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Chandigarh

Chandigarh

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View of Sukhna Lake

Chandigarh also called The City Beautiful , is a city in India that serves as the capital of two states: Punjab and Haryana. However, administratively, the city is not under the jurisdiction of either state, it is administered by the Central government and hence classified as a union territory. The Governor of the Punjab is the Administrator of Chandigarh.

The city derives its name from a temple of goddess Chandi (the Chandi Mandir) located in nearby Panchkula District of Haryana. The word Chandigarh literally means "the fort of Chandi".

Chandigarh is one of the most significant urban planning experiments of the 20th century. It is the only one of the numerous urban planning schemes of Le Corbusier, the famous French architect-planner, to have actually been executed.

It is also the site of some of his greatest architectural creations. The city has had far-reaching impact, ushering in a modern idiom of architecture and city planning all over India and has become a symbol of planned urbanism. It is as famous for its landscaping as for its architectural ambience. Most of the buildings are in pure, cubical form, geometrically subdivided with emphasis on proportion, scale and detail.

Places to see

CAPITOL COMPLEX
The Capitol Complex is Le Corbusier’s most spectacular work. The magnificent edifices, set against the Shivalik peaks, stand “as massive concrete sculptures, representing the monumental character authority that the complex represents. It is the seat of the government of the States of Punjab and Haryana. It comprises three epoch-making master-pieces: the Secretariat, the High Court and the Legislative Assembly. Separated by large piazzas, the subtle and most evocative grouping of these buildings is of breath-taking beauty. And in the centre stands the giant metallic sculpture of The Open Hand, the official emblem of Chandigarh, signifying the city’s credo of ‘open to give’ open to receive’.

THE HIGH COURT
The law-interpreting monument was built in the Capitol Complex during 1951-57. This structure has a double roof, projecting over the office block like a parasol or an inverted umbrella. The magnificent outward sweep of the upper roof is symbolic of protection and justice to the people. The three vertical piers, rising 60 feet from the floor and painted in bright colours form the grand entrance to the building. A gigantic egg-crate screen covers the building façade. On the rear walls of the court rooms, hand the giant woolen tapestries designed by Le Corbusier.

THE SECRETARIAT
The law-executing monument is the largest and tallest of the three edifices in the Capitol Complex. Built during 1953-59, it is shaped like an eight-storeyed concrete slab, with its distinctive brise-soleil-louvered screen of deeply sculptured two-storey porticos in the centre, housing the offices of ministers. The cafeteria rests stop the terrace is like an art object, giving a spectacular view of the city.

THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
The profile of this law-forming monument epitomizes stately grandeur. Square in plan, with a monumental portico standing free from the main building, it faces the High Court. The shape of the cupola is an obliquely truncated hyperbolic parabolic, extending well above the roof line. A pyramid covers the upper chamber of the erstwhile bicameral system and offers an exciting counterpoint to the cupola, lending artistic grace to the entire complex.

THE OPEN HAND MONUMENT
One of the most significant monuments planned by Le Corbusier in Chandigarh is the Open Hand. The monument is a place to visit in Chandigarh. Rising 85 feet high from a sunken trench, a giant hand in metal sheets is designed to rotate "like a weather cock, not to show the incertitude of ideas, but to indicate symbolically the direction of wind (that is the state of affairs)." It is also meant to convey a message of peace "open to receive." Amongst the other monumental places to visit in Chandigarh are the Tower of Shadows, Geometric Hill, and Martyr's Memorial.

ROCK GARDEN
Chandigarh has the distinction of having a unique world acclaimed Rock Garden. It Consist of art object, fashioned from industrial and urban waste. It is situated between the capital complex and Sukhna lake in Sector1.It nestles amidst 20acres of woods in the form of an open air exhibition hall, theatre trove and a miniature maze all rolled into one vast fantasy land of art and landscape. It is without doubt, a tourist spot that is a must on the itinerary of visitor to Chandigarh.

An unpretentious entrance leads to a magnificent, almost, surrealist arrangement of rocks, boulders, broken chinaware, discarded fluorescent tubes, broken and cast away glass bangles, building waste, coal and clay-all juxtaposed to create a dream folk world of palaces, soldiers, monkeys, village life, women and temples. The open air sculptures and concealed gateways separating them are at places enhanced by a waterfall, pools and an open air theatre with proper stage setting. Several prestigious performances have been staged in this small but very artistic and naturalistic open air theatre.

ROSE GARDEN
Zakir Hussain Rose Garden Asia's largest Rose Garden and is spreaded over 30 acres of land having over 1600 different species or roses. These have been planted beautifully carved out lawns and flowers beds. Like the cultural zone which is just across the road in sector 10,this was also planned by Dr. M.S. Randhawa as his interest in horticulture and fondness for flowers was profuse. Every year, either at the end of February or beginning of March, a big festival known as Rose Festival, is celebrated at this garden. Over 20,000 people visit this festival. It’s one of the great celebrations in the city. There are lots of competitions, cultural celebrations and many other events.

Forests

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Kansal & Nepli
Chandigarh has 3245 hectares under forest and most of it is hilly. The forest areas are mostly around Sukhna Lake, Sukhna Choe and Patiala ki Rao. Near village Kansal on the outskirts of Chandigarh towards the hills is a reserve forest, entry to which is restricted. One has to obtain an entry pass to see it. A large area of natural forest is preserved intact and one can have a real feel of a forest. Inside this forest is located a rest house which is surrounded by beautiful grassy lawns and flower beds.

Kansal Forests

At a short distance from Kansal forest is located another reserve forest known as Nepli. Nepli is a bit more wild than Kansal. On two sides it is surrounded by small hills and the whole area is covered by thick forest which is full of wild life. There is a small rest house amidst green and flowery lawns.

A walk in these forest areas can be very rewarding as one may come across large variety of wild animals - antelopes, neelgais, hyena, jackals and hares. The Deputy Conservator of Forest Chandigarh issues permits for entry to these forests.