Should Punjab invade Chandigarh

University of Cologne

Urbanization processes in North India: Delhi, Shimla, Chandigarh, Gurgaon, Agra, Varanasi, Bodhgaya and Kolkata

In the context of geography studies, it is common for students to travel for two weeks (mostly abroad) as part of a large excursion, where they are familiarized with geographical focus topics under the guidance and academic support of their lecturers at various locations, sometimes also small ones Carry out own surveys (mapping, discussions, interviews).

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March 8th, 2020: Pre-excursion: Delhi on your own

The day before the excursion, Cathrin, Laura, Lioba and I were already exploring Delhi on our own. Our first location was the Red Fort, one of the classic first port of call for domestic and international tourists. The fortress was built for the Mughal ruler Shah Jahan and is located in Shahjahanabad, the old town of Delhi. Sunday was International Women's Day and we were allowed to visit the facility without paying admission.

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March 9th, 2020: Shahjahanabad - The wet labyrinth

Our very first day took us to a place that, in retrospect, should be most impressively remembered by many of us. On the morning of March 9th, 2020 we met for the first time in the small foyer of the Hotel Florence. Full of anticipation, we looked each other in the eye - the field book firmly in hand. Now it finally starts!

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March 8-10, 2020: Interpretations from Delhi

Here are some impressive pictures with a short description from Delhi to discover.

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March 11th, 2020: Snack in Indian

If you ask other fellow travelers about the things they miss the most while traveling, you can often recognize Germans (if not by their accent) by the fact that one of the first things that comes to mind is German bread.

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12-13.03.2020: Interpretations from Shimla

An impressive vantage point over the city, Heritage Walk, where many British buildings can be seen, and the ubiquitous Shimla stairs.

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March 12th, 2020: Shimla - The thunderstorm

How often do we speak of the lessons that certain life situations bring us. It can also be just small teachings that we will never forget and that either apply to us personally or to us as part of a group. Most of the lessons that life has in store for us arise from unexpected situations and constellations. In Shimla (February 12th, 2020), it was one of these days.

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March 12th, 2020: We said YES

There are often opportunities in life Yes accept. That little word Yes - profane and everyday; almost ubiquitous. We probably used this short and concise word a hundred times a day. Say yes to coffee, Yes to the rickshaw, Yes at the last price. We confirm information, answer yes to questions, nod off. But only in the rarest and most unique cases does an Indian wedding follow. This is what happened on our excursion on March 12th, 2020 in Shimla.

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March 12th, 2020: Shimla: labyrinth narrow - steep mountain roads

Even before arriving at the hotel in Shimla, we noticed the extremely confusing traffic situation in the city. This is additionally fueled by the hillside location of the city, combined with extreme population growth and thus the increase in individual traffic in the last 15 years.

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March 13th, 2020: Toy Train ride from Shimla to Kandaghat

So here we were. Still a bit worn out from the spontaneous wedding the evening before, we went out of bed early in the morning in the old fashion. With everything packed we went to breakfast and were ready to tackle the next stage. As exciting as we had imagined the upcoming ride on the Toy Train was, it was just as difficult to get there.

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03/13/2020: Leisure in India - Leisure Valley

In the late afternoon we arrive in Chandigarh, slip into our raincoats and finally want to see the city that we are so excited about. Chandighar emerged shortly after India's independence in 1947 as the new capital of the states of Punjab and Haryana. The renowned architect Le Corbusier was hired for this important project.

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March 14-15, 2020: Interpretations from Chandigarh

All planned buildings had to be subordinate to the general town planning and had to be approved. In particular, the university buildings and other public buildings and government institutions are similar in style.

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March 14th, 2020: Out and about in Chandigarh

We arrived in Chandigarh yesterday. Completely different from the previously visited Indian cities, the modern capital of the northern Indian states of Punjab and Haryana, planned by the Swiss architect Le Corbusier, impresses above all with a straight road network, order and cleanliness.

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03/15/2020: Chandigarh - From the drawing board to reality

On March 13th, we went to Chandigarh, one of the destinations I had been looking forward to the most. The genesis of Chandigarh is fascinating and I was particularly curious to see how the theoretical plan of the city was implemented in reality, whether the division of the city and the corresponding functions were preserved and adhered to and how life in a city like Chandigarh is shaped .

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March 16, 2020: Agra - day trip Taj Mahal

After coping with the stress of booking the return flights, we went on our day trip to Agra, as planned. The day trip was still a small consolation because we had to break off our big excursion early due to the further spread of COVID-19. With a lot of anticipation, despite a queasy feeling and a bit of delay, we made our way to Agra with a private bus.

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March 17th, 2020: Out and about in Gurugram

Not far from Delhi, in the state of Haryana, is the satellite city of Gurugram. The city has experienced rapid urban development in the last 25 years and is the most heavily urbanized city in the state of Haryana after Faridabad, as well as the second most populous in the state.

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March 17th, 2020: The Odyssey of Return

On March 15th, 2020, Corona finally reached India. After traveling from Chandigarh to Delhi by bus, we continued to Gurgaon with the Yellow Line metro. We were previously equipped with masks, which essentially served as a precautionary and protective measure against the Indian population. Already when we got out we noticed glances ...

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March 16-19, 2020: Back to other realities

It wasn't planned like that ... But sometimes things turn out completely differently in life than expected, unfortunately now in a dramatic context. In the last few days it felt quite surreal: two days after our entry, Indian visas that had already been issued for foreigners had been declared invalid, and no one came in. Reading the news that evening, we learned of a rapidly increasing number of infections and deaths in Italy and Spain.

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March 20, 2020: How our excursion continued in Germany ...

Although we had to break off the excursion on site in India and sooner or later we all arrived safely in Germany, our "adventure" excursion to India was far from over. It went on, online - our India excursion quickly became an e-excursion.

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March 21, 2020: e-Bodhgaya

We were really looking forward to Bodhgaya. The small city in the state of Bihar with just under 50,000 inhabitants is a sacred place not only for Buddhists, but also for many Hindus. We now had to get used to getting to know the city a little better virtually.

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March 22nd, 2020: e-Kolkata for everyone

- and every woman, every teacher, student and pupil. Another day e-excursion. The first two days of e-teaching that lasted for hours were quite a challenge for us. We were not exposed to the challenges of everyday life in Indian megacities ...

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March 23, 2020: e-Gurgaon / Gurugram, urbanization processes in India

Today our e-excursion went to Gurgaon or Gurugram. Actually, we had already arrived in this boom town on the R excursion (meaning: the one that actually took place) and were about to explore this prime example of rapid, globalized urban development in India.

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March 24th, 2020: e-excursion eight-city comparison, synthesis

Eight cities in India - a small number considering thousands of cities in India. According to the Government of India, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, India has 7,935 cities (based on the most recent 2011 census); In 2001 there were still 5161 cities.

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