Kids Corner

Above: The Student Centre, Punjab University. Below: The Punjab Government Secretariat.


Corbusier’s Capital For A Partitioned Punjab





As Chandigarh celebrates the legacy of Le Corbusier 50 years after his death, we look at the city that was envisioned as home to the displaced government of the state of Punjab, which had lost its capital, Lahore, in the Partition of Punjab in 1947. 

Chandigarh was created in a sparsely populated area that housed a number of villages. Today the modern city seeks UNESCO heritage city status, and its residents enjoy facilities, wide open spaces and roads, the educational institutions and modern architectural heritage.

The first state capital to be built after Partition, Chandigarh had its advocate in Jawaharlal Nehru, with Partap Singh Kairon as its main executor and Le Corbusier as the architect.

Even as Corbusier and his team gave Chandigarh its concrete shape, it was the residents of the newly formed city who brought it to life. The necessary institutions of governance were created, along with a major educational and health infrastructure, all of which added to the vibrancy of the city.

The original plans, and the ability of the Chandigarh Administration to stick to them with remarkable tenacity in spite of various pressures, have preserved the essence of the city, even as its periphery has seen growth, sometimes haphazard.

The broad roads of Chandigarh seem natural for the first city on the subcontinent to be designed with the automobile in mind. Today it has the highest per-capita registration of motor vehicles in the country, yet it is still possible to commute with minimal discomfort.

Some of the most memorable icons are the ones which were not originally planned. Like the Rock Garden, a magnificent colourful creative counterpoint to the rigidity of the straight lines etched in concrete; and the geri route, that raucous road that the young choose to express themselves on.

[Courtesy: Tribune. Edited for]

October 15, 2015

Conversation about this article

1: Kaala Singh (Punjab), October 19, 2015, 1:52 AM.

India has learnt well from its new-found friend, Israel. As Israel builds settlements on Palestinian land to create "facts on the ground" and usurp the land, India did the same in Chandigarh which was built on land acquired from Sikh farmers and settled non-Sikhs there. And on this basis now denies Chandigarh to Punjab. India should know that as Israel claims Palestine and India claims Kashmir on the basis of historical connections, this land belongs to Sikhs regardless of who settled there and Punjab should have sole ownership of it.

Comment on "Chandigarh:
Corbusier’s Capital For A Partitioned Punjab"

To help us distinguish between comments submitted by individuals and those automatically entered by software robots, please complete the following.

Please note: your email address will not be shown on the site, this is for contact and follow-up purposes only. All information will be handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy. Sikhchic reserves the right to edit or remove content at any time.