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Chandigarh is a city and union territory in India that serves as the capital of two states, Haryana and Punjab. The name Chandigarh translates as "The Fort of Chandi". The name is derived from an ancient temple called Chandi Mandir, devoted to the Hindu goddess Chandi, in the city.[1] It is also referred to as The City Beautiful due to its beautiful surroundings, central grid of gardens, each to dedicated to different species of flora.

The city of Chandigarh was the first planned city in India and is known internationally for its architecture and urban design.[2] The city has projects designed by architects such as Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Jane Drew, and Maxwell Fry. The city tops the list of Indian States and Union Territories with the highest per capita income in the country at Rs.99,262 at current prices and Rs.70,361 at constant prices (2006 2007).[3] The city was reported in 2010 to be the "cleanest" in India, based on a national government study,[4] and the territory also headed the list of Indian states and territories according to research conducted using 2005 data by Human Development Index.[5]



After the partition of British India into India and Pakistan in 1947, the former British province of Punjab was also split between India and Pakistan. The Indian state of Punjab required a new capital city to replace Lahore, which became part of Pakistan during the partition.[6] After several plans to make additions to existing cities were found to be unfeasible for various reasons, the decision to construct a new and planned city was undertaken. Of all the new town schemes in independent India, the Chandigarh project quickly assumed prime significance, because of the city's strategic location as well as the personal interest of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India. Commissioned by Nehru to reflect the new nation's modern, progressive outlook, Chandigarh was designed by the French (born Swiss) architect and urban 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 (planner) who was working with the Polish-born architect Matthew Nowicki.

On 1 November 1966, the newly formed Indian state of Haryana was carved out of the eastern portion of the Punjab, in order to create Haryana as a majority Hindi-speaking state (with a Hindu majority), while the western portion of Punjab retained a mostly Punjabi language-speaking majority (with a Sikh majority) and remained as the current day federated state of Punjab. However, the city of Chandigarh was on the border, and was thus created into a union territory to serve as capital of both these states.[7]

Recently, political groups such as the Akali Dal have argued that Chandigarh should become solely the capital of Punjab.

Geography and climate

Sukhna Lake
Sukhna Lake
Chandigarh is located near the foothills of the Shivalik range of the Himalayas in northwest India. It covers an area of approximately 44.5 sq mi or 114 km . and shares its borders with the states of Haryana and Punjab. The exact cartographic co-ordinates of Chandigarh are .[8] It has an average elevation of 321 metres (1053 ft).

The surrounding districts are of Panchkula and Ambala in Haryana and Mohali, Patiala and Roopnagar in Punjab. The boundary of the state of Himachal Pradesh is also minutes away from its north border.

Chandigarh has a humid subtropical climate characterized by a seasonal rhythm: very hot summers, mild winters, unreliable rainfall and great variation in temperature (-1 C to 41.2 C). In winter, pieces of snow sometimes occurs during December and January. The average annual rainfall is 1110.7 mm. The city also receives occasional winter rains from the west.

Average temperature

  • Spring: The climate remains the most enjoyable part of the year during the spring season (from mid-February to mid-April). Temperatures vary between (max) 16 C to 25 C and (min) 9 C to 18 C.
  • Autumn: In autumn (from Mid-September to mid November.), the temperature may rise to a maximum of 36 C. Temperatures usually remain between 16 to 27 in autumn. The minimum temperature is around 11 C.
  • Summer: The temperature in summer (from Mid-May to Mid-June) may rise to a maximum of 45 C (rarely). Temperatures generally remain between 35 C to 40 C (94 - 101F).
  • Monsoon: During monsoon(from mid-June 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 Chandigrah during monsoon season is 195.5 mm in a single day.
  • Winter: Winters (November to Mid-March) are mild but it can sometimes get quite chilly in Chandigarh. Average temperatures in the winter remain at (max) 7 C to 15 C and (min) 0 C to 8 C. Rain usually comes from the west during winters and it is usually a persistent rain for 2 3 days with sometimes hail-storms.


