Chandigarh India – Top-10 Tourist Attractions and Things to Do
Chandigarh is a large-scale modernist city with plenty of tourist attractions and activities for the whole family. The city is blessed with luscious parks, superb restaurants, fascinating museums and fabulous architectural monuments. It is also known for hosting a great number of cultural events and annual festivals. We recommend you check out some of the following while in town.
1. Capital Complex
This houses one of the city’s most famous landmarks, the symbolic Open Hand sculpture, created by the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier. The imposing concrete High Court, Secretariat and Vidhan Sabha (Legislative Assembly), shared by Punjab and Haryana, were designed by Le Corbusier too. Spread over an area of 100 acres, the complex houses three buildings, three monuments and a lake. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one that’s definitely worth a visit. Brutalist, bright architecture at its very best. Highly recommended for those with a specialist interest in urban planning and buildings.
The Capital Complex is located in Sector 1 and is free to the public.
2. Zakir Hussain Rose Garden
This stunning botanical garden is spread across 30 acres of land and houses around 50000 rosebushes belonging to some 1600 different species. The garden is the largest of its kind in Asia and is named after India’s third President Zakir Hussain. It was created in 1967 and remains one of the topmost attractions in the city. The garden also boasts a number of medicinal trees including bel, bahera, harar, camphor, and yellow gulmohar. It holds an annual Rose Festival in February and March, which is a major cultural event in Chandigarh and involves fabulous food, joyrides, and various contests. A great place to visit for all, but particularly those with an interest in gardening, photography, and landscaping.
Located in Sector 16. Open Monday to Sunday from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. Entry fee is INR50.
3. Chandigarh City Tour
A double-decker tourist bus runs two half day trips around the city and its various tourist hotspots, including Zakir Hussain Rose Garden, Government Museum and Art Gallery, War Memorial and Bougainvillea Garden, Nek Chand Fantasy Rock Garden and Sukhna Lake. This is an activity for the whole family; we recommend you pack a lunch and pick a sunny day.
The tour commences outside Hotel Shivalikview in Sector 17-E, opposite Sampark. The tour runs Monday to Sunday from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm to 6:00 pm. Tickets can be purchased from the bus conductor and cost INR50.
4. National Gallery of Portraits
Located behind the State Library, in Sector 17-E, the city’s National Gallery of Portraits displays photos and paintings illustrating India’s independence movement and some of the key figures associated with it. The museum also houses invaluable audio recordings of the great leaders of India and rare documents connected with the freedom struggle.
The Gallery screens a film on the freedom movement every Sunday at 2:00 pm. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Entry is free as is the guided tour which commences daily at 11:00 am and ends at 3:00 pm.
5. Funcity Amusement and Water Park
Spread over 43 acres of scenic land, this is the biggest Amusement and Water Park in North India. The park house 20 hydraulic rides, one activity pool, three landing pools, a wave pool and a number of fun water slides. This is a fantastic family activity that’s bound to keep the kids busy the entire day. Highly recommended!
The park is located about 10 miles outside of Chandigarh on Barwala Road, Nada Sahib, Panchkula near Ramgarh. Open Monday to Sunday from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm. Entry fee is INR990 per person.
6. Chandigarh Architecture Museum
This cuboid building designed by architect S D Sharma was adapted from a structure designed by Le Corbusier as an Exhibition Pavilion in Zurich. The simple yet elegant building, with a double roof consisting of two pyramids, houses the Museum which was set up in 1997 to compile, preserve and showcase rare documents, drawings, sketches and archives pertaining to the building of Chandigarh city. The museum holds regular cultural events and art exhibitions. This is a great place to visit if you have an interest in architecture, art, and history.
Open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:45 am to 4:30 pm. Located in Sector 10-C. Entry fee is INR10; camera fee is INR5.
7. Nek Chand Fantasy Rock Garden
Nek Chand, a government official after whom the garden is named, started the project in his spare time in 1957. Today, the garden covers over 40 acres of land and is a testament to one man’s initiative and imagination. Chand created his vision from recycled junk and organic materials such as glass, electrical sockets, and colourful wire. Walking through this curious maze of interlinking courtyards and twisting alleyways is a magical experience and one that leads to some truly unexpected sites such as a waterfall and an amphitheater adorned with figures made of china shards. A highly recommended activity for those with an interest in all things unusual and curious.
Open Monday to Sunday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Entry fee is INR10.
8. International Dolls Museum
Set up in 1985 by the Indian Council of Child Welfare, as a cultural entertainment hub for youngsters, this museum remains one of the key tourist attractions for children. It houses over 300 dolls collected from various countries across the globe, including Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Korea and Russia. Alongside this impressive collection, the museum also has a fabulous amusement park, toy trains and a number of famous story characters such as Aladdin and his Magic Lamp, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. A highly recommended activity for the whole family!
The museum is located in Sector 23. Open Monday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Children go free. Entry fee for adults is INR10.
9. Le Corbusier Centre
This will appeal to those interested in urban planning, architecture, and design. The centre, located in Sector 19-B, houses large collections of old documents, sketches, and photos, chronicling the work of Le Corbusier, who was the city’s chief architect. There are some fabulous photographs of Le Corbusier at work as well some truly fascinating memorabilia including a letter from India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to the Chief Minister of Punjab, which states that the architect’s work and opinion are of immense value to India.
Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Entry is free.
10. Sukhna Lake
This landmark artificial lake, also created by Le Corbusier, located at the foothills of the Shivalik range of the Himalayas, is a fantastic venue to spend the day relaxing with the whole family. You can hire a paddle boat (2-seater, INR50 for 30 mins), take a promenade around the Oriental gardens, let the children lose on the playground and enjoy a fabulous meal at the on-site Mermaid Pub & Restaurant. A great place to visit if you wish to take a break from sightseeing and chill-out for the day. It’s worth keeping in mind that this place gets pretty crowded on the weekends, therefore, a weekday visit is advisable.
Located in Sector 17. Open Monday to Sunday from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm. Entry is free.