. Chandigarh city came into existence in 1952 when its foundation stone was laid. Also known as 'The City Beautiful', Chandigarh is one of the modern cities of India designed by the French architect Le Carbusier. The city got its name from a temple 'Chandi Mandir' located near the city. 'Chandi' is the deity ??? the goddess of power; 'garh' means dwelling place, which translates into 'dwelling place of the goddess Chandi.'
In the ancient past, a wide lake existed where now Chandigarh is with its sloping plains. Eight thousand years ago, Harappan civilization developed in the area. While previously belonging to the state of Punjab before the city came into existence, the idea to develop a new city was conceived in 1948 by Government of Punjab, which was to become the capital of the state. In 1966, the city became the capital of two states, Punjab and Haryana and was declared as a Union Territory.
Chandigarh is home to thousands of migrants from Punjab and other states. Prestigious educational institutions attract students from all over the world who live and study in Chandigarh. The city has the highest per capita income in India, making it one of the most affluent cities. The real estate industry has been constantly booming since the year 2000 with property rates now more expensive than New York. The city restaurants are always filled with people, markets buzzing with consumers, pleasant weather for many months throughout the year, beautiful parks, well maintained roads and almost 24 power supply are some of the reasons why Chandigarh city is thronged by tourists from other parts of India and the rest of the world.
National Gallery of Portraits
. Inaugurated in 1977 and located in the basement of the Central State Library building in Sector 17,the national gallery contains portraits of Indian freedom fighters, rare documents, sculptures, ceramic murals and recordings of the voices of 125 prominent figures of India's Independence movement.It is one of the three National Galleries (the other two are in Delhi and Calcutta) enriched with 1000 portraits and 100 panels piecing together India's epic struggle for freedom. The library here contains about 1300 books on freedom struggle.
Natural History Museum
. The Natural History Museum or Museum of Evolution of Life opened to public on 1973 comprise various sections like Evolution of Man, Dinosaurs section, Cyclorama of Evolution of Life, Nature in Art and Manuscript. The origin of the earth and the evolution of life from the unicellular organism to its present state of biological diversity has been explained through exquisite paintings. The exhibits in this museum cover 5,000 years of Indian History from the Indus Valley Civilization to the present day. There are other galleries of astronomy, geology and the world of ancient man.
. The Zakir Hussain Rose Garden is Asia's largest Rose Garden spread over 30 acres of land and housing over 1600 different species and families of roses. These have been planted in the form beautifully carved out lawns and flowers beds. It is a spacious garden covering an area of 27 acres.The garden, apart from roses, has a variety of plants and trees such as bahera, yellow-gulmohar and camphor, some of which are medicinal as well. Rose garden serves as the venue for hosting the annual festival of gardens, a major cultural event of the city.
. Rock garden is an epitome of creativity and innovation. It was founded by Nek Chand, a former Road Inspector in the Engineering Department of Chandigarh Capital Project. It is a unique garden that consists of various art objects and completely built of industrial & home waste and thrown-away items. It is situated near Sukhna Lake. It consists of man-made interlinked waterfalls and many other sculptures that have been made of scrap & other kinds of wastes like bottles, glasses, bangles, tiles, ceramic pots, sinks, electrical waste, etc which are placed in walled paths.
The entrance of the garden is adorned with an arrangement of rocks, broken chinaware, boulders, discarded fluorescent tubes as well as broken and cast away glass bangles. The creator of the park has made use of various other material, such as building wastes, coal and clay, to form different figures like palaces, temples, soldiers, villages, monkeys and women. Other major attractions of the garden include a waterfall, numerous pools and an open air theatre.
. The unique thing about Sukhna is that it is a manmade lake. Stretching for 3 kms in length, it was conceieved and created in the year 1958. People visit this place 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 like boating, yachting and water skiing etc. Also, you can savor the melodious humming of birds. People come here in the evening time to forget their worries and relax for a while.
