Chandigarh its name “The City Beautiful” says it all, it is one of the cleanest and well-developed cities of India.
Chandigarh serves as the capital of two states Haryana and Punjab and is Union territory in India which is under the direct control of the Central Government. Chandigarh is located at foothills of Shivalik and has Punjab in the north and Haryana in the east.
The name Chandigarh is formed from goddess name Chandi and Garh means a fortress. It is derived from the Hindu goddess ancient temple Chandi Mandir which is located in Panchkula. Chandigarh is also referred to as “The city beautiful” because of the beautiful architecture and urban design used to build it.
Chandigarh is the master plan of a Swiss-French Architect Le Corbusier. 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 7 Vs) and the viscera (the Industrial Area). Chandigarh beside being beautiful is also the cleanest city in India based on National Government study. Mohali, Panchkula and Chandigarh is referred to as Tri-city.
Chandigarh came into limelight during partition in 1947. The early capital of Punjab was Lahore which falls in Pakistan Territory, but after partition, the province of Punjab was split between East Punjab in India and West Punjab in Pakistan. Th divided East Punjab needed a new capital and three regions Ludhiana, Ambala and Chandigarh were nominated for the same. But Chandigarh was chosen as it was farthest from the Pakistan border.
The Government of Punjab in 1949 tasked an American planner and architect Albert Mayer to design the new city Chandigarh and later on Le Corbusier was appointed for the same. Le Corbusier designed many administration building including the High Court, the palace of Assembly and the Secteriate building and also designed the general layout plan of city dividing it into sectors.
On November 1966, a newly formed state of Haryana was carved out from East Punjab. Majority of people living there were speaking Haryanavi so the eastern portion of East Punjab was called Haryana and while the western portion of East Punjab retains all the Punjabi speaking majority so called as Punjab.
Chandigarh was located at the border of both the states and both of them try to incorporate Chandigarh in their territory. However, the city Chandigarh was declared as a union territory which now serves as capital to both the states.
The vibrant culture of Chandigarh is influenced by the neighboring states mainly Haryana and Punjab followed by Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar.
The rich and fertile land of Chandigarh is a meeting ground for different people and race, so the tradition and culture of the city is a mixture of the various culture of India.
There are numerous temples, mosques, shrines, and bhawans located throughout the city that one can easily participate in any type of religious activity.
Chandigarh houses many Central Govt. institutions, branches of almost every banks, army, and air forces bases that people from every part of India is settled here.
The blending of various cultural aspects is also reflected in the architectural styles and shrines of the city. While Chandigarh is majorly occupied by Sikh Jat who is mostly agriculturist. Khatris and Aroras are also two major communities of the city.
People of Chandigarh speak Hindi and Punjabi, while Haryanavi and English are also spoken language in the state. English is the official language of Chandigarh.
Chandigarh celebrates several festivals that are uniquely their own.
Festival of Gardens – The festival of gardens also called as Rose festival is a three-day festival organized in the last week of February when the rose plants in the garden are at its peak of bloom.
Basant Panchami – Basant Panchami is a very popular seasonal fair and marks the arrival of the spring season. The yellow mustard in the fields brings a gorgeous golden yellow glow to the area. Kite flying is a popular event during the occasion.
Baisakhi – Baisakhi is a harvest festival and celebrated with great pomp in Chandigarh. This is the time when farmers gather their harvest after a year-long hard work, so they celebrate it with full enthusiasm.
Dusshera Festival – Dusshera Festival is celebrated in a big way with effigies of Ravan, Kumbkaran and Meghnath are burnt at a number of places in the city.
Chandigarh Carnival – Chandigarh carnival is a three-day event held in the second week of November. It is a time when students of the city show their talents and have fun.
Other popular festivals of the city are Lohri, Diwali, Rakhi, Muktsar fair, Mango festival, and Teej.
Chandigarh has a mixture of various traditions and cultures that are reflected in their costumes too. However, nowadays people like to wear modern outfits. Western outfits are the most popular among youngsters they like to wear jeans, skirts, tops, t-shirts rather than traditional dresses.
Traditionally dress for women of Chandigarh is Kurta Salwar, Patiala suits are also very common in the region. Saris are worn very less as compared to other parts of India, only on special occasions, people lie to flaunt expensive saris. However, Salwar Kurta remains the all-time favorite dress among ladies.
Among men, the traditional dress is kurta-Pajama and Punjabi Dhoti and Kurta, but men in Chandigarh are seen with their normal dress of pant shirt or t-shirt.
Punjabi juti is also a traditional footwear in Chandigarh and is called the queen of footwear.
Art and Crafts
Arts and Crafts as a phrase means decorative designs and handicrafts. Chandigarh has distinguished tradition which people have maintained.
Jewellery – The design of jewelry and the motifs carved on them have sun, moon and various god and goddess images engraved, but after the arrival of Muslims they replace them with floral motifs.
Phulkari Work – Chandigarh folk artwork have beautiful phulkaris which have colorful embroidery and knitting, in Phulkaris whole cloth is covered with close embroidery.
While it is a custom for parents to give hand embroidered clothes to girls in heir marriage.
Other art and crafts that are common are Handfans, Needlework, Weaving of Durries, Plastering the walls, Woodwork, and Pottery.
Punjabi Food is very popular, and when it comes to Chandigarh cuisine it comprises only of Punjabi food. The staple of Chandigarh food is tandoori roti, naan and parathas served with Dal Makhani, Chicken curry or Butter Chicken.
The main feature of Punjabi food is a lot of butter in food and food served with Punjab-di-Lassi. While Makki di Roti and Sarson ka saag is a popular dish of Punjab, various type of Chicken is also famous for Punjab.
In Chandigarh people like eating outside a lot so you can find various restaurants and dhabas running full.
For Dal Makhani you can go to Golconda Resturant in Sector 32 Chandigarh, for Chicken curry you will love at Pal dhaba Sector 28 Chandigarh, The favorite Butter Chicken is in Metro Hotel Sector 43 Chandigarh,
Among these top food soya champ, Pav Bhaji, Amritsari Kulcha, Channa Bhatura, Cheese Naan with gravy and Kadai Paneer are very famous.
Chandigarh is one of the modern, youngest and systematic city in India rightfully called “The City Beautiful“
Famous places for tourism in Chandigarh are:
- Rock Garden – The Unique garden which consists of various art objects made by using industrial waste.
- Sukhna Lake – This beautiful lake is in the foothills of Shivalik range and serves as a famous tourist spot in Chandigarh.
- Rose Garden – Zakir Hussain Rose Garden is a 30 acres park with over 50,000 rose bushes and a must place to visit in Chandigarh.
- Government Museum and Art Gallery
- ChattBir Zoo
- Fateh Burj
- International Dolls Museum