It has been a long time coming, but finally we are sharing with you the fantstic Rock Garden by self taught Indian artist Nek Chand. This eighteen-acre sculpture garden in the city of Chandigarh is a fantastically mystical space, started in secret in 1957 and kept hidden for 18 years.
It began with a gorge in a forest near Sukhna Lake, an area ideal for Chand to transform into his vision of ‘the divine kingdom of Sukrani’. After working on the garden at night to remain undetected, a complex layout of curved paths, mazes, and courtyards eventually emerged. When it was finally discovered in 1975 it had already grown to encompass 12 acres. Despite being illegally built Chand’s creation captured the hearts of the locals and, rather than being demolisted, it was made into a public space, with Chand given a salary and workers to maintain the space.
Starting with materials collected from demolition sites, Chand crafted the fantasy world, producing a large amount of sculptures – dancing figures and animals – decorated with discarded ceramics, glass, pipes, and tiles. After the garden’s discovery and change in status, collection sites were set up around the city to obtain more materials.
Today it is a highly popular attraction with thousands of tourists visiting every day. It’s a wonderful, ethereal space with a magical atmosphere that is still inspiring five years after the passing of its gifted creator, and will continue to bring joy for decades to come.
A new post by Hanna Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, November 2020.