Chandigarh is bordered by the state of Punjab to the north, west and south, and to the state of Haryana to the east. It is considered to be a part of the Chandigarh capital region or Greater Chandigarh, which includes Chandigarh, and the city of Panchkula (in Haryana) and cities of Kharar, Kurali, Mohali, Zirakpur (in Punjab). It is located 260 km (162 miles) north of New Delhi, 229 km (143 miles) southeast of Amritsar and just 116 km (72 miles) southwest of Shimla.
It was one of the early planned cities in post-independence India and is internationally known for its architecture and urban design. The master plan of the city was prepared by Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, which transformed from earlier plans created by the Polish architect Maciej Nowicki and the American planner Albert Mayer. Most of the government buildings and housing in the city, were designed by the Chandigarh Capital Project Team headed by Le Corbusier, Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry. In 2015, an article published by BBC named Chandigarh as one of the perfect cities of the world in terms of architecture, cultural growth and modernisation.
Chandigarh’s Capitol Complex was in July 2016 declared by UNESCO as World Heritage at the 40th session of World Heritage Conference held in Istanbul. UNESCO inscription was under “The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier an outstanding contribution to the Modern Movement”. The Capitol Complex buildings include the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Punjab and Haryana Secretariat and Punjab and Haryana Assembly along with monuments Open hand, Martyrs Memorial, Geometric Hill and Tower of Shadow.
The city has one of the highest per capita income in the country. The city was reported to be one of the cleanest in India based on a national government study. The union territory also heads the list of Indian states and territories according to Human Development Index. In 2015, a survey by LG Electronics, ranked it as the happiest city in India over the happiness index. The metropolitan of Chandigarh–Mohali–Panchkula collectively forms a Tri-city, with a combined population of over 2 million.
The name Chandigarh is a portmanteau of Chandi and Garh. Chandi refers to Hindu goddess Chandi, the warrior Avatar of Goddess Parvati, and Garh means home. The name is derived from Chandi Mandir, an ancient temple devoted to the Hindu Goddess Chandi, near the city in Panchkula District.
The motif or sobriquet of "The City Beautiful" was derived from the City Beautiful movement that was a popular philosophy in North American urban planning during the 1890s and 1900s. Architect Albert Mayer, the initial planner of Chandigarh, lamented the American rejection of City Beautiful concepts and declared "We want to create a beautiful city..." The phrase was used on as a logo in official publications in the 1970s, and is now how the city describes itself.
The city has a pre-historic past. Due to the presence of a lake, the area has fossil remains with imprints of a large variety of aquatic plants and animals, and amphibian life, which were supported by that environment. As it was a part of the Punjab region, it had many rivers nearby where the ancient and primitive settling of humans began. So, about 8000 years ago, the area was also known to be a home to the Harappans.
Chandigarh was the dream city of India's first Prime Minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru. After the partition of India in 1947, the former British province of Punjab was split between (mostly Sikhs) East Punjab in India and (mostly Muslim) West Punjab in Pakistan. The Indian Punjab required a new capital city to replace Lahore, which became part of Pakistan during the partition. Therefore, an American planner and architect Albert Mayer was tasked to design a new city called "Chandigarh" in 1949. The government carved out Chandigarh of nearly 50 Pwadhi speaking villages of the then state of East Punjab, India. Shimla was the temporary capital of East Punjab until Chandigarh was completed in 1960.
Albert Mayer, during his work on the development and planning of the new capital city of Chandigarh, developed a superblock-based city threaded with green spaces which emphasized cellular neighborhoods and traffic segregation. His site plan used natural characteristics, using its gentle grade to promote drainage and rivers to orient the plan. Mayer discontinued his work on Chandigarh after developing a master plan for the city when his architect-partner Matthew Nowicki died in a plane crash in 1950. Government officials recruited Le Corbusier to succeed Mayer and Nowicki, who enlisted many elements of Mayer's original plan without attributing them to him.
