JAB WE MET AGAIN - Revisiting the lanes of Chandigarh
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Jab we met again – Revisiting the beautiful lanes of Chandigarh, the city with a heart

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Since the time I have left home for higher studies in 2004, I have been traveling to different cities. In the last 15 years, I stayed in more than 9 cities. The recent one was Chandigarh where I stayed for the longest period of time – 6 years. I had visited the city beautiful in my childhood with my family and it was love at first sight.

The beautiful gardens, parks, ornamented crossroads, broad and clean roads, friendly people, delicious food and amazing sightseeing spots won my heart. So, when my husband broke the news of shifting there from Bangalore in 2010, I was elated beyond words. Though I was sad about leaving Bangalore because I started my married life there and developed an affection with the city. At the same time, I was happy that I would be near to our families in Delhi and Lucknow.

I absorbed all the beautiful moments of the city and made my way to create more memories.

Chandigarh is a city with a heart. Though our welcome wasn’t very promising. While we hunted for accommodation, we stayed in Infosys Guest House for the first week when my husband got a severe viral infection. I was alien in the city so took him to the hospital alone. After moving from one hospital to another as per the doctor’s instructions, we ended up with one. It was depressing alone until my parents arrived.

After getting discharged, we shifted to the flat we had already finalized. My parents helped entirely in settling us. Soon, the city embraced us warmly and we got used to it too. Enjoyed winters after a long time as Bangalore had the same climate throughout the year.

Exploring the beauty

We explored every nook and corner of the city. The Gurudwaras, the restaurants, dhabas, attractions, gardens, markets and everything possible. We didn’t miss on satiating our gastronomical buds with the local foods like gajak, sweets, makke ki roti, sarso ka saag, kulche and what not. The icing on the cake was driving on the broad roads after narrow ones in Bangalore. It was an altogether amazing experience.

The weekdays were spent in office while weekends were meant for indulgence. As it was just 5 hours drive from Delhi, often we would plan to visit on weekends. And not to forget my parent’s place, Lucknow too which is an overnight journey by train. Chandigarh has all the pleasures of metro cities and peaceful life of small towns as well.

This makes this place even special as you get to live a life and not just spend it. You get time for yourself and your loved one and not just kill it traveling in traffic.

A glimpse of the Major Attractions

The prominent sightseeing spots where we used to visit whenever we have guests or family visiting us were Rock Garden, Rose Garden, Sukhna Lake, Pinjore Garden, Sector 17 Market (Satara Market as they call it).

Rock Garden

It is famous for its unique and creative sculpture is the highlight of the city. Usage of used bottles, broken glasses, bangles, pots, electric waste, sinks, ceramics, tiles, pipes, etc. are the perfect examples of “best out of the waste”, one can witness. Also, the waterfall and the cobbled route is quite beautiful and picturesque. It is one of the most loved places for travelers.

Zakir Hussain Rose Garden

This is spread over a huge area of 30 acres has a collection of more than 50,000 rose bushes. Named after Nation’s former President, Zakir Hussain, this garden is home to not only stunning roses of different species but also many medicinal plants. This claims to be Asia’s largest garden. It can be best experienced in the Winters when all the flowers are in full bloom. The carved-out lawns and flower beds look mesmerizing which makes the garden one of the most popular picnic spots for sunbathing during the winters. It hosts the Rose Festival which is a major annual cultural event during Feb or March.

Pinjore Garden

is again a masterpiece of Mughal Architecture and has a rich history. This garden has been divided into many segments like Sheesh Mahal, Hawa Mahal, Rang Mahal, and Jal Mahal. You would find an open-air theatre on the ground floor as this garden is layered into several terraces. It looks phenomenal in the night when all lit up. Also, there are many festivals time to time where you can buy some exquisite handloom stuff, ornaments, jewelry, pottery and eat the best food too. The best part of this garden is that it is wheel friendly and they have a wheelchair too.

Sukhna Lake

My favorite part of the city was Sukhna Lake where we would go and sit by the riverside for hours looking at the sunset hues and enjoying the popcorn. Pure bliss that was. This lake is crowded the whole year, especially during the evenings. People enjoy boating and kids have many rides to go crazy. The roasting smell of sweet potatoes and chhole kulche will fill your nose with a heavenly aroma.

This city gave me a lot. I explored my passion for painting here. Received a lot of love from my students whom I offered tuitions and taught painting. A few amazing friends and the most precious thing – my daughters. Yes, they were born in Chandigarh.

When I left this city, I was in tears. How I wanted to stop the time and live for a few more days. But the association ended in 2016 with a promise to come back again.

2018 – My visit to India

“The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again” — Nicholas Nickleby

My relationship with the city evolved with time. Last year, we visited India for two months vacation. We already had a plan to visit Chandigarh because, without a trip to this city, our visit was incomplete. So, we decided to celebrate our 10th anniversary in the city which has “our hearts”. I went with my family. We halted at a Dhaba for a gastronomic adventure and satiated our taste buds to our heart’s content.

