Chandigarh

Posted: Oct 03 2014

Chandigarh is some what of an anomaly when it comes to India's cities.  Just a 4 hour drive north of New Delhi it's unique in a number of ways.  As you make your way north to Chandigarh from Delhi you'll pass countless Punjabi dhabas, road side restaurants found throughout the Punjab region there to serve the weary traveler. There a few famous dhabas on the road between Delhi and Chandigarh that are definitely worth seeking out along the way.  The two most popular being Sukhdev and the slightly less known but equally fantastic Palawan dhaba. Both dhabas offer a wide array of traditional and rich Punjabi delicacies like Dal Makhani and buttered Parantha's.  If you find yourself on the road to Chandigarh from Delhi than stopping at one of these dhabas is a must. 

Chandigarh itself is a city state that is the capital of 2 different states, Harayana and Punjab.  Chandigarh is also famous for being India's first planned city.  While most of the metropolises of India tend to be a bit overwhelming due to their sheer size, population, traffic and polution problems, Chandigarh is relatively free of these issues. One of the reasons for this is the fact that Chandigarh is a modern city that was extremely well planned from its initial foundation in 1966.  Divided into 56 individual sectors and zoned accordingly into commericial, industrial and residential area's it is much more analogous to cities found in the west than older cities like Varanasi.   Along with traffic circles at all the major intersections and modern shopping malls abound it's organized nature is a welcome respite from the typical pandemonium found in most of India's larger cities. Even though Chandigarh tends to resemble many cities found in the West it is still full of the unique cultural aspects that make India so beautiful and fascinating.  Located at the base of the Himalayas it provides easy access to numerous day trips to nearby hill stations and being in the heart of the Punjab there is no shortage of beautiful Gudwaras (Sikh temples) literally everywhere you go.  Like every culturally unique region of India Chandigarh has lots of products that are exclusive to the area.  It is quite famous for it's the numerous granite wholesalers who can provide beautiful granite slabs harvested from the Himalayas.  It's also famous for Punjabi Jutti, exquisite hand crafted leather shoes that are only made in the Punjab region.  These are just a couple examples of the products unique to the region.    

Ultimately if you're looking for an atypical metropolitan experience in terms of traveling through India's cities than Chandigarh is the place to be.  It has all the modern luxuries and 5 star hotels a tourist looking for a relaxing experience could expect while still managing to preserve the distinct cultural heritage of the Punjab region.