city was undertaken. Of all the new schemes in independent India, the Chandigarh project quickly assumed prime significance, because of the city's strategic location as well as the personal interest of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India.

Commissioned by Nehru to reflect the new nation's modern, progressive outlook, Chandigarh was designed by the French (born Swiss) architect and urban planner, Le Corbusier, in the 1950s. Le Corbusier was in fact the second architect of the city after the initial master plan was prepared by the American architect-planner Albert Mayer who was working with the Polish-born architect Matthew Nowicki. On November 1, 1966, the newly-formed Indian state of Haryana was carved out of the eastern portion of Punjab, in order to create Haryana as a majority Hindi-speaking state (with a Hindu majority), while the western portion of Punjab retained a mostly Punjabi-speaking majority (with a Sikh majority).

However, the city of Chandigarh was on the border and was thus created into a union territory to serve as the capital of both these states. However, the Akali Dal has been agitating since then for the inclusion of Chandigarh in Punjab on the basis that new states should make new capitals and the capital should remain with the parent state.

Leisure Valley

Leisure valley is the most beautiful and popular tourist attraction destination in Chandigarh. Chandigarh Leisure valley is like a garland of gardens that beautifies the entire city. It begins from Rajendra Park in Sector 1 that is basically used for long walks, yoga, and other fitness workout activities and stretches till the Bougainvillea garden in Sector 3. It also covers the splendid garden of roses in Sector 16.

Rock Garden

Chandigarh Rock Garden is an epitome of creativity and innovation. It is a unique garden that consists of various art objects. But the best part about the rock garden is that each of its artwork has been made by using industrial and urban waste. It is located in Sector 1 between the Capitol Complex and Sukhna Lake. The credit for laying its foundation goes to Nek Chand, who was the then Road Inspector in the Engineering Department of Chandigarh Capital Project.

A rock garden has been established in the form of an open-air exhibition hall. The garden houses sculptures made by using a variety of different discarded waste materials such as frames, mudguards, forks, handlebars, metal wires, play marbles, porcelain, auto parts, broken bangles, etc.

Sukhna Lake

Sukhna Lake is a beautiful lake that lies in the foothills of the Shivalik range. The unique thing about Sukhna is that it is a manmade lake. It is a 3 km long lake that was created in the year 1958. This was done by damming the SukhnaChoe, which is a seasonal stream flowing down from the Shivalik hills. Sukhana Lake of Chandigarh has become an integral part of the city. People visit in the morning to enjoy the cool breeze and the beauty of nature. Chandigarh Sukhna Lake serves as a great picnic spot and an apt place for pursuing water sport activities such as boating, yachting and water skiing, etc. The atmosphere over here is very serene and thus apt for meditating.

Nanda Sahib

The Gurudwara Nada Sahib is situated in Panchkula on the bank of the Ghaggar river in Sivalik foothills. It is a famous religious place of the Sikhs. Guru Gobind Singh - the tenth guru halted here while traveling from Paonta Sahib to Anandpur Sahib after the Battle of Bhangani in 1688.

Mansa Devi Temple

The Mansa Devi temple has just not been the abode of Goddess Mansa but it was also a cultural center for the expression of creativity. The tradition of covering interior temple walls with murals dates almost from the birth of civilization, and it can be seen as the highest form of truly indigenous creative expression.

Open Hand Monument

The open hand monument in Chandigarh is one of the most significant monuments of the city. The credit for laying down its plan goes to Le Corbusier. It is located in sector 1 in the Capitol Complex. Chandigarh's open hand monument has been designed in the form of a giant hand made from metal sheets that rotates like a weathercock, indicating the direction of the wind. This giant hand is 14 meters high and weighs around 50 tons. The significance of open hand is that it conveys the social message of peace and unity that is "open to give and open to receive." Openhand is the city's official emblem.

Rose Garden

Rose garden, the lake of Chandigarh is the largest of its kind in Asia. Named after India's former President, Zakir Hussain, this beautiful garden was set up in 1967 with the support of Chandigarh's first Chief Commissioner, late Dr. M S Randhawa. Chandigarh rose garden contains more than 17,000 plants. There are nearly 1,600 varieties of roses over there. It is a spacious garden covering an area of 27 acres. Dr. Zakir rose garden does not just consist of the gorgeous roses, but also trees of medicinal value.

Street Shopping

If there's one thing that makes Chandigarh affordable to the middle class, it's the Sector 22's street market. This 22-D market, at a five-minute drive from Hotel Aroma, is a paradise for people who want to shop for the latest trends without the brand names. The market offers a complete shopping experience and that too at low prices. Sector 22's market is stocked with clothes, to fit people of all shapes and sizes, in the latest fashions and styles, ranging from as low as `50 to the tune of `1,000 plus. The whole market is a maze of stalls, mostly comprising clothes, shoes, and bags. Here, one can find a pair of chic jeans for a casual college day, as well as pretty skirts. If one craves for traditional sarees and conventional salwar suits at affordable prices, then this is the place you should be at. Sherwanis, men's wear such as jackets, pullovers, shirts, jeans, and kids' wear such as frocks, party dresses, jeans, are also available in plenty.