I hopped into an Uber near the hotel and reached Sector 1 in no time! Chandigarh was one of the earliest planned cities in India after our independence. It is home to the Rock Garden created by Nek Chand. Here are some photos that I took. Enjoy!
The creator of the rock garden, Nek Chand was a Road Inspector in the Engineering Department of the Chandigarh Capital Project. He roamed the Shivalik foothills and picked up stones resembling bird, animal, human and abstract forms and carried them on his bicycle. The first seven years (1958-65) were spent collecting natural material, urban and industrial waste. These were deposited around a hut near a stream which he had built for his work and contemplation.
In 1973, some senior officials stumbled on his work which was reported to be illegal and there was a call for its demolition. Fortunately, art connoisseurs stood with him and went to the then Chief Commissioner who declared that this unusual site must be preserved.
Nek Chand salvaged materials from demolished structures, waste from lime kilns, discarded street lights, electrical fittings, broken sanitary ware, crockery etc, thus demonstrating how urban and industrial waste can be fruitfully recycled and used in the pursuit of creativity.
On display are shapes sculptured by using a variety of discarded materials like bangles, mudguards, forks, handle bars, metal wires, marbles and burnt bricks.
The layout of the garden is based on the fantasy of a lost kingdom. Nek Chand was conferred with the Padma Shri (India’s fourth highest civilian honours) in 1984 and given the honorary lifetime rank of Secretary.
That photo of the waterfall is from the third phase of the garden which also has an open air theatre, a village, mountains, over-bridges and pavilions fit for royalty.
This garden is amazing because it just goes to show how being creative can turn waste and random objects into something beautiful. There’s beauty in everything, even the most mundane things like switch boards, you just have to look for it. Those who appreciated its beauty supported Nek Chand and so his garden still exists today. There’s undeniable and unshakable power in unity.
The Rock Garden at Chandigarh is truly inspiring and artistic.