Tea house, pagoda huts et al – a Japanese Garden in Chandigarh!

By Alkesh Sharma, IANS,

Chandigarh : Already famous for its gardens and dense green cover, this joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, visited by nearly one million tourists each year, is all set to get a theme-based ‘Japanese Garden’ with a Japanese-styled tower, lanterns, tea house and pagoda huts.

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The union tourism ministry has sanctioned a grant of over Rs.4.26 crore for the setting up of this garden in Sector 31, officials said. The garden will be completed in the next few months and it will be an added attraction for tourists.

“The ministry has been supporting our initiatives to broadbase the tourism infrastructure in the city,” Chandigarh home-cum-tourism secretary Ram Niwas told IANS.

“Development of new gardens in the city will help us to maintain the epithet of Chandigarh as a city of gardens and greens,” he added.

“We have got central financial assistance of over Rs.4.26 crore for the development of the Japanese Garden. The garden will have unique Japanese-styled tourist reception centre, tea house and pagoda huts,” Niwas said.

The garden will have unique tunnels that connect different sections of green belts with one another. There will be Japanese-style meandering walkways for the visitors and special illumination to facilitate the tourists during late hours.

“There would be Japanese tower, Japanese lanterns and Japanese-styled river concepts. There will be miniature hills, small islands, water features, streams and artistic bridges,” Niwas stated.

“Evergreen plants shall be planted in the Japanese Garden along with a few deciduous trees like weeping willow and mulberry,” he said.

“Besides, there will be flowering and fruit trees like peach, plum and all kinds of bamboos,” he added.

Chandigarh can boast of a sprawling garden at a distance of around every one kilometre. Besides, there is a Rose Garden, spread over an area of 46 acres which has 17,000 plants showcasing nearly 800 varieties of roses and an assortment of medicinal plants.

These gardens are a major attraction for tourists.

Many new theme-based gardens like Garden of Palms, Garden of Conifers, Valley of Animals and Cactus Garden are also coming up.

Environmentalists and other experts are very enthusiastic about the setting up of various theme-based gardens in the union territory.

“Chandigarh is already famous for its extensive green cover. The climatic conditions are very supportive for the healthy growth of all species of plants and trees,” said R.K. Kohli, chairperson of the botany department of Panjab University.

“These gardens will add to the unique character of Chandigarh. There are over 300 species of trees in Chandigarh and many of the trees are even older than the city,” stated Kohli, who has done extensive research on the trees of Chandigarh and written books on them.

Chandigarh is the only planned city in independent India. It was designed by legendary French architect Le Corbusier for a population of 500,000, but now the city accommodates over 1.1 million people and a floating population of over 100,000 a day.

Its green cover is 38.8 percent of its geographical area — the maximum in the country. Chandigarh is followed by Delhi, which has nearly 20 percent tree cover.

(Alkesh Sharma can be contacted at [email protected])