Chandigarh

A modern city designed by Le Corbusier in the 1950s is a feast to the eyes. With enough emphasis on walkways, parks, roundabouts and at a couple of hours away from the summer retreats of Kasuali, Chail and many more Himalayan towns, Chandigarh is a great place to be. It is the capital for both the states of Haryana and Punjab, also a Union Territory in itself.
Within the city, one can go to Rose Park, the Lake, Nek Chand’s Rock Garden made out of waste (probably the most unique in entire world) and spend a good evening at Satara Market (Sector 17).
Chandigarh doesn’t attract a lot of tourists since it is mostly used as the gateway to Himachal (link). Very well connected with roads, a high speed train from Delhi and an airport, the city is among the rich and developed cities of India. Being close to Himalayas, it gets very cold during winters and summers are also warm, so best time to be here is Feb-April and then Sep-Nov.

Best Time to Visit: February to April and September to November

Languages Spoken: Hindi, Punjabi

Climate: Hot summers and cold winters

Places of Interest: Nek Chands rock garden, Rose Garden, Sukhna Lake

Knowledge Centres: Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh Museum

Baralacha-la pass at an altitude of 4890 meters

To Leh by road : Journey from Chandigarh – Srinagar – Kargil

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Had a lunch/prayer break at world’s second coldest inhabited place Drass (after Siberia). Winters in Drass are cold with average lows around −22 °C and as low as −45 °C at the peak of winter. The lowest temperature was recorded around −60 °C during 2005. We were told by some locals that everybody in mountain keeps at least 4 to 6 months food stock for emergencies.

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Chandigarh to Mandi – The fast and furious highway ride

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It was a long long hill drive for sure and in such perfect conditions of roads that if I had any longing for hill drive then it should have been satisfied completely by now (Must have been 200 kms in hills in this journey). After having a bump free ride for at least 400-450 kms till now, finally I was to face reality.

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Weekend Drive to “The City Beautiful” Chandigarh

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The Rock Garden in itself is a maze of tunnels, arches, narrow passages and galleries. At one point of time one would feel there is no further way ahead and suddenly a narrow walkway will open out of nowhere.

With astute sculptures of men, women, Gods and animals, the garden is indeed a delight. Not only vivid sculptures, the garden houses multiple waterfalls, fish aquariums and swings or jhulas that we all have loved swinging on during our childhood days.
Men, women and children of all ages without any tinge of hesitation swing their way through these swings, happily remising the good old childhood days!

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Chandigarh

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“Try the pancakes, with honey – they are good” She suggests.

I nod and add a masala tea to the order. Her phone rings while she is scanning the menu. “An omelet for me…” she rushes out of the café to talk.

I find a corner table and start scanning my mobile for morning news. The café rings with laughter suddenly and I pull my face to see some young girls giggling their way in. She’s still talking on the phone outside the door, shifting herself from one leg to other.

There’s cassia blooming outside on a tree behind her. Surprised at its own fertility his young flower laden branches are struggling against the bitter January wind. Perhaps, the nature wants to have spring early this year.

My eyes focus back to her slightly troubled face. I wonder…

The tea arrives and while I soak in its aroma, the pancakes too. They are good – these guys at Nik’s – they won’t serve the omelet until she’s here.

She comes back in pulling her warm coat closer; her face is back to her usual blank-happiness state.

“How is it?”

“Ummm… pancakes are good, masala tea is better at CCD!”

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ROCK GARDEN ROCKS

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Rock Garden in Chandigarh is a marvellous piece of creativity and worth a visit while in/ passing through Chandigarh. We covered the place while…

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