Chandigarh, picturesquely located at the foothills of Siwaliks and the dream city of India’s first Prime Minister, Sh. Jawaharlal Nehru, was planned by the famous French architect Le Corbusier. It is known as one of the best experiments in urban planning and modern architecture in the twentieth century in India.
Chandigarh derives its name from the temple of ‘Chandi Mandir’ located in the vicinity of the site selected for the city. The deity ‘Chandi’, the goddess of power and a fort of ‘garh’ lying beyond the temple gave the city its name ‘Chandigarh’.
The city has a pre-historic past. The gently sloping plains on which modern Chandigarh exists, was in the ancient past, a wide lake ringed by a marsh. The fossil remains found at the site indicate a large variety of aquatic and amphibian life, which was supported by that environment. About 8000 years ago the area was also known to be a home to the Harappa’s.
Since the medieval through modern era, the area was part of the large and prosperous Punjab Province which was divided into East & West Punjab during partition of the country in 1947. The city was conceived not only to serve as the capital of East Punjab, but also to resettle thousands of refugees who were uprooted from West Punjab.
In March, 1948, the Government of Punjab, in consultation with the Government of India, approved the area of the foothills of the Siwaliks as the site for the new capital. The foundation stone of the city was laid in 1952. Chandigarh remained the Capital of Punjab from 1952 to 1966. Citizens of the city were represented in the State’s Legislative Assembly and the chief Commissioner headed the local administration.
Subsequently, on the recommendation of the Shah Commission, Punjab Reorganization Act was enacted and accordingly Punjab was trifurcated on 1 November 11966, leading to the formation of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh as separate states. The City, Chandigarh assumed the unique distinction of being the capital city of both, Punjab and Haryana while it itself was declared as a Union Territory and under the direct control of the Central Government. Under the provisions of the Punjab Reorganization Act, the laws in force in the erstwhile State of Punjab prior to 1 November 1966 continue to be applicable to the Union territory of Chandigarh. The Chief Commissioner headed the administration of the Chandigarh till 1 June 1984.
On 1 June 1984, the Governor of Punjab took over the direct administration of the Union Territory of Chandigarh as the administrator from Chief Commissioner and since then he has been functioning as the Administrator of Union Territory of Chandigarh.