Even though I was born and brought up in New Delhi, I feel my soul truly belongs to Chandigarh, India. For many people in India's national capital, Chandigarh is no less than a dream, with impeccably organized city structure, wide green cover, and great food options. Interestingly, your trip to Chandigarh is incomplete if you do not visit soulful Sukhna Lake. The 3-km-long artificial lake is 16 feet deep and was created in 1958 by damming the seasonal Sukhna Stream, at the foothills of the Shivalik Hills (mountain range of the outer Himalayas). Just close by is the Zakir Hussain Rose Garden - equally popular amongst nature and fitness lovers.
Chandigarh is known for its crystal clear sweet air that fills your lungs with health and gratitude. Locals usually visit the lake for their morning/evening walks or jogs. Running alongside the lake with fresh air energising you every second is an awesome way to start your day. But for travellers, evenings and night outings are sacred. In fact, just sitting beside the lake is very soothing if you plan to come with friends and family.
Moreover, around the lake, several food outlets are serving Indian as well as continental food. Just be careful about the spicy level of food. Chandigarh people love their spices, peculiar flavours and white butter, but if you want something non-spicy or non-greasy, please inform the chef beforehand. The widely popular Indian chaat and golgappas are also quite amazing here. You can also carry back a slice of Chandigarh and India by shopping for exquisite goods at souvenir shops around the area. Here, Indian handicrafts, carpets and shawls with intricate embroidery are popular amongst foreign travellers.
Another gem of Chandigarh, just 3.5 km away from Sukhna Lake is the Zakir Hussain Rose Garden (the most beautiful garden that I have ever seen). A surprise visit to the garden turned out to be a fortunate experience, where I saw mind-boggling different varieties of roses. The garden spread over 30 acres has close to 1600 different types of roses - in unimaginable colours, patterns, designs and sizes. In addition to roses, the garden has several medicinal plants as well. The garden is a beautiful sight in the evenings as the natural scents overwhelm your senses. If you are a nature enthusiast, you must include the garden in your itinerary to fully appreciate its beauty.
Interestingly, from February to March, travellers can enjoy the roses in full bloom and glory at the annual 'Rose Festival', hosting cultural activities and contests along with musical shows. One important tip while visiting the rose garden: do not pluck flowers/ roses here or litter garbage as the Chandigarh administration is strictly known for its immediate disciplinary action.
Further, Chandigarh offers several other options for entertainment, including night clubs and bars along with wine and dining choices that are open till late hours. Ambala is another beautiful cantonment city around, that can be explored for a plethora of leisure and relaxation options. In fact, a few hours away from Chandigarh, there are many hill stations such as Shimla, Kasauli, Manali, Mussorie and Kufri, all of which are equally exciting and enticing for travellers.
Hope that your bags are packed and you are eager to explore the heart and soul of Chandigarh by planning a trip to the Sukhna Lake and the surreal dreamy Zakir Hussain Rose Garden. Enjoy!
Did you like the travel story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.