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Chad Mullens a tourist explores the best gardens in Chandigarh Oct 23

Chandigarh is India’s well constructed city. Its architecture is world class and unparalleled, and offers a good quality of living conditions. This place is a dream project of Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru and Le Corbusier. This is the very first planned city in India. It was rightfully named the “Beautiful City” because it is not just rich but also prosperous of spic and span and green nature. It definitely lives up to its branding. - Chad Mullens

The Chandigarh is also known as the Garden City of India. They have a wide collection of garden plants all well maintained. Cleanliness greatly adds beauty to the surroundings. The locals love to be in touch with nature and the cosmos and they manifest this by keeping their environment clean. The Chandigarh was even proclaimed the World’s Rock Garden and the Largest Rose Garden in Asia. Because of this, Chandigarh has always been in the list of favorite spots to visit around the world. - Chad Mullens

Rock Garden Chandigarh

This is the premier attraction in Chandigarh since 1958. It was created by Nek Chand Saini. This was formed out of the urban waste materials found in the city. These urban wastes include tin cans, bottles, plates, broken plugs and saucers. These materials were formed into beautiful textures and patterns. There were many materials were formed out of these wastes. The place has series of chamber but the first phase is a small canyon. The place has broken ceramics of human and animal form.

Chandigarh Botanical gardens

There were two botanical gardens in the place - Botanical Garden of Punjab University and another one between Rock Garden and Sukhna Lake. These botanical gardens are the main attractions of the place. The Punjab University Botanical garden is a place full of cacti and succulent plants. It has both evergreen and exotic plants. Lotus flowers are also abundant.

The Botanical garden between Rock Garden and Sukhna Lake has rare species of plants and pools of small lilies. This is a big garden with a total area of 88 acres. There is one botanical garden still to be developed up to now. It also grows trees that offer medicinal value and indigenous species of plants.

Chandigarh Bougainvillea Park

This is one garden where you can find all varieties of bougainvillea flowers. This was created in 1976. There are 65 varieties of bougainvillea in this place. This also has creepers that contain collection of arches, pavilions, bowers and arcades. This place has been famous because of the bougainvillea show held here annually.

Fitness Trail and Flower Garden

This is created mainly for physical fitness in 1965. Now it has been transformed to a very beautiful garden, with many gorgeous seasonal flowers to see. There are also wonderful sculptures adorned throughout the area that adds to the relaxing ambiance. This garden offers scenic beauty with the natural combination of physical exercise and beauty.

Garden of Fragrance

This is another garden that draws a big number of guests everyday. It offers plants with sweet fragrances and aroma. It houses varieties of jasmine, Haar Shingar, motia, Raat ki rani, demask roase, Champa and mehndi. This place has a nice picnic spot for you to enjoy. People can do work out in here because there are also tracks placed in the garden.

Chandigarh is definitely second home to nature lovers.

Sukhna Lake Goes Up in Flames Oct 08

Sukhna Lake on Fire

Sukhna Lake on Fire

It was virtually a “towering inferno” at Sukhna Lake late this evening. One of the city’s best-known “beauty” spots, the elegant glass-structured “watch tower”, on an island in the lake, went up in flames even as the city’s administration watched helplessly.

No one was injured in the mishap, but the structure reportedly suffered immense damage.

Situated in the middle of the lake, the burning watchtower was a literal reminder of the 1974 Hollywood flick, the Towering Inferno, starring Steve Mcqueen and Paul Newmen. Though the difference in the structures of the two fires, the multi-storeyed building in the movie and the watchtower at the Sukhna Lake, was obvious, the helplessness of the administration to deal with the situation was almost similar.

As the burning watchtower went up in smoke, fire officials, who were unable to reach the spot to quell the flames, saw the structure getting charred and damaged. Till the time of the filing of this report at 11 pm, the fire, though described as under control, was being stroked and fanned by the winds gushing in from the hills.

While MC officials were reluctant to say anything and maintained that the cause of the fire would be known only after “investigations”, sources in the department claimed that this could well be the result of short-circuit in wirings of the lighting decorations being done there.

