Chandigarh is a modern city with a pre-historic past. The gently sloping plain on which modern Chandigarh exists, was in the aeons past, when the Himalayas were young, a wide lake ringed by a marsh. The fossil remains found at the site testify to a large variety of aquatic and amphibian life which that environment supported. Some 8000 years ago Chandigarh was home to the Harappans. Their potsherds, stone implements, ornamentals and copper arrow-heads unearthed during the excavation in 1950s and 1960s testify this. Area near the Church of Sector 18, Sunbeam Hotel, Sector 22 , Indira Holiday Home, Sector 24, CII Complex, Sector 31 etc. were some of the sites from where a lot of relics of Harappans Civilization were found and excavated.
Chandigarh was conceived as the capital of Punjab, in lieu of its lost capital at Lahore after the partition of the country in 1947. But Punjab was divided a second time in 1966, and Chandigarh is today the capital of the states of both Punjab and Haryana. However, the city does not belong to either. Chandigarh is now a Union Territory, administered by the Government of India.
On the south eastern boundary of the city is the seasonal rivulet Sukhana choe. Water through it used to flow away in the rainy season. The planner of the city through their imagination, created a lake by obstructing the flow of rain water through the Sukhana Choe. A three and half km long dam was built to create a reservoir of water. Now known as Sukhna Lake. People generally come here for a morning or evening walk. It consists of an eating place, children’s park. It also has facility for boating and rafting for the adventure seekers. A major hit with children and grown-ups alike. At one end of the Lake are the premises of Lake Club. The club management takes care to provide facilities for water sports and recreational activities. Water sports become annual feature. Environment friendly people of Chandigarh take part in its disilting operation every year.
In the heart of the city, is located Sector 17. This is the main shopping center of the city though there are many government and private offices also. This commercial centre is fully pedestrianised. Here, the residents shop, lounge around or simply relax in the beautiful surroundings to enjoy the various fashion houses located here. Big showrooms and excellent departmental stores cater to the needs of shoppers. In evenings, one can see the crowd walking around here and there. The ultimate lightning effects are visible during the evenings.
Next to Sukhana Lake there is a unique but a world famous fantasy in the city of Chandigarh, called Rock Garden. Situated in the thick forest area, this gardens hold its own charms for the visitors. It is full of objects built from household and industrial waste. There are no flowers or plants in this garden. The object to be seen there are the figure made of raw cement resembling humans and animals. These figures have been decorated with broken but colourful odds and ends of China clay. As one looks at them with deep intent, they seem to be staring as the visitors. They seem to be engaged in various activities. There are group of dancing damsels made from bicycle and motorcycle's waste materials, marching armies of warriors resting flying or fledging birds made from countless bite of broken glass. There are groups of music bands engaged in their activity of entertaining the visitors. Its creator also needs a mention.
The garden was visualised by Sh. Nek Chand. He belong from gurdaspur district in Punjab province. He started his life in PWD as labourer, but late rose to high ranks. He came to Chandigarh as Road Inspector. His deep visualization made him to pick and collect all sorts of discarded scrap. He started to visit waste dumps of the factories. He collected there raw cement, broken pipes and other discarded matter. He created rapport with the truck drivers who carried and drop his debris at a vacant corner of the forest where now this unique creation stands. For twelve years he worked hard alone on this unique fantasy. After twelve years the work of Nek Chand noticed by Government. He was giving deserving patronage. An area of twelve acres was allotted for the extension of the original Rock Garden. Even funds were provided for carrying on the work.
Next to city centre, in sector 16 is situated Zakir Hussein Rose Garden Asia's largest Rose Garden and is spreaded over 30 acres of land having over 1600 different species or roses. These have been planted beautifully carved out lawns and flowers beds. Like the cultural zone which is just across the road in Sector 10, this was also planned by Dr. M.S. Randhawa as his interest in horticulture and fondness for flowers was profuse. Every year, either at the end of February or beginning of March, a big festival known as Rose Festival, is celebrated at this garden. Over 20,000 people visit this festival. Its one of the great celebrations in the city. There are lots of competitions, cultural celebrations and many other events.