Dr. Anton Reinfelder | Managing Director | Groz-Beckert Asia Pvt Ltd

First published in M+V’s India Insight in 2012

Chandigarh is India’s first planned city and is located near the foothills of the Shivalik Range of the Himalayas.  Named after the goddess of power Chandi and designed by the French architect Le Corbusier. The city is a Union Territory, and the joint capital of the states Punjab and Haryana.

Hotels

The J.W. Marriott: One of the newer hotels in Chandigarh with great hospitality and a professional approach to corporate requirements. Whisky connoisseurs will highly appreciate 111 different tastes at the Whisky 111 lounge.

The Taj: Located in the commercial centre of Chandigarh in Sector 17 the Taj façade perfectly fits into the Corbusier style of buildings in the city. The interior and the rooms invite you to the unique architectural heritage of “The City Beautiful”.

Hotel Mountview: Located in Sector 10. Guests can enjoy green lawns against the backdrop of the Shivalik Hills.  This is the place to go if you want to enjoy an authentic South Indian breakfast prepared by one of the chefs from Bangalore.

Eating Out and Nightlife

Oregano Restaurant & Bar: One of the restaurants in the J.W. Marriott and one of my favourites. You can have a drink before dinner at the bar close to the open kitchen of Chef Antonello. He does not mind if you take a peek into the pots and pans on the stove emitting the finest aromas of  Italian cuisine. Antonello will not only help you decide what dish to choose, but also sing his favourite Italian songs to the sounds of his guitar after he is done with cooking for the evening.

The Pewter Room, Blue Blazer: Located in Sector 26, this restaurant offers Indian and international cuisine. What I like here is that the restaurant is spacious with a generous use of pewter and the food portions are just right. For the younger crowd the Blue Blazer is a good address for an exciting night after dinner. This lounge is directly connected to The Pewter Room.

Sectors 7, 8, 9, 17, 26: These sectors offer a wide variety of eating out and nightlife experiences. From small places like “Backpacker’s Cafe” or “Café Nomad” to bigger places like “Tao”, “The Noodle Bar” or “Girl in the Café”. Many of the bigger places have a discotheque or bar attached where you can enjoy good music and interesting company.

Whispering Willows: This Country Retreat is located just outside the city limits, and has been my favourite since I arrived. A bungalow style property with a big garden and pool invites you to relax and feel at home immediately. You can enjoy Indian or Lebanese cuisine in the living room, dining room or the beautiful winter garden with a great view to the beautiful garden.

Culture and Recreation

All the Gardens of Chandigarh are good places to spend your time walking, running or just to enjoy the botanic variety and the tranquility of a big garden. The Rose Garden is a must. If you are in Chandigarh in February do not miss the Garden Festival inside the Rose Garden. Other places for recreation are Bougainvillea Garden, Fitness trail and Flower Garden, Botanical Garden, Terraced Garden, Hibiscus Garden and many more.

The Chandigarh Golf Club (CGC) is located close to the Sukhna Lake and is the home of Jeev Milkha Singh, one of India’s successful Pro Golfers.

Tagore Theatre invites everyone to cultural and musical performances of artists from around the globe.

Alliance Francaise Chandigarh: In my opinion it has developed over the last few years from an educational institution to a cultural centre where you have the opportunity to meet and speak to painters, photographers, musicians and writers from India and Europe.

Places to see in Chandigarh

The Chandigarh Open Hand just behind the Punjab and Haryana High Court is the unofficial symbol of the city. The open hand symbolizes the openness of the city to give and to receive. The High Court building is characteristic of Le Corbusier’s design and one of the frequently visited buildings by lovers of modern architecture.

The Rock Garden founded by Nek Chand, a former government official, is a garden that consists of artificial waterfalls, human and animal sculptures and is built of industrial and home ceramic, glass and electrical waste. Having started the garden secretly and in his spare time in 1957, it is now one of the major attractions to visitors and locals on Sundays.

The Sukhna Lake attracts people from sunrise to sunset.

Come here to have a long relaxing walk on the dam of this artificial lake or just enjoy the view of the hills in the background.

Excursions

Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh, located at a height of 2400 metres is a must see. Travelling by road takes about four hours. You can also board a train on the Kalka-Shimla-Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The train ride is about five hours and takes you over 800 bridges and through more than 100 tunnels. The view of the city built onto the hillside will instantly fascinate you.

Manali (alt. 2000 metres) is about 280 km from Chandigarh and one of the popular gateways to the Himalayas. The drive to Manali along the Beas River is picturesque and invites visitors to stop frequently and enjoy the view.

CHANDIGARH FACTS

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QUICK FACTS

Area: 114 sq km
Population incl. suburbs: 1.5 Mio.
Climate: Subtropical
Monsoon Months: July to September
Temperature range: 0ºC to 42ºC
Best Season to visit: Feb/March, Sept/October
Languages: Punjabi, Hindi, English
Major Religions: Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam