It’s been six months since I went on a holiday and high time I took a break from work. Given that you are travelling in June, which is either Summer or Monsoon in most part of the country, you have to wisely choose a place such that the weather is not too harsh and you get to cover all places on your itinerary. So five other friends of mine and I decided to explore Himachal Pradesh this time!
Himachal Pradesh is neither too cold nor too hot during this time of the year, so we thought it’s the best place to head out. Places we decided to visit in 8 days were Kasauli, Shimla, Kullu, and Manali. We planned to start and end the trip in Chandigarh as Shimla is closer to Chandigarh than Delhi. The route thus evolved –
The first day of our trip, after landing in Chandigarh, we immediately started our journey to Kasauli. We didn’t get a chance to explore much of Chandigarh and had parked that for the last day before we left for Bengaluru. So we just had close to 4 hours to explore the first planned city of India.
Chandigarh is a union territory, serving as a capital for two Indian states – Punjab and Haryana. The first thing that catches your eyes when you are in Chandigarh is its Boulevard. You can find many yellow flowering trees surrounding the wide roads. I think they are called golden shower trees, not sure though. The beautiful bright yellow flowers add beauty to The City Beautiful, yes that’s the nickname for Chandigarh.
Chandigarh had heavy showers the previous night, so the temperature on the day we were out and exploring was around 36 degree Celsius. Not scorching hot but still humid. Given that we had insufficient time we thought of paying a visit to Rose Garden, Rock Garden and Sukhna Lake.
Rose Garden was named after India’s former President Dr Zakir Hussain. Established in 1967, it is the largest in Asia, spread over an area of around 40 acres, representing some 825 varieties of roses. A few pictures from the garden.
Rock Garden or Nek Chand Rock Garden, named after its creator, is an independent work of art by late Nek Chand, who collected stones and debris from villages that were destroyed for Chandigarh. He created close to 2000 statues in secret which were later discovered and authorised. Nek Chand has been awarded the prestigious Padma Shri for his work of art. One can find man-made water falls and a variety of sculptures made out of broken ceramics, glass, earthen pots and other debris.
Next up we headed to Chandigarh’s man-made lake – Sukhna Lake. Sitting by the lake bund watching the motor boaters and enjoying the fresh breeze we captured the scenic beauty of the lake before we headed for the airport.
One thing we didn’t want to miss in Chandigarh was street food. We made it a point to taste some chaats before we left for the airport. Throughout the journey, I was intrigued by the road side food vendors having this differently shaped vessel. I was curious to know what they prepare or store in those vessels, for they are entirely different from the ones I have come across in other parts of the country.
I managed to click few pictures while we waited for our order. Apparently, they have baked chickpeas in these containers which they use for stuffing in paav or kulcha. We also tasted gol gappa which was yummy, the only difference was the tangy water or pani was chilled. We could see ice cubes floating in pani which is quite unusual in the south
To sum up, our brief stay in Chandigarh was both relaxing and refreshing. Chandigarh sure has an excellent infrastructure, less or no traffic, good food and ideal for a relaxing vacation!