The cover page of the book. (Express Photo)
For those who love Chandigarh’s beautiful paths, roads and boulevards, here’s a book that could be the perfect companion for their green excursions. ‘Trees of Chandigarh’, a coffee table book penned by Rajnish Wattas, Chhatar Singh and Harjit Singh Dhillon, is back on the shelves. Written in 1999, the book is dedicated to Dr M S Randhawa, “who sowed the seeds of beautifying Chandigarh and nurtured its blossoms”.
The book, explains Professor Rajnish Wattas, former principal of the Chandigarh College of Architecture and a noted landscape expert, was in great demand, but had been out of print, and is now back on bookshelves with some changes.
Dr M S Randhawa, says Wattas, wanted the city to be draped in greenery and made landmark efforts to achieve it. “Corbusier loved nature and never saw buildings in isolation, but visualised them as part of landscapes. Flowering trees like Kachnar and Pink Cassia were key elements. The result is a designer city, where you view scenes of landscapes one after the other, like a composition,’’ says Wattas.
This book is also an attempt to spread awareness about the different kinds of trees in Chandigarh. Chhatar Singh, a retired civil servant, did exactly that. He led a massive campaign to revitalise the city’s ecological heritage when he was the Deputy Commissioner here.
The book took two years to write and has more than 200 coloured pictures taken by Wattas.
Beginning with the type of trees that existed at the time of the selection of the city site, the next chapter traces the background of how early tree plantation schemes as suited to various specific areas were evolved. Other chapters describe the manner in which major tree plantation schemes were executed and the situation on the ground today.
One chapter deals with seasonal changes occurring in the city trees, including those in full bloom and also the city’s forests and green buffers.
“The endeavour has been to make learning about Chandigarh’s trees more accessible and delightful. I believe it’s a wonderful way to appreciate and understand our wealth and environment and spread awareness about the need to preserve and protect our natural resources,’’ smiles Wattas, whose next book is on the gardens of Chandigarh.