The City of Beauty[a]
Location of Chandigarh in India
|1 November 1966|
|o Type||Union territory Municipal Corporation|
|o Body||Municipal Corporation Chandigarh|
|o Administrator||Vijayendrapal Singh|
|o Member of Parliament||Kiran Kher, BJP|
|o Mayor||Ravi Kant Sharma|
|o Adviser to Administrator||Manoj Parida, IAS|
|o Union territory||114 km2 (44 sq mi)|
|Area rank||35th in India|
|Elevation||321 m (1,053 ft)|
|o Union territory||1,055,450|
|o Density||9,262/km2 (23,988/sq mi)|
|o Metro||1,025,682 (51st)|
|o Urban area||1,611,770|
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
|ISO 3166 code||IN-CH|
|Vehicle registration||CH-01 (Current), CH-02 (Commercial Vehicles & Taxis), PB-01(Taxis to Chandigarh), CH-03, CH-04 (Both Discontinued)|
|HDI (2017)||· 2nd|
|+The city of Chandigarh comprises all of the union territory's area.|
++Under Section 4 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966.
Chandigarh is bordered by the state of Punjab to the north, the west and the south, and by the state of Haryana to the east. It is considered to be a part of the Chandigarh Capital Region or Greater Chandigarh, which includes Chandigarh, and the city of Panchkula (in Haryana) and cities of Kharar, Kurali, Mohali, Zirakpur (in Punjab). It is located 260 km (162 miles) north of New Delhi and 229 km (143 miles) southeast of Amritsar.
It was one of the early planned cities in post-independence India and is internationally known for its architecture and urban design. The master plan of the city was prepared by Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, which transformed from earlier plans created by the Polish architect Maciej Nowicki and the American planner Albert Mayer. Most of the government buildings and housing in the city were designed by the Chandigarh Capital Project Team headed by Le Corbusier, Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry. In 2015, an article published by BBC named Chandigarh as one of the few master-planned cities in the world to have succeeded in terms of combining monumental architecture, cultural growth, and modernisation.
Chandigarh's Capitol Complex was in July 2016 declared by UNESCO as World Heritage at the 40th session of World Heritage Conference held in Istanbul. UNESCO inscription was under "The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier an outstanding contribution to the Modern Movement". The Capitol Complex buildings include the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Punjab and Haryana Secretariat and Punjab and Haryana Assembly along with monuments Open hand, Martyrs Memorial, Geometric Hill and Tower of Shadow and the Rock Garden.
The city has one of the highest per capita incomes in the country. The city is the cleanest in India based on a national government study. The union territory also heads the list of Indian states and territories according to the Human Development Index. In 2015, a survey by LG Electronics ranked it as the happiest city in India over the happiness index. The metropolitan area of Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula collectively forms a Tricity, with a combined population of over 1,611,770.
The name Chandigarh is a compound of Chandi and Garh. Chandi refers to the Hindu goddess Chandi and Garh means fortress. The name is derived from Chandi Mandir, an ancient temple devoted to the Hindu Goddess Chandi (Parvati) near the city in Panchkula District.
The motif or sobriquet of "The City of Beauty" was derived from the City Beautiful movement that was a popular philosophy in North American urban planning during the 1890s and 1900s. Architect Albert Mayer, the initial planner of Chandigarh, lamented the American rejection of City Beautiful concepts and declared "We want to create a beautiful city..." The phrase was used on as a logo in official publications in the 1970s and is now how the city describes itself.
Chandigarh was a new city constructed on the orders of India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. After the partition of India in 1947, the former British province of Punjab was divided into two provinces, East Punjab in India (mostly Sikhs and Hindus) and West Punjab in Pakistan (mostly Muslims). The Indian Punjab required a new capital because the former capital, Lahore, had become part of Pakistan after the partition. In 1949 the American planner and architect Albert Mayer was tasked to design a new city to be called "Chandigarh". The government carved out Chandigarh from about fifty Puadhi-speaking villages in the then-state of East Punjab, India.Shimla was the temporary capital of East Punjab until Chandigarh was completed in 1960.
