Saturday, January 17, 2009

Trip to Chandigarh

Hubby and me visited my older brother and his family in Chandigarh from 03 to 05 January 2009. Although my brother works in Delhi, his family lives in Chandigarh. Chandigarh is about 260 km away from Delhi and is located near the foothills of the Shivalik range of the Himalayas in Northwest India. It is India's first planned and green city which is nicknamed as "The City Beautiful". The city was designed by the well-known French architect Le Corbusier and has a superb architecture. Chandigarh is one of the seven Union Territories of India and serves as a capital for two states, Punjab and Haryana.

Map of India indicating the location of Chandigarh

3rd January
As I wrote in the previous post, on 3rd of January, hubby and my flight from Pune to Delhi was delayed by more than two hours due to severe foggy conditions in Delhi. We used Jet Airways, which finally started from Pune at 12.30 pm and reached Palam airport in Delhi at about 2.45 pm. My brother was waiting outside the airport to receive us. From there, we had a five hour car ride to Chandigarh. Although I was a bit tired, hubby enjoyed the car ride immensely. It was a foggy day and the visibility was poor. Although the car belonged to my brother, he had hired a driver to drive up to Chandigarh. The driver did a superb job of driving under such poor visibility conditions. While passing through Delhi, my brother pointed out the Metro railway and the Pitampura TV Tower to hubby and me.

Fog in Delhi

Pitampura TV Tower (on right side of the photo)

The traffic was very heavy in Delhi and it took us more than 1.5 hours to come out of the Delhi city limits. After about another 30 minutes of car ride, we reached a road side eatery called 'Sukhdev Vaishno Dhaba' at Murthal in Karnal city. We all were very tired and needed a cup of Indian tea to energize us. Hubby had a bottle of cold drink. We again started on our way to Chandigarh and reached my bhabhi's (brother's wife in Hindi) home at about 9.30 in the night. After greeting all the relatives of bhabhi, hubby and me had dinner and retired for the day as it had been a very long day us.

Dhaba in Karnal city

My older brother and me inside the dhaba

Indian tea

4th January
The temperature in Chandigarh was about 2 degrees centigrade in the morning and hubby and me felt very cold! We were dressed in winter clothes with down jacket and caps. All others were in cotton clothes and were probably amused to see us dressed in such a manner. However, later in the day, the temperature increased and it was very pleasant.

Hubby feeling very cold

We had a relaxed and nice breakfast at about 10 am. Later hubby and me played with my nine year old niece and one of her cousins for sometime. I was very tired just after 30 min or so. Children do have a lot of energy and enthusiasm! My niece showed us a bonsai orange tree in their garden which looked very beautiful. We ate one of the oranges and it was extremely sour. It felt good to interact with children. Bhabhi was very busy in the kitchen and with other household activites. But in between all the household chores, she found some time and we chatted about many things.

Bonsai orange tree

By 12 noon, we all were ready to go sightseeing in Chandigarh. First, we went to see my niece's school. She was very excited to show her school and talk about various school activities. It was a very big school with classes from kindergarten through high-school. Later, we all had icecream near her school.

My brother, me, bhabhi, and my niece having ice cream

While eating icecream, my hubby noticed a cycle-rickshaw and he and my niece rode on it for about two kilometers. All others followed the cycle-rickshaw in my brother's car who had to drive at a speed of about 5 km per hour to keep pace with the cycle-rickshaw. Riding the cycle-rickshaw was probably the high point of my hubby's trip to India.

Hubby riding a cycle-rickshaw

My niece and hubby in cycle-rickshaw

Hubby and niece in cycle-rickshaw

Next, we went to see the Punjab Engineering College where my bhabhi is a professor. She showed us around the college campus, which was very beautiful. The college offers engineering studies in various disciplines at the bachelors, masters and doctoral levels. We took photos of us in front of the steam engine that is displayed inside the campus.

Niece, hubby, and me in front of the steam engine

Then we went to see the Rock Garden, which is one of the major sightseeing attractions of Chandigarh. The garden is spread over an area of 12 acres of land and is an exquisite artwork and a paradigm of creativity and innovation. The garden was created by a road inspector Nek Chand using industrial and urban wastes around 1957. The garden has been established in the form of an open-air exhibition hall. The garden consists of a complex of interlinked courtyards and man-made interlinked waterfalls. The garden also houses hundreds of pottery-covered concrete sculptures of dancers, musicians, and animals that have been made by using a variety of discarded scraps and waste materials like frames, mudguards, forks, handle bars, metal wires, play marbles, porcelain, auto parts, bottles, glasses, broken bangles, tiles, ceramic pots, sinks, electrical waste, etc. Such sculptures are placed in walled paths. Hubby and me enjoyed viewing the Rock Garden very much.

