Chandigarh


Chandigarh
/chun'di gur"/, n.
a city in and a union territory of India, in the N part: joint capital of Punjab and Haryana states. 450,061.

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City (pop., 2001 prelim.: 808,796) and union territory (pop., 2001 prelim.: 900,914), joint capital of Haryana and Punjab states, northern India.

The territory, on the border between the two states, has an area of 44 sq mi (114 sq km). Located just south of the Shiwalik Hills, the site was selected to replace the former capital of Lahore, which became part of Pakistan at partition in 1947. The city was laid out in the 1950s by Le Corbusier in collaboration with Indian architects. Today it is a major communications junction.

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India
Introduction

      city and union territory of India. Located about 165 miles (265 km) north of New Delhi, the territory is bounded by the state of Haryana (Haryāna) on the east and by the state of Punjab on all other sides. It is situated on the Indo-Gangetic Plain a few miles south of the Siwalik Range (Shiwalik Range), between two seasonal hill torrents, the Sukhna Cho and the Patiali Rao. The land is a flat and fertile tract of alluvial soils, and its rural farmland produces such crops as wheat, corn (maize), and rice. In the summer months (April to June) temperatures may rise above 120 °F (about 50 °C), while in the winter months (November to February) temperatures may dip into the mid-30s F (about 2 °C), with frequent showers. The monsoon season (July to September) is hot and humid.

      Lying within the territory of Chandigarh are the city of Chandigarh, several towns, and a number of adjoining villages. The chief executive, or “administrator,” of the territory is the governor of Punjab, who is assisted by a senior officer appointed by the national government. Chandigarh city is the capital of the territory and of the states of Haryana and Punjab. Meaning “stronghold of the goddess Chandi,” Chandighar derives its name from Chandi Mandir, a temple dedicated to the goddess that is located near the town of Mani Majra. Area union territory, 44 square miles (114 square km). Pop. (2001) city, 808,515; (2004 est.) union territory, 1,015,000.

History
      With the partition of India in 1947, the old British province of Punjab was divided into two parts. The larger western part, including the Punjabi capital of Lahore, went to Pakistan. The eastern part was granted to India, but it was without an administrative, commercial, or cultural centre. Consequently, plans to find a suitable site for the capital of the new Indian Punjab were undertaken soon after partition. The Indian government considered several options—including Amritsar, Jalandhar (Jullundur), Phillaur, Ludhiana, Shimla (Simla), Ambala, and Karnal—and selected the present site of Chandigarh in 1948. It was hoped that a magnificent new state capital, scenically located at the foot of the Himalayas, would become a symbol of modernity, would heal the wounded pride of Indian Punjabis, and would house thousands of mostly Hindu (Hinduism) and Sikh (Sikhism) refugees who had fled from Muslim (Islām)-dominated Pakistan.

      The city was planned by the Swiss-born architect Le Corbusier (Corbusier, Le), assisted by Maxwell Fry (Fry, Maxwell), Jane Drew (Drew, Jane), and several Indian architects and town planners. Construction began in the early 1950s, and most of the city was completed in the early 1960s. The project ultimately required the relocation of some 21,000 people from 58 villages.

      The Chandigarh union territory was constituted on Nov. 1, 1966, when the Indian Punjab was reorganized along linguistic lines into two new states—predominantly Hindi (Hindi language)-speaking Haryana (Haryāna) and Punjabi (Punjābī language)-speaking Punjab. Straddled between Haryana and Punjab, the city of Chandighar was made the shared capital of the two states and of the union territory itself. Under the terms of the 1986 Punjab Accord, the entire union territory was to become part of Punjab, while the agriculturally productive, mostly Hindi-speaking areas of Fazilka and Abohar, both in Punjab, were to be transferred to Haryana; by the early 21st century, however, this plan had yet to come to fruition.

The contemporary city and territory
 The city of Chandigarh, with its well-developed infrastructure and relatively low population density, covers more than half of the union territory. It consists of more than 50 rectangular sectors, which are separated from one another by broad streets carrying the city's fast-moving arterial traffic. The main government buildings are in the northern part of the city. In the southeast are the industrial areas, separated from the residential sectors by a greenbelt planted with mango trees. Among the city's principal industries are electronics, pharmaceuticals, ceramic plumbing fixtures, and electrical appliances.

      Most of the population of the territory is concentrated in the southern sector of Chandighar city. Hindus (Hinduism) constitute by far the predominant religious group, although Sikhs (Sikhism) form a significant minority. There also is a sprinkling of Muslims (Islām), Christians (Christianity), and Jains (Jainism). Hindi (Hindi language) and Punjabi (Punjābī language) are the most widely spoken languages in the territory.

  The territory has many notable educational and cultural institutions, including Punjab University (founded 1947), the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, the Punjab Engineering College, the Government College of Art, and the Government Medical College and Hospital. There also are several specialized arts academies. Chandigarh's local museum houses a rich collection of Gandhara (Gandhāra art) sculptures and Pahari (Pahari painting) and Sikh paintings, while archaeological digs in the area have yielded ancient Indus civilization (c. 2500–1700 BCE) artifacts, particularly pottery. The city also is known for its extensive rose garden and for its unusual rock garden, which contains numerous statues created from broken objects by the self-taught artist Nek Chand.

      Chandigarh has a multitude of sports and recreation facilities. In the northeast is the large, artificial Lake Sukhna, which has become the main spot in the city for promenading and evening recreation. There also are many government-supported sports complexes and community centres. These have served as the training grounds for numerous nationally and internationally competitive athletes in field hockey, cricket, rowing, and other sports.

Chakravarthi Raghavan Surinder M. Bhardwaj

Additional Reading
Victor S. D'Souza, Social Structure of a Planned City (1968), is the first comprehensive sociological study of Chandīgarh. Ulrich Bichsel, Periphery and Flux (1986), is an intensive study of four villages adjoining the city of Chandīgarh. Ravi Kalia, Chandigarh: In Search of an Identity (1987; also published as Chandigarh: The Making of an Indian City, 1988), is also useful.

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Universalium. 2010.

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