The Rock Garden of Chandigarh
Everyone in Chandigarh knows Nek Chand and his Rock Garden. If you are visiting Chandigarh, a city planned by famous French architect Le Corbusier, you must visit this garden.
Nek Chand came as a refugee from Pakistan to Indian side of Punjab. He got a job in the Highways Department. During his many forays to the bed of Ghaggar River, he would pick a lot of stones that bore resemblance with people, birds, animals and other things. He began collecting them at a site in the foothills of Shivalik ranges in Chandigarh. It was a 27,000 square feet site. Chandigarh was then rising from the dust and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was taking special interest in its planning.
The site Nek Chand chose was away from public eye. Nek Chand would spend four hours in the evening to fashion these stones into various forms, clearing the site of the rubble and creating a garden. He had fenced off the entire site with rusty barrels of tar. He would pick up refuse, discarded item from railway yards, electricity office, hotels and hospitals. Anything and everything would get transformed into some piece of art at his hands. He would fix it somewhere in the open air studio that the site had become. He kept on working secretly till 1973 when the workers of the Public Work Department stumbled upon the secret garden. His garden suddenly came to catch the public eye.
The people were bemused with the bewitching sight. They supported him financially and whatever they can. In 1976, he was released from his official job and appointed the “Creator-Director” of the garden which was named “Rock Garden”.
Today the Rock Garden has several fountains, amphitheatres, waterfalls, cascades, parks studded with pleasing sculptures, and delightful buildings. Nek Chand still visits the park every day and guides the workers and sculptors infusing his imagination.