For the late evening walkers at the lake, the fire initially went unnoticed. Suspecting the low flames emanating from the site as part of the “puja” ceremonies associated with ‘karva chauth’, many people who saw it chose to ignore it. However, it was former mayor, Pradeep Chhabra, who saw flames and smoke billowing out of the tower at about 7.15 p.m. and he immediately informed the fire department.

The fire tenders that reached the spot were of no help, as they could not reach the structure. The administration virtually had nothing in its “arsenal” to deal with the situation. “They should have a helicopter,” quipped one of the hundreds of bystanders there but, alas, that wasn’t to be.

“It just happened in seconds,” said Ajit Kumar, a regular walker on the lake. “I was at the 600 m mark, when I heard loud sound of shattering glass. I looked around and was aghast seeing the watch tower up in flames,” he said, adding that it took him time to realise what had happened.

Anita, another walker, said she saw the flames when she was at the regulator end. “It was scary,” she said, adding that by the time she reached the CITCO café, there was a huge chaos with policemen and firemen moving around aimlessly. Fire Officer JK Kang said the fire-fighting operation was still going on and nothing could be said on the extent of the damage or the cause.

World Tourism Day Celebrated with Fanfare Sep 29

The Chandigarh administration celebrated the World Tourism Day with fanfare here yesterday.

The day was marked by various activities, including ‘Surnandan’, live Indian classical and fusion music performance by Subhash Ghosh, at Sukhna Lake early in the morning, followed by “Run for Tourism”.

UT Home-cum-Tourism Secretary Ram Niwas flagged off the run which started off from the lake and after covering a distance of around 1 km culminated at the starting point.

Around 200 students of UT Government schools along with 200 ITFT students besides officials of the tourism and education department took part in the run.

In the evening, “Antakshri” competition was held at CITCO Chef Lakeview Cafeteria, which was followed by fun with DJ at Sukhna Lake.

The department of tourism in association with CITCO had organised these activities to mark the day from September 25 and 27.

The festivity began on September 25 with a flower arrangement competition organised by Chandigarh Institute of Hotel Management, Sector 42, followed by a musical evening, ‘Rock Fusion Music’, at Sector 17 plaza on September 26.

Meanwhile, Chandigarh Institute of Hotel Management commemorated the day by organising an inter-college poster making competition on “Incredible India” and “Tourism and Global Warming”.

A satirical play “Sadak hamare baap ki” directed by Rajeev Mehta was also staged, which depicted the predicament of those who do not care for traffic rules.

Chandigarh is the most greenest city in the whole Asia Aug 29

With 35.7 per cent forest cover, the UT tops the list of the greenest cities in Asia followed by Delhi which has 20 per cent forest cover.

The increased density is born out by the fact that yellow pockets of the forest cover (with 40 per cent density) have since turned green (60 per cent density) and green pockets have turned black (with 80 per cent density).

According to the State Forest Report, 2007, the forest cover in Chandigarh has increased to 35.7 per cent of its total geographical area as compared to 29.3 per cent in 2003 and only 21 per cent in 1991. The cover has exceeded the 33 per cent target set by the National Forest Policy.

The report puts the total green cover area in the country at 23.5 per cent. The UT Forest Department has set a target of planting 69,581 trees and 48,406 shrubs on both government and private land in 2009-10.

“Out of its 114-square-km area, the UT has about 41 sq km under the forest cover and an additional nine sq km under tree cover. The country has 20.3 per cent area under forest cover and 3 per cent under tree cover. There is incremental growth not only in the area under forests but also in their quality which is measured by density”, said Ishwar Singh, conservator of forests, Chandigarh.

In 2008-09, against the target of 2,64,130 saplings, 1.5 lakh stem

cuttings of arundo-donex and ipomea plants and 6 lakh of patch-sowing, the department planted 2,44,216 saplings, 1.5 lakh stem cuttings and 6 lakh patch-sowing.

The department has formed 117 eco-clubs in government and private schools and 29 environmental societies in higher institutions of Chandigarh to spread awareness about the importance of environment and eco-friendly activities.

Chandigarh Sparkles with Bollywood Stars Aug 29

The cast and crew of the upcoming Bollywood movie, “Kisaan”, today landed in Big Cinemas, Zirakpur, for a special premiere organised for farmers. Many of these farmers have worked in the movie with the Khan brothers.

“Kisaan”, which is a joint effort by UTV Spotboy and Sohail Khan, hits cinema halls all over the county today.

