As life in Chandigarh increases its pace, lifestyles are changing dramatically in this Punjabi city. And the latest on the list of new entrants is the café culture that's taking root here. After a long and tiring day at work, these hangout spots are the best the city can offer its youth.
The aroma of coffee beans has mesmerized everyone, especially the young and the upwardly mobile in Chandigarh.
The coffee culture was introduced to India a decade back, and now has caught the fancy of Punjabis.
Chandigarh's denizens have found a new way to relax after a hard day's work. An array of coffee flavors and tastes, a setting that is plush, yet informal, up market, yet within reach, is drawing people to these coffee cafés.
Abhay Bhagat, the proprietor of Backpackers Café?, says, "We are in to this profession for the past eight years and have seen it regularly climbing up."
"Chandigarh as a city that didn't have any café except one in Sector 17 where an old coffee shop was situated thronged by older people like professors and journalists. But now, the younger generation are frequently visiting cafés and taking coffee," added Bhagat.
Besides coffee, these café's also serve cakes, pastries, snacks and sandwiches.
Backpackers Café, which is a unit of Whispering Willows, a European style café, is doing its bit to boost the coffee drinking culture in Chandigarh.
The café offers world-class cuisine. The dishes are authentic, both in terms of ingredients and recipes.
Sumaira Friscic, an Austrian coffee buff, says, "When you drink coffee, it gives you relaxation from tensions, business concerns seems far away. If you are discussing business or some concept with a friend, coffee takes away other tensions. The concept of coffee is to get relaxation time. With a cup of coffee and a friend, you find yourself easing in life."
"As we are exposed to the western world and people are traveling abroad, the coffee as well as tea culture will catch up because it's an opportunity to take breaks. Also, the ambience is nice and in the hot weather of India it is great to go to an AC café and have coffee," adds Mandeep Singh, another coffee buff.
In Chandigarh, from small-sized coffee parlors to classy coffee lounges and leading coffee retailers, all are trying hard to attract customers. And, it seems a congenial and hospitable atmosphere has certainly worked with consumers.