Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Chandigarh

{Three Days in Le Corbusier's City}






Finally, the rest of the pictures from Chandigarh! Quick background: After Lahore became a part of Pakistan in the 1947 Partition, the Indian government hired the French architect Le Corbusier to build a new modern capital of Punjab. Good old Modernist that he was, Corbu designed a massive grid system with numbered sectors divided by wide, tree-lined boulevards and public gardens. His most brilliant idea however was the enormous man-made lake that borders the city, where citizens might "escape the humdrum of city life and enjoy the beauty of nature." And that's just what we did.






As for the intended bicycle tour of Le Corbusier's International Style government buildings? No dice. One has to get a special permit to gain access to the buildings, and when I inquired about the government-issued bicycles a purple-turbaned Sikh army officer readjusted his rifle, stood at attention, and barked, "BICYCLE NAHEE HAI." There is no bicycle. Mkay then. So no bicycles. But I'll be damned if we weren't going to see some Corbu buildings at close range. Somehow we bowed and namaste'd our way past the security guards into the soaring, cement behemoth High Court building where I snapped a few covert shots with the old cough-and-click trick.  As some of you long-time readers know by now, clandestine trespassing is my forte.






We stayed in, no joke, Industrial Sector District 1, which sounds (and looked) like a neighborhood out of The Hunger Games. But our hotel was surprisingly, wonderfully comfortable (hot water! a shower! a real mattress! clean towels!) and the neighboring recycling plant and cart drivers provided a memorably stark contrast to our peaceful gambol around the greener parts of the city.






P. took his GMAT in a subterranean business center festooned with a Medusa-head tangle of wires, but amazingly his internet connection was speedy and the test went off without a hitch. We celebrated that night with the most delicious, over-the-top Punjabi food I've ever had: rich butter chicken, tandoori lamb, spicy goat kebabs, and garlic and ghee encrusted naan. Needless to say, we felt like two little stuffed paranthas on the long bus ride home. Home. I finally feel like Landour is *home.*

14 comments:

  1. Hmm. I'll take the lake and the Naan. The rest is all in plentiful here in Bangy.

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  2. Dutifully added to my wanderlust list. Also, I think my husband might just die of happiness in the town what Le Corbusier built.

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  3. I see a pattern. Beautiful spaces are kept as originally intended and not lost to development or ruin. This true yes? Silly, touristy question- Are there plans to visit the Taj Mahal?

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  4. Vibrant and gritty and beautiful as always.
    Thanks for this.

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  5. You lucky ducks! I'm craving some butter chicken now.

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  6. you're not allowed to cite the hunger games unless you've read it.
    love,
    the book police
    p.s. great pics!

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  7. Priya- we can't WAIT to get to Bangalore.

    Jen- Yes! Taj Mahal is at the top o the list. We've been waiting to go there for when we move to Rajasthan in, gasp, a WEEK!

    And as far as development and ruin goes...there is plenty of that all around India; Chandigarh just happens to be a good example of a (somewhat) well-planned city.

    agirl, Cait & Rache- thanks! Corbu is the bombest, right? And Rachel, go indulge thineself, woman.

    KATE, or should I say Katniss- Um, Pete read it first and then I snatched it up and read it, straight, in two days. We NEED to talk. I know it's sposed to be a young adult novel, but it's AMAZING. OMG.

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  8. wow what a trip. i was engulfed photo after photo. and kudos on your trespassing skills...impressive.

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  9. what a wonderful journey you guys are on, the images fill me hope of traveling there once more. the picture boat on the water is so calming.

    i guess it is indian food for k and i tonight cause everytime you describe what you are eating i want nothing else!

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  10. Thanks Lilly for taking me to one of Le Corbu places...
    My favorite architect(swiss) of all time; him and Alvar Aalto (fin) are my heroes.

    Take care sweetie

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  11. My dear friend wrote of the Indian garbage trucks on their blog...glad to see them where you are too..check it out. I turned her on to your blog as well...she loves it as I am sure you will love hers.
    http://artfromthelostplanet.blogspot.com/2010/11/do-you-like-indian-dumptrucks-test.html

    And here:
    http://artfromthelostplanet.blogspot.com/2010/11/planet-two-year-old.html

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  12. Nice blog! I like your writing way. I'm doing practice GMAT here: gmatonlinetest.com . I hope it's useful for GMAT test takers.

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  13. thank you for sharing your beautiful photos.

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