|The most important attraction of Chandigarh is the monumental Capitol Complex, which dominates the city skyline. The three major buildings comprising the Capitol Complex are the Secretariat, the Assembly, and the High Court. All the three are interlocked to one another as part of a slight visual composition, delicately balanced and enclosing extravagant spaces. Between these magnificent edifices is the city’s most popular visible symbol: the Open Hand. The eye-catching giant hand in steel rotates freely with the whims of the winds from a high concrete pedestal, conveying the message: “open to give, open to receive.”
Next to the Capitol Complex, the most important place to visit is Sector 17. It contains a sleek shopping area and is the city center. It is planned around four pedestrian streets meeting at a central Chowk. It is a pedestrian’s paradise, with fountains, sculptures, and grooves of tree. In summer one can move from one end of the sector to the other under the shade of a corridor, and in winter it is nice to be out on the streets. In the evenings, when the colorful variety of neon signs and the illuminated fountains come alive, it becomes the city’s biggest outdoor club. And the people gather there for the thrill of the urban rub and the excitement of its shop-front glitter.
A major feature of Chandigarh is its Leisure Valley, which is like a garland of gardens, and ornaments the city from one end to the other. This natural eroded valley of the city with a small rivulet has been now developed into a series of theme gardens. The most famous of these is the Rose Garden. The other prominent parks of the city are the Garden of Tranquility, Garden of Rare Plants, Garden of Annuals, and the Bougainvillea Garden.
Another important garden here is The Rock Garden which is spread over 12 acres of wooded land near the Capitol Complex of Le Corbusier. It is the creation of a humble former road inspector Nek Chand who turned urban waste material into creative patterns and textures. His touch transformed mute rocks into art objects. The mysterious spaces with stones, rocks and waterfalls recreate the awe and wonder of prehistoric nature. This area of natural and manmade creativity attracts people of all age groups, and from all parts of the world.
Another favorite recreation spot of the nature-loving people of Chandigarh is the Sukhna Lake. Created by building an artificial dam on a seasonal stream, it is spread over a large area. A two-kilometer-long boardwalk along the lakeshore is a popular place for strolling. On any day, early in the morning, fitness buffs of all age groups can be seen walking, jogging, and performing yoga at the lakefront.