has the distinction of having
a unique world acclaimed Rock
Garden. It Consist of art
object, fashioned from industrial
and urban waste. It is situated
between the capital complex
and Sukhna lake in Sector1.It
nestles amidst 20acres of
woods in the form of an open
air exhibition hall, theatre
trove and a miniature maze
all rolled into one vast fantasy
land of art and landscape.
It is without doubt, a tourist
spot that is a must on the
itinerary of visitor to Chandigarh.
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. Several prestigious performances have been
staged in this small but very artistic and naturalistic open air theatre.
The Rock Garden has become almost a heritage site. Artists
and connoisseurs from all over the world flock to see this unique and amazing
creation. The Concept is daring, the appeal perennial. Visitors leave in admiration,
only to return again. 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. He brought them on his bicycle. The first seven years (1958-65) were spent
collecting natural material, urban and industrial waste. Gradually his collection
mounted to a staggering twenty thousand rock form of amazing beauty. These were
deposited around a hut which he had built for his work and contemplation. He built
the Rock Garden from this improvised hut which was located by the side of a stream.
24th February, 1973, the Rock Garden was accidentally discovered by Dr.S.K.Sharma
who headed an Anti-malaria party a vector reconnaissance duty in the forest in
the forest in which the garden is located. Soon thereafter late Dr. M.S Randhawa
(the first Chief Commissioner of Chandigarh) visited the place and place the matter
before the Chandigarh Landscape Advisory Committee, as its chairman, at a meeting
held on 23rd June, 1973 suggesting that this garden of rocks, stone and scrap
was the most unusual and it should be preserved in its Present form, free form
the interference of architects and town planners. The Rock Garden was thus inaugurated
the site where Rock Garden stands today was also used as a dumping ground for
urban and industrial waste, Nek Chand picked up Pieces of foundry for urban and
industrial waste, Nek Chand picked up pieces of foundry lime-kiln and metal workshop
wastes and shaped them with his creative genius into human, animal or abstract
forms. These Pieces have been innovatively displayed as sculptures in the garden.
on display as shapes sculptured by using a verity of discarded materials such
as frame, mudguards, forks, handle bars, metal wires, play marbles, pieces of
state, burnt bricks and even hair recovered from barber shops’
salvaged a variety form demolished structures, waste from lime kilns, discarded
street lights, electrical fittings, broken sanitary ware, crockery etc. thus demonstrating
how urban and sanitary were, crockery etc. thus demonstrating how urban and industrial
waste can be fruitfully recycled and used in creative pursuit.
layout of the garden is based on the fantasy of a lost kingdom. The moment one
enters the garden, the small entrance doors which make the head bow, not only
creative an ambience of royal but also impart humbleness. One has to pass through
a verity of doorways, archways, vestibules, streets and lanes of different scales
and dimensions, each one opening into a new array of display or courtyards and
chambers lending an air of suspense and curiosity at every corner, at every turn.
the true sprit of make-believe ‘kingdom’ the Rock Garden has fourteen different
chambers like the forecourt housing natural rock-forms, a royal; poet’ sand a
musician’s chamber complete with a pond and a hut; the main court (Durbar) where
the king’s throne adorns the place with natural stone forms depicting gods and
goddesses lining the place; a swimming pool for the queen etc .the third phase
of the garden comprises the grand place complex miners ,water falls, an open air
theatre, a village, mountains, over-bridges, pavilions and areas for royal pleasures.
The tree and root sculptures offer a powerful counterpoint to the existing vegetation.
open air theatre and a vast pavilion with a center stage are the other highlights
of the rock Garden where art and culture blend amidst rustic and exotic environs
of the garden.
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 wings,
while others adorn their hands
with traditional Mehandi (henna),amidst
joyful song dances.
As you stroll though
the rock Garden, enjoying the awe inspiring creation, you may find yourself face
to face with the unassuming down to earth artist Nek Chand himself, in flesh and
blood, working at or supervising his ‘kingdom’.