CHANDIGARH: It was on October 7 in 1953 that Chandigarh was officially inaugurated by the then President of India Rajendra Prasad. But the date does not figure on UT administration's calendar and no official event has been planned to mark the historic occasion.
Some historians associate Chandigarha's birth to Jawahar Lal Nehrua's visit to a Sector-9 site, where he climbed onto a raised platform to view the city landscape during one of his several visits. However, the formal inauguration function was held in Sector 1.
Kiran Joshi, who retired as professor from Chandigarh College of Architecture and has studied the issue in detail while documenting the city's heritage, says. A big function was organized in National Park, which was then named after the President. A large number of dignitaries had come from Delhi to participate.
The event marked the shifting of some of Punjab government's departments from Shimla to newly-constructed structures near PGI, and in a way leading to the citya's birth. Most of these offices have now been demolished.
It was a picture put up in the Chandigarh Architecture Museum with a caption saying that Nehru was laying the foundation stone of Chandigarh that led to confusion about the date of citya's birth. It later turned out that the picture was actually that of foundation stone of the secretariat by Nehru, says Joshi.
Meanwhile, though there is no landmark at Rajendra Park to remind the city of its birth, the commemorative tower constructed in Sector 9 too has not been developed into a tourist spot. a??The tower marks the place where a tall wooden structure was temporarily erected for Nehru to see the city site. This spot is thus prenatal to the birth of Chandigarh, which was soon to put India on the world map of modern architecture and town planning,a?? says the dossier on Chandigarh Architecture prepared recently by the heritage committee.