Top 10 things to do in Chandigarh

Top 10 things to do in Chandigarh, India | I love Chandigarh Symbol India

Are you planning to add Chandigarh to your India bucket list? Wondering what are the top things to do in Chandigarh? Look no further! I’m going to present a detailed itinerary so that you enjoy Chandigarh and don’t miss all the amazing places to visit in Chandigarh

Truly an underrated city in terms of tourism, Chandigarh should be on your India bucket list, why? Because Chandigarh is the only Indian city to find a place in the New York Times’s Places to Go in 2018! Don’t wait till the city becomes the hot spot for the travel industry!


Chandigarh is a unique city in India as it is a single city which is the capital of two states – Punjab & Haryana. Chandigarh is an exceptional city built in a completely planned way, fewer red lights, and more roundabouts to take care of smooth traffic flow. It is shaping up for a small metro city with more IT companies coming and malls & international brands lining up.

Considering being one of the major cities in Punjab & Haryana, the youth from nearby towns and villages usually visit Chandigarh for study, jobs or simply partying in pubs. It’s a shame that Chandigarh is not much highlighted as a place to explore and not just a party destination. When I announced to my family that I’m heading to Chandigarh to explore than blatantly asked me what was there to explore & not in a good way!! That made me more enthusiastic to travel to Chandigarh and rather write about it. So even if you assume that there are no places to visit in Chandigarh, hang on with me!

Chandigarh’s travels may seem underwhelming as compared to other major tourist places in India. So I’m going to present you with the best things to see in Chandigarh. A typical laid-back culture, with typical family outing spots, brands to love to shop from and unique eateries – Chandigarh has it all. I was in Chandigarh for approx 30 hours and I can assure you it is actually less to explore this small yet beautiful town. 

Top 10 things to do in Chandigarh

Explore Rock Garden like a tourist

A name as unique as a Rock Garden, it is surely an intriguing garden which will appeal to your traveller buds. Built initially secretly by Nek Chand in 1957, the Rock Garden is a Sculpture Garden which truly conceptualized the utilization of home & industrial waste. On average 5000 people daily visit the Rock Garden, and the number significantly increases on weekends. I recommend reaching the Rock Garden as early as possible to explore and acknowledge the art in tranquillity. This is my top recommendation for the things to do in Chandigarh which even frequent travellers to the city ignored. 

Rock Garden - Art

The exceptional Rock Garden which started as an illegal garden is now truly the best thing to do in Chandigarh. Spread over 40 acres, the Rock Garden will probably need a day to explore completely. Rock Garden flaunts a form of art never highlighted to this extent in India before this initiative. 

Rock Garden Art

Rock Garden is split into three phases with each phase displaying different types of sculptures. Phase One targets a variety of distorted rocks and discarded objects which are put to display in a captivating demeanour. 

Rock Garden - Rock Art

Phase two is completely in contrast to phase one and looks more like a mini-kingdom in itself. Phase two showcases a huge man-made waterfall, canals and an open theatre.

Rock Garden Waterfall

The waterfall at the Rock Garden is usually the spotlight with the tourists considering a photogenic one. The canal at phase two looks straight out of some historic era which can be easily targeted for a movie shooting – yup that beautiful!

Rock Garden Phase 2 - Canal, Chandigarh India

There are options to go on the other side of the waterfall which will give away a perception of a lost historic kingdom and palace lookalike. 

Phase 2 of Rock Garden Chandigarh

Phase three is the one which was built very late and is slightly disconnected from the main rock garden. There’s an option to skip Phase 3 and exit from the garden but I highly recommend visiting Phase 3 of Rock Garden. Phase 3 will give you a feel of Indian culture with sculptures built completely of waste and from the Indian historic era. 

Rock Garden Phase 3 sculptures Chandigarh India

I couldn’t cover the entire phase 3 as I had to catch a bus back to Delhi. But I strongly recommend going there early to skip crowds and to click better pictures! The entry fee for the Rock Garden is at a flat price of 30₹ for adults (Indians/Non-Indians) and 10INR for children. The Rock Garden opens at 9h00 in the morning and 18h00 in winter and 19h30 in summer


Walk to Open Hand Monument & Capitol Complex

A landmark associated with Chandigarh City is the Open Hand Monument. Designed by Le Corbusier – A Swiss-French architect – the Capitol Complex is a government premise holding the Legislative Assembly, Secretariat, and High Court apart from Open Hand Monument. The Open Hand Monument has caught the trend and is today one of the top things to do in Chandigarh.

