The time, I’m writing this blog, is usually when the intensity of the IPL reaches its pinnacle, but unfortunately not this year. The first thing I know in Mohali is the Kings XI Punjab team and its glorious home stadium, Punjab Cricket Association Stadium. But our collaboration with the Rotaract club of Mohali gave me the opportunity to explore more about this splendid city of Punjab.
Mohali is majorly inhabited by the Punjabi and Sikh community, so the gurudwaras here are worth paying a visit. A Gurdwara or Gurudwara, which has the meaning “door to the Guru”, is a place of assembly and worship for Sikhs. One of the best religious places to visit in Mohali is the Amb Sahib Gurudwara. The white coloured Sikh Shrine is a fine example of the Sikh architecture and a peaceful place to visit.
Amb means mangoes in Punjabi, which is very similar to amba in Sinhala and ambiram in Tamil, and the religious place is named after the sacred mango tree which bears sweet fruits throughout the year which are served as prasad to the devotees. Legend has it that Guru Har Rai Ji, who was the 7th of the ten gurus of Sikhism, blessed the place. It was the guru’s wish and command that the tree bears fruits all through the year; a wish that has continued to this day and is nothing short of a miracle given that mango is a seasonal fruit.
A recommended destination for nature lovers is the Sukhna Lake. It is actually located in the town of Chandigarh which is lying North-East of Mohali. Moreover, this is a manmade lake which was created by damming the Sukhna Choe stream that flows down from the Shivalik Hills. The splendour of nature attracts hikers, photographers and painters towards the scenic beauty of this lake. The spot is also favourable for water sport activities like skiing, surfing and sculling. Especially during winter, exotic migratory birds settle around the lake making it a delight for birdwatchers.
Situated alongside the Sukhna Lake is the Rock Garden of Chandigarh. This is a massive 40-acre exhibition of art pieces and sculptures. Also known as Nek Chand’s Rock Garden; this masterpiece is an outcome of creative imagination and fifty years of single-handed labour by a government official Nek Chand in his spare time. Having a total of about 5000 statues within its bounds, this sculptural project is a true example of ‘Best From Waste’ as these pottery-covered concrete sculptures of dancers, musicians, and animals are made from urban and industrial wastes such as discarded pieces of broken pottery, bottles, auto parts, plumbing materials, street lights, electrical fittings, broken sanitary ware and so on. This has now become a long-standing symbol of the city.
Another serene destination of the city is the Dr. Zakir Hussain Rose Garden. This was named after India’s former president, Zakir Hussain and it is surmised as one of Asia’s largest rose gardens. The garden is said to be home to various beautiful plants including several hundred species of roses and medicinal plants. Walking through it is a true delight as the rose plants have been planted in neatly laid out flower beds. It’s appealing to watch the well-planned garden with paths for walking and jogging, an open-air gym, play area for kids and a small library. The most popular event at this garden is the Rose Festival that is held in February each year. Competitive events of varying nature like flower cutting and flower arrangement, landscaping, photography and Rose prince and princess take place.
Another must-go-to place is the tallest victory tower of India, the Fateh Burj. This memorial acknowledges the spirit and courage of the Sikhs. It was here that Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, one of the most respected Sikh warriors, won a decisive battle against Wazir Khan, commander of the Mughal army. Along with the tall stature, the memorial includes six mounds with the statues of Banda Singh Bahadur and his five generals, delivers a picturesque view which mesmerizes everyone who sees it.
Rtr. Jegatheesan Gowthaman