The Rock Garden of Chandigarh, India
"One day, 36 years ago, 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
laborers. 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,
Nek Chand's creation also combines huge buildings 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 the vast creation - the greatest
artistic creation seen in India since the Taj Mahal."