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Chandigarh is a city and a union territory in the northern part of India that serves as the capital of the states of Punjab and Haryana. As a union territory, the city is ruled directly by the Union Government of India and is not part of either state.

The city of Chandigarh was the first planned city in India post-independence in 1947 and is known internationally for its architecture and urban design. The master plan of the city was prepared by Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, transformed from earlier plans created by the Polish architect MaciejNowicki and the American planner Albert Mayer. Most of the government buildings and housing in the city, however, were designed by the Chandigarh Capital Project Team headed by Pierre Jeanneret, Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry.

The city experiences extreme climate and uneven distribution of rainfall. The roads in Chandigarh are surrounded by trees and it has the third highest forest cover in India at 8.51% following Lakshadweep and Goa.

The city tops the list of Indian States and Union Territories by per capita income in the country. The city was reported to be the cleanest in India in 2010, based on a national government study, and the territory also headed the list of Indian states and territories according to Human Development Index. The metropolitan of Chandigarh-Mohali-Panchkula collectively forms a Tri-city, with a combined population of over 2 million. This is the first smoke-free city in India

Etymology

The name Chandigarh is a portmanteau of Chandi and Garh. Chandi refers to goddess Chandi, the warrior form of goddess Parvati, and Garh means fort. The name is derived from ChandiMandir, an ancient temple devoted to the Hindu goddess Chandi, near the city in Panchkula District.

History

Early history

The city has a pre-historic past. Due to the presence of lake, the area has fossil remains with imprints of a large variety of aquatic plants and animals, and amphibian life, which were supported by that environment. As it was a part of the Punjab region, it had many rivers nearby where the ancient and primitive settling of humans began. So, about 8000 years ago, the area was also known to be a home to the Harappans.

Modern history

After the partition of India in 1947, the former British province of Punjab was also split between (mostly Hindu) east Punjab in India and (mostly Muslim) west Punjab in Pakistan. The Indian Punjab required a new capital city to replace Lahore, which became part of Pakistan during the partition. So, the government carved out Chandigarh of nearly 50 Pwadhi speaking villages of the then state of East Punjab, India.

Chandigarh hosts the largest of Le Corbusier's many Open Hand sculptures, standing 26 metres high. The Open Hand (La Main Ouverte) is a recurring motif in Le Corbusier's architecture, a sign for him of "peace and reconciliation. It is open to give and open to receive." It represents what Le Corbusier called the 'Second Machine Age'. Two of the six monuments planned in the Capitol Complex which has the High Court, the Assembly and the Secretariat, remain incomplete. These include Geometric Hill and Martyrs Memorial; drawings were made, and they were begun in 1956, but they were never completed.

On 1 November 1966, the newly formed state of Haryana was carved out of the eastern portion of Punjab, in order to create a new state for the majority Haryanvi-speaking people in that portion, while the western portion of Punjab retained a mostly Punjabi-speaking majority and remained as the current state of Punjab. Chandigarh was located on the border of both states and the states moved to incorporate the city into their respective territories. However, the city of Chandigarh was made into a union territory to serve as capital of both states.

Till date, many historical villages in Chandigarh are still inhibited within the modern blocks of sectors including Burail and Attawa, while there are a number of non-sectoral villages that lie on the outskirts of the city. These villages were a part of the pre-Chandigarh era.

Geography and ecology

Location

Chandigarh is located near the foothills of the Sivalik range of the Himalayas in northwest India. It covers an area of approximately 114 km2. It shares its borders with the states of Haryana and Punjab. The exact cartographic co-ordinates of Chandigarh are 30.74°N 76.79°E. It has an average elevation of 321 metres (1053 ft).

The city, lying in the northern plains, has vast fertile and flat land. It has portions of Bhabhar in the north east and Terai in rest of the area.