Le Corbusier designed many administration buildings, including a courthouse, parliament building, and a university. He also designed the general layout of the city, dividing it into sectors. Chandigarh hosts the largest of Le Corbusier's many Open Hand sculptures, standing 26 metres high. The Open Hand (La Main Ouverte) is a recurring motif in Le Corbusier's architecture, a sign for him of "peace and reconciliation. It is open to give and open to receive." It represents what Le Corbusier called the "Second Machine Age". Two of the six monuments planned in the Capitol Complex which has the High Court, the Assembly and the Secretariat, remain incomplete. These include Geometric Hill and Martyrs Memorial; drawings were made, and they were begun in 1956, but they were never completed.
On 1 November 1966, the newly formed state of Haryana was carved out of the eastern portion of East Punjab, in order to create a new state for the majority Haryanvi-speaking people in that portion, while the western portion of East Punjab retained a mostly Punjabi-speaking majority and was renamed as Punjab. Chandigarh was located on the border of both states and the states moved to incorporate the city into their respective territories. However, the city of Chandigarh was declared a union territory to serve as capital of both states.
As of 2016, many historical villages in Chandigarh are still inhabited within the modern blocks of sectors including Burail and Attawa, while there are a number of non-sectoral villages that lie on the outskirts of the city. These villages were a part of the pre-Chandigarh era.
Chandigarh is located near the foothills of the Sivalik range of the Himalayas in northwest India. It covers an area of approximately 114 km2. It shares its borders with the states of Haryana and Punjab. The exact cartographic co-ordinates of Chandigarh are 30.74°N 76.79°E / 30.74; 76.79. It has an average elevation of 321 metres (1053 ft).
The city, lying in the northern plains, has vast fertile and flat land. It has portions of Bhabar in the north east and Terai in rest of the area. The surrounding cities are Mohali, Patiala, Zirakpur and Roopnagar in Punjab, Panchkula, and Ambala in Haryana.
Chandigarh is situated 114 km southwest of Shimla, 45 km (28 miles) northeast of Ambala, 229 km (143 miles) southeast of Amritsar and 250 km (156 miles) north of Delhi.
Chandigarh has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen: Cwa) characterised by a seasonal rhythm: very hot summers, mild winters, unreliable rainfall and great variation in temperature (−1 °C to 46 °C OR 30.2 °F to 114 °F). The average annual rainfall is 1110.7 mm. The city also receives occasional winter rains from the Western Disturbance originating over the Mediterranean Sea.
The western disturbances usually brings rain predominantly from mid-December till end of April which can be heavier sometimes with strong winds and hails if the weather turns colder (during March–April months) which usually proves disastrous to the crops. Cold winds usually tend to come from the north near Shimla, capital of Himachal Pradesh and from the state of Jammu and Kashmir, both of which receive their share of snowfall during wintertime.
The city experiences the following seasons and the respective average temperatures:Spring: The climate remains the most enjoyable part of the year during the spring season (from February-end to early-April). Temperatures vary between (max) 13 °C to 20 °C and (min) 5 °C to 12 °C.
Autumn: In autumn (from September-end to mid November.), the temperature may rise to a maximum of 30 °C. Temperatures usually remain between 10° to 22° in autumn. The minimum temperature is around 6 °C.
Summer: The temperature in summer (from Mid-April to June-end) may rise to 44 °C. The temperatures might sometime rise to 44 °C in mid-June. Temperatures generally vary between 40 and 42 °C.
Monsoon: During monsoon (from early-July to mid-September), Chandigarh receives moderate to heavy rainfall and sometimes heavy to very heavy rainfall (generally during the month of August or September). Usually, the rain bearing monsoon winds blow from south-west/south-east. Mostly, the city receives heavy rain from south (which is mainly a persistent rain) but it generally receives most of its rain during monsoon either from North-west or North-east. Maximum amount of rain received by the city of Chandigarh during monsoon season is 195.5 mm in a single day.
Winter: Winters (November-end to February-end) are mild but it can sometimes get quite chilly in Chandigarh. Average temperatures in the winter remain at (max) 5 °C to 14 °C and (min) -1 °C to 5 °C. Rain usually comes from the west during winters and it is usually a persistent rain for 2–3 days with sometimes hailstorms. The city witnessed bone-numbing chill as the maximum temperature on Monday, 7 January 2013 plunged to a 30-year low to settle at 6.1 degrees Celsius.
