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Chandigarh is a India's youngest city
- planned by the famous French architect Le Corbusier.
Capital of the States of Punjab and Haryana
- but does not belong to either of them. Instead, it is...
A Union Territory
It means that the City is under the direct administration of the Government of India and not constituted as a state with its own legislative assembly. A Union Territory in India is something like the District of Columbia in the USA.
Chandigarh is known for :
.: Planning and Architecture
.: Quality of Life
.: High Educational Level
.: Pollution-free Environment
.: Low Crime Rate
.: Aware & Active Citizens
Population: In terms of population, the figures of the 2001 Census, it is clear that Chandigarh is overwhelmingly urban.
Population Density: The urban area of Chandigarh is about four times more densely settled than its rural area
Total Area of Chandigarh: Chandigarh's urban area is much larger than its rural area
Male/Female Population Ratio and Sex Ratio: Men outnumber women in Chandigarh. One reason for this is that many men who are employed in the city find it more affordable or convenient to leave their wives and children in their native village or towns.
Population Growth between 1991 and 2001 and Growth Rate: Chandigarh has grown very rapidly over the past 10 years.
Total Literacy: Nearly 82 per cent of Chandigarh's population is literate. This is much higher than the national figure of 65 per cent.
Care of the Body and Spirit is one of the four basic functions of the city, according to Le Corbusier's "Statute of the Land" for Chandigarh. It includes open green spaces and various structures which have come up in the green areas.
Some 800 hectares of green open space are spread over the approximately 114 square kilometers of the Capital Project area. Major open areas include the Leisure Valley, Sukhna Lake, Rock Garden and many other special gardens. In addition, the sectors are vertically integrated by green space oriented in the direction of the mountains. Le Corbusier envisaged the construction of schools and playing fields in these green bands.
Various structures such as the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Museum of Evolution of Life and Fine Arts College have come up in the Leisure Valley forming the cultural zone of the city. Le Corbusier also allowed small nursery and primary schools and community buildings to be built in the green belt of the sectors.
Landscaping proceeded side by side with the construction of the city from the very inception. Three spaces were identified for special plantation: the roadsides, spaces around important buildings, parks and special features such as Sukhna Lake. In July, 1953, a Landscape Advisory Committee was set up under the guidance of Dr M.S. Randhawa, later to be the City's first Chief Commissioner and a man of versatile talents. Le Corbusier's contribution to landscaping was of categorising tree forms. He made a simple analysis of the functional needs and aesthetic suitability for the various areas, devoting special attention to specific roads.
It was intended to have continuous, informally planted interior and exterior tree belts to give a sense of direction and culminate dramatically at the Capitol. For the V-2 Avenue of the Capitol, Le Corbusier wrote:
"The Avenue of the Capitol consists of heavy traffic with a parallel band of parking, a large pavement on each side and with shops and arcades and high-rise buildings. Also outside this and parallel will be the eroded valley (which touches from time to time). On the one hand, it seems useful to demarcate the highway by a border of high trees and on the other hand to unite with one glance the entire width of the avenue."
"The V-4 will be the street which will give its own character to each sector. Consequently each V-4 will be different from the others and furnished with special characteristics because it is indispensable to create a great variety across the city and to furnish to inhabitants elements of classification. All the possibilities of nature are at our disposal to give to each V-4 a personality which will maintain itself in the whole width of the town and thus tie up five or six sectors traversed by a V-4." "To specialise the character of each V-4 will be planted with trees having different colour, or of a different species. For example one V-4 will be yellow, one V-4 will be red, one V-4 will be blue."
At present, the prominent flowering trees are gulmohar (Delonix regia), amaltas (Cassia fistula), kachnar (Bauhinea variegata), pink cassia (Cassia Javanica) and silver oak (Grevillea robusta). Among the conspicuous non-flowering trees one finds kusum (Schleicheta trijuga) and pilkhan (Ficus infectoria) along V3 roadsides. These trees, noted for their vast, thick spreading canopies form great vaulting shelters over many of the city's roads. In all, more than 100 different tree species have been planted in (Fieus religosa) Chandigarh .
March and April are "autumn" in North India. Trees such as pikhan, pipal kusum and many more shed their old leaves creating a thick golden carpet that crunches underfoot. This is also the time when the tall silk-cotton (Bombax malabaricum )trees put forth their enormous red blossoms and the jacaranda appears like a wispy plume of purple smoke. The mauve buds of the kachnar (Bauhinea variegata) attract not only for their beauty but for their subtle flavour -- they are a traditional delicacy. Within a couple weeks, all the bare boughs are adorned with tender, shiny new leaves in coppery, pale green. As weeks pass, the colour matures to a dark green in preparation for the blistering temperatures of summer. When summer is at its hottest one finds little colour in the flowerbeds, but the avenues of yellow amaltas (Cassia fistula) and gulmohar more than make up for the lack. (Wattas, Rajnish, 1985)
The dry river beds of the Patiala ki Rao and Sukhna Choe were the focus of the earliest tree plantations. Hardy species were planted down the entire length to mitigate the severe dust storms that ravaged the site in summer. The areas were declared Reserved City Forests.
In 1952 the Tree Preservation Act was passed which prohibited cutting down, lopping or willful destruction of trees in Chandigarh. Thanks to this timely Act, a number of native venerable, groves of trees have been retained in the city's green belts.
While evolving the iron grid layout of the city, Le Corbusier incorporated an integrated park system of continuous green belts from one end of the city to the other, allowing an unobstructed view of the mountains. Pedestrian paths and cycle-tracks were to be laid out through these irregularly shaped linear parks to allow a person to travel the entire length of the city under a canopy of green. The valley of a seasonal rivulet that ran through the city site for about 8 kilometers with a depth of about 6 meters and a width extending to a maximum of 300 meters, was imaginatively made use of. A series of special gardens transformed the existing eroded area into what is now called the Leisure Valley. Aside from this large chain of gardens there are many other gardens: some devoted to particular flowers or flowering trees, others created as memorials and still others planned around topiary or fountains. (For details about individual gardens, see CITY ATTRACTIONS, GARDENS)
By making imaginative use of the waters of the seasonal rivulet, 'Sukhna choe', a large lake has been created and named Sukhna Lake. The following dedication has been inscribed on the concrete cube especially constructed for this purpose.
"The founders of Chandigarh have offered this lake and dam to the citizens of the new city so that they may escape the humdrum of the city life and enjoy the beauty of nature in peace and silence."
The lake club there provides facilities for water sports and other outdoor recreational activities.
An annual 'Shramdan' (voluntary labour) by the