Post by CuriousJM on Jun 12, 2015 10:04:05 GMT
This post was originally made by me in (now frozen) Google Earth Community and is being reproduced here as a tribute to Nek Chand Saini, who died on the intervening night of 11th/12th June 2015, at the ripe old age of 90.
RIP Nek Chand you are gone but your name will remain immortalized through your legacy, the beautiful Rock Garden.
The Rock Garden at Chandigarh, India, is unique sculpture garden in the sense that it was built clandestinely by one man, in a reserved jungle land, over a period of 18 years, before it was discovered by the authorities. By the time of its discovery it had grown to a size of about 12-acre (49,000 sq. metres) and had a vast collections of statues and figurines built from scrap and pilfered material.
Its creator, Nek Chand Saini, a young refugee from the recently created Pakistan, joined Punjab State Public Works Department (PWD) in 1950 as road inspector. At that time the city of Chandigarh, India's first planned city, was being built, based on the designs of famous architect Le Corbusier and Nek Chand was looking after the stores.
In 1957-58 he set upon to create statues from the waste material like broken ceramics, bangles, rubble stones etc and installed these secretly in a small patch of jungle adjoining the store depot under his control. He used to work in spare hours as well as in the night. As his collection grew he started pilfering the store for construction material and also utilised the labour working in store for clearing the jungle and constructing platforms for his artwork. He escaped detection because at that time the stores were set away from the main road and the quantity of Government material pilfered by him was peanuts as compared to massive construction activities which were going around in creating the Chandigarh city. Perhaps he balanced his books by showing the items pilfered as wastage.
Upon its discovery 1976 the authorities were in a dilemma. Some officials wanted it to be declared illegal and demolished alongwith punitive action against Nek Chand, while others felt that it should be preserved. Ultimately opinion of the public and art lovers prevailed. The Rock Garden as well as its creator were spared. The Government took over control of the Garden and officially made Nek Chand its in-charge so that he could openly work full time. Later Rock Garden Society was established to look after the Garden. The Central Government also honoured Nek Chand and bestowed on him Padma Shri (4th highest civilian award) and a stamp was also issued in 1983 depicting a sculpture from the Garden.
The Rock Garden is now spread over forty acres (160,000 sq. metres) of land with several thousand sculptures set within large mosaic courtyards linked by walled paths and deep gorges with waterfalls. Even after official recognition all the later additions were made out of recycled materials. Nek Chand with the help of local authorities has established collection centres all over the city to collect waste material especially rags and broken ceramics.
The Rock Garden has achieved a fame and tourist traffic reportedly second only to the Taj Mahal. About 5000 persons visit it every day.
Image from Flickr is by raminders
View location in Google Maps
Main source of info and more info: nekchand.com
rock-garden-chandigarh.kmz (2.97 KB)