Most of Chandigarh is covered by dense banyan and eucalyptus plantations. Ashoka, cassia, mulberry and other trees flourish in the forested ecosystem. The city has forests surrounding that sustain many animal and plant species. Deer, sambars, barking deer, parrots, woodpeckers and peacocks inhabit the protected forests. Sukhna Lake hosts a variety of ducks and geese, and attracts migratory birds from parts of Siberia and Japan in the winter season.
A Parrot Bird Sanctuary Chandigarh situated in sector 21 of the city is home to a large number of parrots.Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary adjoining to Sukhna Lake is another point for nature lovers. It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1998.
The city also has other popular gardens, e.g. Zakir Hussain Rose Garden, Rock Garden, Botanical Garden, Terraced Garden, Bougainvillea Garden, Shanti Kunj and many others.
As of 2011 India census, Chandigarh had a population of 1,055,450, making for a density of about 9,252 (7,900 in 2001) persons per square kilometre.
Males constitute 55% of the population and females 45%. The sex ratio is 818 females for every 1,000 males –which is the third lowest in the country, up from 773 in 2001. The child sex ratio is 880 females per thousand males, up from 819 in 2001. Chandigarh has an average literacy rate of 86.77%, higher than the national average; with male literacy of 90.81% and female literacy of 81.88%. 10.8% of the population is under 6 years of age.
There has been a substantial decline in the population growth rate in Chandigarh, with just 17.10% growth between 2001-2011. Since, 1951-1961 the rate has decreased from 394.13% to 17.10%. This is probably because of rapid urbanisation and development in neighbouring cities. The urban population constitutes of as high as 97.25% of the total and the rural population makes up 2.75% as there are only few villages within Chandigarh on its Western and South-Eastern border and majority of people live in the heart of Chandigarh.
English is the sole official language of Chandigarh. The majority of the population speaks Hindi (67.53%) while Punjabi is spoken by 27.89%. Government schools use English, Hindi and Punjabi textbooks.
Hinduism is the prominent religion of Chandigarh followed by 80.78% of the population. Sikhism is the second most popular religion in the city followed 13.11% of the people. In Chandigarh city Islam is followed by 4.87%. Minorities are Christians 0.83%, Jains 0.19%, Buddhists 0.11%, those that didn't state a religion are 0.10%, and others are 0.02%.
Many institutions serve the minorities in the city. One such being the Roman Catholic Diocese of Simla and Chandigarh, serving the Catholics, which even has a co-cathedral in the city, Christ the King Co-Cathedral, although it never was a separate bishopric. Most of the convent schools of Chandigarh are governed by this institution.
Chandigarh hosts many religious places, including the temple on which it was named - Chandimandir. The ISKCON temple in Sector 36 is one among the worship places for Hindus. Nada Sahib Gurudwara, a famous place for Sikh worship lies in its vicinity. Apart from this, there are a couple of historical mosques in Manimajra and Burail.
Chandigarh has been rated as the “Wealthiest Town” of India. The Reserve Bank of India ranked Chandigarh as the Third largest deposit centre and seventh largest credit centre nationwide as of June 2012. With a per capita income of ₹99,262, Chandigarh is the richest city in India. Chandigarh's gross state domestic product for 2014-15 is estimated at ₹0.29 lakh crore (US$4.3 billion) in current prices. According to a 2014 survey, Chandigarh is ranked 4th in the top 50 cities identified globally as "emerging outsourcing and IT services destinations" ahead of cities like Beijing.
The government is a major employer in Chandigarh with three governments having their base here i.e. Chandigarh Administration, Punjab government and Haryana government. A significant percentage of Chandigarh’s population therefore consists of people who are either working for one of these governments or have retired from government service mainly Armed forces. For this reason, Chandigarh is often called a "Pensioner's Paradise". Ordnance Cable Factory of the Ordnance Factories Board has been set up by the Government of India. There are about 15 medium to large industries including two in the Public sector. In addition Chandigarh has over 2500 units registered under small-scale sector. The important industries are paper manufacturing, basic metals and alloys and machinery. Other industries are relating to food products, sanitary ware, auto parts, machine tools, pharmaceuticals and electrical appliances.
The main occupation here is trade and business. However, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), the availability of an IT Park and more than a hundred of government schools provide job opportunity to people.
