Rock garden of Chandigarh
The 'Rock Garden of Chandigarh' is a sculpture garden in the Indian city of Chandigarh, which is also the country's most planned city. The garden is also known as 'Nek Chand's Rock garden' after its founder Nek Chand Saini. Nek Chand's imagination and talent paved the way for the Rock Garden in Chandigarh. Back in the days when India had gained independence, there lived a super-hero artist in the city of Chandigarh. Nek Chand Saini created the beautiful Rock Garden of Chandigarh almost all by himself. He did it by recycling objects from garbage that people had thrown away. At first, he practiced his art in secretly! Now, his sculptures are world famous and are exhibited in museums such as the American Museum of Folk Art in New York, Capitol Children's Museum in Washington D.C. and many others in Europe.
For 18 years, he built his hidden kingdom of sculptures. His secret was discovered at last by the authorities in 1975. Nek Chand was in danger of losing his job and having his art destroyed. But his work was so enchanting that they gave him permission to create a garden. He got a salary and 50 laborers to help him. Nek Chand continued to work from his mud hut. He used the natural layout of the land, water, stones and trees to create his wonderland.
Today, beautiful arches link different parts of the garden, which stretches up to 25 acres. It has more than 2,000 statues, giant swings, deep gorges, streams and a model Punjabi village. Over 5,000 people visit the garden each day. Nek Chand was honored with a Padma Shri in 1984. In 1982, a postage stamp was issued with his work on it. He passed away on June 12, 2015. The garden is now cared for by his son, Anuj Saini and the Nek Chand Foundation.