Friday, September 20, 2013

Nek Chard's Rock Garden

We were told on arrival that one of the best things about Chandigarh, one of the "don't-misses", was a rock garden. A collection of things made from junk. Art. This I had to see!

After the other sights of the city, and truth be told, feeling pretty under-whelmed by them all, we reached the entrance to the Garden. Adorned with mosaic of bits of tile, the walls of the outside of the Garden had heron-like birds perched on top - clearly made from concrete and tile pieces.

The tiny window low down in the wall accepted our rupees, and we walked in, bemused at what we were about to experience.

The first sections within the maze of Chard's vision create tunnels and low doors, and areas of waterfalls and bridges, platforms and walls of electrical plastic. Originally a dumping ground for industrial and urban waste, there is nothing Chard has not found a use for. The list of materials used include toilet porcelain, discarded street lights, auto parts, play marbles, crockery, human hair recovered from barber shop floors, and broken bangles.

The biggest area, called the Third Phase, is an amphitheatre of mosaic tiles, with a series of archways with swings to play on, a mini-train running around, and a collection of laughing mirrors. Little set up scenes of stories with quirky figures, trees sculpted from concrete. I couldn't make this up if I tried!

The little guys at the top of the post are made with broken toilet bits. The ladies next up owe their colours to the abundance of bangles on Indian girls' wrists. Many creatures are made from these. Amazing! Chard's apprentices have been doing some concrete sculpting for the skirts of the next figures. Plates and bowls make up the background for the guys below.

Enchanting, bizarre, and a world of laughs and surprises. You can see more of my photos from our hours of wandering and marveling here. Definitely one of the most peculiar travel sights I have experienced.

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