Chandigarh General Information
- Area 69.63 sq. km
- Population 5,10,565
- Altitude 304-365 m above sea level
- Languages Spoken Punjabi, Hindi, English
- STD Code 0172
Panjab university chandigarh
Chandigarh – An Introduction
The most striking thing about the Chandigarh city is the expanse of resplendent blue sky with the mountains in the backdrop. When you are approaching the city, you would see the jagged skyline of the Shivalik Hills looming large over the city and the faint image of an old temple dedicated to Goddess Chandi, from which the city got its name. Political position of Chandigarh is quite ambiguous for anybody not knowing the city well. It is the capital to two northern Indian states Punjab and Haryana besides being a union territory in itself. The birth of this modern, happening city was an act of anguish and drama that took place at the time of partition of India and Pakistan. Lahore, the earlier capital of Punjab merged with Pakistan and Chandigarh was conceived to be a symbol of India’s freedom. The task of designing the city fell on the shoulders of renowned French architect Edouard ‘Le Corbusier’ Jeanneret who created Chandigarh as a city of “Sun, Space and Verdure” to fulfil basic functions of working, living, and care of body and spirit.
One can see architectural genius in the neat geometrical design of residential quarters, reinforced concrete structures and self-contained area layouts. Each sector of the city is designed with its own shops, academic, and health care buildings, places of worship, open spaces, greenery and the residential areas. The city is divided into four major work areas. In the north, the capital complex, consisting of the Secretariat, Legislative Assembly and High Court, with the hills as a background dominating the city. Sector 17, which is the city and district center, housing the administrative and state government offices, shopping malls, banks and other offices. The west contains the university, and institutions of engineering, architecture, Asian studies and medicine. Finally the east zone, which is the industrial area of the city. Today, the city is home to more than half a million people living in harmonious conditions that are considered to be the best in the country.
Places of Interest:
Nek Chand’s Rock Garden
This Rock Garden is probably Chandigarh’s premier attraction, a popular spot for tourists. Nek Chand Saini, a resident of the city created it, in 1958. He used discarded objects of everyday use like bottles, tin cans, broken plugs, plates, saucers and rocks from the nearby Shivalik mountains to create a 40-acre fantasy labyrinth garden with arched walkways, streams, bridges, grottos, battlements, turrets and sculptures of people and animals. Highlights include armies of stone ducks, papier-mache soldiers, pig iron dancers and goblins. The park is open daily from April to September between 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 to 7 p.m. Between October and March, it is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 6 p.m. The garden is an unabashed realm of natural and manmade creativity attracting people of all ages and from all parts of the world.
Open Hand Monument
The Open Hand Monument, a symbol of harmony and peace, is situated in Sector 1 along the main road leading into the city. The first thing you’ll notice as you are the waist-high wicker fence which says ‘for hon’ble judges only’. The best time to visit the Open Hand Monument in the early evening. There is no entrance fee to the monument grounds. The monument is itself at a large distance away from the gate. It almost looks like a bird, slowly rotating on rusted bearings. It is, in fact, a large, open, metal hand pointed skyward. Some locals believe that the hand is supposed to represent the map of Haryana. The base of the monument, which supports the shaft and hand, has been fashioned out of a large, solid chunk of iron sunk several meters into the ground. The metal monument is 14 meters high and weighs 50 tons. The amazing thing about this monument is that it still rotates smoothly about its bearings.
This area, with its monumental public buildings is the site of architect Le Corbusier’s most ambitious experiments. The concrete campus and its accompanying lawns are meant to express the strength and unity of independent India. They are also Le Corbusier’s way of staging the functions of government in symbolic and geometric relation to one another and to the rest of the city. For tourists, the High Court and the Open Hand Monument are more accessible than the Legislative Assembly and the Secretariat.
Leisure Valley is a garland of gardens that ornaments the city from one end to another. Out of the many theme gardens that have been developed in this valley, the Rose Garden is perhaps most famous of all. The garden is located in the Sector 16 and is spread over an area of 25 hectares. Containing more than a thousand varieties of roses, the garden is one of the largest in Asia.
Government Museum & Art Gallery
Located in Sector 10 of Chandigarh, the museum has a fine collection of stone sculptures of the Gandhara School of art. Other exhibits include prehistoric fossils and artefacts along with the works of modern art and miniature paintings.
The linear Leisure Valley was sculpted from a dried riverbed. It is over 8 km long and runs through most of in this city. The valley consists of several segments, each with its own theme. Flower gardens, jogging tracks and tennis courts dot the trail. There’s even an open-air theatre and a sculpture park in the sector 10 section of the Valley.
National Gallery of Portraits:
Located in sector 17 B, this gallery was inaugurated in September 1977. It is filled with portraits of Indian freedom fighters, rare documents and recordings of the voices of prominent figures of India’s Independence movement. The gallery also contains photographs and facsimiles of original writings, sculptures and ceramic murals.
Punjab Kala Kendra
The Punjab Kala Kendra is the office of the Punjab Arts Council (Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi). Exhibitions are frequently organized in its large galleries and the Council’s permanent collection of contemporary art is also on display here.
Museum of the Evolution of Life (Science Museum)
Inaugurated on 14 August 1973, this museum is famous for a large gallery that depicts the origin of the earth and the evolution of life. Other galleries introduce the viewer to astronomy, geology and the world of ancient man. International Dolls Museum Situated in Bal Bhawan, Sector 23, the international dolls museum contains more than 300 dolls from nearly every country in the world. Ten ceramic murals and a large model train complete the display.
Bhakra Nangal Dam
Situated at Bhakra village of Bilaspur around 116 kilometres from Chandigarh, it is one of the highest straight gravity dams in the world. The Gobind Sagar Lake built here is around 90 km long covering an area of about 168 sq km. The dam was constructed in the year 1963. From here, you get the fascinating view of the lake and the surrounding green jungles.
Bhima Devi Temple
This historic shrine related to the Panchayatan group of temples is located 22 kilometres from Chandigarh on the Pinjore Kalka Road. Here one can find the idols that date back to 11th and 14th centuries
Also in Sector 1, the Sukhna Lake is an artificial reservoir. A popular place to hang out, one can expect to find residents of the city jogging or strolling along the banks. There is a walking path, a cafeteria, shops and a mini-amusement park and paddleboats. The Sukhna Lake was created in 1958 by damming the Sukhna Choe, a seasonal stream that flows down from the Shivaliks. Storks and cranes make migratory stops at the lake. The lake, incidentally, has Asia’s longest water channel for rowing and yachting.
Morni Hills, a beautiful hill resort, is situated at around 45 kilometers in the Ambala district of Haryana. The hills combine the best of an idyllic hill resort with many adventure and fun opportunities. The hills are located in the lower reaches of Shivalik Range of Himalayas and are an ideal base for trekking, rock-climbing, and adventure sports. The hill station has a tranquil atmosphere with cool climate and offers you overwhelming natural vistas and stunning views.