Known as the lungs of the city, the Leisure Valley in Chandigarh is a perfect place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life. It was Le Corbusier’s endeavor to create such a place where people can enjoy a clean environment and breathe in fresh air.
The valley basically comprises of various theme gardens. Leisure Valley was actually an eroded valley that was sculptured into a park by Le Corbusier. This Valley is now over 8 kms long that covers the area all the way from Sector-1 in the north to the southern most edge of Chandigarh in Sector-53. With a total of 12 parks the most visited gardens include the Rose Garden, Botanical Garden, Smriti Upvan, Habiscus Garden, Topiary Park, Terrace garden, Fitness Trails and Shanti Kunj amongst others. Each park and garden in the Valley possesses a different name and boasts of some specialty.
To begin with, the first park in Sector-1 is the Rajendra Park. The landscape scheme of this park was designed by Le Corbusier himself and it extends to about 400 acres. Marking the onset of the Valley, the park was started in 1954 with the sole purpose of providing a park extensively for walking tours, driving and horse riding. The scenery is beautified with round canopies trees and evergreen foliage to give it a perfect sight.
Then there is Bougainvillea Garden in Sector-3. Opened in 1976, the garden spreads over an area of 20 acres and is devoted precisely to hundreds of varieties of bougainvillea with a few flowering trees being planted to give colourful effect during flowering time.
As the saying goes, “A healthy mind resides in a healthy body,” the valley also caters to the needs of the health freaks. With Fitness Trails in Sector-10, the valley provides an ideal place for long walks, physical workouts and yoga amidst nature. Having a Flower Garden to its south with seasonal flowers and sculptures by renowned artists, the area is beautiful to spend time and relax. The park also has areas for organizing cultural activities etc.
The Zakir Rose Garden in Sector-16 ensures that no variety of roses is missing from their collection. Named after India’s former President Dr. Zakir Hussain, the garden was established in 1967 under the guidance of Chandigarh’s first Chief Commissioner, Late Dr. M.S. Randhawa. The garden spreads over an area of 27 acres and has more than 17000 plants, which represent some 1600 varieties of roses. Along with roses some trees of medicinal value, like bel, bahera, harar etc, are also grown here.
Sector-16 has a garden named Shanti Kunj that was created with a purpose of having a completely noise-free area in the city. The natural stream running through this garden divides it into five areas; with each area containing different kinds of trees, like medicinal plants, vertical shaped trees, flowering trees, trees for shade etc.
Situated in Sector-36 is the Hibiscus Garden. Symbolic of a delicate beauty this Hibiscus flower garden was opened in the year 1974 covering an area of 8 acres and housing 40 different varieties of hibiscus. Being in Sector-36 you may also check out the Garden of Fragrance. This garden is situated to the south of the Hibiscus garden and is the best place to get lost in the aroma of plants and flowers like Raat ki Rani, Jasmine, Damask Rose, etc.
Children Traffic Park in Sector-23 has been constructed in the shape of roads with miniature form of traffic lights where kids can enjoy cycling and learn traffic rules.
The Smriti Upavan in Sector-1 is an area reserved for planting trees in the loving memory of the departed souls. It was inaugurated on November 14, 1998, by planting a banyan tree in the memory of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. Every tree in the park stands in the name of a departed soul.
The Botanical Gardens in Sector-14 are the major tourist attractions of the valley. There are two of them with one spreading over 88 acres, and having rock formations and small lily-pools as its main attraction, and the second garden is situated in the Punjab University and has Cacti, lotus, evergreen and exotic plants as its specialties. The third one is still under construction.
You can also visit a small valley spreading over 10 acres and running through Sector- 33 has been developed into a Terraced Garden since 1979. Its main attraction is an illuminated musical fountain to entertain the visitors.
Topiary Park in Sector-35 was opened in 1987 with creepers shaped out into various animal shapes as its major attraction.
Your visit to the valley would be incomplete without a visit to the very well-known Rock Garden. This garden showcases a unique collection of rocks, boulders and art work made from industrial and urban waste.
The Leisure Valley is truly one of the best attempts to provide people with a chance to enjoy the beauty of nature. This place promises a guaranteed relaxation of both the body and soul and offers one just what is needed to get rejuvenated.