The hand monument was gestated as a symbol of openness and a place for the people of Chandigarh to discuss their issues or concerns here. Not more than 55 years old, the Open Hand monument is now a prime attraction in Chandigarh. The famous Open Hand Monument also rotates as per the winds which can be a unique thing to experience. 

things to do in Chandigarh | Secretariat Chandigarh

The entry to Open Hand Monument is free for all, but cars only drop to the main entry. The Open Hand Monument is pleasantly in the centre amid all greenery which will give you ample photographic opportunities. Even on a weekend the Hand Monument barely had any tourists giving me a way to try different camera angles and capture amazing clicks for myself!

things to do in Chandigarh | Open Hand Monument Chandigarh India

Spend the Evening at Sukhna Lake

As Chandigarh was the dream city of India’s first Prime Minister – J.Nehru, the first ever planned city post Independence – the things to see in Chandigarh are mostly manmade. Another major and renowned tourist spot from Chandigarh inviting thousands of tourists from nearby towns is Sukhna Lake for the tourists. Easily one of the peaceful and best things to do in Chandigarh, Sukhna Lake shouldn’t be missed while visiting the capital. Visiting the lake in the evening and enjoying the breeze will be a lovely experience. 

things to do in Chandigarh | Sukhna Lake Chandigarh India

The Sukhna Lake in the foothills of nearby Himachal Pradesh is more of a container storing the rainwater and the water running down from the nearby Himalayas. The same architect – Le Corbusier – designed the 3 km spread Sukhna Lake which is not more than 1 km away from Rock Garden. As opposed to Chilika Lake in Odisha, Sukhna Lake is cleaner and much more organized with a lot of eateries around. Sukhna Lake offers boating starting as early as 9h30 till 18h00 with and entry ticket at 25₹ per person. 

things to do in Chandigarh | Tikki And Tea at Sukhna Lake Chandigarh India

There are a number of eateries at the entry of Sukhna Lake and even some local vendors sell bhelpuri (a salty snack) at a low 10INR. Sitting on the stairs next to the lake bed on a chilly evening with bhelpuri in hand will be a serene experience. Post relaxing at the lake, we came back to the nearby food market to enjoy another Indian snack Tikki with tea to beat the chilly weather. Although tea was far below my expectations and I will not recommend having it there. 

If you’re a photography lover and sunsets and sunrises are your favourite clichés, don’t forget to head to Sukhna Lake early mornings and late evenings! There’s no entry fee for sitting by the lake bed so you can capture lake photographs without spending a penny. 

Shopping in Chandigarh

    Chandigarh is famous in the nearby towns of the entire Punjab and Haryana for being a shopping hub giving credit to its sector 17 markets. A market built in a planned way just like the city, the sector 17 market premises will present you with not only amazing renowned brands but also an amazing café. There’s also a flea market in sector 17 for those who want to shop cheap. Till some years ago sector 17 was the only famous market for people in and around Chandigarh. But once the city came up with Elante Mall, the entire shopping front of Chandigarh was changed forever. With international brands targeting Chandigarh as well, Elante Mall is one of the top things to do in Chandigarh. Although I’m not a mall preacher, we actually went there to beat the chilly winds and ended up having an amazing dinner, more on that below.

    Drive through the planned city

      Chandigarh is one the most planned cities in India, with fewer traffic signals and more roundabouts and the traffic rules followed more than in any other city. It actually feels nice to drive around such a city. You’ll not see any high-rises in Chandigarh but all low-lying architecture is planned in an impressive manner. If you’re an architecture lover, don’t forget to click on those beautiful houses in the city. Chandigarh is loved by the youth for a city well planned & easy to drive in, which is why it’s on my list of amazing things to do in Chandigarh. So, hire a cab or take your car or bike and drive around!

      things to do in Chandigarh | House in Chandigarh India

      Bike-tour in Chandigarh

      Unlike other major cities in Delhi, Chandigarh promotes bike tours. “Chandigarh by Cycle” offers a 3-hour tour of the city revolving around the open hand monument, Sukhna Lake and the museums. If you love to bike, don’t forget to enrol yourself on the tour to visit all the sightseeing places in Chandigarh India. The awesome tour costs 1200 INR for 3 hours with proper safety equipment and well-spoken tour guides. 

