Chandigarh is home to some beautiful gardens and by far one of the greenest Indian cities. No wonder it is called ‘City Beautiful.’ I love going for my morning walk, and one of my most favourite places is Leisure Valley. Let me take you on a virtual tour through this garden from the perspective of a walking enthusiast!
The moment one steps into the garden, a palpable difference in temperature can be felt, being a few notches below the outside temperature. A whiff of air from the scented trees fills the nostrils and the lilting song of the Koel (Cuckoo bird) welcomes you; immediately lifting the mood and making one feel light and happy.
The leisure valley, sector 10, is a part of an 8 km long stretch around the eroded valley left by a seasonal rivulet (choe) which was retained by the great French architect, Le–Corbusier.The jogging track is flanked by temple plant trees, the ornamental Yellow Oleander trees (peeli kaner) and some young silver oaks. As we walk along we come across an assortment of trees like Amaltas, Bottle brush, Dhak flower trees and Peepal. During April–May, when these trees are flowering, one can see a myriad of colours which is a sight to behold. The Devil’s trees are planted in large numbers.
Walking through the canopy of these trees, a grey hornbill swishes past overhead and settles on a branch above. Several other birds like hoopoe, woodpecker and parrots are often seen. The babbler can be seen hopping on the grasses in small groups creating quite a cacophony.
The topography of the Leisure valley is uneven and that perhaps
adds to the beauty of the place.One can see vast stretches of green from a distance, having a balming effect on the eyes. In the interior of the garden more varieties of trees such as Golden trumpet and Jarul can be spotted. At times I have bumped into a sahtoot tree (mulberry) and got rewarded by its succulent fruit or picked some mogra from the gardenia shrubs for the morning puja! Neatly planted rows of seasonal flowers too dot the garden. My favourite spot in the garden is the Bamboo grove . According to Feng Shui, a wish made under a bamboo shrub is fulfilled. Needless to say, I have my daily quota of wishes to be granted! The picturesque bamboo grove is inspiration for many renowned painters and photographers!
After walking around the garden it is worth while to sit for a few minutes on a favourite bench, breathe deeply and focus on “Pranayam” or sit back and enjoy the tranquil beauty of the place. To quote William Henry Davies from the poem, ‘Leisure’.
“What is this life, if full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass?’
The Leisure valley is a laid back place, quite suitable for people who do not wish to wake up too early in the morning for their walk. It is also not very crowded, so its almost like your own personal farmhouse! I, for one could happily spend the whole day here walking, meditating or simply sitting in a corner reading my favourite book.
It is heartening to note that of late the Chandigarh Municipal corporation is taking pains towards further improvement of the garden. New jogging tracks have been laid and care is being taken to maintain the garden.
All the pictures used in this article are original clicks by Ritu and Anil Nanda