“Let this be a new town, symbolic of freedom of India unfettered by the traditions of the past an expression of the nation’s faith in the future”.

- Jawahar Lal Nehru



Chandigarh, the dream city of India's first Prime Minister, Sh. Jawahar Lal Nehru, was planned by the famous French architect Le Corbusier. Picturesquely located at the foothills of Shivaliks, it is known as one of the best experiments in urban planning and modern architecture in the twentieth century in India.


It derives its name from the temple of "Chandi Mandir" located in the vicinity of the site selected for the city. The deity 'Chandi', the goddess of power and a fort or 'garh' near the temple gave the city its name "Chandigarh-The City Beautiful".


The city has a pre-historic past. The gently sloping plains on which modern Chandigarh exists, was in the ancient past, a wide lake ringed by a marsh. The fossil remains found at the site indicate a large variety of aquatic and amphibian life, which was supported by that environment. About 8000 years ago, the area was also known to be a home to the Harappans.


Since the medieval through modern era, the area was part of the large and prosperous Punjab Province which was divided into East & West Punjab during partition of the country in 1947. The city was conceived not only to serve as the capital of East Punjab, but also to resettle thousands of refugees who had been uprooted from West Punjab.


In March, 1948, the Government of Punjab, in consultation with the Government of India, approved the area of the foothills of the Shivaliks as the site for the new capital. The location of the city site was a part of the erstwhile Ambala district as per the 1892-93 gazetteer of District Ambala. The foundation stone of the city was laid in 1952. Subsequently, at the time of reorganization of the state on 01.11.1966 into Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, the city assumed the unique distinction of being the capital city of both, Punjab and Haryana while it itself was declared as a Union Territory and under the direct control of the Central Government.



Fact File

Chandigarh has an area of 114 sq kms and lies at a longitude of 760 47' 14E and latitude of 300 44' 14N. It lies 350 meters above mean sea level. The Union Territory of Chandigarh is located in the foothills of the Shivalik hill ranges in the north, which form a part of the fragile Himalayan ecosystem.



Climate

Chandigarh has cold dry winter, hot summer and sub tropical monsoon. The area experiences four seasons: (i) Summer or hot season (mid-March to Mid-June) (ii) Rainy season (late-June to mid-September) (iii) Post monsoon autumn/transition season (mid September to mid-November) (iv) Winter (mid November to mid-March). May and June are the hottest months of the year with the mean daily maximum & minimum temperatures being about 370C & 250C, respectively. Southwest monsoons with high intensity showers commence in late June. The weather at this time is hot and humid. The variation in annual rainfall on year to year basis is appreciable i.e. 700 mm to 1200 mm. January is the coldest month with mean maximum and minimum temperatures being around 230C and 3.60C respectively.



The Master Plan of Chandigarh

Le Corbusier conceived the master plan of Chandigarh as analogous to human body, with a clearly defined head (the Capitol Complex, Sector 1), heart (the City Centre Sector-17), lungs (leisure valley, innumerable open spaces and sector greens), the intellect (the cultural and educational institutions), the circulatory system (the network of roads, the 7Vs) and the viscera (the Industrial Area). The concept of the city is based on four major functions: living, working, care of the body and spirit and circulation. Residential sectors constitute the living part whereas the Capitol Complex, City Centre, Educational Zone (Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Punjab Engineering College, Panjab University) and the Industrial Area constitute the working part. The Leisure Valley, Gardens, Sector Greens and Open Courtyards etc. are for the care of body and spirit. The circulation system comprises of 7 different types of roads known as 7Vs. Later on, a pathway for cyclists called V8 was added to this circulation system.


The Capital complex comprises three architectural masterpieces: the "Secretariat", the "High Court" and the "Legislative Assembly", separated by large piazzas. In the heart of the Capital Complex stands the giant metallic sculpture of The Open Hand, the official emblem of Chandigarh, signifying the city's credo of "open to given, open to receive".


The city centre (Sector 17) is the heart of Chandigarh's activities. It comprises the Inter-State Bus Terminus, Parade Ground, District Courts, etc. on one hand, and vast business and shopping center on the other. The 4-storey concrete buildings house banks and offices above and showrooms/shops at the ground level with wide pedestrian concourses. The Neelam piazza in the center has fountains with light and water features.


Leisure Valley, Bougainvillea Park, Zakir Rose Garden, Shanti Kunj, Hibiscus Garden, Garden of Fragrance, Botanical Garden, Smriti Upavan, Topiary garden and Terraced Garden are some of the famous parks of Chandigarh. Sukhna Lake, Rock Garden, Government Museum and Art Gallery are major tourist attractions of Chandigarh.