Monday, 26 May 2014

Natural Beauty of Chandigarh Gardens.

     Introduction: Calmness, tranquility and serenity - there are definitely not words that come to your mind when referring to an Indian city. But Chandigarh is an exception and serves as an apt manifestation of a modern metropolis being in perfect harmony with 'all things bright and beautiful'. Fondly termed as 'The City Beautiful', Chandigarh is also known as 'The Garden City of India'. Situated against the backdrop of the imposing Shivalik mountain ranges of the Himalayas, trees and plants are much a part of the landscape of this 'first planned city of independent India.

     The sprawling city with in-numerous gardens dotting the map owes its advent to an architrctural master plan that laid down that out of 20,000 acres of land, 2000 acres were to be allocated for development of parks. Today this city is home to a variety of species of flora spreading across various colourful gardens some of which have been dedicated to a particular species. Needless to mention, these gardens enhance the beauty of the city manifolds.

Leisure Valley (Chandigarh)

         The Leisure Valley which comprises of several gardens, Cactus Garden, Pinjore Gardens, Rajendra Park etc and Terraced Garden are some of the renowned parks of Chandigarh. 

Rock Garden (Chandigarh)

         The Rock Garden: The Rock Garden is one of the city's foremost tourist attractions.The garden is spread over an area of forty acres and it takes quite some time for visitors to completely go through every detail here. There are hundreds of marvelous sculptures and artistries. Situated between the Capital complex and sukhna Lake, in sector 1, this unusual Garden was developed by Mr. Nek chand saini, a government official and resident of the city, in 1958. He master minded the idea to make use of urban and industrial wastes to create this unique garden.

        Being an illegal construction, he willfully kept his work hidden from the authorities for 18 long years. Finally in 1974 when his work of art was discovered, it had already grown over a land of 12 acres. He was skeptical if the same would of art was discovered, it had already grown over a land of 12 acres. He was skeptical if the same would be demolished. He however succeeded in winning public opinion and ultimately this unique garden was opened up for the public in 1976. Subsequently, Nek chand was given government support in the form of funds, laborers and a title of sub Divisional Engineer of the Rock Garden. In course of time this unique park flourished and gained world wide acclamation and even appeared in an indian postal stamp in an indian postal stamp in 1983.

           The Rock Garden has been set up in the form of an open-air exhibition hall and spreads over an area of about forty acres. The artistic creations are the perfect embodiment of creativity and innovation at its best. To witness the rare artistic creations, enthusiastic aficionados from all over the world throng to this garden regularly. 

Rose Garden (Chandigarh)
           Rose Garden: The Zakir Hussain Rose Garden of Chandigarh is Asia's largest 'rose' garden attracting a number of tourists from all over the world every years. The amvience of the garden is calm and serene and taking a tour here is very refreshing. This botanical garden spreads over a land of 30 acres and is named after the former indian president. This garden was created in 1967 under the prevision Dr. M.S. Randhawa, Chandigarsh's first chief commissioner and today it is home to about 50,000 rose species of different colours, shapes and sizes. So while you find roses only one centimeter in kiameter, there are other varieties as large as six inches in diameter. The flower beds have been set up amidst immaculately carved out lawns, creating beautiful picturesque settings. But there are not just rose bushes here but also several other plants including medicinal trees and bushes like camphor, Bel, Bahera, Yellow Gulmohar and Harar. Innumerable lights decorating the garden in the evening creates a romantic ambience for Visitors. In addition to flora, there are several joyrides, refreshments, gardening, photography contests, landscaping, bonsais, Rose prince and princess contest that attract visitors here. This venue is also a host for a very popular cultural event, the Festival of Gardens, which is held annually during the month of February and is a celebration of roses. It is a celebrated destination for tourists and a weekend amusement for the locals. 

Terraced Flower Garden

         Terraced Flower Garden: The peaceful and serene surroundings of the Terraced Flower garden beckon one and all. The garden is extremely popular among the tourists and locals alike. Its construction began in 1979 and the garden was designed like a terraced Moghul garden. It was developed from a small valley covering almost the entire sector 33. Today it spreads over 10 acres of land. It has a very peaceful ambiance and is a pleasurable place for regular walkers. With the lights going on in the evening the water seems to dance and sway in rhythm with the music. A true visual delight! The garden also plays host to the annual chrysanthemum flower show every winter that attracts a number of tourists.

