Chandigarh - its history, demography, tourism, places to visit and geography

This article is a complete guide of Chandigarh mentioning its history, demography, geography, climate, places to visit, environment, economy, educational and transportation facilities, sporting venues and gardens.

Chandigarh is a union territory of India which serves as the capital of two states i.e Punjab and Haryana. The word Chandigarh means 'The Fort of Chandi'. The name Chandigarh comes from an ancient temple called 'Chandi Mandir', which was devoted to the Hindu goddess Chandi. According to the Sikh Philosphy the word Chandi is derived from 'Chandi di Var', which is a poem written by the Sikh guru- Guru Govind Singh. This poem is popular among the Sikh soldiers as the get ready for battle.

Chandigarh is the first planned city of India and is known mainly for its architectue and planning. Chandigarh has a number of Architectural projects by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Matthew Nowicki, and Albert Mayer. The city is on the top of the list of highest per capital income an the country with the income of about Rs.99,262.Chandigarh also tops the lists of the cleanliest city and also the city with the highest Human development index.

History of Chandigarh

Before the partition of India in 1947 Lahore was the capital of the undivided Punjab. But after the partition Lahore went to Pakistan and Punjab was left without a capital. Also, the partition resulted in the movement of people from the west Punjab to the eastern cities of India. The above two factors resulted in the need of choosing the new capital at the foothills of the Shivalik range which would serve as the new capital of Punjab in the Independent India.

A committee was formed whose job was to select a suitable site,keeping the factors like military vulnerability,drinking water,climatic conditions etc in mind. After a while a site was selected but the new found site was then in the form of Farms. After careful analysing the venue for the site was finalised. The task of planning for the city was finalised by an American team - 'Mayor,Whittleslay,Glass and Nowicki'.But, the project faced a setback when Nowicki refused to take part in the project which resulted in the whole teem drawing back from the project.

The committee was again handed the task of finding a team for the project. Finally in 1951, the famous French architect Le Corbusier,took the project in his hand.He, further appointed a team which would work under his leadership in the designing of the site. The team came up with decision of dividing the work in two phases. During the designing factors like pollution, travel and tourism and other environmental aspects were borne in mind. This is how the farms of Punjab transformed into the well known city of Chandigarh.

Geography and climate of Chandigarh

The city is located near the foothills of Shivalik range of the Himalayas in the northwest region of India. The city covers a geographical area of about 114 square Kms. It shares its border with Haryana in the east and Punjab in the north, west and south. The exact geographical co-ordinates are '90.74*N 76.79*E' and has an average elevation of 321 mtrs (1053 ft).

It has the districts of Mohali, Patiala and Roopnagar in Punjab and Panchkula and Ambala surrounding the city.The border of Himachal Pradesh is also minutes away from the north border of the city.

The city has a humid subtropical climate characterized by very hot summers, mid winters,mild winters unreliable rainfall and great variation in temperature(-1 to 41.2). In winter, one may witness pieces of snow during December and January. Chandigarh has an anual rainfall of about 1110.7 mm.

Average Temperature in Chadigarh

Spring: During spring time the climate remains quite pleasant.temperature varies from (max) 16 C to 25 C and (min) 9 C to 18 C.

Autumn: In autumn season the temperature can rise up to 36 C.Temperature usually ranges from 16 C to 27 C(max) and the minimum is about 11 C.

Summer: The temperature in summer season may rise to an all year high of about 45 C and that too rarely. temperature normally ranges from 35 C to 45 C.

Monsoon: Durin monsoon days the amount of rainfall may vary from mild to heavy or heavy to very heavy rainfall. The highest rainfall record of Chandigarh in a single day is 195.5.

Winter: Winters are normally mild but can also become chilly at times. The usual temperature is 7 C to 15 C (max) and 5 C to 8 C. Rain normally comes from the west and can be quite persistent at times lasting 2-3 days.

