Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Rock Garden/Nek Chand Sculpture Garden Of Chandigarh...Unexpected Surprises!

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I have heard about the Rock Garden of Chandigarh.  I always love to watch greeneries/birds/animals etc.  I thought rocks won't interest me...but I was wrong.  I was into a happy surprise!

I and my husband had gone on a North India tour last month.  Our group tour was over and we were on our own from Chandigarh.  So, we hired a taxi and visited this place.  It was quite hot on that day.  When I saw the Fort-like compound, I told my husband that since it was very hot, we will finish off seeing this place in half an hour and start our journey to Manali from there! But we spent nearly two hours there...had some nice samosas and masala chai in the cafe inside too!

Wikipedia says: 

This Rock Garden which is named after the builder/creator, Nek Chand,
a government official who started the garden, secretly in his spare time in 1957. Today it is spread over an area of forty-acres (160,000 m²), it is completely built of industrial & home waste and thrown-away items.

It is situated near Sukhna lake.  It consists of man-made interlinked water falls and many other sculptures that have been made of scrap & other kinds of wastes  (bottles, glasses, bangles, Tiles, ceramics, pots, sinks,  electrical waste, etc.  

 In his spare time, Chand began collecting materials from demolition sites around the city. He recycled these materials into his own vision of the divine kingdom of Sukrani, choosing a gorge in a forest near Sukhna lake, for his work. The gorge had been designated as a land conservancy, a forest buffer established in 1902 that nothing could be built on. Chand’s work was illegal, but he was able to hide it for eighteen years before it was discovered by the authorities in 1975. By this time, it had grown into a 12-acre (49,000 m2) complex of interlinked courtyards, each filled with hundreds of pottery-covered concrete sculptures of dancers, musicians, and animals.


Now, let me write about what I noticed here.

The entrance arches/doors, to every huge hall-like areas are very small! My husband had to bend his head down while entering! Then the surprises started, slowly in the beginning...this is the first rock with inscription about the garden.

Dedication Day Memorial, July 7, 1988

Let me write down what is written here, though wikipedia has covered some details:

Nek Chand Garden History:

1924 - Nek Chand is born in Barlan Kalan, now in Pakistan.
1947 - Chand family moves to India after partition.  Parents soon pass away.
1958 - He collects stones and debris from villages destroyed in Chandigarh.
1960s- Nek Chand works alone, creating approx. 2,000 statues in secret.
1972 - Garden discovered, existence threatened but finally authorised.
1976 - Official inauguration of Rock Garden.
1980 - Awarded 'Grande Medaille De Vermeil' - Paris, France.
1983 - First waterfall opened.
1984 - Prime Minister of India awards 'Padhmashree'.
1993 - Phase III opens.
                                        - Nek Chand (2012)

Now, to the pictures: (Click on the pictures for a better view)

This place looked very ordinary!

Again ordinary looking rocks!
Narrow passage!
Waterways connecting different phases...I and II phases are ready now, it seems!
The roots were looking so natural!
These were man-made! Unless you look closely, you won't guess!
Decorations on the wall.
Then, the surprises started...huge areas/open spaces surrounded by these figures! Everything carved out of waste material!


The scenery looked as if the dolls are watching some performance in the vast maidan/ground! All the statues shown below are displayed like this!






Sculpted with broken bangles!


School children?!

We felt so happy to see these happy 'real' school children running here and there!

Many readers might have visited this garden.  I never expected this 'rock garden' to be so unique! We have to admire this sculptor, Nek Chand.

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P.S.: Nek Chand dies at 90 (12.6.15) More information is here about him. Great man.

30 comments :

Ramakrishnan Ramanathan said...

Great pictures and information. Been to Chandigarh on many occasions on work but never visited the rock garden :(

Sandhya said...

RAMAKRISHNAN RAMANATHAN: I never expected it to be so good. It was like hundreds of people/audience sitting there. My pictures don't give that impact here! I am not that good a photographer!

Thanks for the first comment, Ram!

வை.கோபாலகிருஷ்ணன் said...

Very Nice Pictures. Information are wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

SG said...

Thanks for the nice narration and beautiful photos.

Destination Infinity said...

There is a similar rock garden in Palakkad, Kerala. I had visited it when I was in Coimbatore and was similarly surprised!

The history behind this garden seems to be very interesting - I'll have to admire the passion with which he has created so many rock sculptures. I am sure he was a happy man when his garden was discovered, authorized and opened for public. I hope it happened in his lifetime.

Destination Infinity

Ankita said...

Nice and informative post! lovely pics :)

Avada Kedavra said...

Nice.. loved the pictures. Adding it to my wishlist. Thanks for the descriptive post.

ashok said...

Nek Chand was a playful genius...awesome !

