Chandigarh, the dream city of India's first Prime Minister,
Sh. Jawahar Lal Nehru, was planned by the famous French architect
Le Corbusier. Picturesquely located at the foothills of Shivaliks,
it is known as one of the best experiments in urban planning
and modern architecture in the twentieth century in India.
Chandigarh derives its name from the temple of "Chandi
Mandir" located in the vicinity of the site selected
for the city. The deity 'Chandi', the goddess of power and
a fort of 'garh' laying beyond the temple gave the city its
name "Chandigarh-The City Beautiful".
The city has a pre-historic past. The gently sloping plains
on which modern Chandigarh exists, was in the ancient past,
a wide lake ringed by a marsh. The fossil remains found at
the site indicate a large variety of aquatic and amphibian
life, which was supported by that environment. About 8000
years ago the area was also known to be a home to the Harappans.
Since the medieval through modern era, the area was part
of the large and prosperous Punjab Province which was divided
into East & West Punjab during partition of the country
in 1947. The city was conceived not only to serve as the capital
of East Punjab, but also to resettle thousands of refugees
who had been uprooted from West Punjab.
In March, 1948, the Government of Punjab, in consultation
with the Government of India, approved the area of the foothills
of the Shivaliks as the site for the new capital. The location
of the city site was a part of the erstwhile Ambala district
as per the 1892-93 gazetteer of District Ambala. The foundation
stone of the city was laid in 1952. Subsequently, at the time
of reorganization of the state on 01.11.1966 into Punjab,
Haryana and Himachal Pardesh, the city assumed the unique
distinction of being the capital city of both, Punjab and
Haryana while it itself was declared as a Union Territory
and under the direct control of the Central Government.
The basic geographical and demographic profile of Chandigarh
is as under:
||114 sq kms
||760 47' 14E
||300 44' 14N
||304-365 meters above MSL with 1% drainage gradient
|Annual Rainfall (average)
Winter Min. (Nov.-Jan, 2006) 10 C-160
Summer Max. (April-July, 2004) 270C-440C
||From the North West to South East in Winter and reverse
|Total Population (2001 census)
9,00,635 (Rural population-92120 (10.2%)
(Urban population-808515 (89.8%)
|Density of population/sq. km.
|Birth Rate (per 1000)
|Death Rate (per 1000)
|Infant Mortality Rate (per 1000)
|Sex Ratio (females per 1000 males)
|Decennial Population Growth
The Union Territory of Chandigarh is located in the foothills
of the Shivalik hill ranges in the north, which form a part
of the fragile Himalayan ecosystem. It is occupied by Kandi
(Bhabhar) in the north east and Sirowal (Tarai) and alluvial
plains in the remaining part. The subsurface formation comprises
of beds of boulders, pebbles, gravel, sand, silt, clays and
some kankar. The area is drained by two seasonal rivulets
viz. Sukhna Choe in the east and Patiala-Ki-Rao Choe in the
west. The central part forms a surface water divide and has
two minor streams. The stream passing through the central
part is called N-Choe and the other is Choe Nala which initiates
at Sector 29.
Chandigarh falls under Koeppen's CWG category i.e. it has
cold dry winter, hot summer and sub tropical monsoon. Evaporation
usually exceeds precipitation and the weather is generally
area experiences four seasons : (i) Summer or hot season (mid-March
to Mid-June) (ii) Rainy season (late-June to mid-September);
(iii) Post monsoon autumn/transition season (mid September
to mid-November); (iv) Winter (mid November to mid-March).
The dry spell of summer is long but with the occasional drizzles
or thunder storms. May and June are the hottest months of
the year with the mean daily maximum & minimum temperatures
being about 370C & 250C, respectively. Maximum temperatures
can rise up to 440C. Southwest monsoons with high intensity
showers commence in late June. The weather at this time is
hot and humid. The variation in annual rainfall on year to
year basis is appreciable i.e. 700 mm to 1200 mm. The 20 year
average rainfall for Chandigarh is 1100.7 mm. January is the
coldest month with mean maximum and minimum temperatures being
around 230C and 3.60C respectively. Winds are generally light
and blow from northwest to southeast direction with exception
of easterly to southeasterly winds that blow on some days
during the summer season.
Master Plan of Chandigarh
Le Corbusier conceived the master plan of Chandigarh as analogous
to human body, with a clearly defined head (the Capitol Complex,
Sector 1), heart (the City Centre Sector-17), lungs ( the
leisure valley, innumerable open spaces and sector greens),
the intellect (the cultural and educational institutions),
the circulatory system (the network of roads, the 7Vs) and
the viscera (the Industrial Area). The concept of the city
is based on four major functions: living, working, care of
the body and spirit and circulation. Residential sectors constitute
the living part whereas the Capitol Complex, City Centre,
Educational Zone (Post Graduate Institute, Punjab Engineering
College, Panjab University) and the Industrial Area constitute
the working part. The Leisure Valley, Gardens, Sector Greens
and Open Courtyards etc. are for the care of body and spirit.