. A picturesque botanical garden, located between the Rock Garden and Sukhna Lake in Sector 1 stretches to about 88 acres. The main attraction of this garden is its rock formations, small lily-pools and rare species of plants kept in the green house. There is another botanical garden in the Punjab University. Cacti, succulent, ever green and exotic plants are arranged in each corner. This is the only place in Chandigarh where beautiful lotus flowers can be seen. One more botanical garden is being created in Chandigarh covering an area of 117 acres which include medicinal, exotic and indigenous plants species.
. As you enter the Pinjore Garden you will realise that you have truly left Chandigarh behind and entered the typical North Indian countryside, with its rich legacy that stretches centuries back. Also known as Yadavindra Gardens, Pinjore Gardens was established in the 17th century by architect Nawab Fidai Khan during the reign of Aurangzeb and was later refurbished by Maharaja Yadavindra Singh.
The garden is laid out on seven terraces and as you come in through the grand entrance you will step onto the first terrace with the palace built on Mughal style. Stroll along the stretch of water and water fountains, heavily lined with cypress and palm trees and flowerbeds, and you can actually experience firsthand what it must have felt like to be a king or a queen proudly approaching your palace.
There is a mini-zoo in the lowermost terrace, with emphasis on the word ???mini'. The garden is massive and quite a walk to explore on foot. You can always board the heritage train that takes visitors to all the monuments and gardens in the complex. A Mango Festival is held in June at the Pinjore gardens. Mango-growers from all over India are invited to enter their prized fruits in the various competitions. Visitors can see and taste all the traditional varieties of the fruit as well as the latest hybrids from the agricultural universities.
. Started in 1987, the garden has three green houses.The National cactus, succulent botanical gardens and research center covering an area of 7 acres is considered as Asia's largest garden of its kind with over 3500 species. Situated in the heart of Panchkula City, which is about 8 kms from Chandigarh, the park has a comprehensive collection of rare and endangered species of Indian succulents.
. An offshoot of Shivalik range, Morni hills near Chandigarh are located at a distance of about 45 kms from the city of gardens. This high projection of the Shivaliks is a protected forest which is an ideal place for trekking, rock-climbing and adventure sports It is a beautiful hill resort that has a real scenic beauty. Chandigarh Morni hills have been named after Queen Morni, who is said to rule this city. If you are a nature lover and are fond of bird watching, then Morni hills are just the perfect place.
. Leisure valley is most beautiful place in Chandigarh and is an aesthetically important tourist attraction. It is a garland or chain of beautiful and unique gardens which can tease the five senses of the visitors. It is a stretch of gardens starting from Rajendra Park in Sector 1 and stretches about 8 km consisting of many parks and gardens like Rose Garden, Shanti Kunj, Bougainvillea Garden, Hibiscus Garden, Garden of Fragrance, etc. A 3-day long carnival in the Leisure Valley including all the gardens, annually scheduled in February, is a renowned festival nation-wide and also attracts visitors from other countries.
. Chandigarh capitol complex houses the seat of Government. Initially, it served as the seat only for the Govt of Punjab, but now it has the headquarters of both, the Govt of Punjab and Haryana. The credit for the awesome designing of the Capitol complex goes to Le Corbusier. Located in Sector 1, capitol complex in Chandigarh, India consists of three main edifices, namely, the Secretariat, the Legislative Assembly and the High Court. There was a plan to build a fourth building also, which is going to be the Raj Bhavan, as in the Governor's Palace or a Museum of Knowledge. However, till yet, it has not come into existence. The three buildings of the Capitol complex stand majestically representing themselves as the temples of democracy of free India.
. The secretariat, which is the headquarters of both Punjab and Haryana, is the largest building in the Capitol Complex. This 8 storeyed linear slab-like elongated building, with concrete walls is intended as a work place for about 4000 people. The 800 foot long facade of the Secretariat are broken in half in a dozen places with projections, recesses, stair towers, changes in pattern and the likes. The centre portion contains the offices of ministers. From the roof top of this building there is a panoramic view of the city and the hills beyond. Constructed during 1953-59, the Secretariat cost around 14million rupees to build.
