Rock Garden Remains an Enigma for Inquisitive Visitors


While on a pleasure trip to Chandigarh, the proverbial City Beautiful, your quest to know more about the historic Rock Garden, sprawled over 40 acres of land, never gets satiated. This one-man-created wonderland continues to remain a conundrum for an inquisitive visitor!

Conceptualised and created out of industrial waste and discarded material, including broken crockery, electrical fittings, glass bangles, bathroom tiles, discarded bottles, shards of ceramic, pots and pans, broken pipes, et al, it remains an undisputed Mecca for tourists worldwide.

statuettes at Rock garden Chandigarh

The material that the lone ranger ferried on his Victorian bicycle from far-off places was used to sculpt out nearly 2,000 statuettes of humans and wild neighbours, including elephants, bears, horses, monkeys, and birds, turning it into a kind of utopia. The specially carved-out cataracts of brown water add to its natural ambiance offering it a surreal touch.

specially carved out cataracts of brown water

As you leisurely walk into this imaginary paradise of concrete, the Rock Garden of Chandigarh, you sense the all-pervading paradisiacal serenity around the fairyland. As you thread your way through the narrow cobbled pathways skirted by shady trees, you catch a glimpse of village belles with earthen pitchers precariously perched on their heads, kids in school dress, Army ‘jawans’ attending their morning drill, the hawk-eyed sentinel guarding the frontiers, a beggar with his begging bowl, ‘yoga’ freaks doing ‘asanas’, a village well and so on and so forth, instantaneously transporting you to an entirely different world offering a typical rural metaphor.

Rock Garden Chandigarh

The very idea of creating this dream kingdom of a kind by a self-taught master creator remains an enigma for researchers and erudite scholars to explore and pen the one man’s vision behind this Himalayan effort, for posterity. The wizard at making the best out of waste, Nek Chand, had confided to a nosey scribe on his mind and mission: “I have put in my humble effort by way of collecting the waste from faraway places and ferrying it to the designated spot. I have never ever, in my wildest dreams, thought it would turn out to be the most visited spot worldwide after the historic Taj Mahal, witnessing huge footfalls, day in and day out. It would have ended up as a bad dream without the presence of the divine”.

Rock Garden Bio carved on Stone

The Rock Garden of Chandigarh had to leapfrog initial hurdles before making the final cut. The Chandigarh Administration was all for razing the Utopia raised on public land. However, the year 1975 augured well when some art lovers went gun-blazing against the administration’s decision to demolish the rare jewel of the City, following which the idea was junked, clearing the road for unveiling it on January 24, 1976. The rest is history.

Stair view at Rock Garden


It is a matter of grave concern that the idea of raising a befitting memorial to perpetuate the memory of the creator has failed to take off decades after work started to take it forward in 2008-09. The museum, which had to come up in extended Phase III of the Garden, was hit by official wrangles.

The idea behind raising the memorial was to perpetuate the fond memories of his eventful journey spanning over several decades, by putting together his personal belongings for posterity, including the bicycle he used for ferrying waste material, among several others, like books on art and culture, newspaper cuttings et al.

earthen pitchers

However, the much-awaited Dolls Museum came up at phase III of the Rock Garden of Chandigarh in memory of the legend. Woven out of waste cloth by Nek Chand in the 70s, the museum houses some 200 rags dolls of various shapes and sizes. Inspired by a typical village scene, the museum candidly unfolds the day-to-day activity through mute images, including women drawing water from the village well, milking buffalos, farmers tending fields, a village well, women on a spinning wheel, and so on. The museum was inaugurated by the Governor of Punjab and Administrator, Chandigarh Administration, VP Singh Badnore in 2017.

“There is no denying the fact that the administration is taking a keen interest in maintaining the unique marvel, but much more needs to be done to protect it from further decay,” Anuj Saini, son of the creator of Rock Garden Nek Chand told CityWoofer.

Keeping the garden spic and span is nice, but more important is to maintain every single part of this wonderland. It is encouraging to note that the UT Adviser Dharam Pall has ordered complete the Phase-III pending work within a stipulated period of two months, ahead of the G-20 meet slated for January next year.


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Kishore Kumar Sharma
Kishore Kumar Sharma
1 year ago

No doubt that Rock Garden is very mesmerizing creation and it’s beauty is beggers description but you have done great justice with wonderfully chosen words…