There are very few cities in our country that can lay claim to matching this definition of a city, expressed by America’s Pulitzer prize winning journalist Herbert Caen. We all know how most of our cities are a picture of chaos so far as their design, layout and attitude is concerned. But there are a few exceptions too – cities that were designed with precision and attention to details, cities that stand strong today, a beautiful testimony to the dreams of its planners and makers.
In a recent blogging campaign, when the popular automobile brand Tata Motors asked bloggers to write about their favourite city with respect to three key features – design, drive and connect, names of few cities popped up in mind. As I started analysing them one by one, I realised that if I were to pick up one favourite city that has vision and greatness as its foundation stone, it would undoubtedly be Chandigarh, the city fondly nicknamed – The City Beautiful.
About Chandigarh: Design
Chandigarh, the dream project of India’ first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, was designed by the famous Swiss-French architect and designer Le Corbusier. Corbusier prepared the master plan for the city and also contributed specific designs for several buildings in the city.
Located in the scenic foothills of Shivaliks, Chandigarh is known as one of the best experiments in urban planning and modern architecture in India. The city is composed of sectors, enclosed by roads allocated for transport. Each sector caters to the daily needs of its residents and also has a green strip where vehicular traffic is forbidden.
Chandigarh’s roads are broad and well laid out, making driving around the city a pleasurable experience, unlike our metros where even a little time out on the road is enough to stress anyone out. Moreover, the roads in the city are divided into categories that keep the traffic flow sorted. Besides this, the presence of roundabouts at all intersections also helps keep traffic jams at bay.
Chandigarh is well connected to other states and cities by road, rail, and air. By road, the city is well connected by NH 21 and NH 22 and Inter-state bus services operate buses to the neighbouring states such as Delhi and Himachal Pradesh and different cities of Punjab and Haryana.
Needless to say, the vision and planning gone behind building Chandigarh is the top most reason for its popularity. Now before I wrap this post, here’s some trivia about the city!
- Chandigarh’s official emblem is the ‘Open Hand’ which signifies message of giving and receiving. The symbol also sends out a message of peace and reconciliation.
- This city composed of sectors has no sector 13, following the popular belief that number 13 is not auspicious.
- There are no roads named after any person or historical figure, neither are there statues or memorials at crossings. This was a condition put forth my Le Corbusier and is followed till date.
Photo courtesy: Chandigarh Tourism