27 November, 2020

A City Rooted In Beginnings

A City Rooted In Beginnings

Is it possible to set apart just one year for the birth of a city? In Chandigarh’s case, perhaps it is. It was on October 7, 1953, that President Rajendra Prasad came to inaugurate the city. There was very little of it on the ground then as most of its famous landmark buildings were either in the planning or construction stages. But, Chandigarh grew fast. Just 17 years later, in 1970, it was ready for the second phase, in which it was decided to adopt a vertical growth pattern as the shortage of land began to be felt even then.

M.N. Sharma is the last of the surviving architects who worked on Le Corbusier’s team, which he joined as a 27-year-old in the early 50s. “I was the chief architect of Chandigarh in 1970, and we had just witnessed what I would say was the ‘golden age’ of this young city when the legendary M.S. Randhawa was its chief commissioner,” he says. This was when the city’s many gardens—the Rose Garden, the beautiful Leisure Valley that cuts a verdant swathe through the city—and the spectacular...



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