City Focus: Chandigarh

Several cities in India are named after a powerful Goddess, have a beautiful lake with a promenade, have tree-lined roads, are hosts to unique museums, have been developed with a plan and are very close to hill stations and getaways. But there is only ONE city that has some unique features apart from the ones mentioned above. This city is the capital of two states. This is the only city with its own unique hand gesture. This is the only city where you’ll find areas with no names like Mahatma Gandhi road or Shahid Bhagat Singh Marg or Akbar street or D’Souza lane. No, this city uses only numbers, like sector 17, sector 25, sector 42 and so on. All roads are laid out in neat and straight lines, intersecting at right angles at traffic islands, none of which have statues of politicians, sportsmen and freedom fighters. The city has a unique garden made by a government official who gathered waste material and scrap and turned them into something beautiful. A school in this city has a unique collection of dolls from all over the world and prides itself as the International Doll Museum. The city was built by the French designer Charles-Edouard Jeanneret or Le Corbusier (‘raven’ in French), a nickname apt for the man with a far-sighted vision, a vision well into the future.

Can you guess which city this is? It is the first city that India developed with a city plan after independence (so not counting ancient towns like Harappa or Hampi). It is Chandigarh, a union territory, which is also the capital of both Punjab and Haryana states. We say this with Chandigarh’s unique hand gesture: ‘We Love Chandigarh’. Continue reading