Subscribe RSS

Archive for January, 2009

Travel and Transportation in Chandigarh Jan 31

Chandigarh has the largest number of vehicles per capita. Wide, well maintained roads and ample parking space all over the city, make it convenient to use private vehicles for local transport.

Public buses run by the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU), an undertaking of the Chandigarh Administration, provide local transport as well as inter-state transport services.

The Chandigarh Traffic Police oversees the implementation of the traffic rules, and is widely credited for a fairly orderly traffic system. The Traffic Park in Sector 23 introduces children, rickshaw-pullers and new drivers to traffic safety.

Rickshaws are common for traveling short distances, especially by school-going children, housewives and the elderly. Auto-rickshaws are limited, and most often ply to and from the ISBT. Most heavy traffic roads now have rickshaw lanes, which the rickshaw-pullers must adhere to compulsorily.

The city also boasts of a well established network of modern radio cabs using cars like Tata Indigo, Fiat Siena and Maruti Esteem.

Chandigarh is well connected by road. The two main National Highways (NH) connecting Chandigarh with the rest of the country are: NH 22 (Ambala - Kalka - Shimla - Kinnaur) and NH 21 (Chandigarh - Leh). Chandigarh has two Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT), one for the North, East and South located in Sector 17, which has regular bus services to most major cites in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, as well as the national capital Delhi, which is about 240 km away. And a second in Sector 43 for the Western section, mainly Punjab, some parts of Himachal and Jammu and Kashmir.

Chandigarh has a railway station located about 10 km. away from the ISBT. Regular train connections are available to the national capital New Delhi and to some other junctions like Kalka, Ambala, Amritsar, Bhiwani,Lucknow, Patna,Howrah, Mumbai, Chennai, Trivandrum and Sri Ganganagar.

Chandigarh also has a domestic airport located nearly 12 kilometers from the ISBT. Its name is Chandigarh Airport. Jet Airways, JetLite,Air India, and Kingfisher Airlines operate regular flights from Chandigarh to New Delhi and Mumbai. The airport is under process of becoming an international airport and is negotiating with several airlines including SilkAir and Kingfisher for international flights to Singapore and Bangkok, among other South East Asian countries.

In the near future, the city will also see a Metro Rail, and an international airport. They are both approved by the governments, and are now at the design step to finalize the project design.

Tagore Theatre - A centre of excellence for art and culture Jan 29

The Chandigarh Administration has chalked out an ambitious plan to convert the recently-opened Tagore Theatre into a centre of excellence for art and culture.

According to official sources, the objective will not only be to provide technical and infrastructural facilities at par with the international standards, but also to simultaneously transform its identity from a mere city-level theatre facility to a national-level cultural centre for arts.

The aim will be to develop it in a way so it emerges as a venue for other new trends in the arena of theatre and associated fields like experimental theatre, children’s theatre, a theatre repertory etc.

With this objective of creating a cultural renaissance and promotion of all forms as a unified whole, the theatre would be developed as the hub of all such artistic, intellectual, creative happenings.

Besides the enhancements of the engineering and technological facilities in the theatre, addition of other facilities like an exhibition gallery, small seminar facilities, library of the arts (with focus on performing arts), place for conducting art, theatre and literary workshops, and cafeteria designed with imaginative elements would develop the venue into a holistic centre of arts, revolving around the fulcrum of performing arts.

Within the theatre complex, a small open-air theatre around the landscaped pedestrian piazza can be added for low cost performances to amateurs, children, neighborhood level groups or anyone else desiring using them.

In other words, with enhanced facilities and cultural transformation, the artists would perform in the most conducive and supportive atmosphere. Also it would become an artiste and art-lovers’ hangout and a venue for exchange of intellectual ideas and discourses.

Planning and Architecture of Modern Chandigarh Jan 27

Planning and Architecture of Modern Chandigarh

Planning and Architecture of Modern Chandigarh

Le Corbusier’s plan of modern Chandigarh Taking over from Albert Mayer, Le Corbusier produced a plan for Chandigarh that conformed to the modern city planning principles of Congres International d’Architecture Moderne CIAM, in terms of division of urban functions, an anthropomorphic plan form, and a hierarchy of road and pedestrian networks. This vision of Chandigarh, contained in the innumerable conceptual maps on the drawing board together with notes and sketches had to be translated into brick and mortar. Le Corbusier retained many of the seminal ideas of Mayer and Nowicki, like the basic framework of the master plan and its components: The Capitol, City Center, besides the University, Industrial area, and linear parkland. Even the neighborhood unit was retained as the basic module of planning. However, the curving outline of Mayer and Nowicki was reorganized into a mesh of rectangles, and the buildings were characterized by an “honesty of materials”. Exposed brick and boulder stone masonry in its rough form produced unfinished concrete surfaces, in geometrical structures. This became the architectural form characteristic of Chandigarh, set amidst landscaped gardens and parks.

