Chandigarh Travel Blog› entry 7 of 28 › view all entries
November 9th, 2008 – by: sgoudryagranada
I could say that now the trip has started. I feel not like on a holiday, now I feel Iâ€™m travelling. And with this spirit we decided to move to MacLeod Ganj, to the town of the Tibetan Government in exile. But before this we have to see Chandigarh, which is the idea of a new India made through this city.
We jumped on a bus in Haridwar that took 6 hours to reach the city. In India there are no timetables for buses. Someone knows that there are some buses, and you have to wait for one with a guy shouting the destinations from the doors that are always open (also during the trip). The bus was ISD (Indian Standard Dirty); noisy but safe, and that is very very important to consider while travelling in India.
Finally we reached Chandigarh. To give a new capital to Punjab (the state of the sikh, the people that wears turbans and have independency aims from India), Nehru and the government asked to the great philosopher-architect Le Corbusier to create a perfect city. The result is double and opposite, as I saw it:
1. A perfect idea can be completely destroyed if the people donâ€™t have the knowledge of how to do and the culture to maintain.
2. When people are used to the chaos, a perfect idea can bring to something good, but nothing more.
So in Chandigarh everything appears like in India: in black and white, covered with dust or born old and consumed, you can choose it.
Unless these considerations, we had a funny day through bureaucracy. To visit the Le Corbusierâ€™s Capitol complex, we needed first a request from the tourist office, then a permission to enter from the gate, then a permission to go upstairs from the security chief, a permission to go on the roof from the â€śchief of the sectorâ€ť, but in the end we were missing a permission to exit. I spent an hour wandering up and down inside the lift and through the corridors filled with a huge amount of paper and not-so-hardworking people with the passport in my hand and a guard besides me.
The last moment in the afternoon was for a nice walk in Nek Chandâ€™s Rock Fantasy Garden; an Antoni-Gaudi-inspired place that a fantastic man created from his fantasy. Unbelievable.
Chandigarh was a really interesting place to see not only because it was a modernist project of Le Corbusier but also because it is probably the richest city in India. Chandigarh is the capital of two states, Punjab and Haryana. The main religion in Punjab is sikh while the main religion in Haryana is Hinduism. This fact is quite important because sikh people are really hardworking which you can see from the wealth of Chandigarh.
First thing you notice when arriving in Chandigarh is the cleanliness, direct roads and Western shops.
We spent only one night in Chandigarh because in the end the things to see there are not that many. The most interesting thing to see there was the Rock Fantasy Garden, which Nico mentioned already. The story behind this place was that this one guy Nek Chand had been collecting garbage from the area of Chandigarh for fifteen years until the local police figured it out. During these years Nek had built figures and all things you can imagine from that stuff and created this kind of magic world.
Chadigarh was to be seen but the people there left a little bit of bitter taste. Not that they were not nice, they really were, but while we ended up discussing with them it seemed that in this city as they have money they can see in what kind of misery they do have around them in India. Everybody was talking about Europe as paradise. For me it seemed that people were a lot happier in Rishikesh being poor and having only religion with them.
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