Most of Chandigarh is covered by dense Banyan and Eucalyptus plantations. Asoka, Cassia, Mulberry and other trees flourish in the forested ecosystem.The city has forests surrounding it which sustain many animal and plant species. Deers, Sambars, Barking Deers, Parrots, Woodpeckers and Peacocks inhabit the protected forests. Sukhna Lake hosts a variety of ducks and geese, and attracts migratory birds from parts of Siberia and Japan in the winter season.

A parrot sanctuary located in the city is home to a variety of bird species.

Architecture and urban planning

Legislative Assembly by Le Corbusier Taking over from Albert Mayer (planner), Le Corbusier produced a plan for Chandigarh that conformed to the modern city planning principles of Congr s International d'Architecture Moderne CIAM, in terms of division of urban functions, an anthropomorphic plan form, and a hierarchy of road and pedestrian networks. This vision of Chandigarh, contained in the innumerable conceptual maps on the drawing board together with notes and sketches had to be translated into brick and mortar, as lead by the Chief Engineer appointed to the project, Ajit Gill. Le Corbusier retained many of the seminal ideas of Mayer and Nowicki, like the basic framework of the master plan and its components: The Capitol, City Center, besides the University, Industrial area, and linear parkland. Even the neighborhood unit was retained as the basic module of planning. However, the curving outline of Mayer and Nowicki was reorganized into a mesh of rectangles, and the buildings were characterized by an "honesty of materials". Exposed brick and boulder stone masonry in its rough form produced unfinished concrete surfaces, in geometrical structures. This became the architectural form characteristic of Chandigarh, set amidst landscaped gardens and parks.

Chandigarh Museum and Art gallery have a separate section dedicated to the architecture of Chandigarh.

Chandigarh administration

Chandigarh Administration is under the control of the Administrator who is appointed under the provisions of Article 239 of the Constitution of India. The administrative control of Chandigarh is under the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Adviser to the Administrator, a very senior officer equivalent to the Chief Secretary of a state, belonging to one of the All India Services, is second in command after the Administrator. S/He generally belongs to the AGMU cadre of the Indian Administrative Service.

  • The Deputy Commissioner, an officer belonging to the Indian Administrative Service, is the in-charge of the General Administration in the Chandigarh UT.
  • The Senior Superintendent of Police, an officer belonging to the Indian Police Service, is responsible for maintaining Law & Order and related issues in the Chandigarh UT.
  • The Deputy Conservator of Forests, an officer belonging to the Indian Forest Service, is responsible for the management of the Forests, Environment, Wild-Life and Pollution Control in the Chandigarh UT.

The above three officers are generally from AGMU cadre and can also be from Haryana or Punjabcadres of the All India Services.


India census, Chandigarh had a population of 960,787,[9] making for a density of about 7900 persons per square kilometre. Males constitute 55% of the population and females 45%. The sex ratio is 829 females for every 1,000 males[9] which is the lowest in the country, up from 777 in 2001. Chandigarh has an average literacy rate of 86.77%, higher than the national average; with male literacy of 90.81% and female literacy of 81.88%.[9] 10.8% of the population is under 6 years of age.[9]


Legislative Assembly by Le Corbusier
Legislative Assembly by Le Corbusier
Punjab and Haryana High Court by Le Corbusier Secretariat Building by Le Corbusier The government is a major employer in Chandigarh with three governments having their base here. A significant percentage of Chandigarh s population therefore consists of people who are either working for one of these governments or have retired from government service. For this reason, Chandigarh is often called a Pensioner's Paradise . There are about 15 medium to large industries including two in the Public sector. In addition Chandigarh has over 2500 units registered under small scale sector. The important industries are paper manufacturing, basic metals and alloys and machinery. Other industries are relating to food products, sanitary ware, auto parts, machine tools, pharmaceuticals and electrical appliances. Yet, with a per capita income of
99,262, Chandigarh is the richest city in India.[10] Chandigarh's gross state domestic product for 2004 is estimated at $2.2 billion in current prices.