      Relish local food

      I am a fan of street food and Chandigarh being influenced by Punjab has a lot of amazing food delicacies to offer. We tried the local chole kulche just half a km before the Sukhna Lake, and undoubtedly they had a unique flavour which I never had in Delhi. I’m a firm believer in supporting local vendors than the big brands. But if you have a weak stomach, I recommend don’t try street food

      things to do in Chandigarh | Chole Kulche at Sukhna Lake Chandigarh India

      Suggested Read – Must Have European Delicacies.

      Visit the City Museum, Government Museum and Art Gallery

      Established in the late 1960s the Government Museum showcases the art from the Indian subcontinent which includes various sculptures, paintings, and much more contemporary Indian art. Although due to lack of time, I couldn’t visit both the museum, I highly recommend keeping at least 2 days for Chandigarh to visit the art galleries from the planned city.

      Walk in the Zakir Hussein Rose Garden

      Named after Zakir Hussein – India’s third President – the Rose Garden is another prime attraction from Chandigarh India. The garden is spread in over 30 acres and has a variety of rose species and was initially started as Botanical Garden. Spot for roses in the garden as there are only a few in bloom. The Rose Garden attracts many tourists so go as early as you can. 

      Explore the International Dolls Museum

      Internationally acclaimed, the Dolls Museum in Chandigarh is one of the best museums in India. The dolls being displayed in the Dolls Museum have been collected from as many as 250 countries. A place for true art lovers, Dolls Museum should be a prime attraction and must-see in Chandigarh India. The tiny dolls or puppets will cheer up your mood and will revive your childhood memories. 

      Related Read – Top things to do in Amritsar, Punjab!

      Best Places to Stay in Chandigarh

      Although I stayed in Mohali which is a suburb of  Chandigarh, I highly recommend staying near the Sector 17 market. Sector 17 is well-connected to the bus depot, the railway station and the markets, eateries and all the other best places to visit in Chandigarh nearby. 

      Some of my recommendations as the best places to stay in Chandigarh and cover all the sightseeing places nearby – 

      Taj Chandigarh – The hotel is right in sector 17 and already a brand name, Taj Chandigarh is my first choice for a hotel in the heart of the city. Not to mention they have facilities like room service, pool, fitness centre, wi-fi, friendly staff shuttle, and an in-house bar and lounge also available. Recommended for couples or families as the best place to stay in Chandigarh!

      James Hotel – Fancy a hotel with a view of the famous rose garden? James Hotel is the best place to stay in Chandigarh when you like to stay in the city centre. If you’re driving to Chandigarh from Delhi, then James Hotel provides free parking and offers bar and pool facilities as well. They also provide shuttles from airports to the guests flying into Chandigarh.  

      Hotel City Heart Premium – Located in the heart of the city Hotel City Heart Premium is another pick for the best place to stay in Chandigarh. A budget hotel with facilities ranging from free wifi, parking and room service, the hotel will be ideal for people looking to stay in the city. 

      JW Marriott Hotel Chandigarh – Another luxurious hotel from Chandigarh City, JW Marriot is another best place to stay in Chandigarh. Located close to sector 17, the 5-star hotel will be a perfect hotel for families with a family room available. I am a fan of luxury, so the outdoor pool and a superb fitness centre are something I look forward to. 

      The Lalit Chandigarh – The Lalit Chandigarh will take you to the calm side of Chandigarh city with all the facilities of a 5-star hotel. The Lalit Chandigarh will be the best place to stay in Chandigarh for those who are willing to spend a relaxing getaway in the city with no stress about staying close to the city centre. 

      Best Places to Eat in Chandigarh

      Chandigarh being the party capital of Punjab, it is undoubtedly a foodie’s paradise and there are a variety of places to eat in Chandigarh. During my short 1.5 days stay in Chandigarh I have tried a variety of restaurants possible. 

