Chandigarh Travel Blog

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Tonico salesman.


I could say that now the trip has started. I feel not like on a holiday, now I feel I’m travelling.  And with this spirit we decided to move to MacLeod Ganj, to the town of the Tibetan Government in exile. But before this we have to see Chandigarh, which is the idea of a new India made through this city.
We jumped on a bus in Haridwar that took 6 hours to reach the city. In India there are no timetables for buses. Someone knows that there are some buses, and you have to wait for one with a guy shouting the destinations from the doors that are always open (also during the trip). The bus was ISD (Indian Standard Dirty); noisy but safe, and that is very very important to consider while travelling in India.
We started and finished the trip at the terminal station, but during the trip some people run and jumped on the bus, because here bus stops are not made to let the bus stop, only to make it slow down, and some of these people entertained us with while sponsoring their products, as “Magic Tonic” (but not as efficient as Chiavassi Tonic is, you know), or other stuff.

Finally we reached Chandigarh. To give a new capital to Punjab (the state of the sikh, the people that wears turbans and have independency aims from India), Nehru and the government asked to the great philosopher-architect Le Corbusier to create a perfect city.  The result is double and opposite, as I saw it:

1.    A perfect idea can be completely destroyed if the people don’t have the knowledge of how to do and the culture to maintain.
Le Corbusier style

2.    When people are used to the chaos, a perfect idea can bring to something good, but nothing more.

So in Chandigarh everything appears like in India: in black and white, covered with dust or born old and consumed, you can choose it.

Unless these considerations, we had a funny day through bureaucracy. To visit the Le Corbusier’s Capitol complex, we needed first a request from the tourist office, then a permission to enter from the gate, then a permission to go upstairs from the security chief, a permission to go on the roof from the “chief of the sector”, but in the end we were missing a permission to exit. I spent an hour wandering up and down inside the lift and through the corridors filled with a huge amount of paper and not-so-hardworking people with the passport in my hand and a guard besides me.
How hard can it be to cut grass in India..

The last moment in the afternoon was for a nice walk in Nek Chand’s Rock Fantasy Garden; an Antoni-Gaudi-inspired place that a fantastic man created from his fantasy. Unbelievable.


Chandigarh was a really interesting place to see not only because it was a modernist project of Le Corbusier but also because it is probably the richest city in India. Chandigarh is the capital of two states, Punjab and Haryana. The main religion in Punjab is sikh while the main religion in Haryana is Hinduism. This fact is quite important because sikh people are really hardworking which you can see from the wealth of Chandigarh.

First thing you notice when arriving in Chandigarh is the cleanliness, direct roads and Western shops.
Entering in Rock Fantasy Garden with this tiny ticket counter
They say it’s the greenest and cleanest city in India and I don’t doubt it at all. But still it’s India, so the traffic is crazy (though not even close to the chaos of Delhi) full of rickshaws etc. Many people criticise Chandigarh exactly because of this that it’s not the real India, but for me it felt a good change to see some Western order and cleanliness.

We spent only one night in Chandigarh because in the end the things to see there are not that many. The most interesting thing to see there was the Rock Fantasy Garden, which Nico mentioned already. The story behind this place was that this one guy Nek Chand had been collecting garbage from the area of Chandigarh for fifteen years until the local police figured it out. During these years Nek had built figures and all things you can imagine from that stuff and created this kind of magic world.
The policemen saw this and they made him continue and opened this place for the public. Still now when Nek is like 80-years-old you can find him inside the park. This place was really great and incredible sight to see.

Chadigarh was to be seen but the people there left a little bit of bitter taste. Not that they were not nice, they really were, but while we ended up discussing with them it seemed that in this city as they have money they can see in what kind of misery they do have around them in India. Everybody was talking about Europe as paradise. For me it seemed that people were a lot happier in Rishikesh being poor and having only religion with them.

rarungta says:
Too bad that people like you waste their hard earned dough and a few days of your lives in dust, poverty and uncleanliness to acccomplish just one object ...trash everything about India: its poverty, people, grass and even its
Sadly people like you are so deeply entrenched in the material filth of your lives that you're unable to see and appreciate what India has to offer to the entire world. That inspite of your going to places like rishikesh and attending the yoga camps. But to be honest, your takeaway from it was nil and that is the saddest part. Yoga is not a set of fancy breathing exercises which impacts your physical and mental well being and which you can show off to your brethren in whatever country you come from. It is one of the tools to realize your spiritual existence, yes one of the most bandied words around. But understanding the philosophy of the age old vedic literature requires one's elevation to a transcendental plane of conciousness and elevation to that plane requires freeing oneself from the material energy. Yoga or meditation is one of the tools prescribed by our ancient wisdom to do just that. One cannot expect people like you (who cannot even exhibit the graciousness of a guest or would even struggle to multiply a 2 digit number with another 2 digit number) to reach those levels of conciousness but what is surprising is when presented with an opportunity to do so by the more learned people of India, still came back whinning about the heat and the dust.
Probably this is what god intended for you but the saddest part is that your reviews will end up misguiding the minds of those who were sincere in exploring the world of mysticism beyond the usual pursual of better standards of material living, sleeping,mating and defending which has been likened to a level of conciousness equal to that of an animal existence by our sacred texts.

Hare Krishna!
Posted on: Jul 11, 2009
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Tonico salesman.
Tonico salesman.
Le Corbusier style
Le Corbusier style
How hard can it be to cut grass in…
How hard can it be to cut grass i…
Entering in Rock Fantasy Garden wi…
Entering in Rock Fantasy Garden w…
All these figures are made from ga…
All these figures are made from g…