The Rock Garden of Chandigarh – built on waste materials and discarded items


The Rock Garden is a sculpture garden in Chandigarh is spread over an area of forty acres and entirely built of industrial and home waste plus discarded items. Sculptures are made using bottles, glasses, bangles, tiles, ceramic pots, sinks and electrical waste and garden also has man-made interlinked waterfalls.

It is also known as Nek Chand’s Rock Garden after its founder Nek Chand, a government official who started the garden secretly in his spare time in 1957 by collecting waste material from demolition sites around Chandigarh.

He then recycled these materials and chose a gorge in the forest near Sukhna Lake to carry out the recycling. The gorge had been designated as a land conservancy, a forest buffer established in 1902 that nothing could be built on. Chand’s work was illegal but well-hidden from the authorities for 18 years, before it was discovered in 1975. By then, it had grown into a 12-acre complex of interlinked courtyards, each filled with hundreds of concrete sculptures of dancers, musicians and animals. Chand’s work was on the verge of being demolished but he got public opinion on his side.

In 1976, the park was inaugurated as a public space and Chand was given a salary, title and 50 laborers to work on the Rock Garden.

The garden is still made out of recycled materials and Chand has even set up collection centres around the city for collecting waste materials