Nek Chand Rock Garden is a sculpture garden in Chandigarh. Located in a gorge in a forest near Sukhna Lake, Rock Garden is a unique Garden made up of recycled scrap material. It has been created in the lines of Sukrani, a divine kingdom as per the vision of its founder Nek Chand. Spread over 40 acres, the Garden has beautiful creations made up of industrial waste, home waste and throw-away items! The Rock Garden is not only beatuiful but also an inspiration for Sustainable Living.
The Rock Garden is located between the capital complex and Sukhna Lake in Sector1. It is easily accessible by Taxi, Bus and Rickshaw. The garden is open to tourists daily from 10 am to 7 pm, except on Thursdays and public holidays.
Nek Chand was a government official who had a passion for gardening. He had a vision of the divine kingdom of Sukrani. During his spare time, he collected scrap and waste material from demolition sites around the city. Nek Chand also roamed the Shivalik foothills and picked up stones resembling birds, animals, humans and abstract forms. After recycling the materials, he created Rock Garden in 1957, as per his vision of Sukrani. What he did was illegal! Remarkably, he kept this secret hidden from authorities for 18 long years. Finally this was discovered in 1975 by the authorities who were contemplating demolition. But Nek Chand rallied Public Opinion and was able to get the Rock Garden declared as a Public Space. To top it all, he also got a salary, the title of Sub-Divisional Engineer and a labour force to complete the garden. He was awarded the coveted Indian civilian award, Padma Shri in 1983. His sculpture also appeared on an Indian postage stamp. Nek Chand got international acclaim as well. He was awarded the Grande Médaille de Vermeil in Paris in 1980.
The Rock Garden is spread over 40 acres and features objects like palaces, soldiers, monkeys, village life, women and temples. The material used in creating these masterpieces are largely rocks, boulders, broken chinaware, discarded fluorescent tubes, glass bangles, building waste, coal and clay. Rock Garden has 14 sections in the lines of Sukrani, the divine kingdom. The prominent sections are a forecourt housing natural rock-forms, a chamber with a pond and a hut, the main court where the king’s throne is surrounded by natural stone forms depicting gods and even a swimming pool.
The third phase of the garden features water falls, open air theatre, a village, mountains, over-bridges and pavilions. These are connected by small doorways where you need to bend humbly and pass through.
The whole landscape is embellished with archways, vestibules, streets and lanes.
The Rock Garden adorns a festive look in July-Sep during the Teej Festival. School children stage plays in the surreal backdrop of the Rock Garden. Women adorn their hands with traditional Mehandi and receive gifts from the Men folk. During the festival, Rock Garden showcases women’s accessories like bangles, mehendi, and other makeup items.
Rock Garden is a masterpiece which transports the visitor into a surreal world where Beauty and Sustainable living coexist.
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