Design and Story Telling

Decades ago India got its much deserved freedom from the British Raj. It too came with a price – ‘partition’ that dislocated a lot of people from their home towns. Crowds migrating, refugee camps, broken families, abandoned villages, gave a dark edge to ‘free’ India. It was necessary to show people a hope – a dream of bright future – a fresh start.

The then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, commissioned French architect – Le Corbusier to give form to his vision of a utopia and build the capital city of Chandigarh from scratch. The architect started working on the project and shaping the vision for free India. The grid of roads dividing the canvas of the city into sectors, meticulously organising each of the sectors, planning for the resources and necessities, in short designing a new lifestyle for the citizens.

Amidst all of this was a man, who, like many others, left his home town in Pakistan and came to India. The sight of the ruins of the villages took hime back to the memory lane. In order to get over his nostalgia, he began to collect scraps of bangles, bottles, pots, vessels, and so on from the debris and put them together in a gorge in a forest. He built small sculptures of people and birds out of the scraps. He then gave form to his memories by building series of courtyards and path ways in the forest. His secret world of memories became bigger every day until it was so big that it could not be hidden anymore. The authorities discovered it and were to demolish it as it was illegal. But this place resonated with the people emotionally and so the creator forgiven.

This place officially became the Rock garden of Chandigarh and the name of the creator is Nek Chand Saini.

 rock 001Entrance to the Rock Garden

rock 002Wall made of electrical fuses from the demolition sites

rock 003Pathways demarcated with walls made of earthen pots procured from abandoned homes


rock 005Glimpses of the villages


rock 006River streams


rock 007Impressions of forts and palaces


rock 008Lakes and waterfalls

rock 014

rock 013Tribals


rock 009Impressions of border and military bunkers


rock 011

rock 010

rock 012Sculptures of flocks of men and women and birds seem to be migrating – leaving behind their homes and entering into a new identity


The Rock garden is located near Sukhna Lake on the fringes of Chandigarh. The organic garden gives a perfect contrast to a very well regimented modern city. It is a story narrated through series of spaces that everyone can connect to.

A moving experience designed using landscape, sculpture, architecture and above all, emotional connect.


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