Some cities have history and some are created! When we think of Chandigarh, the first thing that comes to our mind is the beauty of the city. No wonder it’s called City Beautiful. Both Le Corbusier and Dr. M.S. Randhawa’s imagination for creating the picturesque landscape of Chandigarh reminds me of the following lines:
“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.”
By William Blake.
Do you ever wonder how the city got its trees! Dr. M.S. Randhawa, the first Administrator of the city was a plant lover and played a key role in beautifying the city. Mr. Randhawa was a noted botanist and an able administrator. He encouraged the collection of decorative plants and trees from all over the world. The result was that the city got enriched with an extensive collection of all kinds of beautiful foliage from different parts of India as well as other parts of the world.
Le Corbusier and Dr Randhawa constituted a landscape committee of experts in Chandigarh. The committee put together a comprehensive list of plants and trees with details on their shapes, colours and textures. The list comprised of beautiful, ornamental, flowering and foliage trees. These trees were the foundation of tree plantation in Chandigarh. Dr. Randhawa further saw that suitable regulations be enacted to retain the trees.
Each sector is distinct from the other with respect to the avenues of trees. Keeping in mind the the beautiful surroundings of the Shivalikhills in its backdrop, seasonal rivulets of Sukhna choe and Patiala ki Rao. While planning the city special consideration was given to the various species of trees, their shapes, foliage, colours of flowers etc.
Some of the familiar roads and trees are Imli Avenues between St. John’s High School and sector 7, Pilkhan Avenue between sector 7 and 8, Kusum Trees between sector 17 and 18, Devil’s Tree Avenue between sector 37 and 38., Arjun trees in Dakshin Marg, Mahogny along Udyog path.
Amaltas trees add beauty to Sector 16 V4 road, beautiful Casia trees on city market roads, Kachnar in sector 23, Silver Oaks along the roads of Government Museum and Art gallery, Smunder Phall in sector 17 plaza to provide shade – each of these planted with a reason. Native trees of Chandigarh near Estate Office, Mango trees in the Rajendra park, Sector 1, Tecoma trees in Leisure valley, Indian Coral in the Rose Garden, Mango belt in Purv marg, Amaltas sector 8, Nili gulmohar at UT guest house making Chandigarh charming and verdant.
Some other trees that add colour and glamour to the city during the summer months are the fiery red Gulmohar Tree, Mexican Silk Cotton tree, Kusum tree in sector 34-35, the leaves of which become yellow in autumn, Sambal trees in Sector 4 and 9, Java Ki Rani or Pink Cacasia tree with pink flowers along Jan marg, Uttar marg sectors 2, 3, 4 and 5 and Kasod trees on Madhya Marg which have branches meeting both sides of the road and thus forming a tunnel. Some other trees found in various other places in Chandigarh are Kachnar and Champa trees.
Those who live in Chandigarh would have noticed different colours along the roads in different seasons. This was due to meticulous planning of Le Corbusier, Mr. M.S. Randhawa and their team. The plantation of trees in Chandigarh was based on the systematic avenues of trees in New Delhi but what was amiss there was the fruit trees. Thus, the idea of Mango trees in Rajendra Park, Industrial area and various fruit trees planted in government accommodations.
Chandigarh also has some of the most beautiful gardens to boast of, each being unique from the other due to the trees planted there. For example the Leisure Valley with Australian Kikar and Tecoma trees, Rose Garden with Bael, Tecoma and Camphor, Indian Coral and Weeping Willow trees and the famous Sukhna lake with its Kachnar, Raat Ki Rani, Din Ka Raja and the famous landmark on the lake – the 100 years old Peepal tree near the entrance. This has been declared as a Heritage tree.
Beauty of this city is its beautiful foliage adding up to its landscape along with a panaromic view of the Shivalik hills. The City Beautiful’s trees have enhanced its landscape to the ‘City Beautiful’ that Le Corbusier envisioned – “one that takes care of the body and spirit.”
Written by Samita Kaur