Chandigarh, city of Le Corbusier • Punjab & Haryana, India

Explore the fusion of innovation and culture with Le Corbusier's architecture, Nek Chand's Rock Garden, and the Capitol Complex of Chandigarh, India. In under 10 minutes, journey through the landmarks of a city carved from historical upheavals. Our video, supplemented with a detailed backstory, invites you to discover the fascinating transition from conflict to creativity. Traverse through time and space, comprehend the resilience of human spirit and the marvels it can create. No passport required, only your curiosity. Tune in!

This film was made on the basis of photos and videos taken during the trip India • Hola Mohalla 2018 • Punjab • Himachal Pradesh (EN)

vimeo chapterA click on this icon above displays the list of chapters of this film about Punjab • state of northwest India in India. A click on a dot goes directly to a chapter.

Reading the text below will help you better understand the cultural context of the images in this video.

00:15 • Chandigarh, the city of Le Corbusier

01:12 • the Capitol complex

02:40 • Nek Chand's Rock Garden


Indian independence

Indian independence obtained in 1947 was accompanied by many painful episodes of population displacement. To avoid religious tensions in the new confederation, the former British colony was divided into two countries. India in the center, Pakistan in the west and east on the basis of the religious distribution of the population. At the time we spoke of West Pakistan and East Pakistan. East Pakistan became Bangladesh in 1971 after a bloody civil war that claimed more than 3 million lives.

The massive displacement of populations created a very deep trauma both for the Muslims of India, largely deported to Pakistan (Western and Eastern) and for the Hindus who lived in Pakistan and who were deported to India.

Certain administrative entities have been cut in two, at the same time shattering the traditions and culture of the populations thus divided. Especially since coexistence has not always been peaceful between the two new entities.


Among these divided states whose pieces have been spread across the border, there is Punjab. Punjab, the country of the Sikhs long before the arrival of the British colonizer, suffered particularly from this forced split. The capital of Punjab was Lahore, a city which became Pakistani with the division of India.

It was therefore necessary to find a new capital for the Indian state of Punjab. Considering the enormous religious tensions which inflamed the country at the time, it would have been very risky to promote an existing city to the rank of capital of Punjab. This would necessarily have resulted in new religious riots on the part of the community who would have felt aggrieved by the choice of a city whose majority would have been of the other religion.

It was therefore decided to create a new city to become the capital, and while awaiting the end of its construction, the city of Shimla in Himachal Pradesh becomes the provisional capital of Punjab.


The prime minister at the time, Jawaharlal Nehru chose the site that would house the new capital, Chandigarh.

For the construction of this new town, he called on the Franco-Swiss architect Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known by his pseudonym Le Corbusier.

Le Corbusier's urban planning project provided for the construction of 60 sectors of equal dimensions (800 x 1200 meters on a side), each with schools, hospitals and other public services. The development of the city was made taking into account the difficulties of circulation, which even more in India than elsewhere, posed (and still pose) enormous problems.

In addition to the town plans, Le Corbusier's team built all the public buildings, the Palace of the Parliamentary Assembly, the High Court of Justice.

As meanwhile a new partition of Punjab saw the separation of a Hindophone part of Punjab, Haryana in 1966, Chandigarh, located on the border of the two new states was chosen to also become the capital of Haryana.

Rock Garden by Neck Chand

The site of the creation of a new city obviously leaves masses of waste behind. The road inspector who was also a self-taught artist, Nek Chand collected tons of construction waste and created a 12 hectare park, comprising more than 1400 sculptures made from these recovered materials.

Neck Chand Park is very impressive and gives off a very poetic and fantastic atmosphere, which could be attributed to a reaction of the collective Indian soul and its spirituality in the face of a sanitized and square project like that of the city ​​of Chandigarh. The town of Le Corbusier with its rigorously geometric plan and the artist's park, a little whimsical and close to nature, which was Neck Chand, complement each other wonderfully.


open hand, Chandigarh, Punjab • India

What's the weather like in Chandigarh?

about the place, Chandigarh:

Chandigarh is a remarkable city in more ways than one. First it is the capital of two states, Punjab and Haryana.

Its other particularity resides in the fact that it is a city of recent construction, a little artificial and really differing from the classic cities in India. This city was built by Le Corbusier and respecting a geometric plan. This city corresponds to Pandit Jawharlal Nehru's dream of an ideal city and was completed in 1960.

Many buildings are the work of Le Corbusier.

One of the most remarkable places of the city is undoubtedly the park "Rock Garden" created by Nek Chand, inspector of the roads, with the materials of recovery of the construction of the city.


Spoken comments in the film: 

Chandigarh is a new town built by Le Corbusier in the 1950s. The question is whether such a town does not produce an unpleasant contrast in India ... 

In addition to the city plans, Le Corbusier also left the Parliament Square. The Rock garden was built by Nek Chand with materials recovered from the work.



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Disclaimer: Despite its appropriateness, copyright issues prevent the use of indian traditional music in "Chandigarh, city of Le Corbusier • Punjab & Haryana, India", hence the use of royalty-free music. Despite our careful selection, some might regret this decision, which is necessary to avoid potential lawsuits. Although difficult, this decision is the only viable solution.

Nek Chand Rock Garden, Chandigarh • India • Punjab

Nek Chand Rock Garden, Chandigarh • India • Punjab

Parliament Square, Le Corbusier, Chandigarh • India • Punjab

Parliament Square, Le Corbusier

Parliament door, le Corbusier, Chandigarh • India • Punjab

Parliament door, le Corbusier

Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana, India

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