The father of Chandigarh’s Rock Garden, Nek Chand was born on December 15, 1924, at Barian Kalan in Shakargarh, Gurdaspur. Nek Chand’s birthplace is now part of Pakistan due to the partition of India and Pakistan. When India gained its long-awaited independence and tragically succumbed to the partition, these were the years. All of Nek Chand’s relatives moved to Chandigarh in 1947.
Chandigarh, the first planned city, began construction in 1947. A time when the city’s plan was being designed by famed French architect Le Corbusier. Nek Chand, the future genius, began working as a road inspector. Nek Chand’s passion and overflowing talent were ready to burst through the monotony of his job.
To find a way to showcase his skills, he began collecting trash from nearby demolition sites and dumped it in a secret location. Who would have guessed then that he was secretly plotting a fairy-tale land in his head? According to the story, Nek Chand would spend every night imagining and expanding his fantasy world. The combination of his imagination and foresight produced a stunning work of art that has earned the moniker “Rock Garden.”
For the next 18 years, he carried out the same routine until the authorities caught wind of it. When the authorities discovered Nek Chand’s secret in 1975, the masterpiece had already grown to a size of 13 acres.
People’s love and admiration for his work saved this masterpiece. As if that wasn’t enough, it also received an official seal of approval. It was made available to the public to admire and appreciate. It was in danger of being destroyed because it was illegal at the time.
The sheer brilliance and beauty of Chandigarh’s Rock Garden have captivated visitors ever since it opened. It’s no surprise that people from all over the world come to see this place for themselves. To Nek Chand’s credit, he brought his imagination and fantasy to life by creating this garden. Even more intriguing than the garden itself is the tale of how this Rock Garden came to be.
It was in 1957 that this lovely garden was first planted. In addition to being one of the most eco-friendly gardens in the country, this garden spreads across an area of 40 acres and was built entirely out of household waste and other industrial materials. This location’s artwork is also made from items such as bangles, ceramic pots, tiles and bottles of electricity. It’s not hyperbole to say that Chandigarh’s Rock Garden’s sculptures are a joy to behold. Additionally, this location features a number of man-made waterfalls. Moreover, there are numerous other reasons why this garden stands out from the rest of our country’s natural wonders.
Broken glass, plastic bottles, and electronic waste are all used in the creation of these sculptures. Nek Chand died in 2015, at the age of 66.
Today, his work, his art, or what I like to call it, his vision brings happiness to people and fame to Chandigarh, the capital of the Indian state of Punjab. It will always bear his name because of the Rock Garden Chandigarh he created. The city has a treasure to remember him by because of his artistic vision.
Chandigarh’s Rock Garden sits on the banks of Sukhna Lake and is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions.
The following are some startling statistics:
As a small activity in the 1950s, Chandigarh’s Rock Garden has grown to include hundreds of sculptures made from waste and discarded materials. Year after year, this destination welcomes tens of millions of visitors from all over the world.
In 1957, Nek Chand, the founder of Rock Garden, began working on the project in secret. He used to work as a Road Inspector for the Public Works Department, and he spent nearly 20 years transforming this area into a stunning landscape. Stones and other debris from nearby villages were first collected by him in an area of forest near Sukhana Lake.
Using his artistic prowess, Nek Chand was able to give flight to his ardour. To transform the barren land, he started making sculptures out of the discarded materials.
The fact that people didn’t know about Nek Chand’s artistic side because he worked in the wee hours of the morning without anyone’s knowledge and managed to keep his wonderland and creations hidden from the public for over a decade will surprise you. More than 2,000 of his sculptures were produced over the course of his career.
However, when the authorities discovered his secret, they did not welcome it with open arms. It was on the verge of being demolished if they didn’t leave. However, after seeing the wonderland, the general public came out in favour of Nek Chand. The rest is history. The government had no choice but to support him and pay him a salary so that he could devote all of his time to this project. In addition, the government provided him with additional workers.
Exhibitions featuring the work of Nek Chand have taken place around the world. In fact, many of the world’s most renowned museums now house their exhibits.
What began as a modest hobby for a self-taught artist is now regarded as one of Chandigarh’s most important historical landmarks.
Make sure you visit this beautiful garden during your next trip to Chandigarh, because the mysticism needs to be experienced and felt, and not just read. Every day, the garden receives nearly 5000 visitors; make sure you do too.