Saturday, January 8, 2011

Le Corbusier in Chandigarh

When I was finishing up my Masters many, many years ago, I decided for fun to do a course in architecture. I love architecture and architectural history. And, I like Le Corbusier. Form follows function, what can be better than than?

The history of Le Corbusier and Chandigarh is very interesting and I don't have the time or space to write it here, but you can read about it here: http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5082/

We visited the main buildings--the Secretariat, the Legislative Assembly and the High Court. The buildings are huge and impressive and a big change from more traditional forms of Indian architecture that we've seen. Unfortunately, these buildings, like most, require a certain amount of upkeep that seemed to be lacking in our visit. And, the buildings have vast public spaces surrounding them that have been left to the dogs--quite literally.

The road to Chandigarh is very good. When people say it takes four hours, it really does:

And, halfway between Delhi and Chandigarh is a MacDonalds. I never ever thought I'd be a parent taking may kids there...but...they had this cool train:



Now before visiting any of the buildings, you must go to the department of tourism and get a special permit. It's free, but bring your passport and a little patience. It took us a little under an hour.
The Legislative building:
Inside the Legislative building, well, we weren't allowed to take photos inside. But, we were fortunate to have the Haryana Assembly chamber unlocked for us to visit. It is an amazing space with patterned skylights and modern tapestries decorating the wall.

Outside the Legislative building:
Back side, public space, now home to stray dogs:
View of Secretariat:
The Open Hand monument near the High Court:
High Court:


I've heard that the buildings and city planning are a source of pride for the people of Chandigarh, but I've also heard the opposite. In any case, having studied this many years ago, for me it is a privilege to be in India and to be able to visit Chandigarh.

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