For decades Chandigarh was known as an affluent but quiet, laidback city
ideal for retired people that had little to offer beyond its modern town
planning and its semi-comatose pace of life. All true then, but in recent years
the City Beautiful has been working hard to shed that image. The newfound
vibrancy is reflected in its bustling shopping areas, spilling restaurants and
spanking new malls. Many leading restaurants in the downtown areas have
undergone a makeover to look classier, but it is difficult to say whether they
have moved away from the traditional Punjabi menu. The weekend action is clearly
on the outskirts of the city: at a newly opened mall with a multiplex at Mani
Majra, and some nightclubs at Panchkula. The Taj Group is making a foray into
the otherwise uninspiring local hotel scene with a hotel coming up in the Sector
17 commercial centre.
Chandigarh is a modern city, one of the first to initiate the concept of town
planing in India. Broad avenues divide the city into 61 sectors and the sectors
are quartered into zones ĎA to Dí. The pollution-free air, the wide
tree-lined boulevards and avenues, the Lake and the plush interiors belying the
dull exteriors contribute to making Chandigarh a charming place for residents
and visitors. Though Le Corbusierís architecture tends to get monotonous, the
general organised air is a fine compensation.
(Sector 1): Showcases Le Corbusierís talent in the
buildings designed by him Ė the High Court, Secretariat, Open Hand Monument,
Geometric Hill and Tower of Shadows.
(Sector 16): The largest rose garden in Asia has some 1,600
varieties of roses.
(Sector 1): World acclaimed garden exhibits one man Nek Chandís
genius to create works of art out of industrial and urban waste.
(Sector 1): This man made lake is ideal for quiet communion with
nature and water sport facilities such as boating, water skiing, canoeing and
skulling. There is a cafeteria, a pub, a souvenir shop and a boating section run
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