The initial plan had two phases: the first for a population of 150,000 and the second taking the total population to 500,000. Le Corbusier divided the city into units called “sectors”, each representing a theoretically self-sufficient entity with space for living, working and leisure. The sectors were linked to each other by a road and path network developed along the line of the 7 Vs, or a hierarchy of seven types of circulation patterns. At the highest point in this network was the V1, the highways connecting the city to others, and at the lowest were the V7s, the streets leading to individual houses. Later a V8 was added: cycle and pedestrian paths. The Palace Assembly, designed by Le Corbusier The city plan is laid down in a grid pattern. The whole city has been divided into rectangular patterns, forming identical looking sectors, each sector measures 800 m x 1200 m. The sectors were to act as self-sufficient neighbourhoods, each with its own market, places of worship, schools and colleges - all within 10 minutes walking distance from within the sector. The original two phases of the plan delineated sectors from 1 to 47, with the exception of 13 (Number 13 is considered unlucky). The Assembly, the secretariat and the high court, all located in Sector - 1 are the three monumental buildings designed by Le Corbusier in which he showcased his architectural genius to the maximum. The city was to be surrounded by a 16 kilometer wide greenbelt that was to ensure that no development could take place in the immediate vicinity of the town, thus checking suburbs and urban sprawl; hence is famous for its greenness too.

While leaving the bulk of the city’s architecture to other members of his team, Le Corbusier took responsibility for the overall master plan of the city, and the design of some of the major public buildings including the High Court, Assembly, Secretariat, the Museum and Art Gallery, School of Art and the Lake Club. Le Corbusier’s most prominent building, the Court House, consists of the High court, which is literally higher than the other, eight lower courts. Most of the other housing was done by Le Corbusier’s cousin Pierre Jeanneret, the English husband and wife team of Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew, along with a team of nine Indian architects. The city in its final form, while not resembling his previous city projects like the Ville Contemporaine or the Ville Radieuse, was an important and iconic landmark in the history of town planning. It continues to be an object of interest for architects, planners, historians and social scientists. Chandigarh has two satellite cities: Panchkula and Mohali. Sometimes, the triangle of these three cities is collectively called the Chandigarh Tricity.

Disaster Management Vehicle for Chandigarh Jan 22

The police is going to purchase a disaster management vehicle equipped with special instruments to deal with any disaster in the city. The UT administration has sanctioned a sum of Rs 17 lakh for this purpose.

It is for the first time in the region that the police is purchasing a disaster management vehicle. These vehicles are being used by the Delhi police successfully.

Giving the information, a senior police officer said within a month, the vehicle would be put in service to deal with disasters like earthquake, flood, fire, terrorist attacks and accidents.

“The money has been sanctioned by the administration and soon we will purchase the chassis of a truck. It will be added to our fleet next month,” DSP (traffic) JS Cheema, who visited Delhi to inspect the vehicle, said.

The idea was to prevent the loss of lives and minimise loss to property as it was the fastest way to undertake rescue and rehabilitation operation, the DSP said.

A traffic police official said: “The use of old methods is not practical as it is very difficult to control a situation arising out of a disaster, but the new vehicle will be of immense help.” Cheema said the vehicle would work as a crane and would be equipped with a cutter, flood lights, electric power inverter, air compressor, generator set with power extension board and a wireless public address system with loud speakers.

It would have all instruments required to deal with major disasters and would also be equipped with portable traffic signals to avoid traffic jams and variable message signs to show the sign of diversion.

Geography and Climate of Chandigarh Jan 20

Geography and Climate of Chandigarh

Geography and Climate of Chandigarh

Chandigarh is located near the foothills of the Shivalik range of the Himalayas in Northwest India. It covers an area of approximately 44 sq mi or 114 km². and shares its borders with the states of Haryana in the south and Punjab in the north. The exact cartographic co-ordinates of Chandigarh are 30°44′N 76°47′E / 30.74, 76.79. It has an average elevation of 321 metres (1053 feet).