      Chaayos for Snacks

      I am through and through a tea person and love our Indian desi chai. After already tried Chayyos in Delhi I love their decor and authentic chai. Desi signature chai and palak patta crispies from Chayyos are my all-time favourites. If you’re in Elate Mall around the Industrial area, don’t forget to stop by my favourite tea outlet from Chandigarh.

      things to do in Chandigarh | Chaayos Snacks Chandigarh India

      The Crown Patisserie for lunch

      On my last day in Chandigarh and after almost 4 hours of exploring the rock garden, we chose “The Crown Patisserie Cafe” based on word of mouth. I can proudly convey that I chose the café and it is surely one of the best places to eat in Chandigarh in the sector 17 market. It’s no secret that I love restaurants with bright decor and friendly staff. The Crown Patisserie got into me with the bright-coloured walls and sitting space, the super friendly staff and the manager. It is thus my top recommendation for the best place to eat in Chandigarh. A detailed review to follow soon.

      things to do in Chandigarh | The Crown Patisserie Cafe Chandigarh - Food - India

      Pyramid for dinner

      For dinner, we chose Pyramid in the Elante Mall over other famous ones like Nando’s, Pyramids of Grill and Chilis. We went in when they lured us to live music and plainly asked us to try it once and allowed us to leave if we didn’t like it. But we didn’t!!

      The live music successfully enticed us and we enjoyed our meals there. Although a non-alcoholic person, their offer of 2 Rio beers at 100INR excited us so we jumped right at it. Live music with cheap flavoured beer, delicious food, and amazing service got their name on the list of the best places to eat in Chandigarh. 

      things to do in Chandigarh | Pyramid Restaurant - Food - Chandigarh India

      How to Reach Chandigarh

      Chandigarh is another upcoming city in Northern India and thus is well-connected through Buses, trains, and flights. Hardly 250 km from Delhi and depending on the chosen medium, the time will vary from 2 hours to 5 hours.  Choosing how to travel in India can be a tricky part, but Chandigarh is easily reachable so here are my tips – 


      If going by road, you may either hire a cab from Delhi which will take not more than 5.5 hours. If opting for buses, I would vouch for the Volvo & rather Mercedes Benz deluxe buses from Haryana Roadways. Volvo is the most convenient bus available in chair cars (with recliners), or sleeper ones. There are other Volvos from Punjab Roadways, but I would choose the comfortable Mercedes Benz buses and timely service. Merc buses don’t take more than 4.5 hours to Chandigarh and this time I mistakenly chose Volvo from Punjab Roadways taking 6 hours.


      If you like Indian trains, I will suggest the premium Shatabdi trains – completely AC with Chair car and First Class options. Shatabdi is the fastest train to Chandigarh taking no more than 4 hours. Don’t opt for other trains, they have a reputation for getting late which can ruin your plans. If you’d like to book online, try using IRCTC for the same, it’s an effective way these days. 


      Chandigarh also has an International airport well-connected through domestic & international airlines. If going via Delhi, the normal airtime will not be more than 50 mins. It will be helpful if you plan to visit Chandigarh in a day. Chandigarh airport is located on the outskirts and will take you to the city in no more than 15-20 mins with hotels nearby. 

      Have you heard about Chandigarh before? Did I tickle your travel buds through these best places to visit in Chandigarh? Do tell.

      Also,  make sure to follow along on my Instagram account for the latest updates and adventures.

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      1. Daksh says:

        This is an excellent guide for anyone planning to visit this beautiful city. The article provides a comprehensive list of the top attractions, activities, and experiences that Chandigarh has to offer. From exploring the stunning architecture of the Capitol Complex to taking a peaceful stroll through the Rock Garden, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The article also includes practical information such as opening hours, admission fees, and transportation options, making it easy for travelers to plan their itinerary. Overall, the Top 10 things to do in Chandigarh is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to make the most of their time in this vibrant and dynamic city.

      2. Lovely post you shared about Chandigarh-the city beautiful.

      3. Very interesting, please share more.

      4. Chandigarhweb says:

        What a Wonderfull Blog..You Shared all the Chandigarh famous places in your blog Thanks for sharing this valuable content.

      5. Great post. Thanks for sharing!!

      6. Chandigarh city is one of the best city in term of tourism. Rock garden is awesome.

      7. I love all these places. All the photographs are also amazing. I will surely visit these places.

      8. From last two years i am living in Chandigarh and successfully explored few of the major locations. Chandigarh is such a serene, beautiful and alluring place to live and visit. I am so in love with this and thinking to stay forever here. I have been to most of the places you mentioned above and experience is par explanation. Now, i am thinking to explore Rock Garden asap and embrace its beauty. Thank you for such a wonderful article.

      9. […] you are coming to Delhi via buses from Agra or Chandigarh, then in most probability you’ll reach Kashmere Gate which again is another major interchange […]

      10. Hey, I am so glad to read your thoughts because I really enjoyed reading this. The way you explain your travel experience is truly awesome.

