Pedestrians paradise: The City Beautiful

I have been wanting to explore this recently inaugurated pedestrian underpass since long. Today i decided to go visit it. Read ahead to know more about it.

The recently inaugurated pedestrian underpass connecting Sector-17 and 16 along the Jan Marg has been in news for all the (in)famous reasons. I though its a great time to just go and look at the underpass. And i was in for an aesthetically pleasing experience.

First things first. What is it ? Its an underpass for pedestrians connecting one of the busiest markets (sector17) with the rose garden nearby(sector 16). The road under which it is constructed is Jan Marg which usually doesn’t have much traffic on it. This has raised some concerns in the media about the viability of the project in the first place. More on this later.

Now that you have it clear where is it, i move on to describe the underpass. The first thing i have to say about it is that it enhances the beautification quotient of the city. Extremely clean, well light in case of late night, green cover on both the ends makes it so soothing to visit.

To attract more residents the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Academy has put up an art exhibition till 15th Jan.

How does this make the city better ?

  • A pedestrian underpass is necessary to make it easier for people to choose walking as a mode of moving.
  • Only when the pedestrians feel safe on roads that we can ensure more residents choosing this mode.
  • Signifies clear intent of the administration towards importance of pedestrian spaces.
  • Provides space for city based artists to display their art along the subway.
  • And guess what the open spaces along the subway are used by underground b-boying and street dancers to practice their routine. I tried to capture some of their practices. Do watch below. The potential of underpass as a hub for creative people is highly under rated in my opinion. Cities like New Delhi, New York have some great lessons to offer.

Concerns with the underpass

  • Questions have been raised about necessity of the underpass. I would be honest and write that there weren’t much users when i visited.
  • The Jan marg isn’t that crowded with vehicles as quoted by various newspapers. This raises all the more questions about the necessity.
  • The underpass has slopes on both the ends which would inevitably lead to rain water water-logging during the monsoons.
  • Open public spaces are at the risk of vandalisation in the name of creative expression.
  • Open public spaces also attract drug users and public alcohol consumption which needs to be kept under check.

Underpasses have always excited me. Be it the one in sector 17-22 or the ones i have used in other cities. I always found them more exciting then the foot over bridges found usually in New Delhi.

Have a look at the some videos i made at the underpass. See you around next time.

Street dancing in the city
Inside view with the art by Lalit Kala Academy.
Your boy with the sign mark.
View of the underpass

Can you guess this place ?

 Situated in North West corner of the city with well stacked symmetrical red sandstones. Having a legacy running over to the undivided British India and constant appearances in Punjabi movies. Can you tell me which place is this ? Ready to challenge your brain cells and imagination to guess the place ? Read ahead.

I have come up with an interactive idea of exploring the city. I would write about the description of the place through my eyes. The way i see it. There would be hints here and there. You would have to take a guess below in the comments. Ready ? Here you go.

Beginning with some geographical exploration of the place first.

Located in the North West corner of the city this place has a seasonal stream from the Shivaliks Patiala ki Rao forming the northern boundary. ‘VIDYA’ Path forms the southern boundary. Read the previous blog post to get clarity about major roads of the city.

This place is so huge that its spread over two sectors. Spread over an area of 550 acres this must the cities most populated space. After the Elante Mall obviously. This mall has an average monthly footfall of above 11 lakh.

Lets move to explore other aspects of the place. Architecture is next.

Built and designed by the Europeans the place has a structure built in such a way that its 360 degree reflection is visible in the water underneath. It’s a mesmerising and aesthetically pleasing view indeed. Need another hint ? The structure can accommodate upward of 500 people and rhymes with EMPORIUM 😛
Another great architectural marvel is a circular building with ramps running all across. The first time I saw it, I felt its a space station having landed on earth with aliens welcoming me inside. 
And my favourite spot is a foot over bridge running over a man made water channel which though usually is dry. This is a perfect post card worthy location. 