Albert Mayer developed a superblock-based city interspersed with green spaces which with an emphasis on cellular neighbourhoods and traffic segregation. His site-plan took advantage of natural land characteristics; the land's gentle grade promoted proper drainage. Mayer stopped work after his architect-partner Matthew Nowicki died in a plane crash in 1950. Government officials recruited Le Corbusier to succeed Mayer and Nowicki, who enlisted many elements of Mayer's original plan without attributing them to him.
Le Corbusier designed many administration buildings, including the High Court, the Palace of Assembly, and the Secretariat Building. Le Corbusier also designed the general layout of the city, dividing it into sectors. 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 East Punjab, to create a new state for the majority Haryanvi-speaking people in that portion, while the western portion of East Punjab retained a mostly Punjabi-speaking majority and was renamed as 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 declared a union territory to serve as capital of both states.
As of 2016, many historical villages in Chandigarh are still inhabited within the modern blocks of sectors including Burail and Ottawa, while several non-sectoral villages lie on the outskirts of the city. These villages were a part of the pre-Chandigarh era.
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 borders the states of Haryana and Punjab. The exact geographic coordinates of Chandigarh are . It has an average elevation of 321 metres (1053 ft).
The city, lying in the northern plains, includes a vast area of flat, fertile land. Its northeast covers sections of Bhabar and while the remainder of its terrain is part of the Terai. The surrounding cities are Mohali, New Chandigarh, Patiala, Zirakpur and Rupnagar in Punjab, and Panchkula and Ambala in Haryana.
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 OR 30.2 °F to 114 °F). 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 bring rain predominantly from mid-December till the 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:
|Record high °C (°F)||27.7
|Average high °C (°F)||20.5
|Average low °C (°F)||5.5
|Record low °C (°F)||0.0
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||43.3
|Average rainy days||2.8||2.7||2.0||0.8||1.6||5.5||10.8||10.9||4.8||1.4||0.8||1.4||45.5|
|Average relative humidity (%)||47||42||34||23||23||39||62||70||59||40||40||46||44|
|Source: India Meteorological Department|
Most of Chandigarh is covered by dense banyan, and eucalyptus plantations. Ashoka, cassia, mulberry and other trees flourish in the forested ecosystem. The city has forests surrounding that sustain many animal and plant species.Deer, sambars, barking deer, 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. The Parrot Bird Sanctuary Chandigarh provides a home to a large number of parrots. Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1998.
Many trees in Chandigarh are given a status of the natural heritage of the city. The Chandigarh government have identified a list of 31 trees as Heritage Trees. Department of forest & wildlife Chandigarh administration is the nodal department for this purpose which has published a detailed booklet about it. The trees which are 100 years or more old have been given heritage status.
Chandigarh has a belt of parks running from sectors. It is known for its green belts and other special tourist parks. Sukhna Lake itself hosts the Garden of Silence. The Rock Garden, is located near the Sukhna Lake and has numerous sculptures made by using a variety of different discarded waste materials. The Zakir Hussain Rose Garden (which is also Asia's largest rose garden) contains nearly 825 varieties of roses in it and more than 32,500 varieties of other medicinal plants and trees. Other gardens include the Garden of Fragrance in Sector 36, Garden of Palms in Sector 42, Butterfly Park in Sector 26, Valley of Animals in Sector 49, the Japanese Garden in Sector 31, the Terraced Garden in Sector 33, Shanti Kunj Garden, the Botanical garden and the Bougainvillea Garden. There is also a Government museum and art gallery in Sector 10, Chandigarh.
Males constitute 55% of the population and females 45%. The sex ratio is 818 females for every 1,000 males. The child sex ratio is 880 females per thousand males. Chandigarh has an effective literacy rate of 86.77% (based on population 7 years and above), higher than the national average; with male literacy of 90.81% and female literacy of 81.88%. 10.8% of the population is under 6 years of age. The population of Chandigarh forms 0.09 per cent of India in 2011.
There has been a substantial decline in the population growth rate in Chandigarh, with just 17.10% growth between 2001 and 2011. Since, 1951-1961 the rate has decreased from 394.13% to 17.10%. This is probably because of rapid urbanisation and development in neighbouring cities. The urban population constitutes as high as 97.25% of the total and the rural population makes up 2.75% as there are only a few villages within Chandigarh on its Western and South-Eastern border and the majority of people live in the heart of Chandigarh.
