Modern India’s first planned city, Chandigarh has everything you can ask for. Designed by French architect Le Corbusier in 1950, its broad boulevards, lakes, gardens and civic buildings make you feel like there’s a little bit of Europe in India.
Best time to visit: The ideal time to visit Chandigarh is between November to March.
How to reach
By Air: Chandigarh International Airport is the nearest airport about 12km from the city. IndiGo operates non-stop weekly flights between Chandigarh and other key destinations across India. You can also reach Chandigarh by taking a flight to Delhi (262km away) and the travelling by road using bus or cabs. IndiGo operates more than 150 daily non-stop flights between Delhi and other prime locations in the country and abroad.
By Train: Chandigarh is well-connected to all prime locations in the country through various trains including Kalka (Chandigarh) Shatabdi Express, Chandigarh Jan Shatabdi Express, Chandigarh Lucknow Express amongst others.
By Bus: Two bus terminals mainly serve the city. The Inter State Bus Terminus in Sector 43 connects Chandigarh to all major destinations in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttaranchal, Haryana, Jammu, and Delhi (limited). And the Inter State Bus Terminus in Sector 17 offers connectivity to all significant places in Delhi and Haryana (except those on Himachal Route like Kalka).
Getting around: Chandigarh boast of a good network of bus services provided by The Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU). Rental cars and app-based taxi services like Ola and Uber are the other common means of transportation to move around the city.
This is the best place to have butter chicken when in Chandigarh. The aloo paratha drenched in desi butter, the keema kaleji and the missi roti are all bestsellers.
Like the best bakeries in the world, you can smell the freshly baked bread and waffles a mile away. Breakfast is where you can do a bit of people watching here over the fluffiest ham and chicken omelettes. Sink your teeth into buttery croissants, lamb burgers, and sinful pastries. And buy a bag of tequila-filled chocolates for the night.
If you want to serenade your lover with a live band playing your song request under a starry sky, you now know where to go. Whistling Duck (there are no ducks on the menu though—we’re Punjabis) is a beautiful, sun-filled place. It is not easy to find the restaurant, but once you do, it’s hard to leave without trying their innovative menu: the quirky karela salad, burnt butter mounted chicken and apple, and cinnamon kheer are all standouts. This is undoubtedly one of the unique places in Chandigarh to try some unique dishes.
Browse for everything Punjab at Phulkari, the state-run emporium located at Sector 17. Surprisingly affordable in a city where new money is perpetually on the show, here you’ll find handmade jootis, phulkari (an embroidery unique to Punjab) dupattas and gorgeous wooden furniture.
Adaah Couture: This place at Sector 8-C, is the go-to place for bridal and traditional womenswear. An elegant home to the best Indian designers in Chandigarh, this is where the latest collections of Tarun Tahiliani, Rohit Bal, JJ Vallaya and Sunit Verma can be spotted.
Elante Mall: The second largest mall in North India is undoubtedly the place to be if you love shopping. Known for its structure and architecture, this mall is home for several Indian and International brands.
Shastri Market: A local market in Chandigarh where you can get anything and everything. You can find accessories, clothes, handicrafts, jewellery and more at reasonable prices.
Wild West Pub and Bar: A fun and funky place packed with excellent food and beautiful décor is what defines Wild West Pub and Bar. Their Pine-beer, combination of beer and pineapple juice with meaty kababs are a must try.
Score: It is the best place to spend your night dancing while having delicious food. The most highlighting part of this place is its elaborate lunch and drinks buffet. Saturday nights are usually very happening.
Paara: This funky and sporty nightclub, is known for offering the best of entertainment and great nightlife. It regularly hosts many events wherein the DJ plays live music along with some greatest hits that will make you hit the dance floor for sure.
The Horseshoe Bar and Restaurant: If you are looking for a luxurious place to drink and enjoy, then this is it. The place boast of different bar and wine menu along with a wide range in food menu starting from Italian to Continental.
Taj Chandigarh, Sector 17 Given its excellent location right in the heart of the city, this hotel in Chandigarh is the first choice for business travellers. The fact that it houses the Lava Bar, a favourite local hang out, adds to its appeal. Insider tip: ask for a room with a view of the city’s spectacular rose garden.
JW Marriott Hotel Chandigarh, Sector 35 Situated in the city's business district, near Sector 17, the Marriott’s biggest draw is its rooftop pool. With fantastic views of the town, soundproof windows, and spacious bathrooms—you’ll never want to leave.
Medallion Chandigarh, Zirakpur This hotel makes for a perfect option if you have business to finish in the industrial belt around Chandigarh, or if you are a tourist on your way to Himachal Pradesh or Amritsar. The trendy hotel has a multi-cuisine restaurant, a funky bar and lounge space and a 24x7 pantry. Best of all, it has a wheelchair-friendly room for differently abled guests.
Zakir Hussain Rose Garden: Spread across 30 acres of land, Zakir Hussain Rose Garden is Asia’s largest with 1600 different kinds of roses. Take a walk in the garden, click beautiful pictures or plan for a picnic with your loved ones.
Morni Hills: Enjoy the scenic view of the Himalayas from Morni Hills. About 40minutes drive from Chandigarh, the hill hosts two lakes - Tikkar Taal and Chota Tikkar Taal and is an ideal place to spend some time in a secluded and quiet environment, away from city’s hustle bustle.
Chattbir Zoo Tour: Once a raw scrubland, now Chattbir zoo is a beautiful abode for a wide range of mammals, reptiles and birds. The zoological park boasts of being home of Royal Bengal tiger, and the lion safari is a must thing to do here.
Naldehra: Spend a picturesque holiday amidst a spectacular sunrise and sunset views, majestic valleys and beautiful mountains. Stay surrounded by deodar and alpine right in the lap of nature at Naldehra.
Narkanda: An ideal weekend spot from Chandigarh, Narkanda is excellent for skiing and snowboarding in India. Narkanda is a picture-perfect destination surrounded by alpine meadows, hills and valleys.
Barog: It is one of the favourite places to visit near Chandigarh. Small, less crowded but very attractive, this place is ideal for a quick escape away from the chaos of the city.
You’ve done the sights and taken in the views. It’s now time to satiate the adventure bug in you. Anyone who feels Chandigarh doesn’t have any secret haunts is in for a prickly surprise. Think of Chandigarh and beautiful landscaped gardens come to mind. But how about a garden that’s all thorny and desert-life like? The botanist, who doesn’t much care for flowers will fall in love with Sarkaria Cactus Garden (it’s Asia’s largest) in neighbouring Panchkula. Breeze through more than 200 species, spread across seven acres of endangered spiked plants and fresh blooms will look dull. Yes, bouquets of cacti are what the world needs. Save the roses for the ex. From prickly plants to thrilling rides. The adventure seeker should check out the Kikar Lodge nestled in the foothills of the Shivaliks, about 90 minutes away from the city. Sign up for the zip-line tour that lasts for two hours—outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy splendid aerial views of the forest beneath. If you’re planning to make a holiday of it, book one of the resort’s cottages spread over 1,800 acres. And the last stop of your trip has to be the International Dolls Museum, Sector 23, to see a range of handmade dolls from all over the country. Unleash your inner child here.