Our travels took us through Chandigarh. Our Rough Guide (cheaper than Lonely Planet but just as good, I find) advised to visit the magical Rock Gardens. We almost didn’t go. I mean, what could be so special about a bunch of stones? But then we decided to pop our noses in anyways, might as well.
And it is awesome! You can read it up for yourself. But basically Nek Chand secretly built a labyrinth of rocks and rubbish from the city. It is a cool and tranquil place with narrow passages, low arches that separate small garden like spaces filled with statues and abstract art pieces. There are small huts and even waterfalls and streams. The trees growing in the area have just been integrated to form part of the gardens. It is a pensive place that creates a sense of awe, a bit like churches tend to do, but in an arty, rather than a holy way.
When government discovered Chand’s secret, they recognised its artistic value and gave him more land and workers to help. The place was expanded and you can clearly tell the new part from the old: it as taken massive proportion. Sadly the serenity and tranquility is lost and the new part feels more like an abandoned theme park. If I visit again, I will just go to the old part.