Vintage Photos of Chandigarh Under Construction, And They’re Pure Gold

Chandigarh is not just a city. It’s been a journey. A journey of building a capital from the scratch. Unlike any other Indian city, Chandigarh has not evolved as a city naturally, over centuries. It’s been a well-planned voyage. The aesthetically designed buildings, well-planned architecture, beautiful gardens and wide roads, all that we boast of Chandigarh today, is a product of this voyage.

And guess what? We have got our hands on some truly rare photographs, to take you through that journey of putting together this amazing paradise called Chandigarh. Hold your breath, folks.

1. When the ball went rolling!

As we all no, Chandigarh was the first new city to be set-up post independence and was the dream project of first Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru.

The newspaper clipping indicates the initial phase of the execution of the project of the new capital at Chandigarh.

50 lakh is all it took to build Chandigarh, at that time. Fascinating, in fact!

2. Sector 17, taking shape. Really, this is 17?

This photograph magnificently depicts how Chandigarh evolved, from any other patch of land to the first planned city of India. Sector 17, which we love so dearly today, looked like this back then.

Sure, we can identify the unvarying facade of those buildings, but what’s that semi-circular structure?

Any guesses, guys?

3. The High Court, under construction

See that outstanding architecture, only Le Corbusier could give that to Chandigarh!

This is the photograph of the High Court of Punjab, which went on to become the High Court of Punjab and Haryana. In the backdrop are the magnificent Shivaliks.

This is the photograph of the High Court of Punjab, which went on to become the High Court of Punjab and Haryana. Known as the Palace of Justice, the building is also a World Heritage Site. 

4. The Secretariat, under construction


When tradition meets modernity, this is what you get!

This photograph depicts one of the most imposing and striking structure of the city. The Secretariat Building, housed inside the capital complex along with the legislative assembly and High Court Buildings, is a distinguished structure.

Notice what were the kind of construction techniques used at the time!

5. Work at full swing, Capitol Complex

This is how they did it! Chandigarh is truly being constructed!

The place in the picture is again the under construction building of the Legislative Assembly,  housed inside the Capitol Complex.

The workers seem to be working pretty hard to erect the architectural marvels we get to admire today!

6. Another one of the Secretariat Building

This is another panoramic capture of the magnificent secretariat building. Historic photo of the Secretariat under construction with the agro-pastoral landscape and the mountains beyond.

How could someone build something like this in the India of 1953! Only Corbusier could!

7. So this was what Le Corbusier wrote to Nehru. (click to enlarge, and read!)


8. Raising a University

Raising a university is no easy task.

When the new city of Chandigarh was decided to be the seat of Panjab University, the task of designing a futuristic, modern campus was endowed upon the swiss architect and Corbusier’s close aid, Pierre Jeanneret. In the picture can be seen the then Prime Minister and visionary of Chandigarh Pt Jawaharlal Nehru with Pierre Jeanneret, Senior Architect inspecting the models of buildings of the university.

9. The last one is for you. Guess this place. Come’on, it’s damn easy guys!

Have you found out?

It’s Sector 17 Complex, folks. Can’t you spot the Neelam Cinema right there..!

Much has changed since then, but all for the good!

Now the next time I visit any of these places in Chandigarh, it would no more be the same. These pictures will flash through my mind, and the story of the city being built refreshed. Magnificent, is all I can say!


  1. I was born and grew up in Chandigarh much later than when these photos were clicked , but had tears in my eyes when nostalgia hit me after watching these photos. I spent 26 years of my life in this beautiful city and had to leave it to pursue my career. Every single year I wait desperately to visit my birthplace where my parents still live and when I reach there I don’t feel like going back. I have a wish to die and be cremated in this city that is closest to my heart.

  2. Hi Varun and all
    Same here. I left Chandigarh in 1972 when I was 21. Even living far away, I am not miss any chance to come to India and visit Chandigarh the most beautiful city in India; Once a year or twice or 5 times a month but Chandigarh is more and more beautiful as the year passed.
    These two sectors; are sectors 22 and 19 Negla. The sector 18 Govt printing press and Kiran Cinema were in front of our eyes.
    I wish too to die and be cremated in the city that is close to my heart even though I was born at Shimla HP
    Salut to Chandigarh

Comments are closed.