Rock Garden Chandigarh is the signature destination of the city. I have seen it innumerable times as a kid. Then on several picnics during student days. This time, I visited it almost after a couple of decades. It is a place that has come to define the ethos of the city. And now you can see the sprinkling of the style in the souvenir shops and in city graffiti. The broken cutlery and bangles, the discarded electrical pieces and unused tiles, drums and cement bags have been immortalized in the form of art. That has become the face of this young modern city.
Sometimes you feel as if the cleanliness of the city comes from the fact that it respects the waste so much to make it de facto art material. In fact, I visited the garden early in the morning and I met an army of workers cleaning the premises that to an Indian eye looks clean enough.
Rock Garden Chandigarh
Nothing much has changed in the first two phases in the last decade. Piles of large rocks with graffiti-like signboard welcome you in front of a wall made from piled-up drums. Most visuals brought back the memories of old times, of the various visit along with family and friends. The narrow passages of stones, the piles of clay pots, the walls in colors of unused tiles, patterns in cemented sculptures and the narrow dwarf doors were exactly the same.
The army of models made from broken cups and saucers intrigues you as they stand in front of a wall made of fused tube lights. Dolls made from broken glass bangles make you think of the genius. And the simplicity of the man behind them. They look very simple on the surface as if a child could have done it. But then think again – how many such examples do we see around us.
On top of the walls, some small structures peep out against the sky. The garden is totally cut off from the outside world. Its formation engulfs you in its own world. It is like a village with random paths with hardly any plain surfaces. With a well in between that gives a feeling that it has just been used. The labyrinthine paths offer many surprises for the first time visitor. A repeat visitor is looking for the familiar and favorite parts in the garden.
Phase III is a relatively new addition. It is a public space, a huge area where public events can be held including large private events like weddings. A Stage with a graffiti made from broken tiles stands in one corner. Huge arches with swings hanging from them take up another corner. A pillared corridor running along the back wall houses an aquarium-like an embedded water tank. It is a huge space by any standards. I was told many public functions and weddings happen here. I found the graffiti very interesting – a bohemian art sprinkled lavishly in every part of this new phase. The most popular festival that this place celebrates is Teej. I wondered why CII has not chosen this as the perfect travel conference venue.
Nek Chand – Creator of Rock Garden, Chandigarh
Nek Chand has an equally intriguing story. A migrant from Pakistan during partition, he worked on the pieces collected from debris all by himself. By the time people came to know of his creations, he had already made more than 2000 sculptures. It is only possible in Chandigarh that the administration looks at the work of a man, identifies his genius and adopts the garden as part of the cityscape. Once it was officially inaugurated in 1976, there was no looking back. It became a favorite go-to place for locals and for visitors. The expansions kept happening like a waterfall was added or an area opened for events.
Now Nek Chand’s creations form part of many prominent museums across the world. You can still see the small hut from where he started the journey of Rock Garden. The government of India has conferred many awards on him. I just missed meeting him this time. I hope there would be another opportunity to meet him in person.
A board at the garden tells you about its being a completely eco-friendly place including the rainwater harvesting and the recycled water of the waterfall. But then, my belief is that everything in India used to be eco-friendly by default. It is much later that we learned to destroy the environment. It is now that we are forced to learn to be eco-friendly, consciously.
Rock Garden is one of the Places to visit in Chandigarh if you have not been there already.
Recommend you to read the following Places to visit in Chandigarh and nearby.
Homage to the Creator of Chandigarh – Le Corbusier Center
Nature & History Trail at Ropar
The journey of Viceregal Lodge to Rashtrapati Niwas
Wonderful post, Love the pictures 🙂
After watching your photos all I can say: Rock Garden re-visited.
Wonderful photos, oh, I’d love to visit this place. Actually I was going to… twice, but bot times had to cancel, hopefully in the future I will finally make it. 🙂
You must…it is one of the masterpieces of modern India.
Rock Garden really a beautiful place. everything is designed by waste material. The Nek Chand’s dream successful with this garden. Also, the very beautiful creation out of waste material is surprised. It forcibly diverts our mind to creativity.
I like it very much. I enjoyed “waterfall” too. Thanks for this post. Really good job.
Thanks keep sharing good content.
Nice article about undoubtedly the most popular tourist destination of Chandigarh. A sculpture garden made by a government official secretly, Nek Chand. No one can believe that this majestic garden is made of home and industrial waste and thrown away items. The creativity of Nek Chand has indeed wonderful.
It is also a great example of what one person can do if he wants to.
Very well, sir, you have got amazing writing skills. Through your blog, you are describing the beauty of Punjab, Chandigarh. But a request from my side this time please give the information about the water park I visited mostly all the water parks across Chandigarh but only like the one that is Aqua village water park where I go on my weekends to have fun…
Sure Kanika, as and when I get to visit it, will mention it, although I am not much of a theme park person.
Rock Garden is exceptional and there are dancing girls made from broken glass bangles and a graceful arcade of towering arches with rope swings dangling from them. It was a nice journey to Chandigarh.