Chandigarh also known as the Garden city of India, has good collection of beautifully maintained gardens as integral part of the master plan which laid immense importance to provide its residents the atmosphere which keeps them in touch with infinite cosmos and nature. Chandigarh has the distinction of having world acclaimed Rock Garden and Asia's largest Rose Garden which are very popular spots of tourist attraction. Some of the other famous gardens of North India in and around Chandigarh are Cactus Garden (Asia's largest outdoor landscaped Cacti and Succulents Garden), Pinjore Gardens (has great historical significance), Leisure Valley, Terrace Garden etc.
Rock Garden is probably Chandigarh's premier attraction, a popular spot for tourists. It was created by Nek Chand Saini, a resident of the city, in 1958. The urban waste material like bottles, tin cans, broken plugs, plates, saucers was turned into creative patterns and textures, mute rocks turned into art objects. A visit to the Rock Garden is a must for all the tourists travelling to Chandigarh. The first phase of the rock Garden is a small canyon. The canyon opens into a series of chambers, each one filled with scores of human and animal forms in concrete and broken ceramic or glass. The park is open daily from April to September between 9 AM to 1 PM and 3 PM to 7 PM. Between October and March, it is open from 9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 6 PM.
Also known as Zakir Rose Garden is Asia's largest rose garden. It is in sector 16 next to the city's cricket stadium. Spread over 30 acres the Rose Garden has over 50,000 rose-trees of 1600 species. It was named after India's former President, Zakir Hussain. Alongwith the roses emphasis was also given on the trees of medicinal value and some unique specimen trees. Fountains and bright lights enhance its beauty at night and provide a breath of fresh air to all who come to enjoy a walk and unwind. This garden is the venue of the annual Festival of Gardens (Rose Festival).
The Leisure Valley starts from the foothills in Sector 1 in Rajendra Park, commonly used for long walks, outdoor yoga, learning to drive, and horse riding. It stretches to the 20 acre Garden of Bougainvilleas in Sector 3, known for its brilliant colours, and crosses over to Sector 10.
Crossing the Madhya Marg one enters the world famous Rose Garden in sector 16. Besides the usual nature lovers and strollers, this garden regales the citizens every year at the time of the Rose festival to mark the arrival of spring. Crossing the middle road one enters Shanti Kunj which has been developed to create the atmosphere of a Japanese style garden.
As one enters sector 23, the Leisure Valley takes a curvaceous turn, which has dictated the shape of this sector. Here one encounters the Bal Bhawan, the open-air theatre and a traffic park. This park has been put up to train children to cope with the intricacies of city traffic. Crossing Dakshin Marg one enters sector 36 of the second phase. Although this area is still under the development, it already contains a Hibiscus garden and in sector 42 a garden of rare plants is being developed.
Botanical Garden is in sector 1, between the Rock Garden and Sukhna Lake. The Botanical garden is spread over 88 acres. Its rockeries, lily-pools, and the rare species covered in green houses draw garden lovers as well as botanists.
Pinjore Gardens, also called Yadavindra Gardens are 20 km from Chandigarh, 15 km from Panchkula, on the Chandigarh Shimla Road has great historical significance. It was designed by Fidai khan, a cousin of Aurangzeb. It is one of the most popular picnic spots of this entire region. According to Hindu mythology, the Pandava brothers rested at this place during their exile. The gardens are laid out over more than 100 acres on a sloping site with fountains and pavilions. A mini zoo, plants nursery, a Japanese garden, historic palaces, picnic lawns and Guest house offer tourists great options for leisure in this small city around garden. Especially at weekends, fountains are switched on and after dusk, lights glorify the beauty of historical palaces by night.
A small valley running the length of the sector has been developed into a terraced flower garden and a garden for walkers with an illuminated musical fountain. The garden is the venue for the annual Chrysanthemum Show. It is spread over 10 acres. It was started in 1979.
Cactus Garden Renamed as National Cactus and Succulent Botanical Garden and Research Centre situated in the heart of the city Panchkula, Satellite town of Chandigarh City. The objective behind developing the garden was preservation and conservation of endangered species of cacti and succulents and to create Tourist attraction. Covering an area of 7 Acres it is considered as Asia's largest outdoor landscaped cacti and Succulents Garden with over 2500 species of Cacti & succulents. The garden has comprehensive collection of Indian succulents, the largest in the world, some of them extremely rare and have already been declared as endangered species, which includes complete collection of Genus Caralluma of Indian origin. The garden has three green houses. The cacti and succulents also have medical values. Indian succulents are being used in Ayurveda and Unani medicines for centuries. It is a great source of attraction for not only only tourists but also for botanists.
It is a vast stretch of land of about 400 acres which has been left in its natural state, resembling the land of a village common. Le Corbusier himself designed the landscape scheme of this park. Trees with round canopies and of ever green foliage have been planted here, punctuated by a few groups of flowering species. It was started in 1954. Sporting events such as horse shows are held here from time to time.
Smriti means "remembrance" and Upavan means "forest". This is a forest where every tree commemorates someone who is no more. This space in sector 1 has been set aside to allow the people to plant trees in memory of the deceased. The resultant forest is intended to be a place of silence and remembrance. It was formally inaugurated on 14 November, 1988 (Children's Day) when the then Adviser Sh. Ashok Pradhan planted a banyan tree in the memory of the first Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru.
Shanti Kunj means "Abode of Peace". It is situated between the Rose Garden and the Cricket Stadium in Sector 16. Trees, pools and streams crossed by curved bridges and a large number of meditation nooks define this garden. This is completely a noise free area with natural undulations and therefore aptly named Shanti Kunj. There is also an open air stage here. The natural stream running through this garden divides the park into 5 areas. The 5 parts of the garden depict different kinds of trees such as medicinal plants, vertical shaped trees, flowering trees, trees for shade and environmentally suitable trees.