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Places Near Chandigarh

There are several interesting spots to visit short distances from Chandigarh, both in Haryana and Punjab.

The Mansa Devi and Chandi Mandir temples in Panchkula, Haryana are about10 kms from Chandigarh. These ancient temples were pilgrim sites much before Chandigarh was formed. The Mansa Devi temple also has a garden with sacred plants.

The Chhatbir Zoological Park 15 kms from Chandigarh with a collection of animals, birds and reptiles, a lion safari and the Royal Bengal tigers.

Pinjore, 20 kms from Chandigarh on the route to Kalka, is favoured for its Mughal style Yadavindra Gardens. The site is associated with the Hindu epic Mahabharata as one of the spots where the Pandava brothers rested while in exile. Spread over 100 acres, the gardens have three palaces built in the Mughal and Rajasthani styles, and numerous fountains and pavilions. The state tourism department has converted one of the three palaces into a hotel and added an aviary, otter sanctuary and zoo. The hotel also has inexpensive dormitory accommodation and a restaurant with bar.

Ropar, 45 kms and Sanghol, 40 kms from Chandigarh are two archaeological sites, which have revealed artefacts from the Indus Valley civilisation up to the 5th century AD. At Sanghol discoveries include 117 Kushana sculptures and the base of a Buddhist stupa. These two sites are of prime importance in line with the archaeological sites of Mohenjodaro and Harappa, now in Pakistan.

Morni Hills, 45 kms from Chandigarh is a nature park at an altitude of 3,000 feet. It is a good place for rock climbing and trekking. One can also sight wild deer, the langur and rhesus monkeys, leopards and peacocks, from which the forest got its name. There is a small hotel as well as a Forest Department rest house besides other small lodges within the area.

Patiala, 70 kms from Chandigarh is the seat of the princely state of that name. The city has old Mughal style palaces, forts and gardens. The town is also famous for its Sports Institute and has a gallery of medals. The rulers of Patiala were renowned for their ostentatious life-style, and the “Patiala peg” – an extra large peg of whisky is fabled to have originated in the royal household. Patiala is also well known for its handcrafted jutties and the wide-bottomed Patiala salwar. Anandpur Sahib the sacred shrine of the Sikhs is 80 kms from Chandigarh on the road to Manali. The site commemorates the founding of Khalsa sect by the tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh. Anandpur Sahib is one of five seats of religious authority or Takhats, and is a fortified town with gates and ramparts. The other important shrine in Punjab is the Fatehgarh Sahib, in Sirhind 40 kms from Chandigarh. The main Gurudwara commemorates the martyrdom of Guru Gobind Singh’s young sons, who were walled in on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb for not converting to Islam. The Gurudwara Jyot Swarup nearby stands on the spot where the martyrs were cremated.

Kurukshetra the famed battlefield lies 90 kms from Chandigarh. It is here, according to the Mahabharata, that the battle between the two clans of Kauravas and Pandavas was fought. Lord Krishna, an incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu, delivered his sermon, the Bhagavat Gita to the Pandava prince Arjun to motivate him to fight for justice. The Bhagavat Gita is one of the most revered holy texts of the Hindus, and devout Hindus follow its teachings as a guide to good living. The site is now marked with a sacred pool and several temples.

The Bhakra Nangal complex, 116 kms. from Chandigarh has one of the highest dams in the world on the Sutlej river. A major powerhouse that supplies to the northern power grid, the project has a 40 square kilometre reservoir called the Gobind Sagar, with restaurant and boating facilities. Sirhind was also a strategically important town, being the capital of the Suri Sultans. The 16th century fort of Sher Shah Suri includes a hammam (Turkish bath), the Daulat Khana or residence of the rulers and the Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors). A part of the ruins have been converted into a Tourist Complex overlooking a large tank and the Sheesh Mahal. However, most of the complex has been taken over by the Archaeological Survey and it is better to stay at the Tourist Complex (Ph: 01763 – 40170) on the main Grand Trunk road.

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