Chandigarh city was developed as the capital of Punjab after the partition of India. Situated at the foothills of Shivalik hills, Chandigarh is the best example of a modern planned city. The modern architecture, planned official blocks and broad roads with trees on sides make Chandigarh a good experience for a living. There are many small and big gardens in the city which makes Chandigarh’s sightseeing a pleasant experience for travelers. The monuments are unique and there are some interesting places to see in Chandigarh, there are no other places like them in India.
How to travel to Chandigarh from Delhi
There are direct flights to Chandigarh and the airport is close to the city.
Chandigarh is well connected by trains and bus. There are several buses and trains to Chandigarh from Delhi.
I had traveled to Chandigarh a few times. I traveled by train, Volvo bus and by car.
The traveling by car from Delhi to Chandigarh has its own fun. This highway has many good Dhabas (Food joints) on the way. I like to stop at different Dhaba’s and enjoy the food.
Delhi to Chandigarh Drive and Popular eating places
Amrik Sukhdev Dhaba in Murthal
Whenever we traveled towards Chandigarh (I traveled to Ambala on several occasions), Sukhdev Dhaba at Murthal have been our first stop. It’s only 45 km from Delhi on NH 1.
Over the year Sukhdev Dhaba became our first choice though earlier we use to stop at Gulshan Dhaba. In last few years this place developed a lot and it’s no longer as an old Dhaba. They have extended the menu and added other than Indian food items along with Indian style Chinese and Italian food.
Whenever we stop, I don’t need a menu card at Sukhdev Dhaba because I always order stuff tandoori paratha. If you are not sure which paratha to order then ask the server and he will name all parathas in one breath. The Paratha is served with white butter, pickle and raw onion salad. I always take some curd also because it goes well with paratha. If you are not driving then finish your meal with sweet lassi. I specifically said “if you are not going to drive” because most of the people feel sleepy after having lassi with paratha.
Another reason for choosing this place is that they have clean washrooms.
Haveli Dhaba in Karnal
I have also stopped at Haveli Dhaba near Karnal. This is a hotel with a restaurant and this is the place if you are looking for a nice sit-down meal in a good ambiance. It’s an interesting place but when I travel on the highway, I prefer rustic food.
Old Puran Singh ka Dhaba in Ambala
If you are non-vegetarian then stop at Old Puran Singh ka Dhaba in Ambala. It’s on the other side of the road when you traveling towards Chandigarh from Delhi. There are many “Puran Singh Ka Dhaba” in one row and it is confusing. Look for the one with a photograph of Vinod Dua and Rocky & Mayur (Popular TV anchor). The quality of food at this place is not what it used to be many years back. Eat here if you want to tick the place from your list, if you had old Delhi’s food then this place is nowhere near that food.
Sethi Dhaba in Zirakpur
Another place I like to stop is Sethi Dhaba near Zirakpur before you enter Chandigarh. This is the place for traditional Punjabi style food like dal makhani, Sabji and tandoori rotis. The owner of the hotel is a big fan of famous Punjabi singer Gurdas Mann and there are several big photographs of him in Dhaba. They have a sitting arrangement with table & chairs as well as traditional style Charpoy.
Other Dhaba’s on NH 1 between Delhi to Chandigarh
Other popular Dhabas on NH 1 are Gulshan Dhaba & Pahalwan Dhaba in Murthal, Dhaba Junction near Sonipat and Zhilmil Dhaba in Karnal. If you are traveling late at night between 6.00 PM to 11.00 PM then stop at Chaokhi Dhani near Sonipat for a village like an experience.
The road conditions between Delhi to Chandigarh are good. In the last few years many flyovers were made on NH 1 and due to this travel time reduced drastically.
Last time I traveled to Chandigarh when I went to Shimla. I stayed in Chandigarh for a night and got a full day to refresh my memories by visiting some of the places one more time.
Places to see in Chandigarh in one day
The Chandigarh city was planned by the famous French architect Le Corbusier. It didn’t develop in a haphazard manner like most Indian cities. Chandigarh has a master plan and everything developed according to that. There are many green areas scattered across the city and there are no traffic jams due to congested roads.
Rock Garden by Nek Chand
This is the most iconic place in Chandigarh. People fondly call this place Nek Chand’s Rock Garden also. It is a fine example for everyone to understand how the waste material can be developed into a beautiful place.
The story of Rock Garden’s development is very interesting. It goes back to 1957 when Nek Chand started developing this place in his free time. He was a government employee and during his free time, he would collect waste material like glass bottles, bangles, tiles, ceramic pots, washbasins, electrical waste, broken pipes, and many such materials. He made many sculptures with these scrap and waste products.
Nek Chand kept this place secret for 18 years. When authorities discovered this place they decided to demolish it because it was built on conservation land of government. But it was difficult to demolish the place by that time because public opinion was in favor of it and secondly different sculptures were scattered in 22 acres of land. Finally, the government declared it a monument and named it Rock Garden.
Nek Chand was officially assigned to this project and now this garden is spread in 40 acres of land.
The whole place is made of recycling material.
There are different sculptures of human & animals, landscaping is done with different types of waste material, there are waterfalls, swings, caves and many different things on display.
