Kasauli (77 km from Chandigarh)
For people sick of the hum-drum life of the city and looking for a peaceful weekend, the best place to head for is Kasauli. A charming little hill station, situated at a height of 1928 metres, Kasauli is visible from any part in Chandigarh. With hardly any traffic, Kasauli is one of the quietest hill stations in India, and it this quietude that makes a serene, soothing weekend possible. Densely covered with pine and oak trees, this picturesque town rejuvenate one's spirits fully.
Pinjore Yadavindra Gardens
(20 kms from Chandigarh on the Pinjore Kalka Road)
This is a traditional Mughal garden, created in the 17th century by Nawab Fidal Khan, architect to the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. According to Hindu mythology, the Pandava brothers rested at this place during their exile. The gardens are laid out over more than 100 acres on a sloping site with fountains and pavilions. It is open on all days and accommodation is available at Rang Mahal and Sheesh Mahal.
Bhima Devi Temple
(22 kms from Chandigarh on the Pinjore Kalka Road)
The shrine, a part of the Panchayatan group of temples, dates back to the 11th and 14th centuries. Ancient idols unearthed from this spot are on display.
(15 kms from Chandigarh on the Chandigarh-Patiala Road)
The zoo spreads over an extensive wooded area on the banks of the Ghaggar river. More than 100 different types of mammals, birds and reptiles are kept at the zoo. It also has a large population of lions and tigers, which can be viewed from safari vehicles.
This unique garden laid out over several acres in the heart of Panchkula contains hundreds of species of cacti and succulents, some of which are extremely rare. The garden attracts not only tourists but also botanists.
Mansa Devi & Chandi Mandir
(10 kms from Chandigarh in Panchkula)
These two temples were pilgrimage spots long before Chandigarh came into being. These temples are typical examples of North Indian temple architecture. Attached to the Mansa Devi Temple is a large garden of sacred plants.
(116 km from Chandigarh) Built over the Satluj River, it is the highest dam of its kind in the world. The hydroelectric station here provides power not only for Chandigarh but also for Delhi and many other cities. A 40 square km reservoir, the Gobind Sagar stretches out behind the dam. Restaurant, boating facilities and accommodation are available.
(23 kms from Chandigarh)
This high spur of the Shivaliks is a protected forest and a favourite spot for trekkers and nature lovers. One can definitely expect to see peacocks, rhesus monkeys and langoors. Take the help of a Forest Ranger to get a glimpse of Nilgai and Sambhar and Leopards. Several hotels, including Mountain Quail run by the Haryana Tourism Corporation offer accommodation.
(107 kms from Chandigarh)
Built by the Maharaja of Patiala as a summer palace, Chail is now a posh hotel. Chail boasts of the world's highest cricket pitch in addition to superb views of the mountains.
(107 kms from Chandigarh)
This sprawling hill town, now the capital of Himachal Pradesh, was British India's summer capital. Excellent bus service makes it easily accessible from Chandigarh or one can travel by a charming metre gauge train. Shimla's attractions include the Mall, the Ridge, scores of grand old buildings including the Vice regal Lodge (now the Institute of Advanced Studies), the Jakhoo Temple with its hordes of monkeys, the thickly wooded Glen and Chadwick Falls, Annadale grounds and the Tibetan Bazaar. It is a major tourist destination and one will find plenty of accommodation and travel services.