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Chandigarh (local pronunciation: [tʃə̃ˈɖiːɡəɽʱ] (About this soundlisten)) is a city and a union territory in India that serves as the capital of the two neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana. The city is unique as it is not a part of either of the two states but is governed directly by the Union Government, which administers all such territories in the country.

Palace of Assembly Chandigarh 2006.jpg
Gandhi Bhawan at Punjab University.jpg
Rock Garden, Chandigarh-statues.jpg
Open Hand monument, Chandigarh.jpg
Chandigarh hockey stadium.JPG
Sukhna Lake Chandigarh.JPG
Official seal of Chandigarh
The City of Beauty[a]
Location of Chandigarh in India
Location of Chandigarh in India
Coordinates: 30°45′N 76°47′E / 30.75°N 76.78°E / 30.75; 76.78Coordinates: 30°45′N 76°47′E / 30.75°N 76.78°E / 30.75; 76.78
Country India
Formation of
Union territory††
1 November 1966
 • TypeUnion territory Municipality
 • AdministratorV.P. Singh Badnore
 • MayorRajesh Kumar Kalia
 • Senior Deputy MayorGurpreet Singh
 • Deputy MayorVinod Aggarwal
 • Union territory114 km2 (44 sq mi)
Area rank34th in India
321 m (1,053 ft)
 • Union territory1,055,450
 • Density9,262/km2 (23,988/sq mi)
 • Metro1,025,682 (51st)
 • Urban area1,611,770
 • OfficialEnglish[4]
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
Telephone code+91-172-XXX-XXXX
ISO 3166 codeIN-CH
Vehicle registrationCH-01 (Current), CH-02 (Commercial Vehicles & Taxis), CH-03, CH-04 (Both Discontinued)
HDI (2017)Increase 0.774[5] (High) · 2nd
The city of Chandigarh comprises all of the union territory's area.
††under Section 4 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966.
Symbols of Chandigarh
EmblemOpen Hand Emblem
MammalIndian grey mongoose[6]
BirdIndian grey hornbill
TreeMango Tree[7]

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.[8] 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.[9]

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 was reported to be one of the cleanest in India based on a national government study.[10][11] The union territory also heads the list of Indian states and territories according to Human Development Index.[12] In 2015, a survey by LG Electronics, ranked it as the happiest city in India over the happiness index.[13][14] The metropolitan area of Chandigarh–MohaliPanchkula collectively forms a Tri-city, with a combined population of over 1,611,770.[15]

According to a 2015 study, Chandigarh is named as the happiest city in India.[16]


The name Chandigarh is a compound of Chandi and Garh. Chandi refers to Hindu goddess Chandi and Garh means fortress.[17] The name is derived from Chandi Mandir, an ancient temple devoted to the Hindu Goddess Chandi, near the city in Panchkula District.[18]

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..."[19] The phrase was used on as a logo in official publications in the 1970s, and is now how the city describes itself.[20][21]


A map of the British Punjab province in 1909. During the Partition of India along the Radcliffe Line, the capital of the Punjab Province, Lahore, fell into West Punjab, Pakistan. The necessity to have a new capital for East Punjab in India then, led to the development of Chandigarh.

Chandigarh was the dream city of India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. After the partition of India in 1947, the former British province of Punjab was split between East Punjab in India (mostly Sikhs and Hindus) and West Punjab in Pakistan (mostly Muslim).[22] The Indian Punjab required a new capital city to replace Lahore, which had become part of Pakistan during the partition.[23][24] Therefore, an American planner and architect Albert Mayer was tasked to design a new city called "Chandigarh" in 1949. The government carved out Chandigarh of nearly 50 Puadhi speaking villages of the then state of East Punjab, India.[25] Shimla was the temporary capital of East Punjab until Chandigarh was completed in 1960.

Albert Mayer, during his work on the development and planning of the new capital city of Chandigarh, developed a superblock-based city threaded with green spaces which emphasised cellular neighbourhoods and traffic segregation. His site plan used natural characteristics, using its gentle grade to promote drainage and rivers to orient the plan. Mayer discontinued his work on Chandigarh after developing a master plan for the city when 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.[26]

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".[27] 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.[28]

On 1 November 1966, the newly formed state of Haryana was carved out of the eastern portion of East Punjab, in order 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.[29]

As of 2016, many historical villages in Chandigarh are still inhabited 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.[30]

Geography and ecologyEdit

Map of Chandigarh


Chandigarh is located near the foothills of the Sivalik range of the Himalayas in northwest India. It covers an area of approximately 114 km2.[24] It borders the states of Haryana and Punjab. The exact geographic co-ordinates of Chandigarh are 30°44′N 76°47′E / 30.74°N 76.79°E / 30.74; 76.79.[31] 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.[32] The surrounding cities are Mohali, Patiala, Zirakpur and Roopnagar in Punjab, and Panchkula and Ambala in Haryana.

