The Indian Utopian City: Gandhinagar

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Urban infrastructure in India is almost as extinct as Dodo. When you traverse the vast expanse of our hinterland you will notice the absolute absence of planning and chaos prevailing in each nook and corner. Yet there is an amazing sense in our nonsense, calm in our chaos, a pattern in our haphazardness. But this post is not about finding that needle of the haystack of our nation. Rather, I would like to write about one of the lesser-known, yet amazingly well designed, developed and maintained cities in India.

Close your eyes for few minutes and imagine this.

Wide, well-made roads, laid neatly in a grid fashion. Manicured lawns at each intersection, some with fountains, some with other artifacts beautifying the crossroads. Imagine low rise buildings, spaced enough from each other, following a pattern with soothing aesthetics. Imagine a park every few kilometers. Imagine well-organized clusters of areas each having park, school, dispensary, recreational area and all civic amenities.

No - I am not describing Utopia, this city does exist in our very own country.

The city I am raving about is Gandhinagar - the capital of Gujarat. This is the Greenest City in Asia with 54% forest cover of its total area. The planning was done by two Indian town planners; Prakash M Apte & H. K. Mewada, who had apprenticed with Le Corbusier in Chandigarh.

Here is city's map:
Image Source: Wikipedia

Since this is a city planned around being the capital of Gujarat - the majority of the population is government employees. Lately, people looking for a peaceful life have moved in here. The traffic thus on busiest of days is next to nothing. Traffic jams are unheard of here.

Image Source: Times Of India Epaper
With six lane main roads, you can easily drive around the city.

The city is well connected by wide central and arterial roads which follow a well-defined pattern as in the map. It is not easy to get lost in Gandhinagar!

The design of the city rivals best of the world. Divided into sectors, each block is self-sufficient for the population living in the sector. The design accounts for plenty of open space and well maintained manicured parks on each intersection and all around.

Image Source: Holiday IQ

The planning of the city with enough places to go around and relax makes it my favorite city in India. Take your car/bike/cycle, and just start driving. Be connected with nature, reach the next intersection, known as the circle in Gandhinagar lingo, gorge on some sumptuous snacks, take that "dees-gola" - crushed ice in a dish, enjoy the nice breeze while gazing at fountains - what more can you ask from urban life? The intersections or circles are a nice place for late evening romantic walks with your love. And Gandhinagar probably is one of the safest places in the country. So you can roam around with your partner without any worries and soak yourself in the simplicity and beauty of the city.

Just writing about the place is reminding me all the good times I had over here, may be it is time to pack my bags and get back to this wonderful city to relive the connectivity & design by driving around!

Prompt for #madeofgreat Zonal War

Information gathers from Quora & Wikipedia.


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