        1. Shivani says:

          Thank you so much. I am so glad you liked my voice.

      11. […] you’ve come to Delhi via buses maybe from Agra or Chandigarh, then in most probability you’ll reach Kashmere Gate which again is another major interchange […]

      12. I really liked the content you presented on this blog about Chandigarh’s tourist attractions as well as its connectivity, food points and exclusive hotels. However, if someone wants to know more about India’s modern city, I would like you to visit my website.

      13. […] Suggested Read – Top 10 things to do in Chandigarh!! […]

      14. […] Related Read – Top things to do in Chandigarh. […]

      15. […] Have you explored ‘City Beautiful’- Chandigarh?  Know about the best things to do in Chandigarh. […]

      16. What a shame that people seem to value Chandigarh less than other cities. Your photos make it look lovely. I would especially love to explore the rose and rock gardens, and of course, try the local food.

        1. Shivani says:

          I agree 🙂 Glad you liked the place!

      17. This is such a lovely post, the photos are insane. I’d love to visit Chandigarh

        1. Shivani says:

          Glad you liked the place 🙂

      18. I had always wondered as a kid why is a single city the capital of two states! Its true that before I read this post, I did not know about the treasures the Chandigarh had. I had skipped Chandigarh before, but now it will be in my list.

      19. With this article you reminded me time I spent in this area few years ago. Such a beautiful heritage and hopefully I will have a chance to see it again. Thanks for sharing useful tips and great photos.

      20. These are really nice points. I was there for a very short time in Chandigarh and still managed to see this beautiful city! The city is definitely the most well planned I have seen in India!

      21. Kanika gupta says:

        What a fantastic blog! I just recently visited Chandigarh and explored all these places. Who would have thought that this city has so much tourism potential 😍

        1. Shibu S. says:

          I agree, Chandigarh is more than a driving trip 🙂

      22. The Rock Garden is so beautiful! I would go right now…

        1. Shibu S. says:

          It really is 🙂

      23. I can’t believe the rock garden in Chandigarh gets 5,000 visitors a day! It really must be something to see. I like the sculptures in Phase 3. Of course, I would also love to taste the local food.

        1. Shibu S. says:

          Rock Garden is the attraction of the city 🙂

        2. Rock Garden is a sculpture garden fully made of home and industrial waste. The garden was created secretly by a government official Nek Chand. Inter-connected waterfalls in the garden are the most popular sites for taking pictures among the tourists. Indeed it is special in itself and a prime example of unimaginable creativity.

      24. This is such a good guide! I totally want to visit soon, thank you for sharing!

        1. Shibu S. says:

          Glad you liked 🙂

      25. Wow, what a great list of things to do in Chandigarh! I must admit I didn’t know this place – definitely one for the next trip! 🙂
        The Sukhna lake looks so beautiful!

        1. Shibu S. says:

          Yup, a lesser known place from India 🙂 Hope you like it!

      26. […] Chandigarh is capital of Haryana and Punjab, there are some interesting places to visit. Check out Top 10 things to do in Chandigarh. […]

      27. […] ourselves, we planned & started from Delhi to Sangla Valley at night around 22h30. Crossed Chandigarh by 03h30 and once we touched the hilly area the speed dropped by half. We drove non-stop for almost […]

      28. […] the city early had its own benefits – we touched down Chandigarh in almost 3.5 hrs and stopped at a Haldiram’s Restaurant before the town for early breakfast […]

      29. […] is a typical smoothie found in a variety of Indian restaurants. Just a few days ago I had one in Chandigarh, that was way better than and, way thicker than the one at Chilis. So I had my hopes high, so the […]

      30. the food looks amazing. I didn’t know Chandigarh has so many beautiful spots to explore. Loved the detailed post.

        1. Shibu S. says:

          Glad you liked the posts 🙂

      31. I always knew Chandigarh as party city but thanks for introducing other beautiful parts of this city. I would love to explore Rock garden because of unique sculptures. Also eateries around Sukhna lake are so tempting and bhelpuri looks delicious. Loved the detailed list of where to live and where to eat in Chandigarh.

      32. A comprehensive view of my city beautiful…Apart from the places you mentioned, there are many scenic places in the vicinity too which tourists can visit.

        1. Yes, I missed them in the short stay I had. Hope to see them the next time.

      Let me know your thoughts..

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