The surrounding districts are Mohali, Patiala and Roopnagar in Punjab, Panchkula and Ambala in Haryana. The boundary of the state of Himachal Pradesh is also minutes away from its north border. It approximately lies in the center of the north zone of states of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, eastern Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, western Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi in India.

Climate

Chandigarh has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen: Cwa) characterised by a seasonal rhythm: very hot summers, mild winters, unreliable rainfall and great variation in temperature (−1 °C to 46 °C). The average annual rainfall is 1110.7 mm. The city also receives occasional winter rains from the Western Disturbance originating over the Mediterranean Sea. The western disturbances usually brings rain predominantly from mid-December till end of April which can be heavier sometimes with strong winds and hails if the weather turns colder (during March–April months) which usually proves disastrous to the crops. Cold winds usually tend to come from the north near Shimla, capital of Himachal Pradesh and from the state of Jammu and Kashmir, both of which receive their share of snowfall during wintertime.

The city experiences the following seasons and the respective average temperatures:

Spring: The climate remains the most enjoyable part of the year during the spring season (from February-end to early-April). Temperatures vary between (max) 13 °C to 20 °C and (min) 5 °C to 12 °C.

Autumn: In autumn (from September-end to mid November.), the temperature may rise to a maximum of 30 °C. Temperatures usually remain between 10° to 22° in autumn. The minimum temperature is around 6 °C.

Summer: The temperature in summer (from Mid-April to June-end) may rise to 44 °C. The temperatures might sometime rise to 44 °C in mid-June. Temperatures generally vary between 40 to 42 °C.

Monsoon: During monsoon (from early-July to mid-September), Chandigarh receives moderate to heavy rainfall and sometimes heavy to very heavy rainfall (generally during the month of August or September). Usually, the rain bearing monsoon winds blow from south-west/south-east. Mostly, the city receives heavy rain from south (which is mainly a persistent rain) but it generally receives most of its rain during monsoon either from North-west or North-east. Maximum amount of rain received by the city of Chandigarh during monsoon season is 195.5 mm in a single day.

Winter: Winters (November-end to February-end) are mild but it can sometimes get quite chilly in Chandigarh. Average temperatures in the winter remain at (max) 5 °C to 14 °C and (min) -1 °C to 5 °C. Rain usually comes from the west during winters and it is usually a persistent rain for 2–3 days with sometimes hailstorms. The city witnessed bone-numbing chill as the maximum temperature on Monday, 7 January 2013 plunged to a 30-year low to settle at 6.1 degrees Celsius.

Chandigarh is the first planned modern city of India designed by the French architect Le Corbusier. Chandigarh is a city in India that serves as the capital of two states - Punjab and Haryana. However, the city does not belong to either state. Rather, the city is administered by the federal government and hence classified as a union territory.

Chandigarh and the area surrounding it were constituted as a union territory on 1st November, 1966. The city was named after the mother goddess of power, Chandi, whose temple Chandimandu is a feature of the new city. Le-Corbusier was assisted by his cousin, PiereeJeanneret and the English couple E. Mazwell Fry and Jane B. Druel. These three architects are responsible for most of the public and residential building raised in Chandigarh between 1950 and 1965. The beautiful city also known as ‘city of roses’.

Geography of Chandigarh

Chandigarh is bounded on the north and west by Punjab and east and south by Haryana. Total area of the union territory is 114 Sq. Km. It is located in Latitude 76.420 to 76.510 North Longitude 30.400 to 30. 460 East.

Brief History of Chandigarh.

Chandigarh was commissioned by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of independent India, to reflect the new nation’s modern, progressive outlook. The new city was needed not only to serve as a capital but also to resettle thousands of refugees who had been uprooted from West Punjab. India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru enthusiastically supported the project and look sustained interest in its execution.

Chandigrah is a city symbolic of the freedom of India and an expression of the nation's faith in the future.