Sandhya said...

VAI GOPALAKRISHNAN: Thank you, Gopu Sir!


SG: Thank you, SG!


DESTINATION INFINITY: I remember reading about the rock garden of Palakkad from one of your posts.

I have written again what is written in a board which is kept there. The photo is there. He has been awarded Padmashree also later and a 2012 message from Nek chand is there. His passion is admirable.


ANKITA: Thank you, Ankita!


AVADA KEDAVARA: It is interesting, AK. Thank you!


ASHOK: Yes, Ashok!

Gouri Guha said...

Lovely pics. A nice place to visit...good sharing.

radha said...

Lovely account of the place. Thanks for enquiring. I am using a different laptop and miss my bookmarked site. I could just follow the link and come back here.

Haddock said...

An interesting looking place. Like that narrow passage.

Onkar said...

Terrific pictures. I have visited this place. Amazing.

BK Chowla, said...

Sandhya,
I have been there a number of times.
It is an interesting place with a lovely view.

Sandhya said...

GAURI GURHA: Thank you, Gauri!


RADHA: thank you, Radha! Start writing...


HADDOCK: Yes, the place was interesting. Never expected to be so interesting!


ONKAR: Yes, this place is really amazing!


BK CHOWLA: I had heard the name 'rock garden' when we were discussing about Chandigarh. But never expected it to be so good, Chowlaji!

KParthasarathi said...

I had been there a couple of times and enjoyed the creative skill of Nek Chand.Your description and pictures do adequate justice to the much visited tourist spot.

manjujoglekar said...

What an informative post, Sandhya! Enjoyed the narrative and the photos too- very much!

I have read a few articles about Nek Chand's garden, but have not yet been able to go there. Your post makes me want to go there soon. :)

Sandhya said...

K.PARTHASARATHY: I have not read much about this Rock garden before and nobody in my family or friends have visited this place. So it was a surprise to me!

Yes, Nek Chand is great to have dreamed of this project and implemented it crossing so many obstacles. Great man.

Thank you, Partha Sir!


MANJU JOGLEKAR: Thank you, Manju!

Nek Chand must have been a very strong minded man to create this garden which had faced lot of opposition from the govt. Thank god, people were with him. He deserves the Padma for his creativity.

Rama Ananth said...


I too have heard about this rock garden in Chandigarh. Your description and pictures are good. It almost looks like the works of Anthony Gaudi, who used to create many crazy looking sculptures and beautiful buildings in Barcelona Spain.
Must visit it.

Craftyshines said...

SandhyaMa, I have never been to Rock Garden, but it all looks awesome!

Especially loved the sculptures made of glass bangles.

Mosaic tiles children followed by real school kids, tee hee!

Sandhya said...

RAMA ANANTH: I never expected this garden to be this interesting! It was worth spending the time there. I will always remember this garden.

I haven't heard about the garden in Spain. Let me visit that sometime!


CRAFTY SHINES: This is a happy day for me, Crafty! I am seeing your name here after so many years! Are you back to blogging?!

Tee...hee...I missed these words! Yes, I went there without knowing anything about the garden and everything was a surprise for me! The picture is not showing the exact beauty of the sculptures. The impact as soon as you enter the open area and turn around is magical!

It is not very far away for you. You will enjoy, Crafty! Take care.

Canary said...

who would have known such a gem is hiding in chandigarh!

Sandhya said...

CANARY: Welcome to my space, canary!

Yes, nobody, as far as I know, knew about this garden, except as a Rock garden...these types of sculptures are not seen anywhere else.

Thank you!

Zephyr said...

A lovely post with a lot of info in addition to the photos.

We lived in Chandigarh for four years and visited it several times with visiting friends and relatives. Every time, the open spaces with the sculpted figures brought me up short. Despite the features and size of the sculptures, they look so life-like. But some of the passages were not only too narrow but also undulating and uneven for the elderly to traverse. I hope they have made some improvements in this department.

Sandhya said...

ZEPHYR: Yes, They look life-like. It was a surprise for both of us.

You can notice in one picture where the floor is with projected rocks, which is not easy for elders! We went there in October end.

Wini said...

Great pictures!! Love the dolls!!

Varunavi said...

Lovely pics and nice info...heard of this from my sis...

Sandhya said...

ASHWINI: Visit this place, Ashwini, you will love the atmosphere full of dolls.


VARUNAVI; Thank you, Saritha!

Sai Charan said...

Wonderful pieces of art made out of rock, ceramics and other materials!! Nek Chand has done a great job!! :)

Thank you for the photos, they are lovely! :)

Cheers!! :)

Sandhya said...

SAI CHARAN: Thank you, Sai! They are made out of waste materials, which is more interesting!

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