English is the sole official language of Chandigarh. The majority of the population speaks Hindi (73.60%) while Punjabi is spoken by 22.03%. Government schools use English, Hindi, and Punjabi textbooks.
Hinduism is the predominant religion of Chandigarh followed by 80.78% of the population. Sikhism is the second most popular religion in the city, followed by 13.11% of the people. In Chandigarh city Islam is followed by 4.87%. Minorities are Christians 0.83%, Jains 0.19%, Buddhists 0.11%, those that didn't state a religion are 0.10%, and others are 0.02%.
Many institutions serve minorities in the city. One such being the Roman Catholic Diocese of Simla and Chandigarh, serving the Catholics, which even has a co-cathedral in the city, Christ the King Co-Cathedral, although it never was a separate bishopric. Most of the convent schools of Chandigarh are governed by this institution.
Chandigarh hosts many religious places, including Chandimandir, the temple after which it was named. The ISKCON temple in Sector 36 is one of the worship places for Hindus. Nada Sahib Gurudwara, a famous place for Sikh worship lies in its vicinity. Apart from this, there are a couple of historical mosques in Manimajra and Burail.
Chandigarh, as a Union Territory, is not entitled to a state-level election: thus State Assembly elections are not held and it is directly controlled by the central government. One seat for Chandigarh is allocated in the Lok Sabha elections held every five years.
The following Members of Parliament have been elected from the Chandigarh constituency:
|1971||Amarnath Vidyalankar||Indian National Congress|
|1977||Krishna Kant||Janata Party|
|1980||Jagannath Kaushal||Indian National Congress|
|1984||Jagannath Kaushal||Indian National Congress|
|1989||Harmohan Dhawan||Janata Dal|
|1991||Pawan Kumar Bansal||Indian National Congress|
|1996||Satya Pal Jain||Bharatiya Janata Party|
|1998||Satya Pal Jain||Bharatiya Janata Party|
|1999||Pawan Kumar Bansal||Indian National Congress|
|2004||Pawan Kumar Bansal||Indian National Congress|
|2009||Pawan Kumar Bansal||Indian National Congress|
|2014||Kirron Kher||Bharatiya Janata Party|
|2019||Kirron Kher||Bharatiya Janata Party|
The city is governed by a civic administration or local government headed by Municipal Commissioner Kamal Kishore Yadav and Mayor Raj Bala Malik. The city comprises 26 wards represented by 26 elected councillors, and also nominates 9 councillors.
In the Municipal Corporation, BJP candidate Arun Sood defeated Congress' Mukesh Bassi by 21-15 votes for the post of Mayor, while BJP's Davesh Moudgil and SAD's Hardeep Singh defeated Congress' Darshan Garg and Gurbax Rawat for the posts of Sr. Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor respectively, in the Municipal Corporation's mayoral polls in January 2016. In January 2017 BJP's Asha Kumari Jaswal was elected as the mayor, BJP's Rajesh Kumar Gupta and Anil Dubey were elected as senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor respectively. In January 2019 Mayor elections, BJP candidate Rajesh Kumar Kalia was elected as the Mayor by defeating the independent candidate Satish Kainth by securing 16 votes out of the total 27 votes. The incumbent Mayor is Raj Bala Malik, who was elected in January 2020.
|Political Party||Number of Councillers|
|Bharatiya Janata Party||20|
|Shiromani Akali Dal||1|
|Indian National Congress||4|
|Member of Parliament||1|
The prime responsibilities of the civic body are to ensure cleanliness and sanitation in the city, illumination of street lights, maintenance of parks, and sewerage disposal. The city has both brick and pipe sewers laid in four phases. In September 2020, the civic body announced that it would upgrade and renew the 50-year-old sewerage system.
Chandigarh has been rated as one of the "Wealthiest Towns" of India. The Reserve Bank of India ranked Chandigarh as the third-largest deposit centre and seventh largest credit centre nationwide as of June 2012. With a per capita income of INR99,262, Chandigarh is one of the richest cities in India. Chandigarh's gross state domestic product for 2014-15 is estimated at INR0.29 trillion (short scale) (US$4.3 billion) at current prices. According to a 2014 survey, Chandigarh is ranked 4th in the top 50 cities identified globally as "emerging outsourcing and IT services destinations" ahead of cities like Beijing.
