The first planned city in India, Chandigarh is known internationally for its architecture and urban design
Planned, modern city, significant as a symbol of a developing, progressive and free India, Chandigarh is pragmatic mix of the functional and the aesthetic, romanticism blended with practicality.
Born as a direct result of a violent and black period of Indian history- the partition, Chandigarh has acquired the unique distinction of being a capital to two states. The wide tree lined roads, unique architecture, greenery, the Rock Garden and its citizens, all merge and emerge to characterise a city of the future, with no baggage of the past.
Famous as ‘The City Beautiful’, Chandigarh was designed by French architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, popular as Le Corbusier.
Chandigarh literally means “The Fort of Chandi”. The name comes from the ancient temple called Chandi Mandir, devoted to Hindu goddess Chandi. Located near the foothills of the Shivalik range of the Himalayas in northwest India, Chandigarh covers an area of approximately 114 sq km and shares borders with Haryana and Punjab.
source : http://www.chandigarh.nic.in
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.
Chandigarh 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 of 'garh' laying beyond 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 Pardesh, 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.
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 ( the 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 (Post Graduate Institute, 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 were 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. Proposal to set up an eleven storey building in Sector 17 is in the offing. Sector 34 is another newly developed commercial sector.
Ample areas have been provided in the master plan of the Capital for parks. Out of a total area of 20,000 acres acquired for the first phase, about 2000 acres are meant for development of parks. Leisure Valley, Rajendra park, 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.
One unique feature in the layout of Chandigarh is its roads, classified in accordance with their functions. An integrated system of seven roads was designed to ensure efficient traffic circulation. Corbusier referred to these as the 7'Vs. the city's vertical roads run northeast/southwest (the 'Paths'). The horizontal roads run northwest/southwest ('The Margs'). The intersect at right angles, forming a grid or network for movement.
This arrangement of road-use leads to a remarkable hierarchy of movement, which also ensures that the residential areas are segregated from the noise and pollution of traffic.
Each 'Sector' or the neighboured unit, is quite similar to the traditional Indian 'mohalla', Typically, each sectors measures 800 metres by 1200 metres, covering 250 acres of area. Each Sector is surrounded by V-2 or V-3 roads, with no buildings opening on to them. Access from the surrounding roads is available only at 4 controlled points, which roughly mark the middle of each side. Typically a sector is divided in four parts by a V-4 road running from east to west and a V-5 road running from north to south. These four parts are easily identifiable as A, B, C and D corresponding to North, East, South and West sides. Each Sector is meant to be self-sufficient, with shopping and community facilities within reasonable walking distance.
Though educational, cultural and medical facilities are spread all over city, however, major institutions are located in Sectors 10, 11, 12, 14 and 26.
The industrial area comprises 2.35 sq kms, set-aside in the Master Plan for non-polluting, light industry on the extreme southeastern side of the city near the railway line, as far away from the Educational Sectors and Capitol Complex as possible.
Tree plantation and landscaping has been an integral part of the city¿s Master Plan. Twenty six different types of flowering and 22 species of evergreen trees (Sing et. Al., 1998) have been planted along the roads, in parking areas, shopping complexes, residential areas and in the city parks, to ameliorate the harsh climate of the region, especially the hot and scorching summers.
Population Growth in the City
Chandigarh was planned for a population of half-a-million. In Phase I, 36 sq km of land was acquired by the city administration for construction of 30 sectors. Land for seventeen additional sectors (Sector 31 to 47) was acquired and developed during the second phase to cater for a population of 350,000. The predominance of ¾ storey apartments in the second phase provide for higher population dimension. However, Chandigarh has now grown beyond its planned capacity. Hence, development in the third phase has started in sectors 48 and beyond. Demographic data indicate that between 1961 and 1971, the population increased by 144.59 percent, one of the highest for urban areas in India. According to 1981 census, it grew by another 75.55 percent, followed by 42.16 percent in 1991 and by 40.33 per cent in 2001 (with a total population of 9,00,635). By 2021 the population of Chandigarh is projected to be around 19.5 lacs (at current rate of growth) almost four times for which it was originally built.
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