Tuesday, May 15, 2012

DEL to IXC- Chandigarh

Chandigarh Main Square - Sector 17
We arrived in Chandigarh around 14:35, just allowing us enough time to check into the Taj and make the Sangeet across town. Between the Sangeet and the wedding itself, we had a few days of free time to explore the unique city of Chandigarh before the wedding. Architecturally, it's the said to be the most modern and beautiful of Indian cities.

The city of Chandigarh was planned and designed by Swiss born architect Le Corbusier and was begun soon after Pakistan was partitioned from India in1947. 

Pakistan was ceded the larger western part of the state of Punjab including capital of Lahore. That left the Indian Punjab state without an administrative, commercial, or cultural capital. Chandigarh was then built to provide a needed capital for the Indian states of Punjab and the new Hindi speaking state of Haryana. The city was built on an ancient Harappan site whose culture had dominated the Indian subcontinent from 2500 BCE to 1600 BCE.

Chandigarh’s street plan is divided into 46 rectangular sectors and in1969, while digging for a shopping center in sector 17, a Harappan cemetery was unearthed. Remains include painted pottery, terracotta figurines, beads, toys and other ancient things. These objects make Chandigarh's museum one of the best in India. 

Another place to see is Nek Chand’s Rock Garden. Nek Chand Saini, a self taught artist built a rock garden in Chandigarh made of collected materials from demolition sites around the city. His work was illegal, built in a protected gorge and was kept secret for eighteen years before discovery by authorities. The garden was in serious danger of being demolished, but he was able to get public opinion on his side, and in 1976 the park was inaugurated as a public space. 

It's unbelievable, all these fantastic statues and designs that were created using cast off items from broken plates and dishes to old plastic electronic parts and wires. Concrete, shells, what have you. We just wandered through this wonderland for hours being totally surprized around every bend.  We got there early so it wasn't that too crowded but when we left around 13:00, the crowds were arriving. It's worth a trip from Delhi to see Nek Chandi's and his guest artist's work.  

The garden is visited by over five thousand people daily, with a total of more than twelve million visitors since its inception. Nek Chand’s Rock Garden is truly a sight to behold.

After spending time seeing Chandigarh it’s time to start getting ready for the Sikh wedding . . .

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