Why was Chandigarh created? How did it become a shared capital?

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Chandigarh was the dream city of India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. After the partition of India in 1947, the province of Punjab was divided into two provinces. East Punjab in India and West Punjab in Pakistan. The Indian Punjab required a new capital because the former capital, Lahore, had become part of Pakistan after the partition.

In 1949 the American planner and architect Albert Mayor was tasked to design a new city to be called “Chandigarh”. The government carved out Chandigarh from about fifty Puadhi-speaking villages in the then-state of East Punjab, India. Shimla was the temporary capital of East Punjab until Chandigarh was completed in 1960.

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The capital city was officially shifted from Shimla to Chandigarh on 21 September 1953. Though Chandigarh was formally inaugurated by India’s first president, Rajendra Prasad on 7 October 1953.

On 1 November 1966, the newly formed state of Haryana was carved out of the eastern portion of East Punjab. To create a new state for the majority Haryanvi-speaking people in that portion. While the western portion of East Punjab retained a mostly Punjabi-speaking majority and was renamed as Punjab. It was located on the border of both states and the states. Moved to incorporate the city into their respective territories. However, the city of Chandigarh was declared a union territory to serve as the capital of both states.

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