Must-See Sights: Your Essential One-Day Guide To Chandigarh

Designed by the renowned Swiss architect Le Corbusier, Chandigarh is a perfect blend of nature and contemporary urban spaces. Here is a guide to the things you can do in the city in a day
Some incredible installation art at the Rock Garden in Chandigarh
Some incredible installation art at the Rock Garden in ChandigarhStockGalery/Shutterstock

Chandigarh, also known as "The City Beautiful," is a modern and well-planned city located in North India. It is the capital of the Punjab and Haryana states and was built in the 1950s. The name of the city is derived from the fort of goddess Chandi, an avatar of the Hindu mother goddess, and the city is so named because of an ancient temple to the goddess of power located nearby. It was designed by the famous Swiss architect, Le Corbusier, who envisioned a city that would balance nature and modern urban living. The city is divided into 47 sectors, each of which has its own distinct character and is self-sufficient. It is also home to several famous landmarks, including the Capitol Complex, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Rock Garden, which is a masterpiece of art and sculpture. Here are things to see and do if you are in Chandigarh for a day.

Check Out Installation Art At The Rock Garden

Chandigarh is famous of the Rock Garden located at Uttar Marg in Sector 1. This garden is a fantastic showcase of recycled art. It was established at a time when "recycling" and "sustainability" were not the buzzwords that they are today, yet people led an organically sustainable lifestyle without compulsive consumerism.

Sculptures from garbage and debris at the famous Rock Garden
Sculptures from garbage and debris at the famous Rock GardenEstrellaBuena/Shutterstock

The garden is known for its creative displays built using discarded rocks and other items collected by Nek Chand, a famous road inspector who started collecting materials in his spare time. He used items such as broken crockery, bottles, tiles, sinks, coloured stones, bangles, and more to create amazing figures that can be seen in the garden today. In addition to the figures, visitors can also enjoy an open-air exhibition hall, a theatre, and sublime waterfalls.

Immerse In Nature At The Japanese Garden


If you're looking for a peaceful retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the serene garden in Chandigarh is the perfect escape. This 13-acre garden, a tribute to Japanese architecture and garden styles, is divided into two phases connected by a tunnel decorated with authentic Japanese artwork. From the moment you step foot inside, you'll feel transported to a calmer, more peaceful world. Adorned with several intriguing sculptures, this garden is an ideal place to recharge.

Hang Out At The Lakes

Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh is a reservoir at the foothills of the Himalayas, the Shivalik Hills.
Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh is a reservoir at the foothills of the Himalayas, the Shivalik Hills.saiko3p/Shutterstock

The Sukhna Lake is an artificial body of water located in Sector 1, created by damming the cyclic stream that flows down from the Shivalik Hills. The Government of India has declared it a protected national wetland, and it serves as a sanctuary for numerous exotic migratory birds during the winter months, including Siberian ducks, cranes, and storks.

Chandigarh is home to several other beautiful lakes. Among them, Dhanas Lake is a popular destination for nature lovers and bird watchers. Recently, it has become even more attractive with the installation of solar photovoltaic plant to promote solar energy. Visitors can now enjoy the stunning views of nature while also witnessing the benefits of sustainable energy technology.

Architecture Trail

One of the best things to do in Chandigarh is to go on an architecture trail.

There are many impressive buildings to see in the area. One of them is the Capitol Complex, which is a government compound situated on over 100 acres of land. The compound includes various structures such as the Palace of Assembly or Legislative Assembly, Secretariat, High Court, Open Hand Monument, Geometric Hill and Tower of Shadows. In 2016, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognised the work of Le Corbusier, and inscribed a selection of his works as a testament to his innovative architectural style that broke away from traditional designs. The Capitol Complex was included in this list of works.

The Palace of Assembly overlooks a water body
The Palace of Assembly overlooks a water bodyNishant Devappa/Shutterstock

Another place to check out is the residence of Pierre Jeannerat, Le Corbusier's architect cousin, which has been converted into a museum. The Pierre Jeannerat Museum is located in Sector 5. The house is lit only by sunshine without any heat, thus creating a serene atmosphere. The walls are decorated with photos of Jeannerat's works.

The Student Centre or Stu C at Punjab University in Chandigarh
The Student Centre or Stu C at Punjab University in ChandigarhMukeshR/Shutterstock

One of the buildings designed by Pierre Jeannerat is Gandhi Bhawan, located at Punjab University in Sector 14. Situated beside the Fine Arts Museum, this building is usually surrounded by water. Nearby is the Student Centre with a gorgeous circular design.

Go Shopping And Eating

While here, you must pick up pieces with Phulkari embroidery. Literally translating to "flower work," this involves intricate embroidery of flower motifs on fabric in myriad hues. Originating from Punjab, this ancient needlework technique is characterised by its intricate floral patterns. Another must-buy are Punjabi juttis. These leather shoes with beads, sequins, and embroidery are not only attractive but also quite comfortable.

You can shop for these at the market of Sector 22, considered to be one of the oldest markets in Chandigarh. Sector 17 also has some stores that stock Punjabi handicrafts.

Shastri Market is also known for its ethnic and traditional fare. From Phulkari embroidery to Punjabi juttis, you'll discover a wide range of authentic items here.

Indian Coffee House is one of the oldest cafes in Chandigarh, set up by cooperative workers societies. Have some coffee and sandwiches here. You can also hit up the street food joints selling Amritsari kulcha in Sector 9.

The Information

Best time to visit: October to March

Getting there: Chandigarh is well-connected by road, rail, and air, to the rest of the country. 

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