Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Summer Travels 2010 - Part 13: The Nek Chand Rock Garden in Chandigarh, India

Probably Chandigarh's most well-known attraction, the Nek Chand Rock Garden, is a fantastical labyrinth of sculptures, pavilions, water falls, valleys, squares, and tunnels, all constructed from various discarded materials such as broken tiles and pottery as well as copious amount of concrete. The whole creation is the brain child of Nek Chand Saini, a roads inspector who began collecting materials from construction and demolition sites around the newly developed city in the late 1950s. He began assembling them into his own "kingdom" on forested public land in the north of the city which had been barred from development. By the time his activities were discovered in 1975, his fanciful garden had grown substantially and there was considerable public support for the preservation of the site. The garden became a public park in 1976, and Mr. Saini was given a salary and a workforce to continue its development.

One of the many passages, this one covered in white tile fragments and decorated with sculptures of animals - I am not sure what kind they are supposed to be - humans

A sprawling set of steps in one of the courtyards

Mangrove-like tree trunks made from concrete

 
A waterfall descending beneath an airy pavilion


A large open square with multiple levels
Another large waterfall
Some very colorful peacock sculptures

The park is open daily and the entrance fee is very small, though I forget what the exact ticket price was. If you want to find out more you can also visit the website of  The Nek Chand Foundation, though I think some of the information might not be entirely up-to-date.

5 comments:

  1. I think this place look quite majestic and ancient.

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  2. What an amazing-looking place - but did you like it? It goes to show what a person with a vision and determination can accomplish. Somehow it fits to the concept of Chandigarh - isn't that the city that was created on the drawing board? You're having a fabulous journey!

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  3. Autumn Belle - It does indeed. Some portions of it are quite impressive and it is hard to believe they are only a few decades old.

    Barbara - I thought it was very interesting and I enjoyed exploring the place but the design and the artwork are not really my cup of tea. It really does appear to fit in with parts of Chandigarh, though, especially the Punjab government complex designed by Le Corbusier which has a lot of futuristic structures built in raw concrete.

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  4. How interesting to see such different gardens. The Mango tree roots are fascinating in that setting.

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  5. That waterfall looks like the one in Bibi ka maqbara (Aurangabad)

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