Khan brothers Sohail Khan and Arbaaz Khan along with Jackie Shroff, actress Diya Mirza and film’s music director Dabbu Malik reached the city to commence the special premiere. As many as 150 to 200 kisans from Ropar and Mullapur region were invited at the premiere.

In the movie, Sohail and Arbaaz Khan play the role of hardcore farmers; so much so, they can even be seen in dhotis in the film. Jackie Shroff plays the role of Sohail’s and Arbaaz’s father.

“Kisaan”, which deals with successive generations of the farmers and their conflicts, has been shot in Chandigarh for more than 40 days. Interestingly, Sohail Khan has contributed to the film’s screenplay as well.

The movie promises absolute treat for music lovers as well, as one would get to hear the all time patriotic song from Manoj Kumar’s Upkaar, “Mere desh ki dharti”, with new mixed beats and different packaging in the movie.

Even though the actors were in the Mall for a few minutes, hundreds of fans flocked the Mall to catch a glimpse of the actors.

Pink-Coloured ‘Tuk-tuk’ Service Inaugurated in Chandigarh Aug 11

Tuk-tuk Service in Chandigarh

Tuk-tuk Service in Chandigarh

The much-awaited pink-coloured day and night LPG driven Tuk-tuk service (autos) was launched by UT Administrator SF Rodrigues on the State Transport Authority office in Sector 18.

Apart from this, cheques were also given for ordinary LPG-driven autos too. A customer can call a Tuk-tuk at his doorsteps by dialing 4242424.

This vehicle can be hired on the road too. A Tuk-tuk will charge Rs 10 for first km and Rs 8 for subsequent km and the concept will be implemented in phased manner.

While distributing cheques to the loanees for ordinary autos, Rodrigues said it was part of the multi-dimensional empowerment programme for the below poverty line persons, Scheduled Castes, physically challenged, women and members of the minority communities.

He said the process of the Mass Rapid Transport System in the tricity was on the fast track and Sector 17 ISBT location would be its nodal point.

Appreciating the contribution of the Delhi Finance Corporation (DFC) in giving loans on easy term, the administration has launched a partnership initiative programme and asked the LPG Auto Operator Union to be active partners in this endeavour.

Ram Niwas, Home Secretary, UT, in his welcome address, said as already agreed, there would be no diesel/petrol autorickshaw after August 31.

Vandana Disodia, Secretary, State Transport Authority, said the DFC would extend financial assistance to 500 LPG auto operators in Chandigarh on easy terms.

Six New Theme-Based Gardens to be Designed in Chandigarh Jul 18

For developing six new theme-based gardens in the city along with adding new features in the existing gardens, the Chandigarh administration has chalked out an estimate of around Rs 8 crore.

The administration has decided to develop Garden of Palms and Children Adventure Park in Sector 42, Valley of Animals and Sunken Garden with knot concept in Green Belt of Sector 51, Maze Garden in Sector 52, Sculpture Garden in Leisure Valley Sector 10, Garden of Conifers in Sector 51 (rear side of YPS) and Garden Centre in Government Nursery in Sector 23 C for Rs 232 lakh, Rs 150 lakh, Rs 145 lakh, Rs 69 lakh, Rs 95 lakh and Rs 84 lakh, respectively.

According to a press note, attempt would to boost tourism in the city along with giving aesthetic view to the city. Under the Garden of Palms and Children Adventure Park in Sector 42, there are plans to develop an area of around 25 acres near New Lake which would cater to the playing needs of children from different age groups.

Proposals are to create Adventure Mound Cycling facility in the park and develop a Toddler’s Corner where children below five years will be provided facilities like child-friendly swings, ground boats, see-saw, slides, spring rides, small automatic cars etc. Public conveniences, drinking water facility, rain shelters, benches, information centre, gift shop and refreshment kiosk would also be created in the park.

Valley of Animals and Sunken Garden with knot concept will showcase a mass display of various animal species topiaries on the slopes and undulations, co-existing in family form or in action.The shapes of animals could be created with plants of different hues and textures so as to make it a colourful and curious display.

The Knot Garden concept would be purely for augmenting the aesthetic presentation of the garden by using edge plants, stones and pebbles making low-headed carpet-like designs on the ground preferably for viewing at low levels.

