Chandigarh Travel Guide– When it comes to student life, there’s nothing like getting to explore a city. From cuisine and nightlife to shopping and spiritual destinations, the feel of the city comes from getting into the details. And speaking of these, what’s a better place to do it all than Chandigarh?
There was a time when Chandigarh was a must-visit destination for people in the design and architecture industry. The beautifully planned sectors and the sprawling roads brought tears to the eyes of many such visitors.
All of that has changed now. Chandigarh has a lot more to offer now. The Ghedi Route, Chandigarh’s original Tinder, is not the only road to take a leisurely stroll down. The well-planned city and a must-visit rock garden to understand the city’s architecture
Over the last few decades, Chandigarh has seen enormous growth. What was once a quiet retirement town, is now an educational hub with fun-filled experiences for all students. Read on to discover more about this grand city!
If you talk about Punjab, you absolutely have to talk about food, right? Well as the student hub of Punjab, Chandigarh will definitely not disappoint when it comes to food joints.
From Chinese to Continental and Punjabi to South India, Chandigarh has it all folks. Here are some of our favorite destinations that you have to visit on your trip to Chandigarh.
- Indian Coffee House: This place is such a Chandigarh essential that it should be at the top of your list for when you go to Chandigarh. Grab yourself a cozy spot and just feel your soul melt into happiness with their coffee and butter masala dosa. The food here is very reasonable, so it’s perfect for a student. Since it is located in Sector 17, you can get started on any shopping urges you have. Located close by is the famous Softy Corner that you must stop at if you love ice-cream!
- Aroma Hotel: Don’t let the word “Hotel” fool you. The Aroma Hotel in Sector 22 houses something of a food court. Most major food chains have an outlet here. So if you’re confused about what to eat, you should head to Aroma for the multitude of options it offers. From quick bites to gourmet meals, Aroma has it all.
- Books and Brews: This quaint café is a personal favorite in the city. The cafe has walls covered in small bookshelves that you can grab something off of and start reading. One corner houses a small cupboard under the staircase, which takes you back to your Harry Potter love. However, this cupboard under the staircase is also a mini library, which makes all the more amazing. But that’s not it. Apart from the basic seating on tables and sofas, the café even has bunks on two walls that visitors can climb atop. With power points located right there, you can just plug in your laptop and nestle into your won corner for some snacks and a movie. And if you’re still not impressed, they keep games like Jenga and monopoly which you can take and play. The food here is just as amazing as the ambiance. You will fall in love the moment you enter!
- Uncle Jack’s: This is another franchise from Chandigarh that featured on my weekly visit lists. Located at many locations around the city, Uncle Jack’s will become a favorite for anyone who loves fries or shakes. The chicken cheesy fries and the bacon fries will leave you feeling like you’ve just made a trip to heaven and returned. They also make delicious waffles that you must sample. The food is usually plated in cute glass jars, bottles, and containers that you can take home with you as a souvenir!
- Toshib’s: If your stomach is a black hole and you gotta grab yourself some amazing North Indian and Punjabi flavours, this Buffet place in Sector 34 is your soul mate. Their buffet is very reasonable, so it’s perfect for students and those with smaller pockets. The menu tends to be pretty great and the flavours will leave you mesmerized for sure.
- Avin Karthik Restaurant: If you’re a lover of the South Indian cuisine, this restaurant is where you need to be. Although it is located in Phase 5, Mohali, it takes barely 15-20 minutes to get there from Chandigarh proper. The menu offers lots and lots of authentic South Indian food choices charged extremely reasonably. For coffee lovers, the filter coffee is a must-try!
- Pal Dhaba: This is one of the most popular chains for Punjabi food in all of Chandigarh. For those who enjoy chicken and non-vegetarian food, this will be the ultimate destination. Personal favorites were Butter Chicken, Kadhai Chicken, and Chicken Lollipop.
- Sector 15 Food Market: Sector 15 houses a small food market that sells mostly Chinese food. There’s a lot of small shops that sell Chinese and Nepalese delicacies. In fact, a trip to Chandigarh is incomplete if you don’t try Momos (dumplings) from this market.
