Rock Garden – The spark of Mosaic Genius

Though this blog is not related to hiking yet I have included it here because this fantasy land named Rock Garden is very unique in itself and is visited by millions of people around the world just next to The Majestic Taj Mahal. The Rock Garden is a sculpture Garden in Chandigarh, India i.e. my home town. It is also known as Nek Chand Fantasy Rock Garden after its founder Nek Chand, a government official who started the garden secretly in his spare time in 1957.

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Today it is spread over an area of 40 acres. The garden is most famous for its sculptures made from recycled ceramic items.

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Lies near the Sukhna lake, it consists of man-made interlinked waterfalls and many other sculptures that have been made of scrap and other kinds of wastes such as bottles, glasses, bangles, tiles, ceramic pots etc. which are placed in walled paths.

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In his spare time, Nek Chand started 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. Nek Chand’s work was illegal, but he was able to hide it for 18 years before it was discovered by the authorities in 1975. By this time, it had grown into a 12-acre complex of interlinked courtyards, each filled with hundreds of pottery-covered concrete sculptures of dancers, musicians, and animals.

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His work was in danger of being demolished, but he was able to get public opinion on his side. In 1976 the park was inaugurated as a public space. Nek Chand was given a salary, a title (“Sub Divisional Engineer, Rock Garden”), and 50 laborers so that he could concentrate full-time on his work. It also appeared on an Indian stamp in 1983. The Rock Garden is still made out of recycled materials. With the government’s help, Nek Chand was able to set up collection centers around the city for waste, especially rags and broken ceramics.

When Nek Chand left the country on a lecture tour in 1996, the city withdrew its funding, and vandals attacked the park. The Rock Garden Society took over the administration and upkeep of this unique visionary environment. The garden is visited by over 5,000 people daily, with more than 12 million visitors since its inception.

The stages of the garden’s complex construction have been designated as Phase I, the earliest, begun in 1965; Phase II, completed around 1983; and Phase III, which is still undergoing construction yet open to public. Most of the sculptures are smaller than life size and range in subject from human figures to monkeys, peacocks, elephants, bears and many imaginary creatures.

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In another section of Phase II, Nek Chand created a miniature village with shops, houses, paths, temples and a cascading waterfall. This make-believe world is enhanced further by the trees, vegetation and birds that inhabit the remaining forest. Hundreds of birds live in the garden, using the small nooks and crannies as nesting places.

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An important aesthetic feature of the garden is the sense of compression and expansion of space. In moving from one section of the garden to another, the visitor goes through narrow passageways and arrives into broad open courtyards, an integral part of Nek Chand’s design.

In Phase III, Nek Chand’s work has become monumental in scale. He worked without formal plans but directed his workers to construct what he describes. The heart of this section of the garden are the “great swings” dozens of swings that hang from huge concrete arches resembling ancient Roman aqueducts. There are also some special mirrors a which make you small, tall, distorted and funny. Near the courtyard some folk art section has also been added which adds more elegance to the glory of this garden.

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Your eyes cannot escape the labyrinth paths, mosaic masterpieces, water falls who stand in mute testimony to inventiveness of a genius man called Nek Chand.

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Nek Chand Saini passed away at the age of 90 leaving his rock solid legacy behind. His work is an ode to creativity.

41 Comments Add yours

  1. Jasmeen kaur says:

    Summed up perfectly !!!

    Like

  2. SANDEEP says:

    Wow… Good job

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is very pretty, I like your photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. joleisa says:

    Such a creative genius! And the views are so aesthetically pleasing! Thanks for giving us this sneak preview.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. familytalksweekly says:

    Wow this is truly incredible! It’s so interesting to see what other countries and cultures have to offer. These pictures are stunning and I hope they keep this place around for years to come!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! I had no idea this place existed! I’m glad he was able to keep his work because this is stunning!
    Also, “leaving his rock solid legacy behind” gave me a little laugh!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Novel Blondes says:

    This looks like such an enchanting place to explore for a day! What a life’s work! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Phoebe says:

    Wow! I love your pictures, you really captured this place beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Mera says:

    Thanks for sharing that very useful

    Liked by 1 person

  10. beblessed23 says:

    Woow! I love the serenity!! It’a a beautiful place!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow these are some great photos and the story behind these is great. I’m glad to have read this.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hiking Singh says:

    Thanks for the appreciation !!

    Like

  13. Hiking Singh says:

    Thanks for appreciating !!

    Like

  14. Alynda Long says:

    Such gorgeous photos!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Jack Bransson says:

    How could I know if this place existed if it wasn’t for your post. This seems I tetsting place to visit and take pictures. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  16. Geneva Marie says:

    He was a genius indeed. His work is absolutely stunning. A wonderful legacy to leave behind.

    Like

  17. FlySoulmates says:

    wow I never heard about Rock Garden! nice place!

    Like

  18. vballangel5 says:

    Wow this place looks amazing! I’d love to visit some day

    Like

  19. Paul & Lisa says:

    It’s amazing that Nek Chand created the Rock Garden out of recycled material that he found in his spare time. Thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Sarah says:

    Wow! I never even heard of that but your pictures are gorgeous and I will definitely have to add it to our long list of places we want to see! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  21. A nice read into architecture and feature of the place

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Renata says:

    Had never heard of that place – seems real interesting 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. beautiful pictures

    Like

  24. Blair villanueva says:

    Such a beautiful place to visit! And interesting story behind it.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. DD´s blog says:

    Pictures of this place are really breathtaking. I had never heard of this place and this article really awakened curiosity in me to meet and explore it more closely .

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Ziaul Hasan says:

    The place seems magical. A lot of beautiful images..and the writing is also good. very good post.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Amazing! Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  28. Hiking Singh says:

    Thanks for appreciating !!

    Like

  29. Hiking Singh says:

    Thanks for appreciating !!

    Like

  30. itsPavan says:

    Your photography skills are amazing! I love this =D

    Liked by 1 person

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