Environment of Chandigarh

The majority of Chandigarh is covered by dense cover of Banyan and Eucalyptus trees. Asoka, Cassia, Mulberry trees are also present in large amount in the forest areas in and near Chandigarh. Chandigarh is surrounded by forest and contains large variety of fauna and flaura like Deers, Sambars, Barking Deers, Woodpeckers, parrots and Peacocks. The famous Sukhna Lake is a host of a variety of ducks and geese and it also attracts migratory birds from Japan and Siberia in the winter season.

There is also a parrot sanctuary in the city which is a home to numerous bird species.

Demographics of Chandigarh

According to the 2011 census, the city has a population of 900m,635, making a density of about 7900 persons per sq km, out of which 56% of population are male while the rest 44% are females. The sex ratio is about 777 females for 1000 males-which is the lowest in India. The city has a Literacy rate of 81.9%, which is much higher than the country's national average of 61.9%,with male literacy of 86.1% and female literacy rate of 76.5%. Also, the percentage of people below 6 yrs of age is 12%. The percentage of religion followers in the city are Hinduism:78.6%, Sikhism:16,1%, Islam:3.9% and Christianity:0.8%. Hindi and Punjabi are the most popular languages of the city.

Economy of Chandigarh

As, Chandigarh is the base of three governments hence the government is the main employer here. Hence the majority of people in Chandigarh are those who work for the government or have worked for the government in the past and are now retired from service. This is why Chandigarh is also referred as 'Pensioner's Paradise'
Chandigarh has up to 15 medium to Large industries out of which two are in public sector.Also, Chandigarh has up to 2,500 small scale industries.The main industrial fields here are paper, basic metal, alloys and machinery.Other industries are food products, Sanitary ware, auto parts, machine tools, pharmaceuticals and electric appliances, and still Chandigarh has the largest per capita income of 99,262. Chandigarh's gross state domestic product of 2004 was $2.2 billion.

The market and banking structure of the city is well-developed. Nearly all the banks in the country can be easily found here.Nearly all of them have their branches in the city. There is also a Bank Square has a large presence of such offices in Sector 17.

Chandigarh also has offices of three major trade organisations- Federation of India Chambers of commerce and Industry (FICCI), Confederation of Indian Industry(CII) and PHD Chamber of commerce and Industry (PHDCCI).

There is also a significant presence of Defence forces. Apart from the India Air force base in sector 31 and the Cantnment in Chandimandir, the city also serves as the base of defense operation and supplies of Leh- Laddakh and Siachen regions.

Chandigarh has an IT park ( popularly known as Chandigarh's technology park ) is Chandigarh's attempt to break in the world of technology and devices. Many major firms have their offices in this part of the city like Quark,Infosys, Dell, Ibm, TechMahindrea and lots more. As per a recent survey conducted by Global services Chandigarh is placed on 9th on the list of top 50 cities which are identified globally as an 'emerging outsourcing and IT service destinations.

Education facilities in Chandigarh

Schools in Chandigarh are affiliated to various numbers of curriculum boards like CBSE board, Punjab board, Haryana board etc.

There are also many colleges in the city like Punjab Engineering College (Pec), Government college of Art and Craft, as well as Government Teacher Training college. Also the Punjab University is based on Chandigarh.

Transportation in Chandigarh

Chandigarh is home to the largest no. of vehicles per capital in India. The city has wide and clean roads all over.

Chandigarh is also connected by NH-22(Ambala-Kalka-Shimla-Kinnaur) and Nh-21(Chandigark-Leh).Chandigarh also has a railway station and an International airport while metro train is still under construction.

Sporting venues and gardens in Chadigarh

Chandigarh is host to numerous inter-state sporting competitions like PHL and IPL. This is why Chandigarh has a no. of sports infrastructure ranging from stadiums to training camps. This wide list also includes the entire group of cricket stadiums, swimming pools, shooting ranges to skating rings and hockey stadium.

There are also a huge no of gardens in the city,some of them are Rock Garden, Rose garden, Garden of Annuals, Fragrance Garden, Hibiscus Garden, Chrysanthemum Garden, Botanical Garden and Shanti Kunj.

More articles: Chandigarh travel guide


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