Visit the planned city of Chandigarh and see a different side to India. Shop in air-conditioned malls or enjoy relaxing in the peaceful parks and gardens. Enjoy the best food and drink in the region and visit the galleries and museums of this fascinating urban experiment.
Chandigarh is the state capital of both the Punjab and Haryana regions, but it is also a separate Union territory. Construction of the town began in 1952, according to plans by Swiss architect Le Corbusier, who envisaged a city that symbolised India’s future. Walk through the wide streets and notice how clean, ordered and prosperous the city is. While the straight lines and neatly clipped greenery may not be to everyone’s taste, it is certainly a dramatic contrast to India’s other cities.
Make sure you visit the famous Rock Garden. It was started in 1958 by former civil servant Nek Chand, who built a small sculpture garden from pieces of broken ceramic and glass. The garden has since expanded to cover around 20 acres (8 hectares). Explore the grottos, marvel at the colourful sculptures and lose yourself in this remarkable wonderland.
Other attractions include the attractive Rose Garden and Sukhna Lake at the foot of the Himalayas, where you can walk along the paths or relax with a picnic.
Getting around Chandigarh is easy, as areas are divided into numbered sections with good bus links. If you want to shop and eat, head to Sector 17, a short ride from the hotels in Sector 22.
Fly into Chandigarh Airport or catch a fast train from Delhi. Away from India’s traditional bustling markets and noisy crowds, Chandigarh lets you experience another side of this fascinating country.