Caught in Chandigarh
Posted by Cool Your Jets IV on August 22, 2011
Having left Amritsar several days back, we headed to the Punjab city of Chandigarh (overnighting in Ambala along the way.) Chandigarh is an oasis of calm in crazy India and is a relatively new city, having been established during the 1950s’.
Whereas most Cities start from the centre and as they develop expand outwards, Chandigarh has been built on a grid style, called sectors – I think there’s upwards of 35 sectors, all uniformly square and connected by roundabouts – in fact it’s exactly like Milton Keynes only infinitely nicer, with soul and fantastic Indian food everywhere!
One of the sights is The Rock Garden (I think Paul Merton visited whilst filming in India) which was secretly started by a chap called Nek Chand back in the 50s’ – literally finishing his day job and arriving in what used to be forest and set about building sculptured gardens using recycled bottles, tiles, bricks etc.
Eventually he was busted – no doubt some ex bus driver saw what was going on…
The government, having no idea what to do with it (though very impressed at the same time) pondered for a time before offering Nek a full-time job with staff to carry on developing and making it into a tourist site. It’s pretty cool and worth a couple of hours wandering around, it’s certainly a lot more interesting than Chandigarh’s other famous site – The Rose Gardens, a huge park with you guessed it, rose bushes! We stopped, looked over the fence and decided to go elsewhere!
One thing common to India is that if a business is doing well, be it a shop or restaurant, without doubt some chump will open a shop/restaurant exactly next door even going as far as calling it by the same name! We’ve seen this in every city visited so far – in fact last night we’d been told about a great chicken joint with a great tandoor, called Singh’s Chicken, on arrival we were greeted by four restaurants all side by side bearing the same name!
Surprisingly, having seen the Rock Garden by Nek and his success, there’s no other ‘tourist site’ being set up – or is there?
As the title suggests, we’re currently Caught in Chandigarh, try as we might we cannot leave this place, since Friday we’ve been trying and we’re still here! All are booked in advance – though the trains are almost a KM in length with so mnay people theres no room – in days gone by you could sit on the roof though not anymore.
This morning we finally managed to secure some tickets, leaving tomorrow for Delhi.
Planning to be there for a couple of days before I set off (solo) to Varanasi with Shelley hooking up with me a few days later – I’m planning to enter the Ganges there…