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Chandigarh - Quick Facts

Area: 114 Sq. Km.

Population: 1,054,686

Altitude: 350m

Season: September to March

climate: Humid Sub Tropical

Clothing: summer-Cotton Cloth, Winter- Woollen

Rainfall: 1110 mm average

Religion: hinduism, sikhism, Islam

Languages: Punjabi,Hindi,Haryanvi & English

Chandigarh, the beautiful capital of Punjab and Haryana is situated in a picturesque setting at the foot of the Shivalik Hills, the outermost edge of the Himalaya. It is a modern city built in 1950, divided into 47 numbered sectors, separated by broad avenues. It is also a union territory. Chandigarh was a child of India’s independence. After the partition of India in 1947, the state of Punjab was split and its capital, Lahore, became a part of Pakistan. A new centre of governance was needed for the state of Punjab. The present site of Chandigarh was chosen for its scenic location at the base of the Shivalik Hills, its fertile soil, and its prodigious water supply. A planned city, Chandigarh emerged in 1952 from the modernist craze of creating huge, geometrically quirky human environment considered symbolic of the future order of humanity. The construction of Chandigarh began in 1950, according to the plan by the French architect, LeCorbusier.

Chandigarh is a well-planned modern city. Although the city’s population is growing, it is far from the chaos and troubles of a big city. The people are nice and well behaved. Every sector is self-sufficient in itself. The city transport system is also well maintained. This is one of the reasons that Chandigarh has become an ideal city of India.Besides all the traditional religious observances and national holidays, there are several festivals which are only celebrated by a Chandigarhian.

By Air
The airport is 11 km from downtown. Taxis are available for Airport transfer. Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and Air Deccan connects Chandigarh with New Delhi the National Capital. Chandigarh Tourism has well maintained Tourist Information Centre at the Airport. By Rail: Chandigarh is linked with New Delhi, the National Capital.

By Rail
The Chandigarh Railway Station is 8 Kms from the city centre in Sector 17. The twice daily Shatabdi, Jan Shatabdi and Himalayan Queen connect New Delhi and Chandigarh. Paschim Express connects the city to Mumbai, Sadbhavna to Lucknow, Kerala Sampark Kranti to Kerala and Chennai Express to Chennai.

By Road
Chandigarh is well connected by road and buses provide an important transport link. There are services from various states such as- Haryana, Punjab, Himachal, and Delhi. It is a gateway to Himachal Pradesh as one can reach hill stations like Kasauli, Chail, Shimla etc within in a few hours drive. The hill stations Kullu & Manali with Rohtang Glacier are accessible from Chandigarh. The Union Territory of Chandigarh is well served by an excellent network of roads. The National Highways No. 21 (Ambala-Kinnaur) and 22 (Chandigarh-Leh) are the chief road arteries linking Chandigarh with the rest of the country.

The Union Territory of Chandigarh is located in the foothills of the Shivalik hill ranges in the north, which form a part of the fragile Himalayan ecosystem. It is occupied by Kandi (Bhabhar) in the north east and Sirowal (Tarai) and alluvial plains in the remaining part. The subsurface formation comprises of beds of boulders, pebbles, gravel, sand, silt, clays and some kankar. The area is drained by two seasonal rivulets viz. Sukhna Choe in the east and Patiala-Ki-Rao Choe in the west. The central part forms a surface water divide and has two minor streams. The stream passing through the central part is called N-Choe and the other is Choe Nala which initiates at Sector 29.

Government Buildings
The secretariat and the Vidhan Sabha (Legislative Assembly) buildings are in sector 1. Between 10 am and noon one can go to the top of the Secretariat, and can have an excellent view of the city.

Museum and Art Gallery
The art gallery in sector 10 is open daily except Monday and contains a modest collection of Indian stone sculptures dating back to the Gandhara Period, together with some miniature painting and modern art. The adjacent museum has fossils and implements of prehistoric humans founds in India. Opening hours are 10 am to 5 pm Wednesday to Sunday.

Rose Garden
The Rose Garden in Sector 16 is claimed to be the biggest in Asia and contains more than a thousand varieties of roses.

