Chandigarh’s roses as beautiful as the city, gush foreigners

February 26th, 2011 - 6:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Shivraj Patil By Ritika Sharma
Chandigarh, Feb 26 (IANS) Chandigarh’s annual Rose Festival not only attracts tens of thousands of visitors from the city and adjoining states but also a large number of foreign nationals.The 39th edition of the popular festival Feb 25-27, being held at the Rose Garden in Sector 16 here, has captivated overseas tourists.

“I have come to India for the first time and I liked Chandigarh a lot. It is accurately called ‘City Beautiful’. Green trees and planned roads make the city look even friendlier. The Rose Festival is a truly amazing experience. I have not seen such an amazing thing anywhere before,” Cali Orsulak, a visitor from Toronto, Canada, told IANS.

The three-day festival was inaugurated Friday by Punjab Governor and Chandigarh administrator Shivraj Patil at a colourful cultural show.

“Roses are as beautiful as the city itself and have delighted me a lot. Apart from the roses and other flowers, the cultural programme that reveals the true India is also praiseworthy. I would like to visit this full of colors festival again,” Cali Orsulak added.

Chandigarh, also known as ‘City of Gardens and Greens’, has been witnessing an appreciable increase in the number of tourists since the last couple of years. About 900,000 domestic and around 39,500 foreign tourists visited Chandigarh last year, according to the city’s tourism department.

“For the last many years, foreigners have been coming to this festival. It is not just a mere display of different varieties of roses and other flowers. It is a platform for the presentation of culture and traditions of India amidst various other fun-filled activities,” a senior official of the Chandigarh administration told IANS.

Mohinder Singh Saran, an Indian-origin legislator from Maples, Canada, came to the Rose Festival with his family.

“Being basically from Punjab, I come to Chandigarh almost every year. Participating in the Rose Festival is a unique experience,” Saran, who is based in Winnipeg-Manitoba, told IANS.

“It feels good to come to my place again and such festivals show the true Indian spirit which I wanted to share with my son and my daughter-in-law. I had come here to see a friend and it’s lucky we got to attend the Rose Festival. We are enjoying it here,” he added.

His wife Kuljit Saran, who hails from a village in Punjab’s Moga district, said she was enjoying the festival. “I have been out of the country for 40 years, but every time I come here, I feel the city close to my heart.”

Folk dances performed by artistes from Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and other states, also proved to be a great draw.

Stenven, who came from Germany to explore north India, said: “I have been to a lot of places in India but I like Chandigarh the most. Sukhna Lake is one of my favourite places. I just hope all this remains intact as it has been for so many years now.”

“Rose Festival is such a unique concept and being one of the best flower festivals in Asia, it has its own appeal. The traditional folk dance performances expose the real India that we foreigners come searching for,” Stenven told IANS.

Officials say the city’s Rose Garden is the biggest of its kind in Asia, with over 35,000 plants and over 850 varieties of roses from all over the world.

Chandigarh, India’s only planned city, was designed by French architect Le Corbusier in 1950s. Besides the Rose Garden, there are many other popular tourist spots in the city, like Sukhna Lake, Rock Garden, Government Museum, and numerous lush-green gardens.

(Ritika Sharma can be contacted at riti.xlnc@gmail.com)

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