Chandigarh is situated 44 km (28 miles) northeast of Ambala, 229 km (143 miles) southeast of Amritsar and 250 km (156 miles) north of Delhi.


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 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 and 42 °C.
  • Monsoon: During the 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 the south (which is mainly a persistent rain) but it generally receives most of its rain during monsoon either from northwest or northeast. The 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 they 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.
Climate data for Chandigarh
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 27.7
Average high °C (°F) 20.4
Average low °C (°F) 6.1
Record low °C (°F) 0.0
Average rainfall mm (inches) 33.1
Average rainy days 2.6 2.8 2.6 1.1 2.1 6.3 12.3 11.4 5.0 1.4 0.8 1.4 49.8
Source: India Meteorological Department (record high and low up to 2010)[33][34]


Parakeets at the Parrot Bird Sanctuary

Most of Chandigarh is covered by dense banyan and eucalyptus plantations. Ashoka, cassia, mulberry and other trees flourish in the forested ecosystem.[35] The city has forests surrounding that sustain many animal and plant species.[36] 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 home to a large number of parrots. Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1998.


Sailing at Sukhna Lake

Sukhna Lake, a 3 km artificial rain-fed lake in Sector 1,[37] was created in 1958 by damming the Sukhna Choe, a seasonal stream coming down from the Shivalik Hills.[38]

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.[39] The Rock Garden,[40][41] is located near the Sukhna Lake and has numerous sculptures made by using a variety of different discarded waste materials.[42] The Zakir Hussain Rose Garden (which is also the 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.[43] 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.[44] There is also a Government museum and art gallery in sector 10.


YearPop.±% p.a.


Population growth in Chandigarh over the years.

As of 2011 India census, Chandigarh had a population of 1,055,450,[1] making for a density of about 9,252 (7,900 in 2001) persons per square kilometre.[46][47]

Males constitute 55% of the population and females 45%. The sex ratio is 818 females for every 1,000 males[3] –which is the third lowest in the country,[48][b] up from 773 in 2001. The child sex ratio is 880 females per thousand males, up from 819 in 2001.[49] 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%.[3] 10.8% of the population is under 6 years of age.[3]

There has been a substantial decline in the population growth rate in Chandigarh, with just 17.10% growth between 2001-2011. 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.[50] The urban population constitutes of as high as 97.25% of the total and the rural population makes up 2.75% as there are only few villages within Chandigarh on its Western and South-Eastern border and majority of people live in the heart of Chandigarh.[49]


Languages of Chandigarh (2011)[51]

  Hindi (73.60%)
  Punjabi (22.03%)
  Urdu (1.00%)
  Nepali (0.62%)
  Bengali (0.59%)
  Tamil (0.53%)
  Others (1.63%)

English is the sole official language of Chandigarh.[4] The majority of the population speaks Hindi (73.60%) while Punjabi is spoken by 22.03%.[52] Government schools use English, Hindi and Punjabi textbooks.[53]


Religion in Chandigarh[54]
Religion Percent

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%.[55]

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 among the worship places for Hindus. Nada Sahib Gurudwara, a famous place for Sikh worship lies in its vicinity.[56] Apart from this, there are a couple of historical mosques in Manimajra and Burail.[57]


Chandigarh has been rated as one of the "Wealthiest Towns" of India.[58] 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 99,262, Chandigarh is one of the richest cities in India.[59] Chandigarh's gross state domestic product for 2014-15 is estimated at 0.29 lakh crore (US$4.3 billion) in 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.[60]


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".[61] 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 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.[62][63] 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 of government schools provide job opportunity to people.

Four major trade promotion organisations have their offices in Chandigarh. These are: The Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry, ASSOCHAM India [64] in Sector 8, Chandigarh, 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.[65][66]

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.[67] With estimated cost of around 10,900 crores 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.[68][69] 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.[70] Her proposal was accepted by the Chandigarh Administration and the film city is proposed to be set up in Sarangpur, Chandigarh.[71] This has been considered as a source of employment in the future.