Three major trade promotion organizations have their offices in Chandigarh. These are: Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry, (FICCI) the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) which has its regional headquarters at Sector 31, Chandigarh.

Chandigarh IT Park (also known as Chandigarh Technology Park) is the city's attempt to break into the IT world. Chandigarh's infrastructure, proximity to Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, and the IT talent pool attracts IT businesses looking for office space in the area. Major Indian firms and multinational corporations to the like of Quark, Infosys, Dell, IBM, TechMahindra have set up base in the city and its suburbs. According to a 2007 survey, Chandigarh is ranked ninth in the top 50 cities identified globally as "emerging outsourcing and IT services destinations".[11]


There are numerous education institutions in Chandigarh. These range from private- and publicly-operated schools to colleges and the Panjab University.


Chandigarh has the largest number of vehicles per capita in India.[12] Wide, well maintained roads and parking spaces all over the city ease local transport.

Chandigarh is well connected by road by NH 22 (Ambala - Kalka - Shimla - Kinnaur) and NH 21 (Chandigarh - Leh), and has both a railway station and the International Airport.

The Chandigarh Metro Rail project is underway but recently, due to reduce cost, it is planned to partially replace metro projects by tram and monorail,

Sporting venues and gardens

Chandigarh is home to numerous inter state sporting teams in tournaments like IPL. The city has facilities for sports such as cricket, swimming, shooting, skating and hockey.

There are numerous display gardens across the city, including the Rock Garden that is built from mostly from waste material, the Terraced Garden in Sector 33 near Bhavan Vidyalaya (Junior Wing) and the Rose Garden. Other gardens include Garden of Annuals, Fragrance Garden, Hibiscus Garden, Chrysanthemum Garden, Botanical Garden and Shanti Kunj.


image:Corbu Chandigarh Palais Justice.JPG|Punjab and Haryana High Court Image:Ghandi Bhawan at Punjab University.jpg|Gandhi Bhavan built by Pierre Jeanneret for Panjab University File:Arch Museum 16.JPG|Chandigarh Architecture Museum File:Arch Museum 46.JPG|National History Museum Image:Chandigarh hockey stadium.JPG|The popular Sector-42 Hockey Stadium File:Chandigarh - Bus Tata Marcopolo.png|"Green Bus" introduced by the CTU runs throughout Chandigarh File:IT-Park-at-Chandigarh.Jpg|A Shopping mall in the city. Image:sambar-deer-in-forest.jpg|Sambar in one of the forests surrounding Chandigarh


Further reading

  • Evenson, Norma. Chandigarh. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1966.
  • Joshi, Kiran. Documenting Chandigarh: The Indian Architecture of Pierre Jeanneret, Edwin Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew. Ahmedabad: Mapin Publishing in association with Chandigarh College of Architecture, 1999. ISBN 1-890206-13-X
  • Kalia, Ravi. Chandigarh: The Making of an Indian City. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1999.
  • Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew. Chandigarh and Planning Development in India, London: Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, No.4948, 1 April 1955, Vol.CIII, pages 315-333. I. The Plan, by E. Maxwell Fry, II. Housing, by Jane B. Drew.
  • Nangia, Ashish. Re-locating Modernism: Chandigarh, Le Corbusier and the Global Postcolonial. PhD Dissertation, University of Washington, 2008.
  • Perera, Nihal. "Contesting Visions: Hybridity, Liminality and Authorship of the Chandigarh Plan" Planning Perspectives 19 (2004): 175-199
  • Prakash, Vikramaditya. Chandigarh s Le Corbusier: The Struggle for Modernity in Postcolonial India. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002.
  • Sarin, Madhu. Urban Planning in the Third World: The Chandigarh Experience. London: Mansell Publishing, 1982.

External links

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