Making best out of waste is not only challenging but also adventurous. The Rock Garden of Chandigarh is testimony of this concept. It is also known as Nek Chand's Rock Garden after its founder Nek Chand, a government official who started the garden in his spare time in 1957. Today it spreads over an area of forty-acres (160,000 m²). It is the only garden in Bharat which is completely built of industrial, home waste and discarded items.
|Rock Garden of Ranchi
This Rock Garden is carved out of the rocks of Gonda Hill and resembles its design to Rock Garden of Jaipur.
Since the site where Rock Garden stands today was also used as a dumping ground for urban and industrial waste, Nek Chand picked up pieces of foundry from urban and industrial waste, lime-kiln and metal workshop wastes and shaped them with his creative genius into human, animal or abstract forms. These pieces have been innovatively displayed as sculptures in the garden.
Chandigarh’s Rock Garden is an epitome of creativity and innovation. It is a unique garden that consists of various art objects. It is located in Sector 1 between the Capitol Complex and Sukhna Lake. Rock garden has been established in the form of an open-air exhibition hall. The garden houses sculptures made by using a variety of different discarded waste materials like frames, mudguards, forks, handle bars, metal wires, play marbles, porcelain, auto parts, broken bangles etc.
Chandigarh Rock Garden
As you enter Rock Garden, the path will lead you through a series of maze-like arches, tunnels and bridges, with passages leading into open-air galleries full of sculptures made out of broken glass bangles, ceramic pottery, wires, etc; each even more striking than the one before. At some point, midway through the place, the walls close in and then open out to a stretch of waterfall, with the stream of water leading from it occasionally housing a group of quacking ducks. Be sure to peer closely at the walls you pass; you will find them to be made of broken plates, sockets, gunny bags, glass bangles- all bound together with cement. The thousands of sculptures that stand today in the shape of human beings, birds, monkeys, soldiers, are entirely made of waste material that Nek Chand collected over the years.
The layout of the garden is based on the fantasy of a lost kingdom. The moment one enters the garden, the small entrance doors which make the head bow, not only create an ambience of royal but also impart humbleness.
The main attraction of the park is the Water Fall near Sukhna Lake. The garden is visited by over five thousand people daily, with a total of more than twelve million visitors since its inception. The Teej Festival, when the Rock Garden assumes a festive look, holds a special attraction for tourists. The Rock Garden appeared on an Indian stamp in 1983.
How to make your own rock garden
It is not necessary that Rock Garden is made only on land. It can be made on a terrace or in a balcony of your house. Choose plants that will grow well in your soil, the resulting rock garden will need very little attention; just the occasional weeding and watering. By using the same type of rock in a variety of shapes and sizes you can create a wonderful contrast between the rocks and the flowers. After all the hard work is done, just sit back and enjoy your rock garden as it blends into the landscape. Rock gardens are once again in vogue, because they really fit today's lifestyle with limited time for gardening.
What is a Rock Garden?
Contrary to what you might think, a rock garden isn't simply a garden filled with rocks, unless of course you are Japanese. Generally, a rock garden has plants too. The Japanese have for centuries used specially designed Zen rock gardens as a way to try to reach enlightenment. However, for those of us who are not into meditation and Zen, rock gardens with plants can still offer a relaxing and beautiful space in the yard.
Rock Gardens in India
Besides the Rock Garden of Chandigarh there are few other Rock Gardens in our country. They are:
Rock Garden of Darjeeling
Utsav Rock Garden
Orvakallu Rock Garden
Rock Garden of Ranchi
Rock Garden History
Although the use of rocks as decorative and symbolic elements in gardens can be traced back to very early Chinese and Japanese gardens, rock gardens dedicated to growing alpine plants have a shorter history. During the age of the great plant explorers (basically the 1800s) there was great interest in the exotic discoveries being brought back to England, and people wanted to successfully grow these amazing new treasures. Although others had previously written about growing alpine plants, it was Reginald Farrer that, with the 1919 publication of his two-volume book The English Rock Garden, literally rocked the gardening world for the first time. —Aniket Raja