- StuC: The Student Centre is the heart of the most popular university in Chandigarh, the Punjab University. The group of canteen here serves the best cold coffee and affordable food for the students. StuC is a place to be at if you really want to see the student culture at Panjab University.
- Night Food Factory: The NFS started recently functioning again after a long interval of shut down. They serve the most affordable pranthas, Maggie, tea, coffee, fries, dal makhani, etc. NFS is situated at Sector 14 and opens at 7 pm in the evening and serves through the night. It is again a very popular place for university students because of its proximity to Panjab University.
CHANDIGARH- PLACES TO VISIT
Apart from eating and nightlife, Chandigarh has some great places to visit as well. For those who want to unwind and relax, Chandigarh is the perfect place with its breathtaking and sprawling gardens.
Most of you would have heard of the Rock Garden and the Zakir Hussain Rose Garden, the two most popular destinations for visitors. So in this guide, we’re gonna skip these two and take you through some other places that you must put on your Chandigarh itinerary.
- Sukhna Lake: This is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. A beautiful walkway has been made along the shore of the lake which the locals frequent for evening walks and runs. For visitors, it is a great spot for a family picnic and children especially enjoy boating. If you’re visiting with a partner, this can be a great location for a simple sunrise/sunset watching date.
- Le Corbusier Centre: Dedicated to the genius who planned the city, the Le Corbusier Centre has a lot of material related to his time spent planning Chandigarh. The center has been established in what was actually his office. So the exhibits and materials are not just those of Chandigarh, but also to various plans from Japan and America.
- International Doll Museum: This is one of the lesser-known destinations in the city, but it’s one worth visiting. The miniatures and dolls here are collections from not just India, but from beyond the borders as well. You will find dolls from Korea, Germany, Spain, and Denmark, just to name a few.
- Leisure Valley: Open all day and all night, the Leisure Valley houses one of the most beautiful gardens in the city. The lush greenery provides an 8 km long walking path that you can stroll along and breathe in the fresh air. This is also a popular choice for a lot of local events like Dog shows and shopping festivals.
- Japanese Garden: This is easily one of the most scenic locations in Chandigarh. The garden is actually made in two separate phases which are connected through an underground tunnel. This tunnel has been decorated with some breathtaking artwork. The gardens themselves have many Japanese pagoda structures and idols of the Buddha. There are also some adorable waterfalls that you can delight in.
- Terrace Garden: Yes, Chandigarh has lots of picturesque gardens, but this one has a different charm. The flowers here are like a splash of vibrancy in the middle of green lush. If you visit in the evening, the musical fountain adds to an already beautiful setting with gentle music playing.
- Government Museum and Art Gallery: This is a must-visit destination for any history buff in the city. The exhibits are a great collection of stone sculptures, traditional artifacts, and some choice paintings. At a nominal entry fee of Rs. 10, this is one of the best places in the city!
- ISKCON Temple: On the Spiritual side of things, this Krishna and Radha temple is one of the most popular destinations in the city. It receives visitors from all over the country!
- Virasat-E-Khalsa: This is a destination that your Chandigarh trip will be incomplete without. Located in the close by Anandpur Sahib, this is one of the best places to get to know more about the culture and heritage of the land. The moment you enter, you will feel a sense of calm and peace seeping into your very bones; that is the effect this place has on you.
- Fateh Bhurj: This is another great Sikh memorial that must be visited. Commemorating Baba Banda Singh Bahadur’s victory over the Mughals, the 20-acre area houses a memorial, a breathtaking Minar, a beautiful museum and even maintains a sound and light show that is something worth relishing.
NIGHTLIFE & PUBS
Chandigarh easily has one of the best nightlife to offer. Whether fine dining or pubs, the options here are literally endless. The live music scene here is great, with lots of artists you will fall in love with. So let’s dive into some of the best places.
- FLYP@MTV: Once you step in, you’ll need a minute to take in and absorb the ambiance. The place has a great vibe and the interiors are super funky. The food here is really great, and if you’re someone who enjoys an occasional drink, you will be very happy with this place. Local artists are frequent in the evenings, making for the perfect setting to relax in.
