Chandigarh : Background of the Union Territory


Chandigarh also known as ''City beautiful'' is a Union Territory and capital of two states Punjab & Haryana. Administratively it falls under Central Government. The Governor of Punjab is the administrator. The word Chandigarh literally means Chandi Garh or Fort of Goddess Chandi – a name derived from a temple situated nearby in Panchakula. Chandigarh has 2 satellite cities – Panchkula and Mohali. The three cities collectively referred as Chandigarh tri-city.


The brain child of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the city was one of the five planed cities of India the others being New Delhi, Bhubaneshwar (Orissa), Gandhinagar (Gujarat) & Navi Mumbai (Maharashtra). After partition of India in 1947 the state of Punjab required a new capital city to replace Lahore which became part of Pakistan. After various plans for additions to existing cities were found infeasible the decision was taken to construct a new planed city to reflect the new nation''s modern progressive outlook, to be "unfettered by the traditions of the past, a symbol of the nation''s faith in the future".


Initial Master plan developed by American architect-planner Albert Mayer and Polish architect Matthew Nowicki, the city was designed by Swiss born French architect and planner Le Corbusier during 1950s with characteristic architecture of exposed brick and boulder stone masonry to reflect ''honesty of materials'' set amidst landscaped gardens and parks.With an initial plan for a population size of 1,50,000 and later taking it to 11,97,000 the city is laid down in a grid pattern divided into identical looking ''sectors'' of 800m by 1,200 mts. each representing a theoretically self sufficient entity with space for living, working and leisure with market place, places of worship, schools & colleges. Major public buildings include High Court, Assembly, Secretariat, Museum & Art Gallery, School of Art & the Lake Club.


The foundation stone of the city was laid in 1952. Subsequently, at the time of reorganization of the state on 1st November, 2006 into Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, the city assumed the unique distinction of being the capital city of both, Punjab and Haryana while it itself was declared as a Union Territory and under the direct control of the Central Government. The city was to be transferred to Punjab in 1986 under an agreement during August 1985, the transfer has been delayed pending on transfer of districts in exchange.


Located at 30.74º North & 76.79º East on the fringes of Shivalik range of Himalayas in Northwest India, the city is spread in an area of approx. 114sq Kms and shares borders with the states of Haryana in the south and Punjab in the north.


The city has very high population density after Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai & Hyderabad at 7,903 persons per sq. km. and is first in Human development Index (0.674). It is ranked 6th in literacy rate among the states & Union Territories of India. It has high per capita incomes at Rs 110,678 at 1999-2000 prices during the year 2007-08.


Demographic Status of Chandigarh


  • Total Population – 1197000
  • GSDP- Rs.1425268 lakhs
  • Urban Population – 89.8%
  • No. of villages – 27
  • Density – per 7,903sq km
  • Female per 1,000 male – 777
  • Total Literacy Rate – 81.76% (Male – 85.65%; Female – 76.65%)

Climatic Conditions


Chandigarh''s climate is typically characterised by cold & dry winter, hot summer and sub tropical monsoon. The area experiences four seasons - the hot summer season between (mid march to mid June), the rainy season (Late June to Mid September), autumn (mid September to mid November) and winter (Mid November to Mid March).


The average temperature during summer varies between 27ºC to 44ºC and maximum can go up to 44ºC. During winter season the temperature can vary between 1ºC to 16ºC. Southwest monsoon commencing from late June is characterised by hot & humid climate with intense showers. The average annual rainfall is 1110.7 mm.


Natural Resources


Water Resources: With total length of 2 Kms. of rivers & Canals Chandigarh has two seasonal rivulets viz., ''Sukhna Choe'' and ''Patiala Ki Rao Choe'' on east & west side of the city respectively. The central platform has two minor streams called N-Choe and Choe Nala.


Forest Resources: Chandigarh had a forest spread in an area of 33.3515sq km in the year 2006-07 of which 30.686 sq.kms is reserved forest. There are two ranges viz., the Chandigarh Forest Range and the Nepali Forest Range. The Department of Environment and Forests established in 1966 has the objectives of creating a green belt around the city and to carry out soil conservation of Sukana Lake Catchments area.

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