A visit to the Rock Garden, which is a testament to human ingenuity, creativity and perseverance, is a surreal experience. The garden is an open-air exhibition hall that is the work of a single artist, Nek Chand. It comprises a series of interlinked courtyards, each of which contains a number of similarly themed sculptures created out of a melange of raw materials. According to what has now become local legend, Nek Chand began working on his rock garden at night, after completing work at his regular day job in the early 1960s. He created sculptures with whatever raw material he could find easily at hand. He worked in secrecy for the fear of being caught and reprimanded as the land on which he had begun carving out a small garden for himself was not legally his. When the authorities found out, they were surprised to find the splendid work that he had been able to do on his own. Fortunately, they took the decision to acknowledge his genius and provide him with a salary for his creative work so that he could concentrate full-time on creating the Rock Garden. He was also provided a workforce of about 50 men, who were to assist him in the humongous project. In fact, Nek Chand set up a local network whereby broken crockery and discarded material could be sent to him for being recycled into these magnificent sculptures.

The unpretentious entrance of the Rock Garden is misleading at best. As soon as one enters it, one is treated to many arrangements and sculptures. There are vast sets, dreamlike arrangements of rocks and sculptures, all ranging from ethnic statues to a group of astronauts sitting with folded legs. It can be both a trip to dreamland and a tumble down Alice’s rabbit hole. The waterfalls, bridges, alleys and cavernous pathways make it an adventure one is not likely to forget. 

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