Chandigarh’s Rock Garden – Recycling Waste
A glorious testament to the artistic and intrinsic value of trash stands in the middle of the northern Indian city of Chandigarh, the capital of Punjab and Haryana, India’s storied northwestern state on the border of Pakistan.
Created by celebrated artist Nek Chand, the garden highlights the value of materials many people consider trash.
For Chand, the Rock Garden is an expression of his hope for humanity and an idea that came to him four decades ago. “It all started out of personal curiosity,” said Chand, emphasizing that while others looked at trash as a problem that needed to be “hidden away,” he saw it as something that could be creatively transformed into art.
Chand began building with recycled materials when he constructed a small hut to represent the “reuse-reduce-recycle” concept. He started building his trash garden in the 1950s with urban and industrial waste, using everything he could lay his hands on, including stones and boulders to represent humans and animals.
Little did he know what he was starting.
Today, a visitor to the 10-hectare (25-acre) sprawl that is Chand’s ode to sustainable development is amazed—discarded tube lights, rusting oil drums, broken tiles, shattered china and sanitary ware, glass bangles, unused building material—all are transformed through vision and art into a fantastic world. Street lights, burnt bricks, electrical fittings and wires, caps from soda bottles, bicycle handle bars, and even human hair harvested from barbers’ shops—all are grist for Chand’s art.