          Hibiscus Garden: Another important garden in Chandigarh is the Hibiscus Garden that lies along the Dakshin Marg in sector 36 and spreads over 8 acres of land . The garden was opened in 1974 and has abundant varieties of Hibiscus shrubs of many sizes and color. There are also numerous bamboo trees that are planted all around and this adds up to the colorful view of the garden and also provides shade to visitors throughout the year. This garden is very close to the garden of Fragrance.

         Garden of Fragrance: The Garden of Fragrance located in sector 36, just south of the Hibiscus Garden. The atmosphere of the garden are calm and serene, and surroundings of the garden are calm and serene, and serves as popular picnic spot. The huge variety of jasmine blooming across the garden fills the environment with an aromatic magic and compels visitors to come again and again.There is a small play ground for kids and pathway desgnated for joggers.Breathtaking greenery, aroma and colour are the things that characterize this attraction of Chandigarh. It is indeed a 'must visit' garden in the city of Gardens. 

Topiary Park

          Topiary Park: The Topiary Park is an amazing place especially for children. This park was opened in the year 1987. Located in sector 35, in this park there are hundreds of finely designed plants and trees. The plants mainly belong to the bush and creeper family and clipped into different ornamental shapes and sizes. There are topiaries of various animals and quite naturally children rejoice being here. The entire ambiance is fun and pleasure place for families and tourists who visit this exotically decorated garden. There are good playing facilities for children. Naturally, in the evenings the park is crowded with families bringing in their children to play around.   

          Rajendra Park: This enormous park is laid over 400 acres of land. This entire stretch has been left in its natural condition and it resembles a village. The planning of the landscape of this park was made by architect Le Corbusier himself. This park is situated adjacent to the secretariat Building and is named after the first president of india, who had announced the dawn of Chandigarh city here. The southern end of he park is the residential area of he chief Minister and other cabinet Ministers of the state. This mini forest here has some significant trees like Margosa, Amla, Bauhinia purpurea and some magnificent mangrove plantations and is an ideal place for long walks and horse riding. The development of this park was started in the year 1954. This is a venue for horse shows and various sports several time of the year and a tourist attraction as well. 

Botanical Garden

         Botanical Garden: There are two Botanical Garden in chandigarh. Spreading over an area of more than 88 acres is one the Botanical Garden, situated in the sector 1 between the Rock Garden and the famous sukhana Lake. This garden is of special interest to the botanists, for its collection of rare species of vegetation which are grown in the covered glass house. The beautiful rockeries and lily pools also attract a lot of common people and tourists.

       The second one is the Botanical Garden of Punjab University which also has  a plentiful collection of cacti and succulent plants on one side while there are various evergreen and exotic plants on the other side. In addition there are pretty huge ponds with lotus plants in them.

       A third Botanical Garden is reported to be coming up with many types of rare trees and plants. This one is also expected to have several plants and trees with various medicinal values.

Pinjore Garden

       Pinjore Gardens: This one is located a little outside Chandigarh but nevertheless froms an important tourist attraction of the city. Traveling towards shimla from chandigarh or vice versa, one will come across the beautiful pinjore Gardens which is also known as the Yadavendra Gardens. Located 20 km from panchkula, and spread over an area of one hundred acres, this Garden is a historically significant one. The structure of this garden was laid by a cousin of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, viz., Architect Nawab Fidai khan in the seventeenth century. According to the Hindu Mythology, the Pandavas took rest here during their exile. There are myriad attractions for the tourists visiting this garden which is designed in the classic Moghul style. There is a mini zoo, a Japanese Garden, plant nursery, historic palaces, picnic lawns, fountains and guest houses; together they create the impression of a whole town inside. After sunset, especially on weekends, numerous fountains are switched on, and the entire surrounding are beautified by the astounding display of lights. This garden is currently a famous picnic spot for the locals and tourists alike. Every year around the months of June-July, the popular Mango Festival is held here. 

Shanti Kunj

        Shanti Kunj: Situated between the Rose Garden and the Cricket stadium in sector 16, is the shanti kunj. Quite aptly name 'Shanti Kunj' which means, 'where peace dwells', this place is where one can acquire serenity and solace of mind. Indeed, in the several meditation corners amidst the trees, pools, streams and curves bridges in this garden one can find peace. The entire area is absolutely noise-free and pollution-free with natural undulations and impressive flora. The natural stream that flows inside the garden, divides the park into five segments. There are five different categories of trees in these five segments. There are various lofty vertical shaped trees, trees which provide shade, various flowering trees and bushed, medicinal trees and environment friendly trees. The medicinal trees and environment friendly trees. The medicinal trees in the garden are used for processing several medicines. For those looking for some solitude, away from all the noise and pollution and the accompanying hustle and bustle, this is the right place to come and relax. There is a cafeteria inside for some snacks and drinks.