The government is a major employer in Chandigarh with three governments having their base here i.e. Chandigarh Administration, Punjab government and Haryana government. 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 mainly armed forces. For this reason, Chandigarh is often called a "Pensioner's Paradise". Ordnance Cable Factory of the Ordnance Factories Board has been set up by the government of India. There are about 15 medium to large industries including two in the public sector. In addition, Chandigarh has over 2,500 units registered under the 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.
The main occupation here is trade and business. However, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), the availability of an IT Park, and more than a hundred government schools provide job opportunities to people.
Four major trade promotion organisations have their offices in Chandigarh. These are The Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry, ASSOCHAM India in Sector 8, Chandigarh, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry, (FICCI) the PhD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) which has its regional headquarters at Sector 31, Chandigarh.
Chandigarh IT Park (also known as Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park) is the city's attempt to break into the information technology 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 like Quark, Infosys, EVRY, Dell, IBM, TechMahindra, Airtel, Amadeus IT Group, DLF have set up base in the city and its suburbs.
The work of the Chandigarh Metro was earlier slated to start by the year 2019. It was opposed by the Member of Parliament from Chandigarh, Kirron Kher. With an estimated cost of around INR109 billion including 50% funds from the governments of Punjab and Haryana and 25% from Chandigarh and government of India, funds from the Japanese government were proposed to include approximately 56% of the cost. However, the project was turned down owing to its non-feasibility. Kher promised a film city for Chandigarh. After winning the seat, she said that she had difficulty in acquiring land in Chandigarh. Her proposal was accepted by the Chandigarh Administration and the film city is proposed to be set up in Sarangpur, Chandigarh. This has been considered as a source of employment in the future.
Chandigarh has the largest number of vehicles per capita in India. Wide, well-maintained roads and parking spaces all over the city ease local transport. The Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) operates public transport buses from its Inter State Bus Terminals (ISBT) in Sectors 17 and 43 of the city. CTU also operates frequent bus services to the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and to Delhi.
Chandigarh is well connected by road to the following nearby cities, by the following highway routes:
Chandigarh Airport has scheduled commercial flights to major cities of India.
There are numerous educational institutions in Chandigarh. These range from privately and publicly operated schools to colleges. These include Panjab University, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Punjab Engineering College, Post Graduate Government College, Sector 11, Chandigarh, and DAV College.
According to Chandigarh administration's department of education, there are a total of 115 government schools in Chandigarh, including Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Bhavan Vidyalaya, convent schools like St. Stephen's School, St. John's High School, Chandigarh, St. Anne's Convent School, St. Kabir Public School, St. Xavier's Senior Secondary School and Carmel Convent School and other private schools like Delhi Public School and D.A.V. Public School.
The Sector 16 Stadium has been a venue of several international cricket matches, but it has lost prominence after the PCA Stadium was constructed in Mohali. It still provides a platform for cricketers in this region to practice and play inter-state matches.
Nehru said of Chandigarh when he first visited the site of the new city in 1952: "Let this be a new town, symbolic of the freedom of India, unfettered by the traditions of the past, an expression of the nation's faith in the future". For Nehru, Chandigarh represented a vision for how a new planned city could be a canvas for the regeneration of the nation itself after centuries of oppression under British colonial rule and the dilution of Indian character from the nation's towns. Guided by the architectural optics of Le Corbusier the development of Chandigarh was part of a state-driven exercise to break from the traditions of imperialism in city making and begin the process of healing from the injustices suffered.
To the extent that Chandigarh epitomises the destructive influence of the British, in the impetus of its creation as a solution to the otherwise violent partitioning of territory between India and Pakistan, it represents an early ideological symbol for the birth of India's future. The selection of the physical site involved an extensive vetting process. Many existing towns in Punjab were surveyed as options for the new capital and dismissed for poor performance in relation to factors such as military defensibility and capacity for accommodating potential refugee influxes. The construction of a new town in Chandigarh was determined to be the best option due to its relative strength in these factors as well as its proximity to the national capital, New Delhi, its central location within the state of Punjab, its abundance of fecund land and its beautiful natural landscape.