The third phase sectors of the city have multi-storeyed flats and to soften the look of a concrete jungle, Garden of Conifers has been proposed in Sector 51. The garden would act like a breather for the residents of this sector.

The Maze Garden is likely to have an interesting and amusing feature like a Maze with Hedge (“Bhool Bhulaiyan”).The Leisure Valley has been found best suited for the setting up of Sculpture Garden, where sculpture of renowned artists and students from the College of Art would be installed.

The Government Nursery in Sector 23 will be developed as Garden Centre by providing greenhouse, glass house, poly house, tissue culture lab, horticulture/ landscape information centre having well-laid paths, enough plant material to meet city requirements, sale counter, play equipment for children and art gallery of plants.

Chandigarh Rose Garden to Get an uplift Jul 10

The Chandigarh Administration has started the process for upgrading the Sector 16 Rose Garden. The plan focuses on breaking the old-fashioned and stereotype planning through additions of new varieties of exotic flowers, creating a back-up system and developing landscaping combined with recreational aspects.

UT Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar said the Zakir Hussain Rose Garden, the biggest rose garden in Asia, is the prime tourist spot in the city and there was a need to renovate it.

“Innovative ideas would be used for repositioning and changing flower beds in order to arouse curiosity among the visitors. New concept sections would be added like section of roses named after world personalities, roses with unusual names, exclusive section of unique roses, roses named after countries and fruits etc. Efforts are being made to develop a section ‘Pride of India’, with exclusive collection of varieties evolved in India,” he said.

The plans are also in pipeline to have beds with amusing and interesting slogans, interspersed, which relates with the colour or type of the flower.

The administration also aims to have a backup system in the absence of which there are big gaps in flowerbeds. A fast rose varieties bank could be created that would save more than a year in preparing a plant.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Tourism has already sanctioned Rs 2.69 crore for the Rose Garden, which would be utilised for purchasing new varieties, development of a nursery, mesh and angle design for periphery, tourist information centre-cum-gift shop, installation of tubewell, signage and concrete edging of beds.

Chandigarh Railway Station is All Set for Renovation Jul 02

Chandigarh railway station is all set for renovation to the tune of Rs 1 crore, where in it will have a new over bridge and a wider circulating area for upgrading the facilities.

Now, the frequent travellers will not complain about lack of space at the station, as the plan to improving the circulating area is in the pipeline.

The Railway Ministry will probably give a green signal for renovating the railway station in the Railway budget likely to be announced on Friday.

At present, the station has 1-ft over bridge, which gets crowded in the peak hours, making it difficult for the passengers to boarding trains.

The divisional railway manager, HP Jaggi said: “The present over bridge connects platforms No. 2, 3, 4, and 5 is very narrow. When the trains reach, the passengers face problems crossing the bridge. Thus, another foot over bridge is likely to be constructed on the right side of the station for which around Rs 80 lakh will be invested.”

The parking lot of the station had been revamped recently, he added.

Meanwhile, the railway station will soon have packed meals available for the commuters. Sources said the authorities concerned had approved a vendor who would be selling the packed meals in the circulating area.

Chandigarh to Introduce Single-Window System Jun 20

On the lines of the registering and licensing branch, the UT State Transport Authority (STA) is introducing a single-window system at its office in Sector 18.

A proposal to this effect was submitted to the Chandigarh administration today. Disclosing this, Secretary, STA, Vandana Disodia said: “We plan to have the computerised single-window system in place by August-end. The civil work is nearing completion and computers have been arranged.

The department also plans to provide ramps for the disabled and adequate parking and sitting arrangement for the public. The building will be totally air-conditioned and a generator set will also be in place to provide for failure of electricity.”

The proposal draws strength and outlines from a study conducted by the Pricewaterhouse Coopers which assessed that the STA needs to use information technology and should avail itself of the benefits of information and communication tools to bring about paper-free office culture.

To be implemented in a phased manner, the project has been divided into three phases - conceptualisation, business case development and project implementation.

The move gets impetus from the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) that aims at creating a citizen-centric environment for governance. The Planning Commission has also allocated funds as additional central assistance to all the States and UTs for assessing their capacity building needs and for preparing e-Governance and capacity building roadmaps.