Four major trade promotion organisations have their offices in Chandigarh. These are: The Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry, ASSOCHAM India in Sector 8, Chandigarh, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry, (FICCI) the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) which has its regional headquarters at Sector 31, Chandigarh.
Chandigarh IT Park (also known as Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park) is the city's attempt to break into the information technology world. Chandigarh's infrastructure, proximity to Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, and the IT talent pool attracts IT businesses looking for office space in the area. Major Indian firms and multinational corporations like Quark, Infosys, EVRY, Dell, IBM, TechMahindra, Airtel, Amadeus IT Group, DLF have set up base in the city and its suburbs.
The work of the Chandigarh Metro is likely to start by the year 2019. It was initially opposed by the Member of parliament from Chandigarh, Kirron Kher. with estimated cost of around ₹10,900 crores including 50% funds from the governments of Punjab and Haryana and 25% from Chandigarh and Government of India. Funds from the Japanese government will include approximately 56% of the cost. Kher promised a film city for Chandigarh. After winning the seat, she said that she had difficulty in acquiring land in Chandigarh. However, her proposal was accepted by the Chandigarh Administration and the film city is proposed to be set up in Sarangpur, Chandigarh. These are seen as media of creating jobs.
Chandigarh, as a Union Territory, is not entitled to a state-level election: thus State Assembly elections are not held and it is directly controlled by the central government. However, one seat is contested here for the General Elections held every five years.
The following Members of Parliament have been elected till date from the Chandigarh constituency:
The city is controlled by a civic administration. In the Municipal Corporation, BJP candidate Arun Sood defeated Congress' Mukesh Bassi by 21-15 votes for the post of Mayor, while BJP's Davesh Moudgil and SAD's Hardeep Singh defeated Congress' Darshan Garg and Gurbax Rawat for the posts of Sr. Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor respectively, in the Municipal Corporation's mayoral polls in January 2016. In January 2017 BJP's Asha Kumari Jaswal was elected as the mayor, BJP's Rajesh Kumar Gupta and Anil Dubey were elected as senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor respectively.
Composition of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation as of February, 2017
Chandigarh has various visitor attractions including theme gardens within the city. Some notable sites are:
Sukhna Lake is located in Sector 1, adjoining the Rock Garden near the foothills of Shivalik Hills. Sukhna is an artificial lake. This 3 km rain-fed lake was created in 1958 by damming the Sukhna Choe, a seasonal stream coming down from the Shivalik Hills. It has The Garden of Silence within it.
The atmosphere here is serene. Sukhna Lake is the venue for many festive celebrations. The most popular is the Mango Festival held during the monsoons. It is believed that a Swiss architect Pierre Jeanneret's ashes were immersed in this lake according to his will as he developed a deep bond with the lake.
The Rock Garden is situated in the middle of the Capitol Complex and the Sukhna Lake in Sector 1. It is also known as Nek Chand Rock Garden after its founder. It has numerous sculptures made by using a variety of different discarded waste materials like frames, mudguards, forks, handle bars, metal wires, play marbles, porcelain, auto parts, broken bangles etc.
Nek Chand himself went up the Shivalik hills and got different stones and materials with which he started building the garden.
Zakir Hussain Rose Garden, or simply Rose Garden, is named after the former President of India, Zakir Hussain. It is situated in Sector 16. The garden is known to be the greatest of its types in Asia.
The garden is said to be spread about thirty to forty acres containing nearly 825 varieties of roses in it and more than 32,500 varieties of other medicinal plants and trees.
Parrot Bird Sanctuary Chandigarh is a bird sanctuary which is located in sector 21 Chandigarh India.It is notified under Section 18 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. It is habitat of thousands of parrots. It is the second wildlife sanctuary in the city after Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary.
A continuum of various theme gardens, Leisure Valley is a linear park over 8 km long which starts from Sector 1 in the north and leaves Chandigarh at its southern most edge. It consists of many theme parks, botanical gardens and green belts, including Rajendra Park in Sector 1, the Bougainvillea Garden in Sector 3 and the Physical Fitness Trails in Sector 10, among others.