Rock Garden
This famous garden is open from 9 am to 1 pm and 3 to 7 pm from April 1 to September 30. Close by is the artificial Sukhna Lake, where you can rent rowing boats or just stroll round its 2 km perimeter.

Sukhna Lake
This man made reservoir offers a wonderful opportunity to soak in the fine ambience of the city. Tourists can enjoy the scenic view of the distant mountains while boating in the traditional boats designed like the shikaras of Kashmir. The lake is also full of swans and other birds. Sunset as seen from the lake is a splendid sight.

Pinjore Garden
Located 20 km from Chandigarh and covering a total area of 100 acres are Pinjore gardens. Traditional Mughal gardens, they were created in the 17th century, by Nawab Fidal Khan, architect to the Emperor Aurangzeb. The gardens stand out from the usual gardens with features like a mini zoo, historic places, Japanese garden, nursery and a number of picnic spots. According to the Hindu Mythology, the Pandava Brothers had rested in this garden during their exile.

Fun City
Fun City, located at a distance of 20 kms from Chandigarh, is the biggest amusement park and water park in the entire northern part of the country. It is sited on the Panchkula-Barwalla Nadha Sahib Gurudwara Highway, near Ramgarh. This amusement park attracts people of all age groups, starting from the children to the older people.

Mansa Devi
Temple The famous Manasa Devi Temple near Chandigarh is located in Bilaspur village and falls around 3 km to the east of Mani Majra. Also known as the Mata Mansi Temple of Panchkula, the temple serves as a symbol of Himalayan culture and belief. Mansa Devi, the Goddess of Power, is worshipped in the temple.

Bhakra Nangal Dam
Bhakra Nangal Dam, constructed across the River Sutlej, is the world’s highest straight gravity dam. It is located at a distance of 116 km from Chandigarh. The hydroelectric station positioned here not only generates power for Chandigarh, but also for Delhi and other cities. It was constructed in 1963 and is 225.55m (740 ft) high above the sea-level, being 518.25 m long and 304.84 m broad. Its huge reservoir, known as the 'Gobindh Sarovar', can store up to 9621 million cubic meters of water.

Chattbir Zoo
Located at a distance of merely 5 km from Chandigarh, on the Chandigarh-Patiala Road, Chattbir Zoo is popular for its lion safari, apart from wild animals like Himalayan Black Bear and the Royal Bengal Tiger. It houses 800 different species of animals in a 202-hectare reserve. It is open on all days of the week, except Monday. If you are going to Chandigarh with kids, make sure to include this excursion in your itinerary.

Morni Hills

Morni Hills serve as the closest hill station to Chandigarh, since they are located at a distance of hardly 45 km from the city. An offshoot of the Shivalik range, the hill resort derives its name from Queen Morni, the once ruler of the region. It is a great repository of natural beauty and serves as the perfect place to get away from the maddening crowds of a city.

Cactus Garden
Located at a very short distance i.e. hardly 8 km, from Chandigarh, Cactus Garden was established in the year 1987. It is the largest succulent botanical garden of Asia and contains nearly 3500 species of cactus. A must see place for kids, it serves as a popular picnic spot for tourists and localites alike.

Anandpur Sahib
Located around 80 km from Chandigarh, Anandpur Sahib or Takht Sri Keshgarh is one of the four Takhats of the Sikhs. The ninth Guru, Guru Teg Bahadur, purchased the site (where the city now stands) from the ruler of Bilaspur in 1665 and founded Gurdawra Anandpur Sahib near the ruins of ancient Makhowa. Andandpur Sahib is one of the holiest places of the Sikhs. It was here that Guru Gobind Singh baptized the first five Sikhs, called the Panch Pyaras, who created the nucleus of the Khalsa.

Kasauli Hill
Kasauli is one of the most aesthetic hill stations near Chandigarh, located at a distance of just 77 km from the city. It rests at a height of 1928 meters and allows some of the most beautiful views of the surrounding valleys. Traffic is not allowed in many roads of the hill station and thus, it is free from pollution.

