Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nek Chand's Rock Garden

{A Junk-Art Eden in the Middle of the City}













We're back! It took bus, taxi, rickshaw and paddle boat, but we're back from marvelous, mega Chandigarh. So many pictures to share, but today I'll just give you the Nek Chand Fantasy Rock Garden, which might just be the most enchanting place I've been in India. And which deserves a little explanation:

In 1951 a diminutive road inspector named Nek Chand started making sculptures from the bulldozer piles of rubble cleared away for the new planned city of Chandigarh. With mattresses, dishes, broken bangles and a lot of cement, he constructed -in secret!- an eighteen-acre folk-art kingdom in a jungle-hidden gorge. His efforts went undetected for almost two decades until some government land surveyors stumbled upon it; turns out the place was built on government property. Oops. But instead of demolishing it the authorities supplied Chand with an army of workers to help him complete his vision and, in turn, develop what might be the world's most magical recycling center.  Anyone looking to work alongside the charming 85-year old Chand and volunteer there for a few weeks, click here. Pretty rad, right?

For more folk-art kingdoms, see old posts on Leonard Knight's Salvation Mountain near the Salton Sea, and Noah Purifoy's place in Joshua Tree. I know asking you to come to Chandigarh to see the Rock Garden is a tall order, but people, if you're ever in Southern California I DEMAND you go see these two places. No arguing. Just pack a picnic and GO.

16 comments:

  1. love this! incredibly inspiring and magical from your pictures so i imagine even more so in person!
    another place to check out Philadelphia's magic gardens created by the artist Isaiah Zagar
    http://www.philadelphiasmagicgardens.org/
    -carol m

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  2. Ohhh, I'm so jealous!!! I would love to see this in person. Thanks for sharing your pictures. (experiencing vicarious joy and wonder!)

    Did you know he came to the US in the 1980's to built a magic rock garden at the National Children's Museum in DC? I was totally enchanted with it as a child.

    I was going to recommend that those who can't make it to India go there but.. As it turns out the museum has moved and the garden was disassembled.

    Fortunately, parts of the original DC garden are now on display at the American Folk Art Museum... not nearly as magical as the real thing but it would be a little taste for those who cant make it to India just yet.

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  3. You lucky woman! This is one place I've always wanted to see.
    I am shocked that the government authorities didn't destroy it. Another of my country's strange surprises I guess.

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  4. Amazing! It sounds like a place dreams are made of.

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  5. that is so incredible! it would be neat to see how things evolved over the time he was building it, before and after he got help...and what an amazing person he must be! to think of building all that...

    i wish the canadian govt would react like that! unless it's been commissioned, it's fair game to be demolished. sigh.

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  6. Absolutely enchanting! I'm really taken with the girl's embroidered sweater and the swings... This place should be on my list of places to visit oneday!

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  7. How awesome is this!! Love all the animals! And I thought the Watts Towers were a pretty cool recycling project. Leave it to you to expand my horizons ;)

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  8. And go to Salvation Mountain soon to see Leonard while he is still around!

    If it was that easy, I'd go see this place in a heart beat!

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  9. so glad you made it back in one piece, cherie! how did the luna bars fare? and are those fabulous indian women swinging on SWINGS? so enchanting. also, a request: i'd like to ride an elephant when i come a la the little princess. love you!

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  10. Enchanting, indeed. Seen through the eyes of one whom finds joy in the simple things, the color of a long braid, the gloopy formations from one's imagination, the designs created from a pair of hands. All so charming and magical, along with your visions, Ms. Lily. Such treasures of the soul to keep.

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  11. i just love dudes like chand....they make the world so much more rad...i also love that you used the word rad...which is one of my favorite dork words!!!!:)

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  12. I have such a boring life.

    This is what I think everytime I read your blog. But don't worry about me, keep it up!! I want to know more about India.

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  13. Wow these photos are so incredible! I love the one of the young girl on the swing. Lily, what camera do you use?? How are you by the way?? Hugs and Love! xo

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  14. It looks like Indian park Güell! Such a magical place!
    Kisses from the Czech Republic, I like your blog sooo much!

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  15. Nek chands rock garden is really appreciable. The main thing is the person made different types of the things from the useless material.

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