As we entered Chandigarh, nostalgia hit me hard. The feeling was ineffable. So many memories evoked of the last few years which we spent here. We visited all the main attractions of the city along with the places which we used to visit on a daily basis. Those shops, parks, our rented apartment, temple, friends and eating joints. My happiness knew no bounds. There were many familiar faces and a few new ones too. A few recognized us and we had a hearty chat too. The city again embraced us. It still had the same charm, same attraction, the same love, and the same warmth.

 

Earlier it was just I and husband who used to roam around like love birds and now we had our double editions (read additions) too. They enjoyed the market, lake, ride at Sukhna Lake as much as we did. We planned a trip to the Zoo also where kids had great fun.

 

After spending some memorable moments for two days, we headed back to Delhi leaving a part of my heart again with the City Beautiful and a promise to come back again.

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Sitharaam Jayakumar
April 11, 2019 4:36 am

I visited Chandigarh long time back when I went to a place for installing some software. I was accompanied by my mother. I still remember how enthralled we were by the Rock Garden. And if I remember correctly we also visited the Sukhna lake but since the trip was just for a day or two we could not really explore the city much. Definitely plan a visit another time.

Esha Chakraborty
April 11, 2019 6:33 am

What a fab post and the pictures are so so great. I am absolutely loving these traveligues of yours..though I missed out reading a few… Will catch up soon

Suhasini
April 11, 2019 6:57 am

Thanks for the wonderful tour. I am adding Chandigarh into to be visited list

Shalini
April 11, 2019 7:50 am

Guess what, I have never been to Chandigarh though I have heard so much about this place. A shopping hub too, right? Your pics speak for all the happy memories you’ve had!

Shubhra Rastogi
April 11, 2019 8:10 am

Lovely write up. I remember going to Chandigarh when I was still in school. I was mesmerised by the rock garden and in awe how a man could make all of this. The next time I went was to take an exam and was back in 2 days. A short and sweet trip.

Mayuri Nidigallu
April 11, 2019 9:19 am

The happiness and memories that Chandigarh gave you is evident in your words. Such lovely memories too.
I visited Chandigarh once, years ago and loved it too. It is truly city beautiful. Love your posts, Vartika.

Abhijit
April 11, 2019 10:37 am

A nice post. Chandigarh is a beautiful city. You have described so many places is such detail. It reads well.

Abhijit
April 11, 2019 10:39 am

A nice post. You have described the beautiful city of Chandigarh and so many places to visit in the city. A nice and detailed post.

Sonia Chatterjee
April 11, 2019 11:14 am

Your posts always a later of nostalgia wrapped in happiness and at times a little pain. What a beautiful recollection again.

Aditi Kapur
April 11, 2019 11:41 am

Lovely write-up and beautiful pics I share your affinity for the city beautiful ❤️

Ujjwal mishra
April 11, 2019 1:08 pm

I have been here atleast four times and every time i love to go to all these places. The most beautiful thing in chandigarh is the cleanliness and greenery around roads.

Noor Anand Chawla
Noor Anand Chawla
April 11, 2019 2:49 pm

I love Chandigarh! It’s such a beautiful city and I can feel your special connection with it 🙂

Harjeet Kaur
April 11, 2019 3:12 pm

Thanks for sharing Chandigarh’s heart 🙂 I have never been there. I am south Indian Sardarni with no contact with Punjab. Isn’t that strange?

Rashi Roy
April 11, 2019 3:23 pm

Have heard a lot about Chandigarh, never got a chance to visit. Love reading your posts and the last pic with the sunrays looks beautiful.

Priyanka Nair
Priyanka Nair
April 11, 2019 4:04 pm

I have been there before marriage, I had a wonderful family trip, it is indeed a well planned and clean city.

Shilpa Garg
April 11, 2019 6:11 pm

Chandigarh is where my grand parents stay so it is very close to my heart and we have been visiting it pretty frequently. I love everything about Chandigarh, though it’s been ages since we visited the touristy destinations like Pinjore, Rock Garden, Sukhna lake etc. Glad that you have some beautiful memories of this city beautiful. Loved your pictures, Vartika!

vidhya
April 11, 2019 6:23 pm

Woow! loved the writeup and the pictures! amazing

Mann
April 11, 2019 6:42 pm

Chandigarh is a preferred place by people of Himachal also…they try and buy flats to go visit on weekends or in winters. I like the balanced and disciplined life style of the city. Specially the walks on saturdays in sector 17! 😍😍

Manas Mukul
April 11, 2019 7:01 pm

Chandigarh is my favorite city in India. Nice detailed description of the City beautiful
#ContemplationOfaJoker #Jokerophilia

Sanjota Purohit
April 11, 2019 7:13 pm

I have never been to any north side of India. Thanks for introducing every corner of Chandighar! It makes a perfect travel guide.

Deepika
April 11, 2019 8:30 pm

Again a lovely post with lovely pictures!

Soulful
April 29, 2019 7:39 am

Wow , nice places, really enjoyed your article.
Thanks for sharing

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