At the main entrance of the Rock Garden

Rocks and porcelain

Inside the Rock Garden

Rocks everywhere

Man-made waterfall inside the Rock Garden

Inside the Rock Garden

Hubby and me posing inside the Rock Garden

Hubby and me posing in front of the sculptures

Sculptures of men (top) and animals (bottom)

Sculptures of women (top) and animals (bottom)

Sculptures of women (top) and birds (bottom)

Sculptures of seated men (top) and standing women (bottom)

Sculptures of men

After that, we went to see the Sukhna lake, which is another major attractions of Chandigarh. It is a beautiful man-made lake that lies in the foothills of Shivalik range. This three km long lake was created in 1958 by damming the Sukhna Choe, a seasonal stream coming down from the Shivalik Hills. This lake has gained popularity as a prime picnic spot because of its tranquil ambiance and variety of water sports activities like boating, yachting and water skiing, etc. that can be pursued here. We ate a box of popcorn and enjoyed the view, the cool breeze, and the beauty of nature. We all wanted to do boating. However, there were a lot of people around and the boats were unavailable for hire for a long time. It was getting dark and so we decided to skip the boating. My niece was a bit upset as she was looking forward to boating.

Hubby standing near a fast food joint in Sukhna

Sukhna lake

Sukhna lake

Crowd near the Sukhna lake

Hubby, me, niece, and bhabhi near the Sukhna lake

It was 6 pm by the time we left the Sukhna lake. After that we went back home to have lunch. We had lunch at 6.30 pm! We all were very hungry and ate a lot. Hubby and me relished a bengali dish made of 'Hilsa' fish cooked in mustard paste.

Lunch of eggplant fry, potato curry, fish cooked in mustard paste, and rice

At 8 pm we went out again for further sightseeing. First, we went to a market called Shastri market where we bought many colorful bangles and Punjabi 'jutti' (a kind of footwear) for me.

Entrance of Shastri market

Then, we went to the Kalibari. It is a temple that houses Hindu Goddess Kali and Lord Shiva. It was a new experience for my hubby to pray to Goddess Kali and Lord Shiva. Kalibari is a socio-religious organization that also celebrates major Bengali Hindu festival called 'Durga Puja'. The statues of Durga and other goddesses were being made in the backyard premises of the Kalibari. We went to see that also. We saw the basic wooden frame of two statues covered with a kind of grass. Unfortunately, the fully made statues (clayed and painted) were unavailable as the festival is held in the latter half of the year.


Hubby (in cap) praying to Goddess Kali

Hubby ringing the temple bell

Hubby praying to Lord Shiva

Initial framework of goddesses

Finally, we went to see Shri Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib Gurudwara. A gurudwara is the Sikh place of worship and is referred to as a 'Sikh temple'. Sikhism as a religion is mostly followed by the people of the state of Punjab, of which Chandigarh is the capital. It was very peaceful inside the gurudwara. The gurudwara was decorated with spectacular light and color during the new year. It was a wonderful sight. By the time, we came out of the gurudwara, it was 10.30 pm. We all were very tired and went back home.

Entrance of the Gurudwara

Two friends of Sikh religion in front of the Gurudwara

We had dinner of chicken, fish, vegetables, and rice at about 11.30 pm. It was a hectic day but hubby and me were very satisfied after all the sightseeing we did in Chandigarh. Later we packed our luggage as we were to leave for Delhi the next day.

5th January
We had breakfast of 'sarson da saag' (mustard leaves curry) and 'makki di roti' (unraised corn bread), which are Punjabi cuisine. It was absolutely delicious. Bhabhi packed lunch for us. Saying good-bye is very difficult for me. I usually feel very sad and emotional. After saying bye to everyone, my older brother, hubby, and me started our car ride back to Delhi at about 12.30 pm. My brother again hired the same driver for driving his car. We stopped at the same roadside eatery that we had stopped on our way to Chandigarh, and had a cup of tea. Fortunately, it was a very clear day with no fog and our driver could drive much faster. We reached the outskirts of Delhi at about 4.30 pm.


Gaurav said...

Intrusting Blog, Catchy title...!!
Nice pics...
Keep it up..

P.S. Karnal & Murthal are not same but in diff. Dist., Sukhdev Dhaba is in Murthal, Sonipat.

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Thanks Gaurav for your comment.
And thanks for pointing out that Karnal and Murthal are in different districts. I really appreciate it. I guess I was too tired from all the travel and was not giving ear to what my brother told about the dhaba.

Mountaincat said...

Beautiful photos. Makes me to go and see India.

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Yeah Mountaincat, Chandigarh is a very beautiful city. Please visit India. I am sure you will like and enjoy most of the places.

salim khan said...

You missed some places like Punjab University, Rose Garden and For my experience you have to try chinese food in Sector 15 Chandigarh

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Thank you very much for your comment Salim Khan. We visited Chandigarh only for two days, so we missed seeing many places. We have relatives there, so we plan to see many more interesting places in future.