Chandigarh's Rock Garden is unique: it's the surreal fantasy of the much-missed Nek Chand (1924–2015), a local transport official who, starting in 1957, spent almost 20 years personally creating more than 2000 sculptures using stones, debris and other discarded junk that was left over from the 50-odd villages destroyed in order to build the city of Chandigarh. Today, entering this fantastical, 7-hectare (18-acre) sculpture garden is like falling down a rabbit hole into the labyrinthine interior of one man’s imagination.
Materials used in the construction of the garden range from concrete and steel drums to light switches, broken bathroom sinks, terracotta scrap and bicycle frames. Highlights include a legion of dancing girls made from broken glass bangles and a graceful arcade of towering arches with dangling rope swings. Nek Chand worked at night to begin with, to keep his eccentric masterpiece from the prying eyes of the city authorities, before they eventually realised the worth of his project and came on board, helping him to expand the site to its current proportions. Visit the website for more on the Nek Chand story.