This is one of its own kind places.
This 3 square km lake is one of the popular hangouts among tourist as well as locals. Many food festivals and other cultural activities are organized around Sukhna lake throughout the year.
Sukhna lake was developed in 1958 by architect Le Corbusier when he designed the Chandigarh. It’s a man-made lake, which was created on the foothills of Shivalik range by diverting the seasonal stream, Sukhna Choe.
Over the years gardens, galleries, food stalls, and walkways were developed around the lake. Sukhna lake is a popular hangout in Chandigarh and I have found people throughout the day.
Boating in paddle boats and Shikara boats is the most popular activity in Sukhna lake. Motorboats are not allowed in the lake due to ecological and environmental reasons.
Other than boating you can get your portrait sketches by artists sitting around the lake in the garden area.
During winter months migratory birds like the Siberian duck, storks, and cranes can be seen in the lake.
Sukhna lake is facing silting, weed overgrowth and catchment issues, which is reducing the depth and area of the lake. The cleaning of the lake is done on a regular basis but more efforts required for the upliftment of lake.
Zakir Hussain Rosegarden
This rose garden of Chandigarh is like many other rose gardens across India. The rose garden has not only roses, but there are several medicinal trees in this garden.
The rose beds are created in manicured garden areas. This place remains open from 6 AM to 6 PM on all days.
The best time to visit Zakir Hussain rose garden in months of February and March when flowers are in full bloom.
This is a relatively new development in Chandigarh. The Japanese garden was built in 2014 by the Indian government and since then it is opened for public. This is one of the interesting places to see in Chandigarh.
There are Japanese style pagoda towers, water bodies & waterfalls, Buddha idol, a meditation center and golden bamboos for decoration.
The garden is divided into 2 parts and these parts are connected with an underground tunnel. This tunnel is decorated with Japnese paintings.
This is an interesting place to spend a couple of hours in Chandigarh, especially in winter months. The Japnese garden remains open from 4.30 AM to 11 PM.
Places near Chandigarh
Pinjore Garden or Yadavindra Garden
The Pinjore garden is approximately 20 Km from Chandigarh city. This 17th-century Mughal garden was renovated by Patiala’s Jat Sikh ruler and now named as Yadavindra Garden.
Pinjore garden was built as the summer retreat for Mughal emperor Aurangjeb. It was abandoned after the fall of Mughals. Later on, during British rule in India, it came under the state of Patiala and the king Yadavindra Singh renovated it.
The garden is laid in 7 different terraces. These terraces are named Shish Mahal, Hawa Mahal, Rang Mahal and after these, there are Cypress trees & flowerbed.
As we went further, there is a small resting place in the middle of the water, which is known as Jal Mahal.
At the end of the garden is an open-air theater, which is semi-circular. There are waterfalls and fountains in the middle area of the garden.
The Pinjore garden or Yadavindra garden is well maintained and every evening it’s lit with colorful lights, which gives this place a totally different look.
If you don’t want to do anything and just wanted to relax then this is the place to spend a quiet afternoon away from hustle & bustle of Chandigarh.
There is a colorful toy train outside the main entry gate of the garden, which is good for a joy ride.
How to travel in Chandigarh
The autorickshaw (Tuk Tuk) are easily available in Chandigarh and are the most economical way to travel from one place to another.
Other then these app-based taxi services are also available and which are convenient as well as decently priced.
Chandigarh tourist bus
The tourist bus of Chandigarh is operated by the tourism department of Chandigarh. It’s a double story bus and upper deck of it is open with sitting arrangement. In winter months it’s fun to sit on the upper deck and view the city from a different angle.
The bus connects all the major attractions of Chandigarh for sightseeing. It’s a fun way to explore the city if you don’t mind a fixed plan.
Few Interesting things about Chandigarh
Geri means “ROUNDS” and this is a unique concept in Chandigarh. It is very popular among youngsters, they make rounds on a fixed route on their cars or motorcycles.
Mostly young boys and men take their girlfriends on “Geri Route“. The Geri route goes through sector 8,9,10 and 11. There is a Wikipedia page and google route map dedicated to it. In recent timing, the Geri route is renamed “Azaadi Road“ after a public appeal to show support to the freedom for women.
Places to stay in Chandigarh
It’s the capital of Haryana and Punjab state, there are many government offices in Chandigarh. Due to this reason, there are plenty of hotels for all budgets.
The area around sector 17 is best for staying because it centrally located close to all sightseeing places in Chandigarh.
There are some resorts on outskirts of Chandigarh near Shivalik hills, which are a good option for a relaxing stay.
Places to eat in Chandigarh
Chandigarh is a very cosmopolitan city and people have money. People of Chandigarh like to eat out and there are plenty of restaurants in the city.
I am going to mention a few of them, which I can personally recommend.
Pal Dhaba is one of the most iconic places to eat Punjabi and non-vegetarian food.
Nik’s Baker in sector 9 & 35 is best places to grab burgers, pasta, sandwiches, pizzas, and other bakery items.
The Willow cafe is an interesting place to try different dishes. It remains open from breakfast till dinner.
Hope this information about Chandigarh will be helpful. If you need any specific information, please leave a message.