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Chandigarh is a city and a union territory in the northern part of India that serves as the capital of the states of Punjab and Haryana. As a union territory, the city is ruled directly by the Union Government and is not part of either state. Chandigarh and adjoining cities of Mohali (Punjab) and Panchkula (Haryana) are together called Chandigarh Tricity.The city of Chandigarh was one of the early planned cities in the post-independence India and is known internationally for its architecture and urban design.The master plan of the city was prepared by Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, transformed from earlier plans created by the Polish architect Maciej Nowicki and the American planner Albert Mayer. Most of the government buildings and housing in the city, however, were designed by the Chandigarh Capital Project Team headed by Pierre Jeanneret, Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry.

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A committee was set up to choose a suitable site, keeping in mind various factors like military vulnerability, drinking water, climatic conditions etc. Finally, a site was selected, but that was in the shape of farms. The city got its name from Chandi, the Goddess of power and Garh meaning fortress. After the site was finalized, a master plan for the city was prepared by an American team (Mayor, Whittleslay, Glass & Nowicki). The project faced a setback with the sudden demise of Nowicki. It was then that the other teammates refused to work on the project.The committee was again handed over the task of finding a team for completion of the project. In the year 1951, the well-known French architect, named Le Corbusier, took the charge of giving the city a modern look. He further appointed a team, who worked under his supervision and guidance. The team decided to work in two phases. While designing the city, factors like pollution, traffic, travel and tourism and other environmental aspects were borne in mind. This is how Chandigarh turned into a well-planned capital city of Punjab, India.

MONGOOSE

Indian gray mongoose

The Indian grey mongoose or common grey mongoose (Herpestes edwardsii) is a species of mongoose mainly found in southern Asia, in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and some other parts of Asia. In North Indian languages (Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, etc.) it is called Nevalaa. The grey mongoose is commonly found in open forests, scrublands and cultivated fields, often close to human habitation. It lives in burrows, hedgerows and thickets, among groves of trees,taking shelter under rocks or bushes and even in drains. It is very bold and inquisitive but wary, seldom venturing far from cover. It climbs very well. Usually found singly or in pairs. It preys on rodents, snakes, birds’ eggs and hatchlings, lizards and variety of invertebrates. Along the Chambal River it occasionally feeds on gharial eggs. It breeds throughout the year.

Indian grey hornbill

The Indian grey hornbill (Ocyceros birostris) is a common hornbill found on the Indian subcontinent. It is mostly arboreal and is commonly sighted in pairs. It has grey feathers all over the body with a light grey or dull white belly. The horn is black or dark grey with a casque extending to the point of curvature of the horn. It is one of the few hornbill species found in urban areas in many cities where they are able to make use of large trees in avenues.

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Butea monosperma

Butea monosperma is a species of Butea native to tropical and sub-tropical parts of the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia, ranging across India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and western Indonesia.Common names include flame-of-the-forest and bastard teak.It is a medium-sized dry season-deciduous tree, growing to 15 m tall. It is a slow growing tree, young trees have a growth rate of a few feet per year. The leaves are pinnate, with an 8–16 cm petiole and three leaflets, each leaflet 10–20 cm long. The flowers are 2.5 cm long, bright orange-red, and produced in racemes up to 15 cm long. The fruit is a pod 15–20 cm long and 4–5 cm broad.

Mangifera indica

Mangifera indica, commonly known as mango, is a species of flowering plant in the sumac and poison ivy family Anacardiaceae. It is found in the wild in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan where it is indigenous and cultivated varieties have been introduced to other warm regions of the world. It is a large fruit-tree, capable of a growing to a height and crown width of about 100 feet and trunk circumference of more than twelve feet.The species appears to have been domesticated in India at around 2000 BC.The species was brought to East Asia around 400-500 BCE from India; next, in the 15th century to the Philippines; and then, in the 16th century to Africa and Brazil by the Portuguese.The species was described for science by Linnaeus in 1753.

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Chandigarh has the largest number of vehicles per capita in India.Wide, well maintained roads and parking spaces all over the city ease local transport.The Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) operates public transport buses from its Inter State Bus Terminals (ISBT) in Sectors 17 and 43 of the city.CTU also operates frequent bus services to the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and to Delhi. Chandigarh is well connected by road by NH 22 (Ambala – Kalka – Shimla – Khab, Kinnaur) and NH 21 (Chandigarh – Manali).Chandigarh railway station lies in the Northern Railway zone of the Indian Railway network and provide connectivity to all the regions of India and some major Indian cities. It provides connectivity to eastern states with link to cities like Kolkata, Dibrugarh; southern states with trains to Visakhapatnam,Thiruvananthapuram,Bangaloreand Kollam; western states with trains to Jaipur,Ahmedabadand Mumbai;central states with trains to Bhopal and Indore;other northern states with trains  to Lucknow,Amritsar,Ambala,Panipat,Kalka and Shimla.

The Chandigarh Metro Rail is a proposed metro rail to serve the city locally and connect it to other two cities of the Chandigarh Tricity. It is expected to start working by 2018 along with the extension of Kolkata Metro and proposed Indore Metro.Chandigarh Airport is a Customs airport with international flights for unloading and loading imported and exported goods.However, it doesn’t have commercial international flights owing to the presence of an Air Force Base on the same runway which earlier denied to extend watch hours beyond 8pm.Chandigarh has scheduled commercial flights to major cities of India including Delhi, Mumbai, Indore, Jaipur, Bangalore and Srinagar. Flights are available to Kullu-Manali also with Himalayan Bulls.A new international terminal has been constructed on the same runway in Chandigarh and portions of Ajitgarh. International flights were initially scheduled to ply from March 2015 and then from October 2015.Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new terminal on September 11, 2015.However, due to the incapability of the current runway to support wide-bodied aircraft, and the process of getting clearances from the authorities has delayed the international flights from the city. The international terminal with upgraded runway is expected to be functional only in 2017.

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Cuisine

Milk and milk products are commonly consumed by the people of Chandigarh. In fact, curd, buttermilk, and lassi are important beverages that accompany a meal. The people here use ginger-garlic paste as a common spice and add lots of onion and tomatoes to the meals as well. They also use the spices included in ‘garam masalas’, like cardamom, cinnamon, mace and bay leaf, regularly in their food preparation. Besides they usually garnish their food with finely cut coriander leaves and juliennes of ginger. Let us now explore the most popular dishes that form a part of Chandigarh cuisine.

Religion

Chandigarh is a place where a number of religions co-exist, with perfect harmony. Sikhism and Hinduism are the major religions followed in the city. Sikhism, founded by Guru Nanak, preaches the faith of “Waheguru”, meaning the Universal God. The most common Hindu castes prevalent in the city are Khatri (Kshatriya in Hindi), Brahman, Baniya and Rajput. Other religions, like Islam, Christianity, Jainism and Buddhism, also flourish in the city.

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Dance

Chandigarh has a rich tradition of folk dances, borrowed from the parent states of Punjab and Haryana. The people of the city are very lively and celebrate all the occasions to the fullest, with the folk dances accompanying each of them almost always. Bhangra, Giddha, Jhumar, Luddi, Julli, Dhamal, Sammi, Jaago, Teeyan, Dankara, Kikili and Gatka are some of the popular folk dances of the city.