A Guide to Chandigarh by Gurjeet Singh
A Guide to Chandigarh by Gurjeet SinghGurjeet Singh
We've partnered with dirty for a series of guides to the Indian subcontinent, diving deep into its creative scenes.
Chandigarh-based artist Gurjeet Singh makes wonderfully soft oddball sculptures inspired by conversations with friends and strangers in real life and online. The culmination of a process of sketching and working with his materials are three-dimensional works made of a myriad of richly-coloured and textured fabrics that come together to form witty, otherworldly and sometimes melancholic creatures. A recurring theme in his work is identity and how loss and love shapes one, with a particular interest in LGBTQIA+ stories.
Below, he pinpoints six must-visit places in Chandigarh, a northern Indian city that also serves as the capital of the two states Punjab and Haryana. Where are the best cafes in this area? The best restaurants? Singh curates a list of eateries, as well as botanical gardens and local markets.
In this Guide
“When I was in college, I was very curious to know all about art and I spent a lot of my time at a gallery where I could have a vast learning experience. From the sculptures of the Harappan civilization to miniature Mughal paintings, to the work of contemporary masters, the Government College of Art is a museum and art gallery that covers an extensive range of art, all housed in one place. As a student developing my artistic practice, there could be nothing more exciting than a place like this, with a huge library stocked with books, and much to see and experience. A personal favourite of mine is a modernist mural by Satish Gurjal of Shiva Parvati made with ceramic.”More Info
“The Rock Garden of Chandigarh is a fitting place for art enthusiasts who are ever interested in using sustainable materials. In the art world now, there’s a lot of talk about creating consciously, and it’s wonderful to know that this garden was built in Chandigarh, all the way back in 1957 by an official called Nek Chand Saini. I’ve spent hours exploring the sculptures that dot the garden because it’s bursting with energy, and I still fear that if I divert my eyes for a second I’ll miss something of value. There is a newly added doll museum of rag doll sculptures made from waste cloth, representing Indian culture and its everyday life – like a bridegroom in his traditional gear or women artisans busy at the spinning wheel. With waterfalls and swings dotting the property, it’s a great place to spend many hours on a day when you have time, admiring the sculptures.”More Info
“The Rose Garden is a large, botanical garden with over a thousand roses and plants of medicinal value. The garden also happens to be Asia’s largest and hosts an annual cultural event: the Rose Festival at the beginning of the year. The thing I love most is that roses from all over are planted according to the season, so there’s always something in bloom. The special thing about Chandigarh is that it is a planned city, and Mohinder Singh Randhawa – who was involved in landscaping – founded the Rose Garden in his attempt to ensure that there is a healthy mix of nature included in the city’s plan, which is why you will find a lot of green in Chandigarh.”More Info
“This is my favourite place to eat in all of the city. Being originally from Amritsar, and having lived in Chandigarh for long, I find myself missing the authentic Amritsari chole kulcha (chickpeas cooked in spices, paired with bread from the tandoor), and this spot immediately remedies my homesickness. Pair a tall glass of lassi with the dish and that is your go-to Punjabi meal.”More Info
“If you wish to have an authentic Indian meal or even bakery treats, made with organic ingredients, this is the cafe you should visit. From a Railway mutton curry to sourdough, you’ll find a delectable variety of food, all consciously sourced and cooked. I really like the urban interiors and soft light of Back to Source, and you can look out onto the city while having a drink in the cafe.”More Info
“Shastri market is a local market where you’ll find a mixed bag of people, purchasing anything from clothes to cutlery. It’s a huge market, and has items at reasonable prices along with expensive ones, really depending on what you’re looking to buy. I love visiting the market since most of my clothes are created by me, and this is the place from where I source the raw material for the clothes I stitch and wear. I love the prints and patterns they stock. For my art, I solely use discarded fabrics, which I find in the market as well.”More Info