A Fantastic Kingdom: Rock Garden

Rock Garden (Image: MouthShut ) “One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of an extraordinary ma...

Rock Garden (Image: MouthShut)

“One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of an extraordinary man” – Elbert Hubbard

Everyone desire a kingdom of their own at some point of life! When I was a child, I used to imagine having a tree house same as the intelligent owl owned in ‘Simba: The King Lion’. It seemed so excited to have something very different and unique. It was a passion to own a peaceful house full of magical books and medicines that can cure almost anything and having so many friends. Many children like me dreamt of getting something which is not possible practically. But Nek Chand turned out different from others!

He created kingdom of his dreams. He gave shape to his ideas and made something which was almost hard for others to even think about. The roots of this kingdom lie in his childhood. It was when he was in Pakistan before partition took place. He liked to build forts with stones along the bank of the stream that flowed through his village and once when he got broken bangles, he made figures with clay and decorated it with those broken bangles.

It was after Partition that they moved to Delhi and when his parents did, they moved to Chandigarh in 1951. He was an inspector of roads for PWD when Chandigarh was becoming the first planned city of India. When he saw land which was controversial and had no way to come and go, he got an idea to construct the kingdom of his dreams there.

He was the only king known who built his kingdom himself and made it in such a way that people will get inspiration through it whenever they’ll see it. He used to work daily after 5:00pm there. In spite of going his home back, he turned his way and used to go towards Shivalik hills. He constructed his mud cabin there where he used to sit. Day after day, he was finding treasure in his work. 

It took him 17 years to cover 13 acres area of his kingdom. He tried to recreate his life in his village with some animations of his dreams. His kingdom had common people, dancer, musicians, rivers, waterfalls, temples, alleys and everything which he dreamt of!

Rock garden is having its own open air theater along the sides of ground where you can see people observing and sitting. It appears very attractive and colorful. It was not just about the Kingdom that he had made but he made it all with waste!

Knowingly or unknowingly, he was contributing in waste management. As Chandigarh was becoming a planned city, he easily got discarded things at nearby place. This created more treasure to him and he used to collect waste plastic bottles, bangles, shards of crockery, sanitary ware, old tires, glass beads, electrical fittings and other waste things which he liked.

He used to carry these things to his secret site. Although his work was illegal, so when authorities came to clear the forest in 1975, they discovered this hidden kingdom there. He was expected to be fired but when officials saw it, they encouraged him more.

He was appointed as sub-divisional engineer to Rock Garden with a salary and 50 laborers to help him. Collection points were set up around the city to bring ragged material to him that he needed.

It was officially opened by him on January 24, 1976. More than 2.5 lakh people visit here annually and the garden is maintained by Nek Chand Foundation, formed in 1996.

It is really an inspiration to the world. He had always considered himself insignificant but the work he had done is significant to the whole mankind!

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