©Nek Chand Foundation
The Rock Garden, the world’s largest visionary environment, is a fantasy kingdom created by Nek Chand Saini (1924–2015). Originally built in secret in a clearing on the outskirts of the newly constructed city of Chandigarh, it eventually gained official recognition and was inaugurated in 1976. Amid acres of woodland, the chambers and courtyards are populated by Chand’s distinctive sculptures, created from cement and waste materials.
The almost 2,000 figures include kings and queens, women collecting water, children exercising, a wedding party, gods, goddesses, beggars, saints and an animal kingdom. Chand later added a waterfall using a pumping station, along with bridges, gorges, passageways and streams. The final phase of the environment includes an even larger waterfall, an amphitheatre, a snaking arcade with giant swings, and large walkways with life-size mosaic animals. A museum building and return walkways are still to be completed.