Vintage Photos of Chandigarh Under Construction, And They’re Pure Gold

Chandigarh is not just a city. It’s been a journey. A journey of building a capital from the scratch. Unlike any other Indian city, Chandigarh has not evolved as a city naturally, over centuries. It’s been a well-planned voyage. The aesthetically designed buildings, well-planned architecture, beautiful gardens and wide roads, all that we boast of Chandigarh today, is a product of this voyage.

And guess what? We have got our hands on some truly rare photographs, to take you through that journey of putting together this amazing paradise called Chandigarh. Hold your breath, folks.

1. When the ball went rolling!

As we all no, Chandigarh was the first new city to be set-up post independence and was the dream project of first Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru.

The newspaper clipping indicates the initial phase of the execution of the project of the new capital at Chandigarh.

50 lakh is all it took to build Chandigarh, at that time. Fascinating, in fact!

2. Sector 17, taking shape. Really, this is 17?

This photograph magnificently depicts how Chandigarh evolved, from any other patch of land to the first planned city of India. Sector 17, which we love so dearly today, looked like this back then.

Sure, we can identify the unvarying facade of those buildings, but what’s that semi-circular structure?

Any guesses, guys?

3. The High Court, under construction

See that outstanding architecture, only Le Corbusier could give that to Chandigarh!

This is the photograph of the High Court of Punjab, which went on to become the High Court of Punjab and Haryana. In the backdrop are the magnificent Shivaliks.

This is the photograph of the High Court of Punjab, which went on to become the High Court of Punjab and Haryana. Known as the Palace of Justice, the building is also a World Heritage Site. 

4. The Secretariat, under construction

When tradition meets modernity, this is what you get!

This photograph depicts one of the most imposing and striking structure of the city. The Secretariat Building, housed inside the capital complex along with the legislative assembly and High Court Buildings, is a distinguished structure.

Notice what were the kind of construction techniques used at the time!

5. Work at full swing, Capitol Complex

This is how they did it! Chandigarh is truly being constructed!

The place in the picture is again the under construction building of the Legislative Assembly,  housed inside the Capitol Complex.

The workers seem to be working pretty hard to erect the architectural marvels we get to admire today!

6. Another one of the Secretariat Building

This is another panoramic capture of the magnificent secretariat building. Historic photo of the Secretariat under construction with the agro-pastoral landscape and the mountains beyond.

How could someone build something like this in the India of 1953! Only Corbusier could!

7. So this was what Le Corbusier wrote to Nehru. (click to enlarge, and read!)

8. Raising a University

Raising a university is no easy task.

When the new city of Chandigarh was decided to be the seat of Panjab University, the task of designing a futuristic, modern campus was endowed upon the swiss architect and Corbusier’s close aid, Pierre Jeanneret. In the picture can be seen the then Prime Minister and visionary of Chandigarh Pt Jawaharlal Nehru with Pierre Jeanneret, Senior Architect inspecting the models of buildings of the university.

9. The last one is for you. Guess this place. Come’on, it’s damn easy guys!

Have you found out?

It’s Sector 17 Complex, folks. Can’t you spot the Neelam Cinema right there..!

Much has changed since then, but all for the good!

Now the next time I visit any of these places in Chandigarh, it would no more be the same. These pictures will flash through my mind, and the story of the city being built refreshed. Magnificent, is all I can say!

vaibhav: An eternal optimist, thinker, and observer. Writer and an avid reader. This is Vaibhav for you! He’s a born rebel and wants to break all the rules of society. A quiet guy who loves his solidarity and has to have the ‘me’ time, to feed the soul! When not anywhere else, you can catch him at the nearest library, feeding on a nice little book!
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