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A vibrant city with the imposing...
The stronghold of several erstwhile...
Declared as India's first UNESCO World...
The verdant Ananthagiri Hills is...
Located on the banks of River Godavari,...
Situated around 40 km from Raipur,...
An urban oasis with charming tree-lined boulevards and beautifully landscaped gardens, Chandigarh is a young, prosperous and vibrant city. Its lush and artistic gardens, serene lakes and picturesque hillsides are gorgeous natural respites amidst the bustling modern city, full of modern monuments, museums and posh markets.
From luxury hotels like Hyatt Regency, JW Marriott, Hotel Mountainview, etc., to homestays and budgeted retreats, Chandigarh is replete with some of the best accommodation options. Settle in and enjoy the views of the best-planned city of India.
8 am: Start your day with a hearty breakfast. Chandigarh's culinary scene is ripe with delicacies like ghee/butter-soaked paranthas (flatbreads), chocolate/jam-oozing waffles, baked goods, finger sandwiches and the mouthwatering chola-bhatura (fried flatbread served with chickpea). Pair it with a steaming cup of coffee and you are set to explore the city.
10 am: Spend your morning at the serene Sukhna Lake, located at the foot of the Himalayas. After boating in paddle-boats and shikharas, picnic along the shores as ducks, storks and cranes chatter in the background. You can also try sailing in a yacht here or get your portrait done by one of the artists who has set up shop nearby. If you get here in the wee hours of the morning, you can catch a spectacular sunrise.
There are several popular shopping malls around Sukhna Lake where you can shop to your heart's content.
2 pm: Next on the list is the Government Museum and Art Gallery, which was designed by Le Corbusier, the designer and planner of Chandigarh. Explore myriad Gandharan sculptures, artefacts and Pahari and Rajasthani miniature paintings.
4 pm: The Chandigarh Capitol Complex in Sector 1 is an architectural marvel and a must-visit. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it was designed by Le Corbusier and includes the Legislative Assembly, the Secretariat, the High Court and the Capitol. It has a two-fold cover and appears like an overturned umbrella.
A short drive away is the famous Rock Garden. It is an open-air exhibition hall that is the work of a single artist, Nek Chand. As soon as one enters it, one is treated to many arrangements and sculptures. There are vast sets, dreamlike arrangements of rocks and sculptures, all ranging from ethnic statues to a group of astronauts sitting with folded legs. Explore its series of interlinked courtyards, each of which contains several similarly themed sculptures created out of a melange of raw materials.
8 pm: Chandigarh's markets are a delightful space. The Sector 17 market is the most popular and hosts both national and international brands, eateries, food chains, etc. From the highest in fashion to the latest in bridal, you can find a plethora of options here.
10 pm: For a satisfying dinner, dig into the quintessential Punjabi meal of butter chicken, bhuna ghost mutton (mutton curry), sarson-da-saag (a dish made with mustard leaves, spinach, etc.) or shahi panner ( a Mughlai gravy-based paneer dish).
Night Owl: Several clubs, lounges, and pubs offer the best experiences of nightlife in the city.
If you want to rope in an early morning visit to the hills, Morni Hills, around an hour from the city, is a great option. Its serene lakes, long nature treks and birdwatching opportunities make it a favourite with visitors. Chandigarh's many parks are great stopovers for nature-lovers. Visit the gorgeous Zakir Hussain Rose Garden, the largest of its kind in Asia, and start your morning among fragrant and beautiful roses. With over 50,000 bushes of 1,600 varieties, the park is almost like a paradise.
8 am: Bhakra Nangal Dam, one of the highest in Asia is a must-see while visiting Chandigarh. Though it is a substantial drive, it is worth the effort when you climb to the top and see the spectacular panorama spread out before you. The nearby Gobind Sagar Lake makes for a great picnic spot. If you don't want to venture too far out, visit the equally beautiful Pinjore Gardens, built in traditional Mughal style. A fine specimen of terrace farming in India, it is also noted for its mini-zoo, a Japanese garden and various picnic spots.
10 am: After a grand breakfast fare, plan a trip amidst wildlife to Chattbir Zoo. The star attraction is the critically-endangered gharial, which has been successfully bred here. Besides, there are avifauna, big cats, primates and a special reptile enclosure housing a sand boa and a python.
To make the best of your afternoon, take a short trip to Parwanoo, about 30 km away. A serene summer retreat in the hills, it has many picturesque sights. You can take cable car rides to admire the surrounding vistas. Inside the city, Cactus Garden makes for a great stopover. Its many varieties of cacti leave one in awe of nature.
2 pm: If you are a cricket-lover, the Mohali Cricket Stadium makes for a great visit. See the place where some of the most memorable matches of all time were held. Home to Kings XI Punjab, this massive stadium will leave you astounded.
4 pm: After lunch, you can plan a visit to Kalagram Village, where you can experience the culture and tradition of the region first-hand. Shop at the exhibitions and fairs and buy delightful ethnic souvenirs.
You can catch a show at Tagore Theatres and enjoy the soulful music and dance performance. It is the cultural hub of the city where you are likely to meet like-minded people.
8 pm: Catch the Musical Fountain Show held in Sector 17. The sight of colourful water fountains dancing to the beat of the music is both lively and vibrant.
10 pm: Spend your last evening in the city at the popular Gedi Route, which is perfect for late-night bike rides and drives. The route is lined with cafes and eateries and is abuzz with activity. It is where the nights of the city come alive. As you dig into your dinner, let the soft tunes of jazz or folk music lull you into peace.