The 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 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 wind. This giant hand is 14 metres high and weighs around 50 tonnes. The significance of open hand is that it conveys the social message of peace and unity that is open to give & open to receive. Open hand is the city's official emblem.
Mohali Cricket Stadium
. Mohali Cricket Stadium, commonly known as the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, is located on the outskirts of Chandigarh. Established in 1993, it is counted amongst the largest cricket stadiums in India, having a seating capacity of 45000 viewers. The construction of the site took three years to complete and cost around INR 25 crores.
The stadium was inaugurated during the Hero Cup, a one-day international match played between India and South Africa, on 22nd November 1993. The first test match was played in December 1994, between India and the West Indies. This stadium has also witnessed many ODIs, but arguably, the most exciting among all was the recently played 2011 World Cup semi-final between India and the Pakistan. It is also home to the Kings XI Punjab, one of the teams of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
. Chhatbir Zoo, also known as the Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park, is situated on the Chandigarh Patiala Road. The zoo covers an area of around 202 acres. The major attraction of this zoo is the Royal Bengal Tiger. The animals roam freely inside the zoo and visitors are given a tour in a caged vehicle. The zoo is home to around 950 species of animals and 85 types of resident as well as migratory birds.
Mansa Devi Temple
. Mansa Devi temple, is situated in Panchkula at a distance of 8 km from Chandigarh, in the state of Haryana. According to Hindu scriptures, the temple is one of the 52 'Satipiths' and it is believed that the head of Devi Sati had fallen at this place. There are two temples here. The relatively new temple was built by the Maharaja of Patiala. Millions of devotees from all over the country come here to pay homage to the goddess. There is a large garden of sacred plants attached to the Mansa Devi temple.
. Chandi Mandir is one of the most famous places of the country drawing a large number of tourists to the Chandigarh city. These tourists come from different corners of the country just to have a glimpse of amazing fascination of this place. It is found at the foothills of Shivalik. As far as the temples are concerned, Chandi Mandir is a temple in dedication of Chandi, the Power Goddess. Besides the Chandi Devi, there are beautiful idols of Radha-Krishna, Lord Shiva, Lord Hanuman along with Lord Rama.
Chandi Mandir is a well known place because the Chandigarh city got its name derived from it and this temple is pretty old as per the sources here. The location of the temple adds to its beauty because there are several interesting views that may be enjoyed in Shivalik hills. There are huge numbers of devotees visiting this temple every year for offering prayers to the respectful deity. People have a strong belief that worshipping the Goddess Chandi with full devotion would make their wishes come true.
Chandi Mandir is an ideal place for excursions. One can easily reach there without spending much money and time because it lies merely 15 kilometers distant from the Chandigarh city. The fascinating surroundings along with the intricately carved interiors of temple catch the fancy of people like anything and make them explore it more. The ideal time for visiting this temple is festive time of Navratri, when the temple is adorned beautifully and there is organization of special pujas done for the deity.
Government Museum And Art Gallery
. If you are a true lover of miniature painting, arts, old/ancient collections of objects (coins and stone sculptures of the Gandhara period) and Museum, then you should must visited Government Museum and Art Gallery once during your Chandigarh trip, located in Sector 10 near the Rose Garden. The large building is consists of a large visiting room, lobby, laboratory, museum, exhibition hall, auditorium, cafeteria and a large book library where you can get there huge collection of more than 6000 book related art and culture. So if you have enough time and you're interested to know about culture, art and some old heritage of India.
