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Chandigarh: After the independence of India and its partition, the state of Punjab was divided in to two halves. The western half of the state with its most important city, Lahore came within the territory of Pakistan. The eastern half of the state did not have a city that could serve as its provincial capital. This necessitated the construction of a new capital for the state of Punjab. Chandigarh was built to serve as its capital. Soon after the capital city was established the state of Punjab was divided once again linguistically in to Punjab and Haryana. Chandigarh remained the capital of both the states. The name of the city is derived from Chandi Mandir in the neighboring Panchkula district of Haryana.
The city became famous because of the contribution of some the world renowned architects who designed some very well known buildings in this city. Among these architects the most prominent was the Swiss-born, French architect, Le Corbusier who designed many of the government buildings including the state assembly house, the High Court, the state Secretariat, the Museum and Art Gallery, the School of Art and the Lake Club. The city was originally planned by the American architect, Albert Mayer and his Polish partner, Mathew Nowicki. Because of the demise of Nowicki, Le Corbusier was invited to finish the town planning and design some of its buildings. Chandigarh was the first city to be declared a complete no smoking territory. These architects worked in a much bigger team that included the cousin of Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, the British couple, Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew as well as the Indian architects, M. N. Sharma, A. R. Prabhawalkar, B. P. Mathur, Piloo Moody, U. E. Chowdhury, N. S. Lamba, J. L. Malhotra, J. S. Dethe and Aditya Prakash.
Chandigarh joined some of the other planned cities of India including Jaipur – the pink city that Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh planned to move his capital from the ancient Fort and town of Amber, Delhi – that Edwin Lutyens and James Baker planned to move the British colonial capital from Kolkata, Gandhinagar – that replaced Ahmedabad as capital of Gujarat state and Navi Mumbai – that was built to ease the population pressure in Mumbai. The city is planned in grid pattern with main streets crossing each other at right angles.
One of the most unique places in Chandigarh is the Rock Garden, an open air assembly of sculptures designed by the artist, Nek Chand. The family of Nek Chand moved from Pakistan to Chandigarh area during the partition of India. He later worked as road inspector in the Public Works Department of the city. He did not have any formal education in art and sculpture. He started this project with collecting waste material from the demolition sites in the city and using them to form beautiful sculptures. He started this work without official approval and this unique work of art was in the danger of being demolished. Nek Chand could manage to raise public outcry against the demolition of his life work. The garden grew to cover an area of more than 12 acres. This garden has become a major tourist attraction with about 5,000 people visiting it daily. His talent was recognized internationally when renowned museums in Washington, DC, New York & Wisconsin in USA as well as Lausanne in Switzerland took his sculptures in their permanent collections.
Chandigarh is starting point for the jeep safari tours to Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh driving over some of the highest roads in the world.
Chandigarh is well-connected by scheduled flights with New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Jaipur and Goa.
Kalka Shatabdi Express Train takes 3 hours 22 minutes in the early morning and 3 hours 33 minutes in the evening from New Delhi.
By road from Delhi, Chandigarh is connected by a very good highway.
Taj Chandigarh Hotel - 149 rooms
Mountview Hotel - 155 rooms
Maya Hotel - 25 rooms
Shivalikview Hotel - 108 rooms
Piccadily Hotel - 48 rooms
Hotel Le Mariet - 34 rooms
Toy Hotel - 25 rooms
Hotel Solitaire - 26 rooms
Hotel Sunbeam - 57 rooms
Kaptain's Retreat Hotel - 10 rooms
Hotel Parkview - 138 rooms
Hotel Western Court - 22 rooms
Distance from Chandigarh in Kilometers or Miles
New Delhi: 238 Kilometers or 148 Miles
Dharamshala: 214 Kilometers or 133 Miles
Manali: 294 Kilometers or 183 Miles
Kullu: 244 Kilometers or 152 Miles
Shimla: 119 Kilometers or 74 Miles