- Whistling Duck: If you’re looking for a dining experience, this is one of the best options in Chandigarh. Fridays are the designated DJ Nights with great music. Saturdays bring live gigs which feature jewels of the city. They also hold niche events like poetry reading and open mic sessions which really open you up to the talents of the locals.
- The Back Room: If you’re a music person, this will become your favorite place in the city. While a lot of places in Chandigarh cater to live music, which makes The Back Room amazing is that they give you fresh talent. They feature some of the most promising new artists and bands of the city performing here. I, personally, discovered some of my favourite musicians through The Back Room. The acoustics here are fantastic, so you can be sure of a wonderful experience.
- Hops N Grains: This was the first real microbrewery in Chandigarh and offers one of the best freshly brewed beer in the entire tri-city area. For all nocturnal beings, this is the place to be, thanks to its great menu, both for drinks and food.
- Ministry of Bar Exchange: Both the outlets, in Sector 26, as well as Elante Mall, are a great option. The menu here is extensive. The prices for drinks vary, as is the case with any bar exchange. Personally, the ambience at both locations is fantastic.
- Social: Social in Sector 8 is a great place to go to if you love a place with well-done interiors. Stretching over a large space, they have everything from cozy nooks and fancy tables to outdoor seating. The cocktails here are especially good.
WHERE TO SHOP IN CHANDIGARH?
If there’s one thing that Punjabi people love more than food, it’s shopping. So, the city of Chandigarh has some great shopping options as well. Here are the most popular ones.
- Sector 17: This is definitely the crown of the city as far as shopping is concerned. All major outlets have a store here and the sector has everything from clothing and sports to stationery and food. Head to this sector for the posh side of the shopping experience in the Tri-city.
- Shastri Market: The opposite of Sector 17 is the Shastri Market of Sector 22. The way Delhi has its thriving street markets in Sarojini and Janpath, Chandigarh has this market. The local authorities have constructed small stalls here which the sellers use. From shoes and clothes to makeup, everything is available at this market. Although bargaining doesn’t work a lot, a few shopkeepers will give you small discounts if you buy a lot of items at once.
- Book Market in Sector 15: If you’re a student, of whatever level, this is one place you should hit. The stalls here cater to second-hand books in every subject and all every level, be it school, university or even preparation for competitive exams.
- Elante Mall: The mall is one of the largest in the cities and has almost every store imaginable under its roof. The food court is quite extensive and the mall even has a courtyard with some really great cafes that are worth trying!
HILL STATIONS NEAR CHANDIGARH?
There are lots of quaint spots for a day trip around Chandigarh. Here are some favorites.
- Timber Trail, Parwanoo: Parwanoo offers great scenic beauty that any nature lover must try out. To get to the picnic spots, you’ll just have to drive out to the Timber Trail, located a mere 35 km from Chandigarh. The best thing about the location is a cable car ride that travels 3.6 km giving you a beautiful view of the hills and gorges.
- Kasauli: This quite hill destination is just 52 km away and it takes an hour and a half to get here. If you’re someone who enjoys trekking in the forests, this is should be the next place you head to. You can also opt for adventure sports like rock climbing, horse riding, rappelling, etc.
- Solan: At 67.5 km, it takes a mere 2 hours to get to this beautiful hill station. Solan is a great option for exploring the “Pahari” culture and local temples. Alternatively, you can spend the day exploring the Mohan Shakti National Park. The Gurkha Fort is another great option to explore while in Solan.
A few other places you can explore for a day trip are the Doraha Sarai (the fort that features in Rang De Basanti) at 86 km, the Bharatgarh Fort at 65 km, Barog at 60 km, Nalagarh Fort at 48 km and Morni Hills at 45 m.
CONCLUSION & KEY TAKEAWAY
If you’re headed to Chandigarh, be assured of having one of the most fun-filled trips ever. Whether you’re a foodie, a shopaholic or a party animal, Chandigarh has it all for you.
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