Several buildings in Chandigarh were designed by the French architect and planner, Le Corbusier in the 1950s. Le Corbusier was in fact the second architect of the city, after the initial master plan was prepared by the American architect-planner Albert Mayer who was working with the Polish-born architect Matthew Nowicki. It was only after Nowicki’s untimely death in 1950 that Le Corbusier was pulled into the project.

Government of Chandigarh.

Chandigarh is an Union Territory. It means that the City is under the direct administration of the Government of India .

Economy of Chandigarh

Earlier, Chandigarh did not include an industrial area, it was later realised that industries would boost the economy of the city and help it grow. Today, there are some 580 factories in the city, including 15 large or medium scale units and 2100 small-scale units.

The major industries are food products, metal products, machine tools, electrical goods, transport equipment, pharmaceuticals, leather goods and plastic goods. Many of the small-scale units are ancillary units supplying the large industries around Chandigarh.

The city has set up a new information technology park for the establishment of modern information technology based companies.

Travel Information of Chandigarh.

Chandigarh has convenient location, it serves as sort of a gateway to the hill stations of Himachal Pradesh.

People travel to Chandigarh to approach northwards to places like Shimla, Kullu, Manali, Dharamsala and Dalhousie. However, Chandigarh, the city itself is also a lure to the tourists by virtue of its geometrically shaped residential areas complimented by landscaped gardens, tree lined avenues - all converging to an outstanding balance in blending of modern and traditional architecture in the city. Apart from that the beautiful Sukhna Lake, the exquisite rose garden - ZakirGulab Bag, the fascinating Rock Garden, the sacred temple of the Goddess Chandi are truly worth a travel to Chandigarh.

People of Chandigarh are secular in nature. They believe in celebrating almost all the festivals with proper rites and rituals. Some of the famous religious places in and around Chandigarh are ‘Mansa Devi Temple’, ‘Saketri Temple’, ‘Gurudwara Nada Sahib’, ‘GurudwaraBaoli Sahib’, ‘Jama Masjid’, etc.

Education in Chandigarh.

Chandigarh is known for its high literacy rate of 97%. Its popular schools and colleges include St. John’s High School, St. Anne’s Convent School, St. Xavier’s, Sacred Heart Convent High School, Carmel Convent High School, New Public School, St. Kabir High School, St. Stephens High School, DAV School, Shiwalik Public School, Government College for Girls, Government College for Men, Home Science College for Girls, Guru Govind Singh College, Government Teacher Training College (Chandigarh, India),Government Teacher Training College, MCM College (Girls), SD College and DAV College.

There are model schools set up by the government in various sectors, originally aimed to cater the needs of each sector.

It is a major study hub for students all over Punjab, Harayana and Himachal Pradesh, and students from South-East Asia.

Chandigarh also houses many institutes of higher learning, such as the Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh Engineering College, located just outside Chandigarh in Mohali, the Panjab University in sector 14, and the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Research.

Food of Chandigarh

Chole-bathure, which is a round-the-year item and is available at every wayside dhaba anywhere in northern India is the most famous dish of Chandigarh. Nevertheless, the pride of the Punjabi winter cuisine is sarson-ka-saag served with blobs of white butter accompanied by makke-di-roti and lassi.

The other popular dishes, which belong exclusively to Punjab, are mahki dal, rajma and stuffed parathas.

Punjabi cuisine is characterized by a profusion of dairy products in the form of malai, paneer and curds.

Chicken is a favorite with non-vegetarians, fish is also considered a delicacy, especially in the Amritsar region, which is also known for its kulcha, baked bread made of refined flour.

Lassi, made of yogurt, tempered with either salt or sugar, is a popular cooling drink of Punjabi origin but it is now quite popular all over the country.

Phirni, a sweet dish made of milk, rice flour and sugar and chilled in earthenware bowls is a typical Punjabi dessert. Punjabi sweet dishes like gulabjamuns and burfi have a major percentage of khoya again made from milk.