The circulation system comprises of 7 different types of roads
known as 7Vs. Later on, a pathway for cyclists called V8 were
added to this circulation system.
The Capital complex comprises three architectural masterpieces:
the "Secretariat", the "High Court" and
the "Legislative Assembly", separated by large piazzas.
In the heart of the Capital Complex stands the giant metallic
sculpture of The Open Hand, the official emblem of Chandigarh,
signifying the city's credo of "open to given, open to
The city centre (Sector 17) is the heart of Chandigarh's
activities. It comprises the Inter-State Bus Terminus, Parade
Ground, District Courts, etc. on one hand, and vast business
and shopping center on the other. The 4-storey concrete buildings
house banks and offices above and showrooms/shops at the ground
level with wide pedestrian concourses. The Neelam piazza in
the center has fountains with light and water features. Proposal
to set up an eleven storey building in Sector 17 is in the
offing. Sector 34 is another newly developed commercial sector.
Ample areas have been provided in the master plan of the
Capital for parks.
of a total area of 20,000 acres acquired for the first phase,
about 2000 acres are meant for development of parks. Leisure
Valley, Rajendra park, Bougainvillea Park, Zakir Rose Garden,
Shanti Kunj, Hibiscus Garden, Garden of Fragrance, Botanical
Garden, Smriti Upavan, Topiary garden and Terraced Garden
are some of the famous parks of Chandigarh. Sukhna Lake, Rock
Garden, Government Museum and Art Gallery are major tourist
attractions of Chandigarh.
One unique feature in the layout of Chandigarh is its roads,
classified in accordance with their functions. An integrated
system of seven roads was designed to ensure efficient traffic
circulation. Corbusier referred to these as the 7'Vs. the
city's vertical roads run northeast/southwest (the 'Paths').
The horizontal roads run northwest/southwest ('The Margs').
The intersect at right angles, forming a grid or network for
This arrangement of road-use leads to a remarkable hierarchy
of movement, which also ensures that the residential areas
are segregated from the noise and pollution of traffic.
'Sector' or the neighboured unit, is quite similar to the
traditional Indian 'mohalla', Typically, each sectors measures
800 metres by 1200 metres, covering 250 acres of area. Each
Sector is surrounded by V-2 or V-3 roads, with no buildings
opening on to them. Access from the surrounding roads is available
only at 4 controlled points, which roughly mark the middle
of each side. Typically a sector is divided in four parts
by a V-4 road running from east to west and a V-5 road running
from north to south. These four parts are easily identifiable
as A, B, C and D corresponding to North, East, South and West
sides. Each Sector is meant to be self-sufficient, with shopping
and community facilities within reasonable walking distance.
Though educational, cultural and medical facilities are spread
all over city, however, major institutions are located in
Sectors 10, 11, 12, 14 and 26.
The industrial area comprises 2.35 sq kms, set-aside in the
Master Plan for non-polluting, light industry on the extreme
southeastern side of the city near the railway line, as far
away from the Educational Sectors and Capitol Complex as possible.
Tree plantation and landscaping has been an integral part
of the city¿s Master Plan. Twenty six different types
of flowering and 22 species of evergreen trees (Sing et. Al.,
1998) have been planted along the roads, in parking areas,
shopping complexes, residential areas and in the city parks,
to ameliorate the harsh climate of the region, especially
the hot and scorching summers.
Population Growth in the City
Chandigarh was planned for a population of half-a-million.
In Phase I, 36 sq km of land was acquired by the city administration
for construction of 30 sectors. Land for seventeen additional
sectors (Sector 31 to 47) was acquired and developed during
the second phase to cater for a population of 350,000. The
predominance of ¾ storey apartments in the second phase
provide for higher population dimension. However, Chandigarh
has now grown beyond its planned capacity. Hence, development
in the third phase has started in sectors 48 and beyond. Demographic
data indicate that between 1961 and 1971, the population increased
by 144.59 percent, one of the highest for urban areas in India.
According to 1981 census, it grew by another 75.55 percent,
followed by 42.16 percent in 1991 and by 40.33 per cent in
2001 (with a total population of 9,00,635). By 2021 the population
of Chandigarh is projected to be around 19.5 lacs (at current
rate of growth) almost four times for which it was originally