Chandigarh is the first and the best-planned city in India. It is an excellent and most significant experiment of urban planning of the last century. Officially a union territory that is controlled by the central government of India, it is also the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana.
It is the face of modern India - a face that the country wants to project to the outside world. Chandigarh is the dream of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, ably executed by the Swiss architect Le Corbusier in 1950.
The city is designed as "sectors" and each sector is self-supporting with civic buildings, lakes, parks and pedestrian-friendly areas. The much-huddled sectors are Sector 17 and Sector 22, which are known for shopping and restaurants.
Rishikesh is a holy town in the Dehradun district of Uttarakhand. The rivers Ganga and Chandrabhaga join here. The main attraction of Rishikesh is the river Ganga in her magnificence, flowing rapidly through this town.
Rishikesh is famous for the art of yoga and it is the Yoga Capital of the world. Hasya Yoga (laughter therapy) is quite popular here. It has many ashrams and during the month of March, an international yoga festival is organized here.
Rishikesh is the gateway to the four holy temples on the hills viz., Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri; more popularly known as Char Dham. The Beatles played at Rishikesh in the late 60s, thereby opening a new destination for the world population who seek spirituality and peace.
Spirituality aside, Rishikesh has gained popularity for adventure sports such as river rafting, trekking, bungee jumping, etc. In fact, Rishikesh is known as the white water rafting capital of India.
Best Time To Visit Rishikesh
The summers from April to June are quite hot with temperatures touching 35 degrees Celsius. The best time to visit Rishikesh is in February and March and from August to October. If you are planning to visit Rishikesh mainly for river rafting, the best time to visit is in October and November.
There is an annual festival held in July called Savan where thousands of people gather in Rishikesh. All the hotels and roads are cramped around this time, so it is best to avoid travelling in July.
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How To Reach Rishikesh?
By Air: The closest airport to Rishikesh is in Dehradun. Jolly Grant Airport is about 15 km from Rishikesh. However, there are only flights operating from Delhi to Dehradun. If you want to take a flight from Chandigarh, the only way around is to travel to Delhi and then take a flight to Dehradun.
By Train: There is a passenger train that starts at Chandigarh Railway Station and chugs all the way to Rishikesh. The train number is 54471.
By Road: There are three routes that take you from Chandigarh to Rishikesh by road.
Route 1: Chandigarh- Panchkula- Khairi- Haridwar- Rishikesh via SH 1. This is a 5h 23 min route and the distance is 230 km.
Route 2: Chandigarh- Ambala- Jagadhri- Saharanpur- Haridwar- Rishikesh. This route is via NH 344. It is a distance of 219 km and takes 5h 30 min to reach.
Route 3: Chandigarh-Panchkula- Poanta Sahib- Doiwala- Rishikesh via NH 7. This route is 210 km and takes 5 h 34 min to reach.
Here are the places that you can visit in Chandigarh.
Since Route 2 has better roads, it is recommended to take that route.
As Chandigarh is a planned city, it does not have many natural attractions. Sukhna lake, which is at the foothills of Shivalik Hills is a beautiful man-made lake that is a perfect place for some quiet introspection.
Rock Garden in the premises of Lake Sukhna is a one of its kind garden. It is an open air exhibition hall spread over 40 acres, that is designed using industrial wastes. It consists of inter-linked waterfalls.
Rose Garden, which is at Sector 16 is filled with exquisite flowers that are not only roses. It is a must-visit for any flower lover. The Government Museum of Art Gallery is a natural history museum coupled with an art gallery.
It showcases evolution of artefacts over different periods of time from miniature paintings, metal sculptures, to contemporary Indian art. There is a sound-light show every weekend at 7:30 pm.
Government Museum And Art Gallery
Terraced Garden is an ideal picnic spot that is spread over 10 acres in Sector 33. This place hosts an annual chrysanthemum show in December. National Gallery of Portraits has portraits and recorded sound notes of the leaders of India. It also houses the important and rare documents from the era of freedom struggle and Indian independence.
There are many gardens known as Garden of Fragrance, Hibiscus Garden, Bougainvillea Garden, Topiary Park, etc. The Capitol is a magnificent piece of architecture that houses the High Court, the Secretariat and the Legislative Assembly. Appearing like an upturned umbrella, it is the headquarter of Punjab and Haryana governments.
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Ambala is about 45 km away from Chandigarh. It takes about an hour to reach. Ambala is famous for its Gurudwaras. Lakhnaur Sahib Gurudwara is one of the major pilgrim centres for Sikhs.
Gurudwara Manji Sahib is another important Gurudwara because it was constructed by Guru Hargobind Singh on his way to meet Mughal emperor Jahangir. Holy Redemeer Church in Ambala was built in 1848 when the troops of East India company were shifted from Karnal to Ambala. There is also an airforce base in Ambala.
Jagadhri is about 58 km from Ambala. It takes an hour and nineteen minutes on the clock to reach Jagadhri. Jagadhari Gate is a market area where one can shop for just about anything.
Sahranpur in Uttar Pradesh is 39 km away. It takes an hour to reach. Ghugga Veer is an important shrine that attracts both Hindus and Muslims in the area. Shakthi Peeth Shakumbari is believed to be the place where Adi Shankaracharya undertook sadhana. It is here that the goddess Shakumbari Devi killed Mahishasura.
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Sahranpur to Haridwar is 63 km in distance and takes 1h 38 min to reach. If you are lucky, you will reach Haridwar in time for Ganga Aarti. It is a must-see in Haridwar. Hike up to Manasa Devi temple and offer prayers. Shop at Bara Bazar for trinkets, souvenirs, clothes and snacks. Rishikesh is 43 min and 20 km away from Haridwar. Here are the places that you can visit in Rishikesh.
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This revered ghat is a confluence of the rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswathi. It is believed that a dip in this ghat will absolve a person of his sins. There is an aarti performed to the rivers at this ghat every evening.
It is a suspension bridge over river Ganga that has become the identity of Rishikesh. It is believed that Lord Ram crossed the river using a bridge made from jute.
This is a 450 ft long suspension bridge built over the Ganges to cross the river. It was built in 1939. The bridge offers splendid views of the river and Rishikesh town.
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This temple is a 13 storied complex, located on the east bank of river Ganga. It has many different Gods housed in it.
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Built by Adi Shankaracharya in the 12th century, Bharat Mandir is located in the heart of Rishikesh. The inner canopy in the sanctum above the main idol of Lord Vishnu was installed by Adi Shankaracharya.
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Adventure Sports In Rishikesh
Some of the other things to do in Rishikesh are white water rafting, camping, rappelling, cliff jumping, rock climbing, kayaking, trekking, bungee jumping and practicing yoga.