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Posted at: Jan 6, 2018, 12:50 AM; last updated: Jan 6, 2018, 12:50 AM (IST)

Destination Chandigarh

This year, Chandigarh has many reasons to see a boost in tourism; courtesy, UT administration’s interesting initiatives

Gurnaaz Kaur

While it is no secret that this planned paradise we call Chandigarh has a great balance between city life and serenity, that nature shines here like nowhere else, and that there’s a lot of heritage the city residents can take pride in, 2018 promises to be a year which will surprise both the tourists and locals alike.

Here’s a look at some of the interesting offerings in store for you:

Love for nature

When one thinks about Chandigarh, the first place that strikes the mind is Sukhna Lake, and most go there for a walk, jog or boating. But there’s something even more natural and beautiful that demands to be explored around this water body. “Not many know the wildlife sanctuary that is about 2 km from the lake. In this huge forest, one is likely to encounter sambar, jungle fowl and many other animals. It is home to many birds and reptiles. This delight for the nature lovers will be promoted in this year and we’ll organise dedicated tours for that. Thousands of migratory birds flock to Sukhna from other countries and this is a big attraction. Therefore, we are installing binoculars for avian enthusiasts,” shares Santosh Kumar, chief conservator of forests-cum-wildlife. 

That’s not all. Kumar informed that there are going to be cycling events every month to promote healthy living and pollution-free city. Also, the cherry on the cake will be the solar boats that are going to start off this year.

Heritage highlight

Revisiting the elements that existed before a city took shape can be quite fascinating. The UT Administration has been working towards preserving some of those elements and it will be showcasing them yet again with a heritage tree tour starting this year. 

“Tree lovers would be happy to know that we are starting with a tree tour to show 31 trees that have been there even before this city was born,” reveals Kumar.

Foodies’ paradise

In a city that boasts of French architecture, how would it be to have a French feel to our coffees and snacks? “There is a plan to introduce French coffee bus that will serve coffee and snacks around the city. It’s themed to highlight Le Corbusier’s works,” tells Uma Shankar Gupta, general manager of CITCO. 

CITCO hotels are a hit among city folks and tourists and there are going to be some surprises at these properties too. “We are revamping the kitchens at our restaurants. You’ll now be able to see how the chefs prepare the scrumptious meals for you as there will be open kitchens soon,” shares Gupta. Besides this, there are plans to revise menus and have a website full of photographs and information about CITCO and the city at large.

Travelers’ haven

The administration has a lot in the pipeline to make a visit to this city a memorable one. “There are so many places around the city that are must-visits. For instance, there is Timber Trail, Kasauli, Shimla, Kasol, Barog, Bharatgarh Fort, Amritsar, Ludhiana et al. We will now be introducing packages with the help of which travelers and tourists get to live in and around Chandigarh,” explains Gupta. 

“These are not just strategies to promote tourism but to promise a fulfilling experience for our visitors,” Gupta affirms.

Art, Architecture andaesthetics

Art aficionados and music connoisseurs also have a lot to look forward to in 2018. The Government Museum and Art Gallery has lined up an exhibition, titled Musical Landscapes and The Goddess of Music. “The exhibition will unravel advances in the interactive art through an exploration of science, art and spirituality of music and its reflection in the goddess images across Asian cultures,” educates Seema Gera, curator at the museum. There are also plans to bring out a catalogue of all modern and contemporary art collections. “We will be having workshops with school children. These workshops will be centred on the Gandhara collection. Exhibitions of our archival photographs and documents tracing the history of our museum and collection are also being scheduled,” she concludes. 

Collaboration between the museum and the Heritage Lab is also on the cards. And social media will be all up-to-date and active for you to stay abreast.

Structure and ambience

On the infrastructural front, the changes in Chandigarh will include increasing the number of cycle tracks to 150; implementing more projects for monitoring air quality; making Chandigarh 100 per cent renewable energy powered and a renovation of the Capitol Complex—a UNESCO World Heritage site.

So, take out and mark your 2018 calendar, for, now you have many new reasons to explore and enjoy this City Beautiful.

gurnaaz@tribunemail.com

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