Shimla, one of the most visited hill stations in India, can be covered as an excursion from Chandigarh. It is located at a distance of 107 km from Chandigarh and constitutes 3-4 hours drive from the city. Some of the famous places that you can see in Shimla are the Mall, Ridge, Jakhoo Temple, Christ Church, Sunset Point and the Shimla State Museum.

Chandigarh is the cultural capital of the region. Many artists and writers live in the city. The frequently held exhibitions, and performances by singers, dancers, musicians and actors have inculcated among city residents a desire for the best in performing visual and plastic arts besides literary encounters.Le Corbusier earmarked a portion of Sector 10 as the Cultural Complex which would include an Audio-Visual Training Institute, a Museum, an Art Gallery, and a 'Miracle Box' (which never got build) and later replaced by the Science Museum.

At present there is the Government College of Arts, the Government Museum and Art Gallery alongwith a separate 'Pavilion for Temporary Exhibitions' - now converted into the City Museum. The 'Miracle Box' has been substituted by the Museum of Evolution of Life, not designed by Le Corbusier, but located in the Cultural Complex. The Theatre for Performing Arts was later realised as the Tagore Theatre designed by Aditya Prakash in Sector 18.

When it comes to North Indian cuisine, the first thing that strikes mind is the Punjabi traditional food. There is nothing specific as far as the Chandigarh cuisine is concerned. It is mainly the Punjabi food that forms part of cuisine of Chandigarh, India. Punjabi cuisine is popular not just among Indians, but also among the foreigners. The staple food mainly consists of wheat-based rotis, paranthas and naan.

The main feature of Punjabi food is the extensive use of butter, cream, ghee and cheese. Their meals usually consist of pulses cooked on a slow flame with the traditional Punjabi tadka. For preparing the gravy, a mixture of onion, tomato, ginger, garlic and spices are used. Usually the traditional Punjabi food is prepared in the earthen tandoors, which give the food a unique aroma. In the category of beverages, one name that truly deserves a mention is the Punjab-di-Lassi.

One has to see to believe the creativity and skills possessed by the people of Punjab. Ever since history has been recorded, Punjab is known to have added some of the most interesting and intricate forms of handicrafts to the already vast treasure of Indian artistry. People of Punjab used to create art works from most un imaginable raw materials; like mud. And like many other states, Punjab too was a major destination for embroidery and apparel works. But the use of bleft colors and unique designs always put them in a class of their own.

Famous arts are-
•        Wood Work
•        Phulkari
•        Mud work
•        Jalandhar
•        Folk Toys

The Festival of Gardens
It is a three-day celebration which is organized in the last week of February. Several varieties of roses are on display at the Rose Garden. The festival also includes performance of music and dance, events for children, exhibitions by local artists, photographers and craftsman and a wide range of amusements.

The Mango Festival
This festival is held in the month of June. Mango growers from all over India gather here and complete in various segments. It provides a great business opportunity for them. Many agriculture universities also display the latest hybrid varieties developed by them.

The chrysanthemums show
In the month of December, Chrysanthemums show is held at Terraces Flower Garden. Hundreds of varieties of the flower are on display and city gardeners vie for coveted honours in the competitions.

The Chandigarh Carnival
This carnival is celebrated in the second week of November every year for three days. The carnival is a time for children and elders alike to show off their talent.

The main shopping and commercial centre of Chandigarh is Sector 17. This vast commercial complex is a pedestrian's paradise with four main piazzas meeting at a 'chowk'. It provides something for everyone, from hectic business activity to unhurried window shopping and even crowd gazing in the vicinity of the fountain. Air-conditioned showrooms and departmental stores cater to the needs of shoppers. Government Emporia, innumerable shops, eateries, coffee houses, bars and pubs keep the visitor fully engrossed.

The City Centre or Sector 17, as it is popularly called, is architecturally a blend of cuboids building blocks and open spaces. The piazzas liven up in the afternoon with the office crowds out in the open spaces and shopping colonnades to refresh themselves. In the evenings, shoppers and tourists, enjoying ice creams or popcorns, sit on the steps of the "dove of peace" sculpture, where water cascades down from one level to another in geometrically shaped tanks, amidst delightful play of colourful lights.

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