Chandigarh, the ‘City Beautiful’ situated in the foothirlls of Shivaliks is blessed with a climate that is suitable to accommodate number of species of flora of different climatic regions. It is worthwhile setting up a Botanical Garden here with a purpose to conserve the flora of the region as well as those exotic and near extinct species. With this background, Chandigarh Administration has established a Botanical Garden near village Sarangpur. This garden spreads over 176 acres of land.
The foundation stone was laid on 30th May, 2002 by Lt. Gen. (Retd.) J.F.R. Jacob, the then Administrator, U.T. Chandigarh. This garden has been connected with the nature reserve known as Patiala-ki-Rao forest through a causeway. Patiala-ki-Rao forest spreads over 350 acres of land. Gen. (Retd.) Dr. S. F. Rodrigues, the then Governor of Punjab & Administrator, U.T. Chandigarh, the champion of the cause of environment and keen nature lover, guided the project through his constant inspiration and guidance. H.E. inaugurated the garden on 2nd January, 2007. This garden when fully developed would be one of the biggest in this region.
The garden consists of 15 Botanical Sections. The primary aim of setting up of Botanical Garden is to promote research, education, ex-situ conservation and to spread awareness about our floral heritage. In addition, the garden would help promote eco-tourism in Chandigarh.
Cactus and Succulent Section
There are around one hundred varieties of Cactus and other succulent plans which have been collected from very different sources so that the section of cactus can be developed. The aesthetic value of the garden is improved by a water channel added on to it. There have been developments in the poly house, glass house and the poly carbohydrate house
Aquatic Plants Section
This section will have more than 30 aquatic plant species.
Rare Plants Section
There is a section for the plants which are rare and the botanical garden has given three acres for this section only. Different and rare plants from India as well as abroad have been bought for this section.
Tropical Rain Forest Section
There are a lot of trees which are of the rain forest region are also there in the botanical garden which have been set up to make it look more appealing.
Covered over two acres of land, this section is dedicated to the Bulbous Garden and the authorities are making sure there will a lot of bulbous plans.
This section dedicated to the Japanese Garden will be having Japanese plans, as the name says and will be constructed under five acres of land.
The fruits which are suitable for the temperate, sub tropical and tropical regions can be found in this section which has over fifteen species of fruits and will add a few more in the near future.
Office-cum-Nature Interpretation Centre
The Office building which is near the Gate 1 is constructed keeping in mind that it will be a Nature Interpretation Center. The floras which have been developed will be displayed for the public so that they get information about the medicinal plants, environment, forest and wildlife. To educate the students, NGOs and the farmers, a conference hall is used which can accommodate up to one hundred people at a time. The conference hall also hosts different workshops along with environmental education programs.
One can also find several books on the medicinal plants, wildlife, forestry, environment etc in the library which is there and the visitors and the tourist can access the library for free.
Roads and Pathways
You have to cross a cycle way of around five kilometers if you want to go round the garden. The visitors can also rent cycles on decent rates for this purpose. To have a close access to the different sections of the garden, a pathway of around six kilometers has been made which crosses the length and breadth of the garden.
There are two lakes which have been developed by the authorities. The first one covers the Patiala ki Rao which covers fifteen acres of land and the other one is in the botanical garden which covers eight acres of land. The purpose to design these lakes was to harvest the rain water as these water bodies also act as percolation tanks. There are several boats which have been provided to carry forward the eco tourism.
Apart from the two lakes which are present in the botanical gardens, there are five other water bodies too developed inside the garden. This has been done to make sure the water which is underground is recharged time to time.
Meditation Huts-cum-Rain Shelters
There are two meditation huts in the Botanical gardens and the authorities are planning to set up four more huts soon.
There is an exclusive nursery in the botanical garden which has been developed in two acres of land which has a pony house along with a green shade net house too. For the promotion of the medicinal plants and herbs, the saplings of these medical plants are being distributed to the organizations as well as individuals. There is a research block too in the gardens which is spread over one and a half acres of land.
Public Utility Services
The cycle tracks and the pathways have the provision of water and toilets for public use.
The garden authorities are planning to build a cafeteria around the lake area of the garden and for that, they have kept aside around an acre of land.
Nature Reserve/ Nature Park
Patiala-ki-Rao is the natural reserve which connects to the botanical garden through a causeway of around three kilometers. There is a lake which spreads over fifteen acres of land is developed in its forest which is meant for the wildlife in the forest and for the eco-tourism as well.