Then there is also paneer, a must in the vegetarian Punjabi menu. Several delectable items are made out of this rather bland derivative of milk. Creations like the KadaiPaneer, and MakhaniPaneer are basically Punjabi but are well loved all over the country.

One thing that makes Punjabi cuisine so special is the tandoor. Besides being a versatile kitchen equipment it is also a social institution. Punjab’s other grand contribution is the dhaba, the roadside eatery that has become a prominent feature on the national and state highways. Earlier frequented only by truck drivers, today it is in vogue to eat at a dhaba-urban or roadside.

Arts & Culture of Chandigarh

Chandigarh has numerous temples, mosques, shrines and bhawans located through out the city. The traditions followed in the city are a mix of many traditions followed through out the country. One can see and participate in almost, all of the religious activities of every religion in the country People of Chandigarh speak in Punjabi or Hindi or a combination of the two.

Chandigarh differs from many other cities of the region in that it has attracted people from throughout the India. Most of the people in Chandigarh are service people. There is a cultural complex in sector 10 of Chandigarh which include an Audio-Visual Training Institute, a Museum and an Art Gallery.

World acclaimed Rock Garden, with the artistic figures and things created by Shri Nek Chand, from broken pieces of items like crockery, bangles, pots, stones etc., is a unique example of art work. Chandigarh has the latest of everything be it fashion, technology, studies, IT.

People in Chandigarh enjoy every moment of their lives by living hassel free life. The chandigarh, being a modern city, has developed a modern culture of it self. Being the capital of two states. It has developed a fusion of culture. You can find very conservative people, and few very broad minded people.

Chandigarh, The Planned City

Planned by the famous French architect Le Corbusier, Chandigarh was conceived as a city of “Sun, Space and Verdure” to fulfill four basic functions of living, working, circulation, and care of body and spirit.

The master plan having rectangles called sectors, which are intended to be self-sufficient neighborhood units, enclosed by fast-moving traffic roads. In fact, a salient feature of the city plan is its novel movement system, which has a hierarchy of streets for different types of traffic. A number of city parks have been planned for the care of the body and spirit.

The sun-bathed piazzas of the city, its neat housing clusters and the broad tree-lined avenues are visible manifestations of the planning precepts.

No wonder Chandigarh is often called the “City Beautiful” or the “Garden City” - both fond epithets given to it by its residents.

Tourist Places in Chandigarh

Government Museum and Art Gallery

The Government Museum and Art Gallery is one of the most renowned museums in India because of the unique collection of art objects, paintings and sculptures like miniature paintings from Pahari, Rajasthan and Gandharan sculptures. This museum owes most of its exhibits to the partition of India in 1948 when nearly 40 percent of objects were brought here from Lahore Museum. The museum was inaugurated in 1968 and is situated in the heart of Chandigarh with a sprawling campus. The Museum has four major wings like the art gallery, the national history museum, the national gallery of portraits and the Chandigarh architecture museum.

Shanti Kunj

Shanti Kunj is true to its name because it is a garden of peace and tranquillity which provides a break from all the noise and pollution. It is located between Rose garden and the Cricket stadium so it can be easily visited. The garden has many types of plant and tree varieties which can be of the flowering kind or therapeutic. The lush greenery of Shanti Kunj is irrigated by a natural stream which divides the garden into five sections with different plant varieties. If one wants to meditate and enjoy the quiet among beautiful flowers, Shanti Kunj is the place to be.

Fun City

One of the biggest amusement parks in India is the Funcity amusement park which includes games for fun seekers of all age groups. It has some of the best hi-tech hydraulic and water games set up in nearly 43 acres. It is situated about 20 km from Chandigarh but is worthwhile to spend a day enjoying all the rides and sights. One of the major attractions of the park is the 5D cinema theatre which takes viewers into a totally different world. The water rides in Funcity are popular and give a cool experience to all the visitors.

