The Unique Fantasy
Next to Sukhna Lake, in the city of Chandigarh , there is a world famous garden called Rock Garden. Situated in the thick forest area, the garden holds its own charms for the visitors. It is full of objects built from household and industrial waste. There are no flowers or plants in this garden.
Sprawling over several acres of woods in the form of an open-air exhibition hall, theatre trove and a miniature maze all rolled into one vast fantasyland of art and landscape. It is without doubt, a tourist spot that is a must on the itinerary of every visitor to Chandigarh . The city's internationally acclaimed artist Nek Chand created this unique sculpture garden. Here, the visitor is led through a maze of paths, chambers and canyons, each presenting a glimpse of a fantasy world.
The visual delights and the strange history of Rock Garden, has charmed millions of visitors since it was first opened to the public in 1976.
The Classic Work Of Art
An unpretentious entrance leads to a magnificent, almost surrealist arrangement of rocks, boulders, broken chinaware, discarded fluorescent tubes, broken and cast away glass bangles, building waste, coal and clay-all juxtaposed to create a dream folk world of palaces, soldiers, monkeys, village life, women and temples. The open-air sculptures and concealed gateways separating them are at places enhanced by a waterfall, pools and an open-air theatre with proper stage setting where several prestigious performances have been staged.
The object to be seen there are the figures made of raw cement resembling humans and animals. These figures have been decorated with broken but colourful odds and ends of China clay. As one looks at them with deep intent, they seem to be staring at the visitors while engaged in various activities.
There are a group of dancing damsels made from bicycle and motorcycle's waste materials, marching armies of warriors resting, flying or fledging birds, made from countless bits of broken glass. There are groups of music bands engaged in their activity of entertaining the visitors. Its creator also needs a mention.
The unique garden is made out of waste products. In the garden, very attractive huts, dolls, birds and animals made by waste industrial materials. Nek Chand used waste materials for creating this enviable beauty. He developed very good shapes by using variety of discarded material such as frames, mud guards, forks, handle bass, metal wires play marbles, crowns of soft drink bottles, porcelain, auto parts, broken bangles, pieces of slate, burnt bricks, waste building materials and even human hair recovered from barber's saloons.
For the purpose of construction Nek Chand has salvaged a variety of debris from demolished structures waste from lime kiln, discarded street lights, electrical fittings, broken sanitary ware crockery, etc. thus demonstrating how urban and industrial waste can be fruitfully recycled and used in creative purpose.
Nek Chand: The Man behind the Fantastic Creation
The garden was visualised by Shri Nek Chand. He belongs to Gurdaspur district in Punjab province. He started his life in PWD as a labourer, but later rose to higher ranks. He came to Chandigarh as a Road Inspector. His deep visualization made him pick and collect all sorts of discarded scrap. He started to visit waste dumps of the factories. He collected their raw cement, broken pipes and other discarded matter.
He created rapport with the truck drivers who carried and dropped his debris at a vacant corner of the forest where now this unique creation stands. For twelve years, he worked hard all alone on this unique fantasy. After twelve years, Government noticed the work of Nek Chand. He was given deserving patronage. An area of twelve acres was allotted for the extension of the original Rock Garden. Even funds were provided for carrying on the work.
When Nek Chand began to transform a dump of discarded building materials, he was a road inspector of the city Public Works Department. He kept the garden a closely guarded secret never suspecting that one day critics would praise his unique works and he would exhibit them in Paris's Museum of Modern Art and in other cities around the world.
The Teej Festival, when the Rock Garden assumes a festive look, holds a special attraction for tourists. Young damsels partake in the fun and frolic by swaying on the giant swings, while others adorn their hands with traditional Mehandi (henna), amidst joyful songs and dances.
Open from 10.00 hrs to 19.00 hours all days except Thursdays and official holidays.