Le Corbusier, the planner of the City conceived the master
plan of Chandigarh as analogous to a human body with a clearly defined
Head (Capital Complex), Heart (City Centre), Lungs (Leisure Valley and
Gardens), the Intellect (Cultural and Educational Institutions),
Circulatory system (7 Vs) and the Viscera (Industrial Area). The
conception of the city has been formulated on the basis of four major
functions: Living, Working, care of the Body and spirit and Circulation.
The leisure valley, gardens, sector greens, forests and trees of Chandigarh are the lungs of the City.
It is in fact a continuum of various theme gardens to take "care of the body and spirit" of the City. Le Corbusier retained the eroded valley of a seasonal rivulet on the original site of the City and sculptured it into a linear park now over 8-km long. It starts from Sector 1 in the north and leaves Chandigarh at its southern most edge in Sector 53.
Rajendra Park (Sector 1)
The Leisure Valley starts from the Rajendra Park. The park is a vast stretch of land of about 400 acres abutting the Secretariat building on its eastern side. Le Corbusier himself designed the landscape scheme of this park. Trees with round canopies and evergreen foliage have been planted here. It was started in 1954 and is used for long walks, learning to drive and horse riding.
Fitness Trails (Sector 10)
The physical fitness trails has been developed with a view to enjoying exercises amidst the beauty of nature. It is an ideal place for long walks and physical workouts.
To the south of Fitness Trails, is located the Flower Garden where seasonal flowers have been planted in one portion and the remaining portion is punctuated with sculptures by renowned artists. Some area has been left vacant for organizing various cultural activities.
Shanti Kunj (Sector 16)
Shanti Kunj is situated between Rose Garden and Cricket Stadium in Sector 16. This is a completely noise-free area with natural undulations. The natural stream running through this garden divides the park into five areas. The five parts of the garden depict different kinds of trees such as medicinal plants, vertical shaped trees, flowering trees, trees for shade and environmentally suitable trees.
Bougainvillea Garden (Sector 3)
It spreads over an area of 20 acres. The natural choe running through the valley starts from here. The garden is devoted to hundreds of varieties of bougainvillea. A few flowering trees have also been planted to give colourful effect during the intervening period of bougainvillea flowering time. It was opened in 1976.
Children Traffic Park (Sector 23)
The area of Leisure Valley in Sector 23 has been developed into a Children's Traffic Park. The roads have been constructed and traffic lights have been installed in miniature form. This park is meant for children who are learning to cycle and designed to teach them the rules of road safety.
Hibiscus Garden (Sector 36)
It covers an area of 8 acres about 40 different varieties of Hibiscus shrubs have been planted to provide colour throughout the year.
Garden Of Fragrance (Sector 36)
Situated to the south of the Hibiscus Garden, it is very popular for different varieties of aromatic and fragrant plants. The flower plants like Raat Ki Rani, Motia, varieties of Jasmine, Damask Rose, Mehndi, Champa, Haar Shingar and many others cast a pervading aroma in this part of the Leisure Valley.
Smriti Upavan (Sector 1)
This space has been set aside to allow people to plant trees in the memory of the departed. This is a garden where every tree commemorates someone who is no more. It was formally inaugurated on 14/11/1998 by planting a Banyan tree in the memory of the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru. Situated between Rock Garden and Sukhna Lake, people can plant trees over here in the memory of their near and dear ones.
Botanical Garden (Sector 14)
There are two Botanical Gardens in the City - one between Rock Garden and Lake and the other in Punjab University. The one situated in the University is more developed. One corner of this garden is devoted to Cacti and Succulent plants. In another corner of the garden are grown evergreen and exotic plants.
Terraced Garden (Sector 33)
A small valley running through the length of the sector has been developed into a Terraced Garden. Its main attraction is an illuminated musical fountain. The garden is the venue for the annual Chrysanthemum show. It is spread over 10 acres and opened in 1979.
Topiary Park (Sector 35)
It was opened to the public in 1987. Many animal shapes created out of creepers and bushes attract children to this park. A large variety of ornamental plants add to the park's charm.
The city has a large number of roundabouts. Originally there were no traffic lights on the road crossings and the movement of traffic was regulated by these roundabouts. In recent years some roundabouts have been removed and replaced with traffic lights. Even then the city has many roundabouts left. They are being maintained by private agencies who also use them for their publicity. They are very well developed and are a source of attraction for the residents.
The sector green is an open space that runs from northeast to southwest end throughout the entire length of each sector. In some of the sectors these greens have been developed into theme gardens such as the Bulbous Garden in Sector 9, Terraced Garden in Sector 33 and the Topiary Park in Sector 35.
Within the various sectors of Chandigarh, small parks have been located between clusters of houses to be used by the residents for social and recreational purposes. The children of the area also play in these parks. At least one or two parks in each sub sector have been specially provided with children's play equipment.
The Mango Belt
The mango belt is located along the Purva Marg of the city, separating the Industrial Area from the Residential area. It runs northeast to southwest, starting from the transport area traffic lights to Sector 47, covering about 4-km. On both sides of the road 12 rows of mango trees of different varieties such as Dusheri, Langra and Chausa have been planted. This belt constitutes a complete tree buffer to protect the residential area from the pollutants emanating from the factories and also from the heavy traffic moving along Purv Marg, about 5,000 mango trees have been planted here.
Trees Of Chandigarh
The city Planners from the very beginning were conscious of the fact that the city needed to be provided with a green cover on its periphery. A Landscape Advisory Committee was constituted in 1953 under the Chairmanship of Dr. M.S. Randhawa, the then Development Commissioner Punjab for guiding tree plantation in Chandigarh. Le Corbusier was the member of this Committee. Various species of trees, their shapes and foliage, and the colour of flowers were studied in detail. Trees were planted in single, double and multiple rows symmetrical and asymmetrical depending on the location, type and orientation of the road in relation to the sun.
An effort was made to retain old indigenous trees and weave them into the newly created parks. The mango grove near the High Court, the Peepul tree on the lake promenade, the line of trees now seen in Sector 22 are some instances of this heritage.
All roads running north south are planted with canopy forming trees, to minimize the low rays of the sun. Thus, walking and driving has become much easier. Roads running east-west have these "Vista" forming trees like the Kachnar and the Kusum. The road dividers have flowering Bougainvillea, while the roundabouts are beautifully landscaped with evergreen shrubs and sculptures. The silver oaks on the road leading to the cultural complex, and the Eucalyptus clusters in front of Tagore Theatre are distinctive.
Within the sectors, the shopping streets (V4s) have flowering trees of the same species. During the initial years, there was emphasis on planting overseas trees but later more and more native trees were planted. At present the ratio between overseas and native trees is about 60:40. Chandigarh was perhaps the first city in India where there was legislation for the protection of trees. Tree Preservation Order was issued in 1956 under which no tree can be felled without the permission of the Finance Secretary.
Chandigarh has 3,245 hectares under forest and most of it is hilly. The forest areas are mostly around Sukhna Lake, Sukhna Choe and Patiali ki Rao. There are two reserve forests in Chandigarh Kansal and Nepli. Both the places have forest Rest Houses situated amidst green and flowery lawns. The entry to these places is against permit issued by the Forest Department. A walk in these areas can be very rewarding as one may come across large variety of wild animals Antelopes, Neelgai, Hyena, Jackals, Hares and even Leopards. The forest also offers excellent facilities for trekking in the hills.