Garden of Fragrance

One of the must-visit places in Chandigarh is the Garden of Fragrance with its clean and intoxicating fragrant trees and plant varieties. It is one of the three major gardens in Chandigarh. The Garden of Fragrance is situated in Sector 36 south of the Hibiscus Garden. The Garden of Fragrance has an advantage of not being crowded most of the time and it has frequent health conscious individuals working out on the laid tracks. It is a well-known picnic spot and is visited by local people out on a picnic with their families during mornings and evenings.

International Dolls Museum

This famous museum was established in 1985 and has beautiful dolls which have been collected from around the world. This museum was initially started to provide amusement to children but has progressed well such that it has earned fame and is recognized world-wide. This museum contains dolls and marionettes from different countries like Germany, Russia, Korea, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, etc. The attractive display of Indian dolls in various attire of the states in India mesmerizes all the visitors. Fairy tale characters recreated as dolls are also a big hit. There is also a toy train ride for the benefit of kids which amuses children immensely.

ChokiDhani

It is a place where the culture and practices of Rajasthan tribes are being united such that visitors are given a peek into what makes up their culture. It is situated in a remote place and the grandeur and mysterious charms of the village art and culture are being reproduced to make one enjoy it in peace. ChokiDhani is designed to provide entertainment in all forms and has live shows like magic shows and camel rides. The merit of this program is the food they provide. The thali feature provided is based on traditional Rajasthani cuisine.

Sukhna Lake

Sukhna Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes and lies at the foothills of the Shivalik Hills. It is a man-made lake about 3 km long created during 1958. A stream called SukhnaChoe was dammed and thus gave rise to the Sukhna Lake. It is a peaceful spot with scenic waterfront and the calling of birds adds to the serene atmosphere. A number of water sporting activities like boating, water skiing, and yachting are carried out here. Picnics during the morning and evening are common and it is a meeting spot for locals who want to relax after a long day.

Nek Chand's Rock Garden

Nek Chand's Rock Garden of Chandigarh is one of the most architecturally lauded spots in India. It is made of sculptures, statues and other art objects which are made with the help of industrial and domestic waste. It was single-handedly created by Nek Chand in 1957 among the bottom of the gorges of Sukhna Lake and later it was taken over by the government. The Rock Garden is built like a maze with interconnecting courtyards which compose of many art objects and sculptures. The unique architectural build of the garden attracts viewers and the fact that wastes can create such beauty is an added asset.

The Rose Garden of Chandigarh

ZakirHussain Rose Garden of Chandigarh is a beautiful place for lovers of roses. More than 1600 varieties of roses adorn the garden and are known to trap the visitors heart with their fragrance and beauty. It is a large garden extending in acres in all directions with not only roses but contains a number of medicinal trees and shrubs. The garden contains benches and trails for exercising. Food stalls are available and entry is free but unlike other places, picnic is not allowed. Rose garden celebrates a festival annually with splendid decorations of flowers, dance, food and gifts to winners.

Butterfly Park

The Butterfly Park in Sector 26 of Chandigarh is dedicated to extensive care of butterflies spread over a wide area of seven acres. The landscaping is attractive and pleasing to the eye and the park contains a number of plants and trees which make the visitor relax and enjoy the bright and beautiful butterflies. Different varieties of trees are planted and, since butterflies require flowers, many flowering plants like marigold, salvia, petunia and dahlia are also planted.

Leisure Valley

Leisure valley is most definitely the place to visit in Chandigarh and is an aesthetically important tourist attraction. It is a garland or chain of beautiful and unique gardens which can tease the five senses of the visitors. It is a stretch of gardens starting from Rajendra Park in Sector 1 and stretches about 8 km consisting of many parks and gardens like Rose Garden, Shanti Kunj, Bougainvillea Garden, Hibiscus Garden, Garden of Fragrance, etc. A 3-day long carnival in the Leisure Valley including all the gardens, annually scheduled in February, is a renowned festival nation-wide and also attracts visitors from other countries.