If you are planning a road trip to the north and then driving through the cities of Amritsar and Chandigarh, we’d say that’s a great idea. Join us as we take you around to marvel at these scenic cities that make driving a pleasure
WORDS: AMOGH PUROHIT
opular across the world for amazing food, high-energy dances and bountiful fields, Amritsar is a delight to visit. Like all tourists the first instinct is to visit the Harmandir Sahib or popularly known as the ‘Golden temple’. But on your way to the temple, passing through the lively lanes you will be drawn to the attractive shops that bustle with buyers. These shopping and eating friendly streets are a common sight in Amritsar.
Conveniently located on the historic Grand Trunk Road (GT Road), also known as National Highway 1, Amritsar is very well connected by road network of the north and driving down to the city is much simpler.
Especially with the government spending close to Rs 450 million to convert the Amritsar-Jalandhar stretch of the GT Road into four lanes. An elevated road connects the national highway to the Golden Temple just in case you were coming from further away and in a hurry to visit the Temple. Buses run to and fro from many neighbouring cities and towns. Within the city there are cabs, auto-rickshaws and buses that take you around the winding streets.
The Amritsar Metro bus or the BRTS is relatively new and is aimed at reducing traffic and air pollution.
The Government of Punjab has pledged Rs 580 crore for development of the BRTS.
Although work is still in progress in some areas, people have already started loving this new speedy way of getting around the city.
But as we step out of the city, the Amritsar-Sri Ganganagar National Highway (NH-15) is giving commuters a tough time. The 3km stretch has a number of potholes and is always busy with blaring traffic. The highway is an important route to connect to the southern part of the country. The narrow road doesn’t allow buses and trucks to pass.
So if you’re taking this route during peak hours, you’re asking for trouble. And the railway crossing just adds to the frustration of drivers.
Chances are you’ll be stuck there for hours. We suggest keeping a deck of cards in the glovebox.
But instead if you were ready to drive about 4 hours east, you would reach the beautiful well-planned city of Chandigarh. From gardens for rocks to roses, Chandigarh has something in store for everyone. It is aptly called City Beautiful.
Post independence, committees were set up to plan cities. Chandigarh was one of the earlest planned cities. The master plan was prepared by Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier. A Polish architect called Maciej Nowicki and an American planner, Albert Mayer, laid out the plans. In 2015, BBC called it as the Perfect City in the World in terms of architecture, cultural growth and modernization. It is also cleanest and first smoke-free city in India. Take a bow, Chandigarh.
The city has one of the highest per capita incomes in the country. And, no wonder highest per capita vehicles. Clean roads and public spaces make Chandigarh a pleasure to live. The buzzing nightlife and serenity of nature with trees and lush green spaces all make it as the happiest city according to a survey by LG electronics.
The smooth roads make you feel like a dream. If you love the feeling of open roads and wind splashing in your hair, don’t miss driving down the Geri Route (sector-8, 9, 10). Driving to Zirakpur is one certainly not to be missed. Stop by a dhaba and enjoy cholebhature. Head up north and soon winding through the hills will be an enchanting experience. Throughout the city you will find wide, well-maintained roads that make commuting a pleasure. Traffic is well controlled and going to a neighbouring city is a scenic experience.
So pack your bags and head north. Amritsar and Chandigarh roads help you explore the beautiful cities.