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The Beautiful City of Chandigarh

Chandigarh is a neat and tidy place. The place is much calm and quite with less traffic. This is the main factor that makes Chandigarh a tourism friendly place. The town has built with proper planning.
Chandigarh is the capital of two states namely, Punjab and Haryana although it is not a part of both the states. This is a union territory as well. It was an unexpected journey to this beautiful city as even the room wasn’t booked. The train reached there at 4 in the morning. It wasn’t winter season but the temperature was low with intense cold. I hadn’t brought any sweaters which made me in trouble. Suddenly I got inside a rickshaw and asked to fetch me to the nearest hotel. The City Centre is located far away and I was quite sure that the auto driver is going to cheat me by charging high fare and the hotels directed by them are of much expensive. Fortunately, those terrible things weren’t happened. The hotel I reached was of cheap and clean. The auto fare was affordable too. It was a good experience that the driver which I had imagined as Amiresh Puri happened to be Amir Khan welcoming me by saying “Atithi Devo Bhava”!
The people of Chandigarh are good-hearted.   It was one of the early planned cities in post-independence India and is internationally known for its architecture and urban design done by the Europeans. The buildings were built much away from the broader roads and were decorated by trees all around. The buildings of shops and houses are structurally similar. The city was reported to be one of the cleanest in India.
The Garden of Stones
The main attraction in this city is the Rock Garden. This is the only garden in the world without plants and flowers. It has numerous sculptures made by using a variety of different discarded waste materials like frames, mudguards, forks, handle bars, metal wires, play marbles, porcelain, auto parts, broken bangles etc. The name plate made of rock placed at the entrance tells that this garden was founded by Nek Chand. It is quite natural that we might tend to ask who this Nek Chand is. The answer was given by a teacher named Amathendra whom I had met from there.  He came with a group of students from a high school located in the city.

Nek Chand was born in Shekharghand in Pakistan and during partition his family was migrated to India. So he happened to be member of refugee. He joined in the Public Works dept. during the construction of new city in Chandigarh. He started making sculptures by using waste materials in the beginning as a time pass. Soon he started collecting the remaining of buildings, wastes from houses and was molded into various sculptures and handicrafts. He has done the handicraft works secretly inside a forest near the Sookh Lake which was a restricted area. It was later discovered by the government officials in the year 1975 and by that time the hectares of land were filled with thousands of sculptures. The local people visited there demanded for the protection of this works. Soon the government has declared the place as a public park. Nek Chand was appointed as the engineer of the Rock Garden and was provided with enough laborers for the development of Rock Garden.
Later in 1996, while Nek Chand was abroad a group of assaulters tried to exploit the garden. After that The Rock Garden Society was formed for the protection of this garden. Many developmental works were done under the supervision of Nek Chand. Today the Rock Garden has turned out to be one of the most tourist attractive places in the world with lakhs of visitors every year. The people here are so much proud about this great privilege. He was awarded with Padma Bhushan and was passed away in the year 2015.
Currently the Rock Garden is open to visitors from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The entry fee is 20 Rupees for adults and 15 Rupees for children. The initial views are not much spectacular but heading forward will increase the curiosity about the sculptures set inside. The visitors will get wonder struck by the views of figures made out of waste materials like fused bulbs, switches, folders, broken cups etc. We are required to bow the head while entering through specific entrances and the views of artificially made water fountains and waterfalls will definitely make our eyes delightful.
About 300 sculptures of different statues, deers, football players, girl in skirt etc. are placed in the end part of the garden and it is stunning to understand that all those are made out of waste materials. These craft works are well listening to the beauty of waste materials from the emptiness.
The Clean Beauty of Sukhna
The life of Chandigarh lies around the Sukhna Lake. Without a meaningless intention the taxi driver Bhachan Bhai told us out of laughter that the day of a city man will be incomplete without passing in front of the lake at least twice a day. The people of Chandigarh are much active and the smiles are not scarce.

The vast land around the lake is made as a park. Lot of people spends their time near the Lake to chitchat even at afternoons. The climate here is of intense cold. Cleanliness is maintained throughout the roads and lands around the lake. Waste bins are placed all around for disposing the wastes. Comparing to Kerala, this place is ten times much cleaner, revealing the fact that achieving literacy is not the important thing but having social commitment is.
During evenings, boat facilities are available in the Lake. Paddled boats are also available although motor boats are restricted. This 3 km² rainfed lake was created in 1958 by damming the Sukhna Choe, a seasonal stream coming down from the Shivalik Hills of the Himalayas. The museum in the city is also attracted by many tourists. This museum contains many stone sculptures and metal statues excavated from different parts of India during A.D. 2nd century. Before independence these statues were protected in Lahore Museum and after partition those were brought into the India.
The Rose Garden in the city is popular. Spread over 30 hectares of land, this garden contains around 5000 plants of 1600 different species.
The Chillies and Ghee
The journey through Chandigarh is of different tastes too. The food habits here are much similar to that of the neighboring state Punjab. The food is much spicy and ghee and oil are used much abundantly. The people here like milk and milk products. In sector 17, many hotels are located where the homely food of Chandigarh is available. Sheer Kuruma, Shahi Paneer, Dal Makhani etc are some of the vegetarian foods and the non-veg food include Butter Chicken, Tanthoori chicken, Amrilsar Fish, Pork Pickle, Malay Tikka etc. Sweets are also important in their menu.  The journey through Chandigarh will be incomplete without tasting the sweet dishes like Roh De Kheer, Malpuva, Balushahi.
Cheap Purchases
The main shopping center at Chandigarh is the market at Sector 17. This is a busy market where we can purchase electronic equipment, shoes, books and garments. Another important center is the market located in Sector 22. The cost for textiles, ornaments and bags are much cheaper here. The market in sector 5 is also popular where the kitchen equipment, textiles and bags are available. We can also choose malls like Elante Shopping Mall, City Emporium Mall, and D.L.F City Centre for shopping.

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