The surrounding districts are of Mohali, Patiala and Ropar in Punjab and Panchkula and Ambala in Haryana. The boundary of the state of Himachal Pradesh are not too far from its north. Chandigarh has a sub-tropical continental monsoon climate characterized by a seasonal rhythm: hot summers, slightly cold winters, unreliable rainfall and great variation in temperature (-1 °C to 41.2 °C). In winter, frost sometimes occurs during December and January. The average annual rainfall is 1110.7 mm. The city also receives occasional winter rains from the west.

Average temperature

  • Summer: The temperature in summer (from Mid-May to Mid-June) may rise to a maximum of 46.5 °C (rarely). Temperatures generally remain between 35 °C to 40 °C.
  • Monsoon: During monsoon (from mid-June to mid-September), Chandigarh receives moderate to heavy rainfall and sometimes heavy to very heavy rainfall (generally during the month of August or September). Usually, the rain bearing monsoon winds blow from south-west/ south-east. Mostly, the city receives heavy rain from south (which is mainly a persistent rain) but it generally receives most of its rain during monsoon either from North-west or North-east. Maximum amount of rain received by the city of Chandigrah during monsoon season is 195.5 mm in a single day.
  • Autumn: In autumn (from Mid-March to April), the temperature may rise to a maximum of 36 °C. Temperatures usually remain between 16° to 27° in autumn. The minimum temperature is around 13 °C.
  • Winter: Winters (November to Mid-March) are quite cool and it can sometimes get quite chilly in Chandigarh. Average temperatures in winter remain at (max) 7 °C to 15 °C and (min) -2 °C to 5 °C. Rain usually comes from the west duirng winters and it is usually a persistent rain for 2-3 days with sometimes hail-storms.
  • Spring: The climate remains quite pleasant during the spring season (from mid-February to mid-March and then from mid-September to mid-October). Temperatures vary between (max) 16 °C to 25 °C and (min) 9 °C to 18 °C.
Brief History of Chandigarh Jan 17

Brief History of Chandigarh

Brief History of Chandigarh

After the partition of British India into the two nations of India and Pakistan in 1947, the region of Punjab was also split between India and Pakistan. The Indian state of Punjab required a new capital city to replace Lahore, which became part of Pakistan during the partition. After several plans to make additions to existing cities were found to be infeasible for various reasons, the decision to construct a new and planned city was undertaken. The city derives its name from Chandi Mandir, a temple of goddess Chandi, located in nearby Panchkula District of Haryana. The word Chandigarh literally means “the fort of Chandi”.

Of all the new town schemes in independent India, the Chandigarh project quickly assumed prime significance, because of the city’s strategic location as well as the personal interest of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India. Commissioned by Nehru to reflect the new nation’s modern, progressive outlook, Nehru famously proclaimed Chandigarh to be “unfettered by the traditions of the past, a symbol of the nation’s faith in the future.” Several buildings and layouts in Chandigarh were designed by the Swiss born French architect and urban planner, Le Corbusier, in the 1950s. Le Corbusier was in fact the second architect of the city, after the initial master plan was prepared by the American architect-planner Albert Mayer who was working with the Poland-born architect Matthew Nowicki. It was only after Nowicki’s untimely death in 1950 that Le Corbusier was pulled into the project.

On 1 November,1966, the newly-formed Indian state of Haryana was carved out of the eastern portion of the Punjab, in order to create Haryana as a majority Hindi speaking state, while the western portion of Punjab retained a mostly Punjabi language-speaking majority and remained as the current day Punjab. However, the city of Chandigarh was on the border, and was thus created into a union territory to serve as capital of both these states. Chandigarh was due to be transferred to Punjab in 1986, in accordance with an agreement signed in August 1985 by Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, with Sant Harchand Singh Longowal of the Akali Dal. This was to be accompanied by the creation of a new capital for Haryana, but the transfer had been delayed. There is currently a discussion about which villages in southern districts of Punjab should be transferred to Haryana, and about which Punjabi-speaking villages should be transferred to Punjab.

On 15 July 2007,Chandigarh became the first Indian city to go smoke-free. Smoking at public places has been strictly prohibited and considered as a punishable act by Chandigarh Administration. That was followed up by a complete ban on polythene bags with effect from 2 October 2008, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.