Other tourist destinations include The New Lake in Sector 42, Capitol Complex in Sector 1, City Centre in Sector 17, Open hand monument in Sector 1, Le Corbusier Centre in Sector 19, Government Museum and Art Gallery in Sector 10, International Doll Museum in Sector 23, Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math in Sector 20.
There are many tourist gardens like the Garden of Fragrance in Sector 36, Garden of Palms in Sector 42, Butterfly Park in Sector 26, Valley of Animals in Sector 49, the Japanese Garden in Sector 31 and the Terraced Garden in Sector 33. Several other famous tourist destinations like Pinjore Gardens, Morni Hills, Nada Sahib, Kasauli, ChattBir Zoo lie in its vicinity.
There are numerous educational institutions in Chandigarh. These range from privately and publicly operated schools to colleges and the Panjab University. Other Institutions are Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Govt Medical college & Hospital, Punjab Engineering College Deemed University, Govt College for Men, Govt College for Women, DAV College, MCM DAV College for Women, Goswami Ganesh Dutta Sanatan Dharma College Sector-32, Govt Homeopathic College, Ayurvedic College, Govt Polytechnical College, Govt Home Science College, Dr Ambedkar Institute of Hotel management, Khalsa College Sec- 26, National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research(NITTTR) Sec-26, Government College of Commerce and Business Administration (GCCBA) Sec-50 etc.
According to Chandigarh administration's department of education, there are a total of 107 government schools in Chandigarh and convent schools like St. Stephen's School, St. John's High School, Chandigarh, St. Anne's Convent School and Carmel Convent School.
Chandigarh has the largest number of vehicles per capita in India. Wide, well maintained roads and parking spaces all over the city ease local transport. The Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) operates public transport buses from its Inter State Bus Terminals (ISBT) in Sectors 17 and 43 of the city. CTU also operates frequent bus services to the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and to Delhi.
Chandigarh is well connected by road to the following nearby cities, by the following highway routes: NH 5 to Shimla in the northeast, and to Ludhiana in the west.
NH 7 to Patiala in the southwest.
NH 152 to Ambala in the south (NH 44 catches up from Ambala to Delhi).
Chandigarh Airport has scheduled commercial flights to major cities of India including Delhi, Pune, Mumbai, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Leh and Srinagar. The airport has international flights to Sharjah and Dubai.
Chandigarh Junction railway station lies in the Northern Railway zone of the Indian Railway network and provide connectivity to all the regions of India and some major Indian cities. It provides connectivity to eastern states with link to cities like Kolkata, Dibrugarh; southern states with trains to Visakhapatnam, Thiruvananthapuram, Bangalore and Kollam; western states with trains to Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Mumbai; central states with trains to Bhopal and Indore; other northern states with trains to Lucknow, Amritsar, Ambala, Panipat, Kalka, Shimla. and Pune.
The Chandigarh Metro Rail is a proposed metro rail to serve the city locally and connect it to other two cities of the Chandigarh capital region. It is expected to start working by 2018 along with the extension of Kolkata Metro and proposed Indore Metro.
The Sector 16 Stadium, has been a venue of several international cricket matches. But it has lost prominence after the PCA Stadium was constructed in Mohali. It still provides a platform for cricketers in this region to practice and play inter-state matches.
The Chandigarh Golf Club has 7,202 yard, 18 hole course known for its challenging narrow fairways, a long 613 yard long, dogleg 7th hole and floodlighting on the first nine holes.
There are many other sports grounds and complex like the Lake Sports Complex; Sports Complexes in Sectors 7, 42, 46; Table Tennis Hall, Sector 23; Hockey Centre, Sector 18; Football Stadium, Sector 17; Skating Rink, Sector 10; Wrestling, Basketball and Handball Indoor Hall, Sector 42; CLTA Lawn Tennis Grounds, Sector 10; Athletics Stadium, Sector 7 and 26 Police Lines; Volleyball Courts, Sector 7 and so on. Many personalities from this region have excelled in sports.
The city has two gardens of international repute – the Rock Garden of Chandigarh in sector 1 and the Zakir Hussain Rose Garden in sector 16. The latter has the distinction of being the largest of its kind in Asia.
Chandigarh has a belt of parks running from sector to sector. It is known for its green belts and other special tourist parks. Sukhna Lake itself hosts a large number of gardens, including the Garden of Silence.