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Leisure Valley

Place : Chandigarh
Significance : A a perfect place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Best Season : February and March
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Sprawled over an area of 300 acres, Leisure Valley, an untouched natural green terrain, runs through the length of the city abounding in gardens, is a perfect place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Also known as the lungs of the city, it was Le Corbusier, an architect, widely considered as one of the most influential architects of the 20th century, who developed this place for people to enjoy a clean environment and breathe in fresh air.

The valley basically comprises 12 various theme gardens and parks namely, Shanti Kunj, Smriti Upvan, Habiscus Garden, Topiary Park, Terrace garden, Fitness Trails, Moonlight Garden, Garden of Bougainvillea, Garden of Unusual Plants etc. The most notable being the Rose Garden. Named after the late President Zakir Hussain, the Garden in Sector 16 is the biggest in Asia, crisis - crossing 30 acres with 1,500 varieties of roses.

The Leisure Valley starts from the foothills in Sector 1 in the north and leaves Chandigarh at its southern most edge in sector 53.

In Leisure Valley, the first park in Sector-1 is the Rajendra Park. The landscape scheme of this park was designed by Le Corbusier himself. Started in 1954, it is commonly used for long walks, outdoor yoga, learning to drive and horse riding. The area of this stretch to about 400 acres. There are mangoes, peaches and plum trees in the park. Sporting events such as Horse shows are held here from time to time.

Then there is Bougainvillea Garden in Sector-3. The garden, popular for its vibrant colours started in 1976. It spreads over an area of 20 acres. Hundreds of bougainvillea varieties adorn this garden. The creepers cover a wide assortment of arches, pavilions and arcades. The annual Bougainvillea Show is held here.

Fitness Trail Flower Garden in Sector-10, provides an ideal place for long walks, physical workouts and yoga amidst nature. Started in 1965, it has been developed with a view to enjoy physical exercises along with the beauty of Nature. The trail park was renovated in 1985. There is a flower garden which stretches 94 acres is located to the south of the fitness trail. It has seasonal flowering plants and sculptures by renowned artists. The park also has areas for organizing cultural activities etc.

The Zakir Rose Garden in Sector-16 is claimed to be Asia's largest Rose garden. Named after the 3rd President of India, Dr. Zakir Hussain, this beautiful garden was set up in 1967. Created under the expert guidance of Dr M.S. Randhawa, Chandigarh's first Chief Commissioner, it is claimed to be Asia's largest Rose garden.

Spread over an area of 46 acres and divided into 10 different sections. The garden has over 20,000 plants of 1,600 varieties. The best time to visit in month of Febrauary - March when all plants are in full bloom with flowers and busily buzzing bees and birds. The rose plants have been planted in carved-out lawns and flower beds.

The rose collection has 50,000 rose-bushes of 1600 different species which include natural as well as hybrid varieties developed through tissue culture. Along with the roses, medicinal trees like bel, bahera, harar etc and unique specimen trees, shrubs and climbers are also seen here which enhance the beauty of the garden. Every year a 'Rose Festival' is celebrated at the rose garden, either at the end of February or the beginning of March. It is one of the main cultural events of the city which draws thousands of visitors. There are lots of competitions, cultural celebrations and many other events. Best time to visit the rose garden is during February- March when the plants are in full bloom. Fountains and bright lights enhance its beauty at night.

Sector-16 has a garden named Shanti Kunj (Abode of Peace) which is created with a purpose of having a completely noise-free area in the city. It is situated between the Rose Garden and the Cricket Stadium. Spread over 18 acres of land, 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. It has a good pathway for walking, under shades and through grass land. There is also an open air stage in Shanti Kunj.

Situated in Sector-36 is the Hibiscus Garden. Covers an area of 8 acres, it is known for its bright coloured flowers. The garden was opened in 1996 and has about 40 different varieties of hibiscus shrubs. In Sector-36, another garden is there, known as the Garden of Fragrance. It is situated to the south of the Hibiscus garden and it is popular for its different varieties of aromatic and fragrant plants like motia, demask roase, mehndi and varieties of jasmine.

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 the rules of road safety. Spread over an area of 121 acres, the park is equipped with all sorts of road signs. There is also an exhibition hall and lecture-cum-cinema hall in the park.

The Smriti Upavan in Sector-1 is situated between Rock Garden and Sukhna Lake. Smriti means 'remembrance' and Upavan means 'forest'. The area is reserved for planting trees in memory of the departed souls. It was inaugurated on November 14, 1998, by planting a banyan tree in the memory of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru. Every tree in the park stands in the name of a departed soul.

The Botanical Gardens in Sector-14 is the the major tourist attractions of the valley. Located between the Rock Garden and Sukhna Lake, it stretches to about 88 acres. This is the only place in Chandigarh where beautiful lotus flowers can be seen.

Started in 1979, Terraced Garden in Sector- 33, is the venue for the annual Chrysanthemum Show which is held in December. This is one of the many gardens in Chandigarh that provides a serene and quiet area for meditation. It is divided into three sections and is beautifully arranged with hundreds of varieties of flowering plants. Its main attraction is an illuminated musical fountain to entertain the visitors.There is also an illuminated musical fountain which plays folk songs as well as film songs on demand, every evening.

Opened to public in 1987, Topiary Park in Sector-35, has creepers shaped out into various animal shapes, which is a source of amusement for children.

The best time to visit the Leisure Valley is between February and March during the blooming season of the flowers. One can also attend various annual shows during this time including the Festival of Gardens.

Leisure Valley premises is also the venue for Chandigarh Carnival. It is a three days long mega event mainly aimed at promoting the budding talent. It is held every year in the month of November, usually hosted in Sector 10.