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).
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.
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.
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.