Fitness Trail and Flower Garden.

        Fitness Trail and Flower Garden: One of the most famous gardens among the locals here is the Fitness Trail and Flower Garden. The garden is located amidst beautiful and picturesque natural settings. It covers an area of 94 acres, out of which, 52 acres are packed with beautiful flowers while the remaining area has a magnificent display of sculptures made by remaining area has a magnificent display of sculptures made by renowned artists. It is located in sector 10 and was set up in the year 1965 with the primary aim of providing an ideal place for those wishing to indulge in long walks and physical workouts. This garden was renovated in the year 1985. There are various events that are held here throughout the year, and part of the park is reserved for those. The true scenic beauty of this garden is a pleasurable experience for fitness freaks.  

Chandigarh Bougainvillea Park

         Chandigarh Bougainvillea Park: The Chandigarh Bougainvillea Park covers a total area of 20 acres in the sector 3 of the city. This garden has wide ranging collection of bougainvillea flowers. Established in 1976, there are about 65 unique varieties of Bougainvillea today. So those who are unaware of such a huge variety of bougainvilleas, should head straight to this garden. This park also has several creepers and creawlers that cover the huge number of bowers, arches, pavilions and arcades. This acts as a venue to the popular bougainvillea show held annually. There are also fitness tracks that are laid in the garden for the fitness and health conscious people.

         Smriti Upavan: A unique concept gave shape to the creation of a beautiful garden in Chandigarh which is known as Smriti Upavan. This is a serene place to remember those souls that have parted away. Smriti Upavan literally means, 'A Forest in Remembrance'. This charming garden is full of lovely trees. what makes the garden particularly interesting is the novel and innovative concept. All the trees in the garden are planted in memory of beloved ones who have departed this world. The allotted area for this forest is a stretch in sector 1. The fores that has come up is a place of tranquility and commemoration. The Upavan was inaugurated by planting a Banyan Tree in the memory of pt. Jawaharlal Nehru on his brith anniversary, the 14th of November 1988 by the then ad-visor Mr. Ashok Pradhan. Today, perhaps this is the only place in indie where the ordinary people are permitted to plant trees in memory of their beloved departed ones. 

Cactus Garden

       Cactus Garden: Last but not the least, the National Cactuss and succulent Botanical Garden and Research Centre, in short the cactus Garden is an important tourist spot in and around chandigarh.Located in cetralpanchkula, which is a satellite town of chandigarh city within the municipal territorial area of Haryana state, this garden is truluy one-of -a-kind. It is only  8 km from Chandigarh and forms an important post of tourist itinerary. This Garden was built in 1987 mainly to conserve and preserve the various scarce species of cacti and succulents, and also with an underlying idea to create a tourist attraction. This Garden is about 7 acres in area and is Asia's largest one. There are more than 3,500 species of cacti and succulents here. It is home to a large many number of India's endangered cacti. One can find here some declared extremely rare species of cacti of Indian origin like those of the Genus Caralluma. The interior of the park is subtly decorated and also succulents and cacti with medical values here. Many of the succulents found here, have been used in Ayurveda and Unani medicines since ancient times.This place is growing popular everyday and attracts consistently more tourists every year.

          Truly it is 'The City Beautiful'! Based pm a national government survey conducted in 2010, Chandigarh was also reported to be the 'cleanest city in India'.

          Traveler's Fact File: 1) Chandigarh is a major tourist destination in north india close to Delhi. It is the capital city of both Punjab and Haryana states as well as a Union Territory. 2) Summers in chandigarh may be quite hot and winters quite cold. The best time to visit is right after the monsoon and before peak winter, i.e., between mid August and November when the weather is neither too hot too cold. 3) It is well connected with New Delhi via train. There are two trains,viz., Shatabdi Express and Himalayan Queen that run between the two cities daily. 4) Shaheed Bhagat singh international Airport is well connected with Delhi. Leh and Amritsar and is located about 12 km from the city center.