Monday, November 27, 2017


Chandigarh has the twin reputation as the first planned city of India and as the capital of the twin states of Punjab and Haryana. It was included in our tour to Shimla and Manali as we had to pass through that city during our drive from Delhi to Shimla and back.

Our 'darshan' of Chandigarh was in two phases. During our onward journey to Shimla, we went around Pinjore Gardens.

We reached Pinjore Gardens at 11.30 and spent an hour there. The entry fee was just Rs 20. Built in the Mughal style, it has a sloping ground with seven terraces descending into a distance. 
Dotted with varied species of flowering plants and orchards, the garden has cool, shady walks and pathways.
The garden has seven levels and each section is beautiful. 

The first level has the 'Shish Mahal' (palace of glass) adjoined by 
'Hawa Mahal' (airy palace).

The second terrace has the 'Rang Mahal' (palace of colors).
The third level has a garden of flowerbeds and groves. 
The next terrace has the 'Jal Mahal' (palace of water) with a square fountain bed and a platform to relax. 

Fountains and tree groves mark the next terrace. The lowermost terrace has an open-air theater, which is designed as a disc-like structure. We enjoyed strolling around the garden for an hour. 

During our return from Manali, we stayed at Medallion Hotel overnight at Chandigarh.

The next morning we visited some of the famous landmarks of the city. We drove first to Sukhna Lake - 
a nice big lake with boating facilities but the colorful boats in the background sat like abandoned kids. There were no takers as it was a working day and morning time at that.

From there we went to 'Rock Garden' - a project by Nek Chand. The entry ticket was cheap, at Rs. 30 per adult. We were allotted an hour and a half. We thought we'd be back before time. But as we proceeded, we found ourselves going farther and farther with more and more promising exhibits!
It began with exquisite carvings on stones and rocks and 
Then there were little earthen pots stacked up - reminding us of those Sridevi films of the 80's - only these were tiny.
The garden made its way through several levels amidst water bodies.
There was this beautiful man-made waterfall with real-life-like urchins frolicking at the top end, even as we posed at its foot.

Then came the section - best out of waste.
Discarded broken colorful ceramic tiles were so artistically used for various purposes - to create 
a colorful set of platforms or steps and walls

figurines of various nationalities, 

animal statues ....
And can you imagine to what good use all those broken plugs and electrical accessories can be put to? 

The most artistic section was probably the artistic creations using colorful broken bangles.

As we came out, we couldn't help admiring the single person Nek Chand who has imaginatively created this unique dream project.

We then drove to the nearby Rose Garden. 
For one, the roses were few and far between. Also the sun was getting stronger. So we did a quick round and were ready to head back to Medallion Hotel for lunch.

We started for Delhi at 2 pm. and reached Dehi airport at 7 pm to catch our flight to Mumbai. It was time to bid goodbye to the group of good friends we had made during this tour. Before that we made sure we had made a 'What's App' group, with a promise to keep in touch.

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