Parks & Gardens of Chandigarh
The Chandigarh horticulture department has done its best in turning whatever land available in the city into beautiful landscapes. They have collected and planted varieties of ornamental plants of various colours and shades. A few places that have been turned into beautiful parks, gardens and valleys are:
The Leisure Valley starts from the foothills in Sector 1 in the north and leaves Chandigarh at its southern most edge in sector 53. Sections of Leisure Valley are known by different names. This Valley contains the famous Rose garden, Rajendra park, Smriti Upavan, Shanti Kunj, Terraced garden, Bougainvillea garden, Traffic park etc.
Dr. Zakir Rose Garden
The rose garden in sector 16 is claimed to be the Asia's largest Rose garden. This garden was created in 1967, under the expert guidance of Dr M.S. Randhawa, Chandigarh's first Chief Commissioner, and is named after India's President, Zakir Hussain. It is spread over an area of 30 acres and have 1600 different species of roses. The rose collection in this garden include natural as well as hybrid varieties developed through tissue culture. Along with the roses, medicinal trees like bel, bahera, harar etc and unique specimen trees are also seen here which enhance the beauty of the garden. Every year a 'Rose Festival' is celebrated at the rose garden, either at the end of February or the beginning of March. It is one of the main cultural events of the city which draws thousands of visitors. There are lots of competitions, cultural celebrations and many other events. Best time to visit the rose garden is during February- March when the plants are in full bloom. Fountains and bright lights enhance its beauty at night.
Rajendra park in Sector1 of the leisure valley, is commonly used for long walks, outdoor yoga, learning to drive and horse riding. The area of this natural park started in 1954, stretch to about 400 acres. There are mangoes, peaches and plum trees in the park. Sporting events such as Horse shows are held here from time to time.
Smiriti Upavan situated between Rock Garden and Sukhna Lake in Sector 1 is a garden full of trees. Smriti means 'remembrance' and Upavan means 'forest'. Inaugurated in 1988, this place is set aside to plant trees in memory of the deceased. The first banyan tree in Smriti Upavan was planted in memory of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru.
Terraced Garden, spread over 10 acres in Sector 33, is the venue for the annual Chrysanthemum Show which is held in December. The garden which is divided into three sections, was started in 1979 and is beautifully arranged with hundreds of varieties of flowering plants. There is also an illuminated musical fountain which plays to folk songs as well as film songs on demand, every evening.
Hundreds of bougainvillea varieties adorn the garden spread over 20 acres in Sector 3. The creepers cover a wide assortment of arches, pavilions and arcades. The garden, popular for its vibrant colours, was opened in 1976. The annual Bougainvillea Show is held here.
Children's Traffic Park
An area of Leisure valley in Sector 23, is laid out to form roads and intersections for children's traffic park This park designed to teach children the rules of road safety is spread over an area of 121/2 acres. The park, meant for children who are learning to cycle, is equipped with all sorts of road signs. There is also an exhibition hall and lecture-cum-cinema hall in the park.
Fitness Trail & Flower Garden
The physical Fitness Trail Park inaugurated in 1965 in Sector 10 is an ideal place for long walks and physical workouts. It has been developed with a view to enjoy physical exercises along with the beauty of Nature. The trail park was renovated in 1985.
The flower garden which stretches 94 acres is located to the south of the fitness trail. It has seasonal flowering plants and sculptures by renowned artists. An area in the garden have been left for cultural activities.
Shanti Kunj (Abode of Peace) in Sector 16 is situated between the Rose Garden and the Cricket Stadium. This park, a completely noise free area, has a good pathway for walking, under shades and through grass land. Spread over 18 acres of land, the park has different kinds of trees and medicinal plants. The natural stream running through this garden divides the park into 5 areas. There is also an open air stage in Shanti Kunj.
A picturesque botanical garden, located between the Rock Garden and Sukhna Lake in Sector 1 stretches to about 88 acres. The main attraction of this garden is its rock formations, small lily-pools and rare species of plants kept in the green house.
There is another botanical garden in the Punjab University. Cacti, succulent, ever green and exotic plants are arranged in each corner. This is the only place in Chandigarh where beautiful lotus flowers can be seen.
One more botanical garden is being created in Chandigarh covering an area of 117 acres which include medicinal, exotic and indigenous plants species.
Hibiscus Garden covering an area of 8 acres is known for its bright coloured flowers. The garden located in Sector 36, was opened in 1996 and has about 40 different varieties of hibiscus shrubs.
Garden of Fragrance
Garden of Fragrance in Sector 36 is situated of south of the Hibiscus Garden. It is popular for its different varieties of aromatic and fragrant plants like motia, demask roase, mehndi and varieties of jasmine.
Topiary park situated in Sector 35 was opened to public in 1987. The park has many animal and bird figures created out of creepers and bushes, which is a source of amusement for children.