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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

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8 unique museums in India

India is a country steeped in culture and heritage. It is no wonder that you find museums of all sizes strewn around the country. Some museums come in modest sizes, like Dr Abdul Kalam’s house at Rameshwaram and Lokmanya Tilak’s birth place at Ratnagiri. But some others are humungous, with multiple buildings and wings. Examples are Salarjung museum in Hyderabad, National Museum in New Delhi, Indian Museum in Kolkata, Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sangrahalaya in Mumbai, Baroda Museum at Vadodara, St Andrew’s Archaeological Site Museum in Old Goa and the biggest of them all, the Government Museum in Chennai.

Regardless of the size, one thing about them doesn’t change. All of them are based on a single activity. Things of value are collected from around India and showcased in glass cases or pedestals. These valuable articles are collected either from archaeological sites or from affluent donors who themselves are avid collectors. Our day is spent walking between aisles, studying the exhibits and reading the caption or the story attached to the exhibits. These museums are wonderful and each represents a slice of culture in India. And yet…. !

There are some museums that are an exception. Something about them is extra special. They differentiate themselves from the hundreds of regular museums in some way. In this post, we see 8 such museums around India. So, kicking of our first listicle or list-based article, here is the list of the 8 most unique museums around India. Continue reading