The Rock Garden of Chandigarh is a sculpture garden in Chandigarh, India, also known as Nek Chand Rock Garden after its founder Nek Chand, a government official who started the garden secretly in his spare time in 1957. Today it is spread over an area of 40 acres. It is completely built of industrial and home waste and throw-away items.
The garden is most famous for its sculptures made from recycled ceramic.
In his spare time, Nek Chand started collecting materials from demolition sites around the city. He recycled these materials into his own vision of the divine kingdom of Sukrani, choosing a gorge in a forest near Sukhna Lake for his work. 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 he was able to hide it for 18 years before it was discovered by the authorities in 1975. By this time, it had grown into a 12-acre complex of interlinked courtyards, each filled with hundreds of pottery-covered concrete sculptures of dancers, musicians, and animals.
His work was in danger of being demolished, but he was able to get public opinion on his side. In 1976 the park was inaugurated as a public space. Nek Chand was given a salary, a title ("Sub-Divisional Engineer, Rock Garden"), and 50 labourers so that he could concentrate full-time on his work. It appeared on an Indian stamp in 1983. The Rock Garden is still made out of recycled materials. With the government’s help, Chand was able to set up collection centers around the city for waste, especially rags and broken ceramics.