Gurdwara Amb Sahib
. Amb Sahib Gurudwara, steeped in mythology, devotion and faith, is widely known for the old mango tree within its complex that bears fruit all through the year, served as prasad to devotees. Legend has it that the 7th Sikh guru, Guru Har Rai, visited his disciple, Bhai Kooram, at the site of Amb Sahib Gurudwara in 1659. It was the guru's wish and command that the tree bear fruit all through the year, a wish that has continued to this day and is nothing short of miraculous given that mangoes are a summer fruit. During the month of January, a fair is held in the memory of Guru Har Rai on the day of Sakranti (according to Hindu calendar), when devotees gather at the gurudwara in large numbers to offer their prayers. Experience the community spirit and surreal tranquility here and you're sure to go home feeling transformed.
Gurdwara Nada Sahib
. Gurdwara Nada Sahib is situated in the Nada Village and lies at a distance of around 23 km from Chandigarh. Guru Gobind Singh resided at this place after defeating the Mughals. Nadu Shah, a villager and a follower of Guru Gobind Singh, welcomed him to the village with great honour and respect. Guruji was very happy with Nadu Shah and blessed him with miraculous powers. The site was thereafter named as Nada Shah, after Nadu Shah
Gurdwara Nabha Sahib
. Nabha Sahib Gurdwara is located on the Zirakpur Highway in the Mohali District. The site is constructed at a place where the head of Guru Tegh Bahadur, a Sikh warrior and guru, fell. It is believed that the guru's head was picked up by Bhai Jaita, who gave it to the guru's family for cremation in Anandpur.On his way to Anandpur Sahib, he kept the mortal remains in the Gurdwara Nabha Sahib on request of Faqir Dargahi Shah, a Muslim saint and also a disciple of the guru. Knowing this, a lot of people gathered here to pay their last tribute to the guru. Being an old man, Faqir Dargahi Shah sent a message to Guru Gobind Singh to visit him.
On his request, Guru Gobind Singh came to pay homage to his father at Nabha Sahib in 1688, after the battle of Bhangani against the Mughals. He also met with Faqir Dargahi Shah, who died soon after.The Sikh devotees, who come to pay homage to Guru Tegh Bahadur here, also visit the samadh or mazhar of the Muslim faqir in the vicinity of the shrine. Banda Singh Bahadur, in 1709, stopped here to pay homage to Guru Tegh Bahadur and Dargahi Shah Faqir. Jor Mela, an annual fair, is organised here in the month of September.
. Shanti Kunj (Abode of Peace) in Sector 16 is situated between the Rose Garden and the Cricket Stadium. This park, a completely noise free area, has a good pathway for walking, under shades and through grass land. Spread over 18 acres of land, the park has different kinds of trees and medicinal plants. The natural stream running through this garden divides the park into 5 areas. There is also an open air stage in Shanti Kunj.
International Dolls Museum
. This famous museum was established in 1985 and has beautiful dolls which have been collected from around the world. This museum was initially started to provide amusement to children but has progressed well such that it has earned fame and is recognized world-wide. This museum contains dolls and marionettes from different countries like Germany, Russia, Korea, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, etc. The attractive display of Indian dolls in various attire of the states in India mesmerizes all the visitors. Fairy tale characters recreated as dolls are also a big hit. There is also a toy train ride for the benefit of kids which amuses children immensely
Thunder Zone Amusement and Water Park
. Spread over 30 acres of picturesque land, Thunder Zone is a fantasy park with exciting and thrilling rides. A new age water theme and amusement park, Thunder Zone provides an extensive range of exciting rides like Swinging Chairs, Octopus, Cater Pillar, Mono Junction, Columbus, Sun N Moon, Striking Cars, Baby Train, Splash, COBF Music Bob, and Wet Park.
A scenic place that offer an absolute amusement for the whole family, Thunder Zone presents the most modern and sophisticated equipments. The most fascinating attraction in this fantasy park is the Waves-n-Swings, a special wave pool, which will engender fake waves as that of a real sea. The glitzy water slides that straightforwardly skim into water making a big splatter allures the young, the old and the children alike. The wet park section with a synthetic lake and water rides also lure all age groups. It also encompasses clean restaurants like Meal on Heal, Eats and Pizza Zone.