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Chandigarh
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Sukhna Lake: This man-made lake is the favourite recreation spot in Chandigarh, created by damming a seasonal spring in Chandigarh. This lake is shaded by well-tended trees and is a great place to walk. Paddle-boats and yachting are other pleasant options or you can lay back and relax at the several cafes run by the Chandigarh Tourism Development Corporation. The lake is also well known as a good spot for bird watchers. From December through February, aside from scores of local species, you would find many species of aquatic birds from Central Asia and Siberia. Leisure Valley: Another great recreation spot in Chandigarh, the Leisure Valley is a must visit. Running through the entire length of the city, it comprises of several interesting gardens, forests and trees. Sector-1 houses the Rajendra Park, which has round canopied trees and evergreen plants. Sector-3 has the Bougainvillea Garden, which has scores of unusual bougainvilleas growing in them. The Fitness Trail is located in Sector-10 and is popular for long walks and exercise sessions. Several cultural programmes are also organized here. The most popular garden in Chandigarh remains the Rose Garden, located in Sector-16. Over 1600 varieties of roses are grown here and the annual Festival of Gardens is a great chance for all to view these beauties. Located adjacent to the Rose Garden is Shanti Kunj, so called because of it being a noise-free are. There is a natural stream here, which divides the garden into five different areas. These five areas are dedicated to growing distinctive trees, like medicinal plants, vertical shaped trees, flowering trees, trees for shade and environmentally suitable trees. Visit Sector-23 for the Children Traffic Park, where roads have been constructed and traffic lights been installed for the safety of children learning how to cycle. The Hibiscus Garden in Sector-36 has over 40 different varieties of Hibiscus growing. Another marvelous construction is the Garden of Fragrance, also in Sector-36, known for its different varieties of fragrant plants, including Jasmine, Demask Rose and Champa. An interesting visit would be at Smriti Upvan, where trees have been planted in memory of the departed. The Terraced Garden in Sector-33 is the venue for the annual Chrysanthemum Show. The highlight here would be the illuminated musical fountain. Especially favourite with children is the Topiary Park, where shapes of animals have been created out of bushes and creepers. Rock Garden: A fine example of artistry, the Rock Garden is the brainchild of Nek Chand, who created creative artifacts out of broken bulbs, ceramic pieces, bottles tubes and bangles. Also located inside is the Magic Garden, which has been created out of useless stone pieces. Open from: 9.00 am-1.00 pm; 3.00 pm-7.00 pm Government Museum & Art Gallery: Located in Sector 10, the museum houses a fine collection of stone sculptures of the Gandhara period and various other artifacts. Apart from the sculptures, there are hundreds of miniature paintings not only from Punjab but some reflecting Persian, Mughal and Rajasthani work. A small collection of objects in stucco, terra cotta metal, ivory, lacquer, ceramic and enamel are on display. The museum is also the place to check out prehistoric fossils and artifacts along with modern art. Open from: 10.00 am-4.30 pm (closed on Mondays) Museum of the Evolution of Life: The Museum of the Evolution of Life located in Sector 10 will take you on a trip 5,000 years back. From the Indus Valley Civilization to present day, the museum has on display a vast variety of evolutionary items and facts. Open from: 10.00 am-4.30 pm (closed on Mondays) International Dolls Museum: Located in Sector-23 the International Dolls Museum has an interesting collection of dolls and puppets from all over the world covering the variant art of more than 25 countries. Open from: 10.00 am-4.30 pm (closed on Sundays)The Secretariat and the Vidhan Sabha: This is a modern building that handles the general administration of the city. As you enter the complex, you would come across a huge Open Hand sculpture which stands as the logo for the city, a symbol of unity Chandigarh Golf Course & Driving Range: Adjacent to the lake, is the popular Golf Club. The Chandigarh Golf Club boasts of a serene atmosphere, lush green fairways and a beautiful club house with both indoor and outdoor seating. Located near the golf course is the Driving Range below the steps of the Sukhna Lake. This newly built Driving Range is beautifully laid out and driving around is worth the experience. Panchkula: This is a tiny town located almost 10 kms from Chandigarh. Visit the temple of Goddess Chandi, from where Chandigarh is said to have derived its name. Nearby is the temple of Mansa Devi. The temples are built in the North Indian style of architecture and are truly impressive. In Panchkula you can come across the Panchkula Cactus and the Botanical Garden, which houses over 2,500 varieties of cacti and other succulent plants from all over the world.