Reported to be the first planned city in India and one of the best-planned cities in the world, Chandigarh is an important business hub as well as a popular tourist destination. The city was designed by the famous French architect, Le Corbusier and boasts of a balance between an urban cityscape and natural spaces. This cosmopolitan city is a Union Territory of India and also the capital of the states of Punjab and Haryana. Chandigarh is best known for its architecture, lush gardens and parks, and serene lakes. It is also the gateway to hill stations like Morni Hills, Shimla, and Kasauli.
Chandigarh is frequented by tourists from across Indian as well as overseas. According to the Chandigarh Tourism Department, 1,538,796 domestic tourists and 39,681 international tourists visited the place in 2018. There is no shortage of hotels in Chandigarh. Depending on their needs and budgets, tourists can check into luxury hotels and resorts, heritage properties, business and budget hotels, guesthouses and homestays. Some of the best hotels are in and around Sector 17 while other preferable ones are dotted around Sector 35 and Zirakpur.
Chandigarh Tourism Quick Info
|Official Language||English, Hindi, Punjabi|
|Area||114 square kilometer|
|Main Cities||Chandigarh, Mohali, Panchkula, Zirakpur, Mani Majra, Burail|
|Official Tourism Website||http://chandigarhtourism.gov.in|
|Nicknames||The City Beautiful|
|Major Railheads||Chandigarh Junction|
|Airport||Chandigarh International Airport|
History of Chandigarh
During partition, the British Province of Punjab was split between India and Pakistan with its capital, Lahore, falling into Pakistan. In 1949, 50 villages were brought together to form the city of Chandigarh as the capital of Punjab in India. American planner and architect Albert Mayer was given the task of designing this city. However, after developing a mast plan, Mayer’s architect-partner passed away in 1950 and the task was handed over to Le Corbusier.
In 1966, the state of Haryana was carved out of Punjab with Chandigarh standing on the border of Punjab and Haryana. The city was then declared to be a Union Territory and the capital of both the states.
Geography & Climate
Chandigarh stands 250 km north of New Delhi, near the foothills of the Shivalik range. It shares its northern and western borders with Punjab and eastern and southern borders with Haryana. Chandigarh can be described as a plain with limited forest area in Kansal and Nepali.
While summers in Chandigarh can be quite hot, winters are relatively chilly. The monsoon here is unpredictable and associated with high humidity. The best time to visit Chandigarh is from mid-September to mid-November or between February and March.
Places to Visit in Chandigarh
- Monuments: Capitol Complex, The Open Hand, The Tower of Shadows, Le Corbusier Centre, Palace of Assembly, Fateh Burj
- Museum: International Doll Museum, Government Museum, and Art Gallery are some of must-visit museums in Chandigarh
- Lakes: Sukhna Lake, New Lake, Sector 42, and Dhanas Lake are the lakes in Chandigarh
- Gardens: Rose Garden, Rock Garden, Terraced Garden, National Cactus, and Succulent Botanical Garden and Research Centre, Garden of Fragrance, Japanese Garden, Butterfly Garden, Topiary Park, Shanti Kunj Park, Chandigarh Botanical Garden
- Zoo: Chhat Bir Zoo or Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park
- Churches: LifeBridge Worship Centre, First Baptist Church, and CityLight Church are some of the must-visit churches in Chandigarh
- Temples: Temple of Goddess Chandi, Gurudwara Nada Sahib, Garden of Silence, and Mansa Devi Temple are some of the revered temples in Chandigarh.
- Amusement Parks: Fun City, Thunder Zone Amusement Park and Aqua Village are the much-frequented amusement and water parks in Chandigarh.
Cuisine of Chandigarh
The food in Chandigarh follows Punjabi traditions and is centered around wheat-based paranthas, naans, kulchas, and other flatbreads. Like typical Punjabi dishes, butter, ghee, and cream are used in cooking extensively. Some of the popular dishes here include Kadhi, Punjabi Chhole, Butter Chicken, Lachha Paranthas, Amritsari Fish and Stuffed Kulchas. In the winter, seasonal dishes like Makki di Roti and Sarson ka Saag are very popular. Roh di Kheer, made by cooking rice in sugarcane juice, is a local delicacy. Chandigarh also boasts of the best street food delicacies; the dhabas here are as popular as any fine dining restaurant. Being a popular local beverage, lassi deserves a special mention.
Shopping in Chandigarh
From air-conditioned malls to roadside stalls, there’s plenty when it comes to shopping in Chandigarh. Some souvenirs you should take back with you are:
- Phulkari dupattas and sarees
- Punjabi Juttis
- Gota Patti suits and sarees
- Local gur (jaggery)
- Punjabi Pickles
- Artificial jewelry
Things to Do in Chandigarh
- Take a boat ride on Sukhna Lake
- Walk through the lush gardens
- Meditate at the Garden of Silence
- Shop at local markets
- Dance the night away at nightclubs and pubs
- Appease your taste buds at local restaurants
- Watch a play at Tagore Theatre
- Ride on the Timber Trail
- Explore the city on the HoHo bus
- Admire Nek Chand’s ingenuity at Rock Garden
- Watch a cricket match at Mohali Stadium
- Attend a flower show
How to Reach Chandigarh
By Air: Chandigarh Airport is located around 12 km away from the city center. Many airlines run regular services connecting Chandigarh to other cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Srinagar, and Chennai. Several international flights between Chandigarh and cities like Sharjah and Dubai also operate from this airport.
By Rail: Chandigarh Railway Station is the main railhead in the city. The station is served by the Northern Railways and has many trains connecting the city to other major Indian destinations. Many of these trains run daily including Kalka Shatabdi, Paschim Express and Janshatabdi.
By Road: One of the things Chandigarh is known for is its well-laid out road network. The NH1 connects Chandigarh to India’s capital city, New Delhi. The city is also well-connected by road to neighboring metros as well as hill stations such as Mussorie, Shimla, Kullu, McLeodganj, Kasauli and Morni Hills. One can avail buses run by Chandigarh Transport Undertaking, PUNBUS as well as private operators to commute in and around the city.