Culture and heritage of Chandigarh

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Starting on an ode to the beautiful city of Chandigarh as Rudyard Kipling praised England, so in the same tone, I praise Chandigarh-

‘Our Chandigarh  is a garden that is full of stately views,
Of borders, beds and shrubberies and lawns and avenues,
With statues on the terraces and peacocks strutting by;
But the Glory of the Garden lies in more than meets the eye.’

Quoting John Keats one can say ‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever’ and the city of Chandigarh can boast of this. A multicultural city with a blend of several cultures.  The place has managed to attract people from different parts of the country to come and settle in this city.  It offers numerous opportunities in both the government and private sectors. Defense and air-force establishments too are an added bonus and have added to the cultural blend. The cosmopolitan culture is a testimony of the multi-ethnic population of the place. Chandigarh means ‘The City Beautiful’  this well planned, clean city designed by the Swiss-French architect Le-Corbusier has found a place in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The city plan is analogous to the human body. Head(Capitol complex),Heart(city centre, sector 17), Lungs(the leisure valley boasting of green &open spaces), the Intellect(cultural & educational institutions), Circulatory system(the network of roads)& Viscera( the industrial area). This is a city as well as a Union Territory and serves as the capital of both Punjab & Haryana. The city is located near the foothills of the Sivalik range of the Himalayan mountain range.

The major population consists of  Hindus & Sikhs. Sikhism  & Hinduism are the major religions followed but other religions like Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, etc are also prevalent.

It is a place known for its festivals and fairs. It is a vibrant place where people of all cultures love fun and frolic. They enjoy  music and dance. Festivals like Lohri, Baisakhi, Basant Panchami & the Rose festival are celebrated with a lot of fervor. The Chandigarh Carnival celebrated in the second week of November is a great source of attraction as students of the city showcase their talents and people enjoy this three- day extravaganza.

People here are foodies and savor the delicious Punjabi cuisine consisting of Makki di roti, Sarson ka saag, tandoori roti, naan, stuffed parathas, dal makhani, butter chicken & Lassi. Huge dollops of butter are added to the cuisine for a rich taste.

The arts & craft tradition of the place is well preserved. The jewelry designs have the sun, moon & images of deities engraved on them. The famous phulkari work, needlework, woodwork and durrie weaving showcase the typical culture of the place.

The place is known for its folk songs and dances like Bhangra, Giddha, Jhumar, Luddi, Julli, Sammi, Gatka, etc. These dance forms hold a special place in our movie industry. Bollywood has used several of these vigorous dance forms in their movies.

The dresses worn by the people here is an eclectic mix of both western and traditional clothes. Being cosmopolitan in their approach they enjoy wearing western outfits like jeans, pants, t-shirts and traditional outfits like salwar-kameez, Kurtis, sarees worn by women and sherwani, kurta-pyjama & dhotis by men.

The languages spoken are Punjabi, English, Hindi & Haryanvi. English is the official language of Chandigarh.

This modern and well- planned city  has numerous tourist spots-

  • The Rock Garden– built by Nek Chand using waste material
  • Sukhna lake- it is located at the foothills of the Shivalik mountain range
  • Rose Garden- consisting of 50,000 rose varieties
  • Government Museum & Art Gallery
  • International Dolls Museum
  • Pinjore garden- spread over 100 acres of land
  • Capitol complex- houses the Legislative Assembly, the Secretariat & High Court
  • Zoo
  • Botanical Gardens

The place is well connected by road, air, and rail. One shouldn’t miss a chance to visit this clean &green city. Pack your bags and just head for this place.

-Dr. PREETI TALWAR

 

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