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History Of Chandigarh

When India got independence in 1947, Punjab was divided into teo cities: one was east Punjab that belonged to India while the west Punjab came under Pakistan. The east Punjab which was a part of India now needed a capital and this is how Chandigarh was declared to be its capital city after partition.

This city consists of several monuments and sculptures designed by Le Corbusier. One of them is Open Hand that is 26 metres high and gives you a glimpse of the real architecture of the modern style. This piece of architecture is a sign of “peace and reconciliation”. The idea behind this creation is to inculcate the feeling of give and take. In total, there are six monuments which have been designed by Le Corbusier and includes Secretariat, Assemble and High Court. Buildings like Martyrs Memorial and Geometric Hill are not yet completed. It has been since 1956 that these buildings are left in an incomplete state and no further action is yet taken.

Chandigarh was formed on 1st November in 1966 when Haryana was created from the eastern Punjab region. The people of Haryana used to speak Hindi while people of East Punjab used their native language Punjabi to communicate with people. As this city was on the border, therefore a decision was taken to declare it as a union territory so that it could become the capital city of both the states.

There is a long historical background associated with this city. The modern city that you see today was not so beautiful as it consisted of a huge lake surrounded by marshy areas. Recently, a few fossils have been found around this area and it confirmed that it was the home for many aquatic animals as well as amphibians. Around 8000 years ago, the area was ruled by the people of the Harrapan culture who stayed here for a long time.

Chandigarh is a modern city with its first stone laid in 1952. Initially, the place came under Punjab and therefore, Lahore was its capital but then during the partition, west Punjab became the part of Pakistan while east Punjab was given to India. Since, east Punjab did not have any capital, in 1948 the government planned to create a new city which would be the capital of both Punjab and Haryana. In this way, the foundation stone of a new city Chandigarh was laid down and an area covering 114 sq kms was declared as Chandigarh. It spread from Shivalik Ranges and known to be called as the capital city.

This city derives its name from the popular Chandi Mandir which is located on the outskirts of the city. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Chandi who is the symbol of power. So the first part of its name came from this temple while the other part that is the ‘Garh’ came from the fort located very close to this temple. Hence, the city got its name from two different sources.

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who was the then Prime Minster of India found the project to be worthy and supported it. This is how Chandigarh was formed and it is sometimes referred to as the ‘Dream City of India’. Charles Edouard together with Jeanneret (Le Corbusier) designed this city as it appears today.

The site for creating this city was picked by Dr. M.S. Randhawa who was the Deputy Commissioner of Ambala at that time.

As Chandigarh was the capital city of two states, hence the government declared it as a union territory of India.

So, if you want to get a glimpse of a well planned city in India, Chandigarh is the right destination.

Important Dates of Chandigarh

  • 1893 - Was a Part of erst while Ambala  district
  • 1948 - Approved as capital of Punjab and Haryana
  • 1952 - Foundation stone of Chandigarh was laid
  • 1958 - Creation of Sukhna Lake
  • 1967 - Foundation of Rose Graden
  • 1971 - Foundation of Shantikunj

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