Off the back of this conflation of assets Chandigarh then was well poised to serve a function as a city-building project in national identity. From a federal policy perspective, the development of the new town became a tool in India for modernisation and an intended driver of economic activity, legal reform, and regional growth as well as a significant agent for the decolonisation project. As Britain's grip on their empire began to weaken their accelerated withdrawal between the beginning of the second world war and 1947 left their former colony in states of disarray and disorganisation, and policymakers for the new Indian government were required to contend with issues such as rapid rural depopulation, urban congestion, and poverty. As well as in Chandigarh this policy tool was implemented in the creation of new capital cities in Bhubaneswar and Gandhinagar, and more broadly throughout India in the 112 planned cities created between independence and 1971, purposed to absorb migration from those regions in demise after being abandoned by the British and provide hubs for growing industries such as in steel and energy.
These examples from a genealogy of utopian urban forms developed in post-independence India as a panacea for issues related to underdevelopment as well as post-independence complications to do with separatist religious conflict and the resulting diplomatic tensions. Chandigarh is the first example of a state-funded master-planned modernisation scheme. These "urban utopias" attempt to enforce nation-building policies through a federalised rule of law at a regional level, and diffuse postcolonial urbanism which codes justice in its design. The intent is that the economic success and progressivism of cities such as Chandigarh as a lightning rod for social change would gradually be emulated at the scale of the nation. Chandigarh was for Nehru and Le Corbusier an embodiment of the egalitarian potential offered by modernism, where the machine age would complete the liberation of the nation's citizens through the productive capacity of industrial technology and the relative ease of constructing civic facilities such as dams, hospitals, and schools; the very antithesis of the conservative and traditional legacy of colonialism. Though built as a state capital Chandigarh came to be focused in industry and higher education. The specialisation of these new towns in particular functions represents a crucial aspect of the modernisation process as a decolonising enterprise, in completing a national portfolio where each town forms a part of the utopian model for contemporary India.
The post-colonialism of Chandigarh is rooted in the transformation of the political ideas of those such as Nehru who generated a new Indian nationalism into the design of newly built forms. Scholars such as Edward Said have emphasised the sinister nature of nostalgia and the romanticisation of colonial architecture in newly independent colonies as artefacts that perpetuate the ideological legacy of the hegemony and replicate the hierarchy of power even after decolonisation. Insofar as modernism in architecture (which defined town planning under the Nehru era of rule) represents an active radical break from tradition and a colonial past even the very presence of Le Corbusier has been recognised as an indelible resistance to the British construction legacy, as he provided the first non-British influence on design thinking in India, enabling a generational shift in the contemporary cohort of architects and planners to be hired by the state throughout the rest of the century who were initiated under Modernist conditioning. As early as the 1950s the presence of the International Style could be detected in the design of houses in India, "whether mistri or architect-designed". The development of low-cost housing was a priority for Chandigarh, and the modern forms designed by Corbusier are characterised by a dispensing with colonial forms focused on classic aesthetics and a refocusing on strategies such as using narrow frontages and orientation for minimising direct exposure to the sun and maximising natural ventilation and efficient cost while providing modern amenities in the International Style aesthetic. These developments are credited as the beginning of a "Chandigarh architecture", inspiring gradual experimentation with form and an "Indianising" of the International Style which precipitated the formation of the country's new cultural identity in town design.
Criticisms are well established of the implementation of the postcolonial vision of Nehru and Le Corbusier, and of the critical emphasis on its influence. Claims have been made that the focus on Corbusier's architect-centered discourse erases the plural authorship of the narrative of Chandigarh's development, arguing that it was, in fact, a hybridity of values and of "contested modernities" of Western and indigenous Indian origin and cultural exchanges rather than an uncontested administrative enterprise. Such criticism is consistent with claims that decolonisation in India has marked a shift from segregation based on race to segregation based on class, and that planned cities are truly "designed" ones which represent the values and interests of a westernised middle-class Indian elite which ignore the complexities of India's diverse ethnic and cultural landscape and enabled neocolonial hierarchies such as the imposition of the Hindi language on non-conforming castes. Furthermore, the early over-saturation of the minimalist International Style on building design in Chandigarh has attracted criticisms of effecting a "democratic, self-effacing banality", though this criticism is perhaps negligent of how this was necessary in galvanising higher standards of urban living throughout the country.