Chandigarh: Ancient Village turned to be the First Planned City

Chandigarh: Ancient Village turned to be the First Planned City

Chandigarh is a union territory of India, which is also the capital of two Indian states, Punjab and Haryana. Its name means the fort of Chandi. It is due to a temple of Chandika or Chandi, a form of Hindu goddess Durga. This temple is still located in the city. It is also called City Beautiful. The Chandigarh capital region consists of Mohali, Panchkula, and Zirakpur, whose population as per the 2001 census is 1165111 (17 million). A seat is allotted to Chandigarh for representation in the Lok Sabha of India. In the present seventeenth Lok Sabha, Mrs. Kiran Kher of the Bharatiya Janata Party is a member of the Parliament.

Chandigarh during Harappan Civilization
Chandigarh during Harappan Civilization

But Do you know the history of Chandigarh? Chandigarh was a Harappan city and was home to many Vedic and non-Vedic communities. 7000 to 5000 years ago, Harappans used to treat Chandigarh as an important territory. Before start building modern Chandigarh in the 1950s, Archeologist found potsherds, ancient ornaments, copper arrowheads, and stone tools during excavation proves the presence of Harappans.

Upon the name of the temple Deity “Chandi”, The name “Chandigarh” was given to the first planned city of India

5000 years ago, as per the reports from Chandi temple on Kalka Shimla Highway near Amravati Enclave, Pandavas used to dwell here in their secret exile and used to worship Devi Chandi here. Upon the name of the temple Deity “Chandi”, The name “Chandigarh” was given to the first planned city of India.

In Medieval India, Chandigarh became a rural region where paddy farming was common. Before Independence, there were many villages like Sector 17, 23, and 22 was a village named “Rurki”. Sectors 24 and 25 were known with the name village Shehzadpur.

Internationally known for urban planning and architecture, this city is the first planned city of modern India. The chief architect of Chandigarh is the French architect Le Corbusier, but in the city, one can see many amazing architectural patterns of Pierre Jeanneret, Mathieu Novicki, and Albert Mayer. The city has a leading name in the list of prosperous states and union territories of India, whose per capita income is Rs. 7,282 (as per present value) and Rs. 60,371 (2007-06) as per constant value.
After the partition of British India, the state of Punjab was divided into two parts in India and Pakistan in 1919. With this, the old capital of the state Lahore had gone to Pakistan. Now Indian Punjab needed a new capital. Due to many difficulties in changing the capital of the former cities, it was decided to establish a new planned capital city and in 1952 the foundation of this city was laid.

The chief architect of Chandigarh is the French architect Le Corbusier, but in the city, one can see many amazing architectural patterns of Pierre Jeanneret, Mathieu Novicki, and Albert Mayer.
The chief architect of Chandigarh is the French architect Le Corbusier, but in the city, one can see many amazing architectural patterns of Pierre Jeanneret, Mathieu Novicki, and Albert Mayer.

At that time, Chandigarh got priority in many new city schemes going on in India, mainly because of the status of the city and secondly because of the personal interest of the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Seeing Chandigarh as the modern progressive outlook of the new nation, he described the city as a symbol of faith in the future of the nation, free from the traditions of the past. Many of the city’s templates and buildings were created by French-born Swiss architect and city planner Le Corbusier in the 1950s. Carbuziye was also the city’s second architect, whose original master plan was created by the American architect-planner Albert Mayer when he worked with Poland-born architect Mathieu Nowicki. Due to Novicki’s untimely death in 1950, Le Corbusier was given a place in the project.
On November 1, 1949, the state of Haryana was carved out of the Hindi-speaking eastern part of Punjab, while the Punjabi-speaking western part was allowed to remain present in Punjab. The city of Chandigarh was situated on the border between the two, which was declared as the joint capital of the two states as well as the Union Territory. From 1952 to 1949, this city was the capital of Punjab only. Add to that Chandigarh became UT also in November 1966. According to the agreement reached between the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the Akali Dal Sant Harchand Singh Longowal in August 1975, Chandigarh was scheduled to be shifted to Punjab as memorandum decided in 1945. Along with this, It was decided to create a new capital for Haryana, but due to some administrative reasons, this transfer was delayed. One of the main reasons for this delay was the dispute over giving some Hindi-speaking villages in southern Punjab to Haryana and Punjabi-speaking villages in western Haryana to Punjab. So Chandigarh became the capital of both Haryana and Punjab.

Note: There is another rare known thing about Chandigarh that It once had a well planned Kisan Nagar. It was from Punjab Raj Bhavan and to the Chandigarh Golf Club, it was having the 10 Marla houses of eminent leaders, some of whom are now spearheading in the farmers’ agitation. Besides nameplates and wooden television antennas, each kothi was built in accordance to environment and locality.

Chandigarh was declared the first Indian non-smoking area on 15 July 2007. Smoking in public places is prohibited and a crime punishable under the rules of the Chandigarh administration. After this, on 2 October 2007, on the birthday of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, a complete prohibition on the use of polythene bags in the city came into force.

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