Chandigarh — the first planned modern and green city to be conceived after India’s Independence in 1947 — is rolling out the red carpet for the delegates attending the two-day International Financial Architecture Working Group meeting here on January 30-31 in the run-up to the G20 Summit.
The City Beautiful, planned by the Swiss-French architect and town planner, Le Corbusier, is located some 240 km north of New Delhi at the foothills of the Shivalik range and two seasonal rivulets flowing on its two sides. Famous for its gardens and open spaces, Chandigarh is calling upon the delegates from across the globe to explore nature with all their senses during their stay in the city.
“Go out to the nearby woods or gardens, try your hand at golf or enjoy the beautiful locales of the city, ” suggests an official who is overseeing the arrangement for the meeting, whose delegates were treated to an exhibition match at the Chandigarh Polo Club on Sunday, January 29. As many as 170 delegates are attending the meeting, which has been divided into two sessions. The first will be on strengthening multilateral development banks to address shared global challenges of the 21st century and the second will be on the International Monetary Fund’s 16th General Review of Quotas.
There’s a lot in the city for the delegates to let their hair down. It has three world-class golf courses, starting with the oldest, the Chandigarh Golf Club, and the Chandigarh Golf Association as well as the Panchkula Golf Club. The Chandigarh Golf Club was established in 1960 and it has produced champion golfers, notably Jeev Milkha Singh and Irina Brar.
“We are expecting an enormous response to playing golf from the delegates, ” added the official, who did not want to be named as he’s not authorised to speak to the media.
Adjacent to the Chandigarh Golf Club is the rain-fed manmade Sukhna Lake with the Kasauli hills and lower Shivalik hills in the backdrop.
Conceptualised by Le Corbusier as a tranquil and serene space, the Sukhna Lake, the most popular tourist spot and home to many species of winter migratory birds, was created in 1958 by damming the Sukhna Choe, a seasonal stream coming down from the Shivalik Hills.
The lake, the heart and soul of the city, is situated in the VIP area of Chandigarh, with the governors of Haryana and Punjab, senior officers of the administration and affluent people residing in its vicinity.
Close to the lake is the fairyland known globally as the Rock Garden, whose creator Nek Chand’s world of fantasy has put the City Beautiful on the world tourist map.
The Rock Garden explores a different side of human artistry. Thousands of animal and humanoid figures made out of multicoloured useless stones, industrial and urban waste, and other throwaways are the main attractions of Nek Chand’s unique creation.