The Rock Garden is an icon synonymous with the capital city of Chandigarh. Le-Corbeseiur had meticulously planned the city while Nek Chand Saini created an awe-inspiring wonder spanning 40 acres in this very city which has become synonymous with its tourism. This surreal wonderland is the place where the refuse of the society has found a beautiful form in an equally beautiful architectural landscape. It represents one man’s – Nek Chand Saini’s relentless passion in the face of adversities, which, fortunately, had a happy ending.
Where it is located: Chandigarh, Sector 1, just opposite the Sukhna Lake
Timings open: 9 am to 6pm/7 pm
Time required to explore: 4 to 5 hours
Entry fee: Adults – Rs 30; Child – Rs 10
The story of how the Rock Garden came into existence is equally interesting.
While Le Corbusier had been commissioned to plan the beautiful city of Chandigarh, Nek Chand Saini had inadvertently followed his passion on an illegal patch of forest land adjoining the Sukhna lake to create this awe-inspiring garden. He worked singlehandedly and secretly on the refuse collected from the 50 destroyed villages of Punjab to create wonders from waste. Tiles, ceramics, plug sockets, earthen pots, bangles, pipes and many more.
Working relentlessly at nights and on holidays, ignoring his familial obligations, he created this wondrous place which was on the verge of destruction. Having started this as an illegal encroachment, Nek Chand Saini soon legitimized his creations with his sheer genius and passion. Thanks to the government intervention and the public support that he garnered, his garden got recognition and was eventually inaugurated as a public place in 1976. Today, it is a miniature city, a masterpiece in its own right, displaying an amalgamation of art and architecture with the discards of a then upcoming city.
Pictures speak better than words and that’s what exactly I intend to do in this post – upload pics galore of the beautiful Rock Garden of Chandigarh. However, just note that the pics are not uploaded in strict any order of exploration.
This garden city welcomes the visitors with its display of labyrinthine mazes, tiled doorways and archways leading to open courtyards and pavilions. Inviting waterfalls cascading over arched bridges, tall palaces, pavilions, minars, caves, and swimming pools beckon us to take a peek into this world. Amidst these adornments are set hundreds of artifacts – icons, sculptures, dolls and statues – all emerging magically from waste like a phoenix rising from its ashes.
The place is sure to carve a permanent niche in your memories. It is as if you are entering a different beautiful world altogether where all the discarded matter, which otherwise has no place in our everyday life, has found a unique shape and place. It kind of represents a utopian society which is inclusive and welcoming to one and all. As you traverse along the narrow streets and lanes, you discover a sense of royalty in the icons and monuments beckoning us to explore them and satiate our curiosity. There is a surprise awaiting us at each and every corner and each and every bend of this maze-like city.
Immerse yourself into the passion of Nek Chand Saini when you are visiting this Rock Garden and enjoy traversing the narrow lanes of his architectural universe.
Some recent beautiful additions like the doll house have been made to this garden ever since. A cafeteria and a gift shop complete the unique experience here.