Nek Chand's Rock garden of Chandigargh, Punjab, is one of those once-in-a-generational life-affirming encounters. For a measly 10 rupees you can walk through his overwhelming collection of quite unique entities. In fact, less of a collection than a brand new world you never knew existed.
After Partition (1947 for those at the back), whole villages were destroyed in Punjab to make way for the new city of Chandigarh. An abundance of debris such as broken crockery and battered bottles were available to be salvaged for Chand's rather ragga cloak-and-dagger covert hobby - sculpture!
With the fledgling city one huge construction site, it was to be several years before he was busted, by which time his bric-a-brac empire had expanded out of control. Public approval helped overturned the illegal status of his operation and wisely, official sanction gave opportunity for a new lease of life for the fantasy garden. Resources and employees have oscillated over the years and unbelivably, Chand's original vision has yet to be realized! A third and final phaze of the rock garden is under construction, meanwhile the original statues now require maintenance due to their advanced years and original ramshackle production methods.
His beautiful, unique and charismatic army of characters have multiplied to astronomical levels. It's quite something to walk through what amounts to the manifestation of one man's genius, all set in a charming garden of interlinking man-made waterfalls. When I visited the great man himself was onsite and I was given the option of meeting him. But why disturb genius?