Chandigarh, Nov.14 : Not many people may know that modern-day Chandigarh city, mostly designed by Swiss born French architect and planner Le Corbusier, also has a pre-historic past.
About 5,000 years ago Chandigarh was home to the Harappans. The gently sloping plain, n which the city today exists, was once a part of Himalayas.
The stone implements, potsherds, ornaments and copper arrowheads discovered during the excavation in 1950s and 1960s in Chandigarh suggest that the city was once home to Harappans.
The relics preserved at the Government Museum and Art Gallery in Chandigarh present a mixed assemblage. On one side, there are inimitable Harappan shapes as the dish-on-stand, pointed goblet, dish basin bearing an inscription in Harappan characters. On the other hand, there are shapes and designs that show both pre-Harappan Kalibangan and Bara tradition, especially in incised decoration.
There are some burial skeletons also preserved in the museum.
V.N.Singh, nodal officer at Le Corbusier Centre, said: "This was a very chance discovery, which proves that Chandigthat Chandigarh is not a very new city. It is a 5,000 years old city; basically a Harappan age city. We have displayed a reconstruction of whole site, which looks like a great system followed by a Harappan. And same pattern is just a coincidence that after 5,000 years Le Corbusier designed on same pattern. We want people to know that it is a city based on Harappan civilization.
Twenty-five miles from Chandigarh is Ropar town which was the first site of the Harappan civilization to be excavated in independent India. During excavation at Ropar some remains of houses, made of stone and brick, were also found. A cemetery of this period was found as well.
Archaeologists have divided the discoveries at Ropar into seven periods, starting from its first settlement to the medieval period.
Before India's partition in 1947, other sites were excavated in Pakistan.
Ashvini Agarwal, Chairman of the Department of the Ancient Indian History and Archaeology, said: "When India was partitioned in 1947, we lost almost all Harappan sites to Pakistan. After 1947 Ropar was the first site discovered by Dr. Y. D. Sharma in 1953- 54, which yielded rich repertoire of Harappan antiquities on the banks of Sutlej."
The Indus Valley civilization or Harappan culture originated in the fertile plains of the Indus River in the 3rd and 4th millennium BC.
Archaeological excavations have revealed that the people of this culture enjoyed a life of luxury and refinement, with a highly evolved civic system and prosperous trade links. It appears as if they knew the use of the potter's wheel and were fond of ornamentation as proved by a large number of necklaces, anklets and amulets.
The priceless collection at the museum will help preserve our ancient history for future generations.
Known internationally for its architecture and urban planning, Chandigarh is today home to numerous architectural projects of Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Matthew Nowicki, and Albert Mayer. by Sunil Sharma