For me the bridge is symbolic representation of human will and persistence to get over hurdles in life (the water channel here). The demographics of the place is such that in this age self doubt and fear are common. Hence, this structure makes all the more sense.

Having described the architecture of the place we move BACK first. Yes the history of this place.
This place has a legacy of over 130 plus years. Yes you read that right. To put into perspective the city itself is mere 67 years old. Having initially being constructed in the undivided British India, the place had to be relocated in the present day Punjab. 

However, born out of the violent incident of partition, the place has successfully upheld the constitutional values of respecting diversity and indeed is a melting pot with representation of people from across the states religion caste etc. 
The place in-fact has a transgender washroom ensuring that they feel welcomed. 

Exploring more about the social dynamics of the place I view it as a symbol of women empowerment. This place though, situated in a region which is (in)famous for gender selective abortion, falling sex ratio etc, still has a healthy and vibrant female population. 
What impressed me the most is that it has more hostels for girls than for boys. Now you know the answer, right ? This place reflects a change in the perception of our society moving towards a more inclusive equal society. 

With this I conclude the article reflecting upon the history, geographical location, architecture and social dynamics of the place. 

I hope my writing did justice to your imagination and took you to the centre of the place I tried to describe. 

Stay tuned for the follow up article with the answer and pictures of the place. 

Thank you for taking out time to read this. If you have got the answer do comment down below. Take a random guess otherwise.

Chandigarh: The pattern in sector’s numbers

Is there even a pattern ? Or is it just another sensational post on the internet looking for some attention. What if I tell you the unlucky number 13, on which the city has skipped numbering a sector, forms a backbone of the pattern. I think i have your attention now. Go read ahead.

I have had most of my cousins visiting me inquire about a pattern in numbering of sectors in the city. I don’t blame them for this. The fact that the city is symmetrically designed and built they expect some logic underlying the rectangular plan. Popular belief that one cant get lost in this city further propelled their hopes. It is in-fact a difficult task to get lost in this city with well laid out sign boards on roads, sector maps etc.

However to their disappointment, I never had an answer to this. Maybe they are expecting too much from a city’s design, I thought. Failure to find anything on google further solidified my belief.

Up until I just came across the map of the city. Some basic arithmetic and I could actually see a pattern. Before we dive into it, certain prerequisite about the design of the city.

The city was actually planned to be bound by four roads-Uttar Marg, Dakshin Marg, Paschim Marg and Purv Marg running along four boundaries of the city. The city has later expanded further south with now Dakshin Marg almost dividing the city into two equal halves rather than being one boundary.

Yes, I dig hand made maps. The excitement of drawing your route on the back of the envelop rather than using the GPS is unparalleled while travelling.

Moving forward with the outlay of sectors they start from the right end of the city and go increasing as we move towards the left.

Basics being set, now comes the pattern. But before that did i tell you that the city doesn’t have a Sector-13. ’13’ the number being considered as a sign of bad omen and bad luck was skipped.

Now comes the interesting part. The logic is that sum of opposite sectors are multiple of 13. Yes you read it right. The pattern has 13 in it. :p

Say the sector opposite to Sector 7 would be 13-7= Sector 6.

While the one opposite to Sector 15 would be 26-15= Sector 11.

This holds true for all the sectors north of the Dakshin Marg. However, for sectors in 20’s the difference with the 2nd nearest multiple of 13.

Say sector opposite to 22 would be 39-22= the (in)famous Sector Satara (17). Lambiyan karaan te sector satara. Don’t judge me on my song references. #BringBackTheOldYoYo

So now you know if you didnt know. Remember the gospel ‘sum of opposite sectors are multiple of 13’.

Number 13 though not present explicitly in the sector’s list indeed forms the bedrock of the pattern of numbering of sectors. Much like my mom’s authoritative nature. The real decision taker is her rest all are ceremonial participants in discussions. 😛

With this we reach the end of the first blog post. Of all the three people still reading thank you for taking out your time and reading.

Next time you visit the city do notice the pattern and appreciate the beauty of the design.

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