Legislative Assembly by Le Corbusier

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:

Election Member Party
1967 Chand Goyal BJS
1971 Amar Nath 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 controlled by a civic administration. 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.[72] 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.[73]

Composition of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation as of February 2017[74]

Political Party Number of Councillers
Bharatiya Janata Party 20
Shiromani Akali Dal 1
Indian National Congress 4
Independent 1
Nominated 9
Member of Parliament 1
  Total 36


There are numerous educational institutions in Chandigarh. These range from privately and publicly operated schools to colleges and the Panjab University. Other Institutions are Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Government Medical College and Hospital, Punjab Engineering College Deemed University, Government College for Men, Government College for Women, DAV College, MCM DAV College for Women, Goswami Ganesh Dutta Sanatan Dharma College Sector-32, Government Homeopathic College, Ayurvedic College, Government Polytechnical College, Government Home Science College, Dr. Ambedkar Institute of Hotel management, Khalsa College Sec- 26, National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research (NITTTR) Sec-26, Government College of Commerce and Business Administration (GCCBA) Sec-50 etc.

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, sector 27 and 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.



CTU AC bus outside railway station

Chandigarh has the largest number of vehicles per capita in India.[75] Wide, well maintained roads and parking spaces all over the city ease local transport.[76] The Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) operates public transport buses from its Inter State Bus Terminals (ISBT) in Sectors 17 and 43 of the city.[77] 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:


View of Chandigarh Airport new terminal

Chandigarh Airport has scheduled commercial flights to major cities of India including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune, Chennai, Leh, Srinagar, Jaipur, Lucknow, Ahmedabad and Indore. The airport has international flights to Bangkok, Dubai and Sharjah.


Chandigarh Station

Chandigarh Junction railway station lies in the Northern Railway zone of the Indian Railway network and provides connectivity to most of the regions of India. It provides connectivity to eastern states with link to cities like Kolkata, Dibrugarh; southern states with trains to Visakhapatnam, Thiruvananthapuram, Bangalore, Chennai, Madurai and Kollam; western states with trains to Rewari, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Pune; central states with trains to Bhopal and Indore; other northern states with trains to Lucknow, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Ambala, Panipat, Kaithal and Kalka.



Every year, in September or October during the festival of Navratri, many associations and organisations hold a Ramlila event which has been conducted for over 50 years.[78]

The "Rose Festival" in Zakir Hussain Rose Garden in February every year, shows thousands of subspecies of roses.[79]

The Mango Festival, held during the monsoons, and other festivals are held at Sukhna Lake.


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.[80]

The Chandigarh Golf Club has 7,202 yard, 18 hole course known for its challenging narrow fairways, along 613 yard long, dogleg 7th hole and floodlighting on the first nine holes.[81]

Postcolonial significanceEdit


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”.[82] 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.[83]

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.[84]

Modernism in new town designEdit

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.[85] 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.[86]

These examples form 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 a postcolonial urbanism which codes justice in its design.[87] 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.[85] Though built as a state capital Chandigarh came to be focused in industry and higher education.[86] 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 ideals of those such as Nehru who generated a new Indian nationalism into the design of new built forms.[88] Scholars such as Edward Said have emphasised the sinister nature of nostalgia and the romanticisation of colonial architecture in newly independent colonies as artefacts which perpetuate the ideological legacy of the hegemony and replicate the hierarchy of power even after decolonisation.[89] 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 a Modernist conditioning.[88] 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".[90] 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.[91] These developments are credited as the beginning of a "Chandigarh architecture", inspiring a 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.[88]


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-centred 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.[92] Such a 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.[83][85][88] 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.[93]

Notable people from ChandigarhEdit


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ see § Etymology
  2. ^ The lowest is Daman and Diu (618 females per thousand males) and second lowest is Dadra and Nagar Haveli (774 females per thousand males).[48]


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Further readingEdit

  • Fynn, Shaun. Chandigarh Revealed: Le Corbusier's City Today. Princeton Architectural Press, 2017. ISBN 9781616895815
  • Evenson, Norma. Chandigarh. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1966.
  • Sarbjit Bahga, Surinder Bahga (2014) Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret: The Indian Architecture, CreateSpace, ISBN 978-1495906251
  • 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 linksEdit

General information