India’s Vast Trash Garden a Monument to Recycling
in Chandigarh, Punjab, India
for National Geographic News
October 7, 2002
A glorious testament to the artistic and intrinsic value of trash stands in the middle of the northern Indian city of Chandigarh, the capital of Punjab and Haryana, India’s storied northwestern state on the border of Pakistan.
Rock Garden in Chandigarh on Flickr – briandubois
Called the “Rock Garden,” this sprawling amusement “kingdom” has been made completely from waste materials.
“Built of industrial waste and thrown-away items, the Rock Garden in the city of Chandigarh is perhaps the world’s most poignant and salient statement of the possibility of finding beauty in the unexpected and accidental.” Carl Lindquist – Nek Chand’s Rock Garden at Chandigarh, India
Created by celebrated artist Nek Chand, the garden highlights the value of materials many people consider trash.
For Chand, the Rock Garden is an expression of his hope for humanity and an idea that came to him four decades ago. “It all started out of personal curiosity,” said Chand, emphasizing that while others looked at trash as a problem that needed to be “hidden away,” he saw it as something that could be creatively transformed into art.
Nek Chand started building his trash garden in the 1950s with urban and industrial waste, using everything he could lay his hands on, including stones and boulders to represent humans and animals. Pallava Bagla – India’s Vast Trash Garden a Monument to Recycling
Who is Nek Chand?
Nek Chand, a humble transport official in the north Indian city of Chandigarh, began to clear a little patch of jungle to make himself a small garden area.
He set stones around the little clearing and before long had sculpted a few figures
recycled from materials he found at hand.
Gradually Nek Chand’s creation developed and grew;
before long it covered several acres
and comprised of hundreds of sculptures
set in a series of interlinking courtyards.
After his normal working day Chand worked at night, in total secrecy for fear of being discovered by the authorities.
When they did discover Chand’s garden, local government officials were thrown into turmoil. The creation was completely illegal – a development in a forbidden area which by rights should be demolished.
The outcome, however, was the enlightened decision to give Nek Chand a salary so that he could concentrate full-time on his work, plus a workforce of fifty labourers.
Nek Chand’s great work received immediate recognition and was inaugurated as The Rock Garden of Chandigarh.
Now over twenty five acres of several thousand sculptures set in large mosaic courtyards
linked by walled paths and deep gorges,
with a series of interlinking waterfalls.
The Rock Garden is now acknowledged as one of the modern wonders of the world. Over 5000 visitors each day, some 12 million people so far, walk around this vast creation – the greatest artistic achievement seen in India since the Taj Mahal. Nek Chand Foundation
Where is Chandigarh?
Lower Shivalik Mountains on Sukhna Lake on Flickr – Pradeep
Chandigarh is located near the foothills of the Shivalik range of the Himalayas in Northwest India.
Chandigarh, also called City Beautiful, is a city in India that serves as the capital of two states, Punjab and Haryana, and is a union territory of India.
Known internationally for its architecture and urban planning,
Chandigarh is home to numerous architectural projects of Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Matthew Nowicki, and Albert Mayer.
The city boasts a high standard of living with the highest per capita income in the country. Chandigarh – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tags: art, mosaic, mosaic art, recycled art, outsider art, nek chand, rock garden, garden art, chandigarh, india, waterfall, sculpture, trash art, rocks, pebbles, ceramic tile, picassiete, pique assiette, modern art, architecture, le corbusier