S o cke t W a ll
Nek Chand built this monument in Chandigarh, over 40 years ago. It is said he was clearing a small patch of jungle to make a garden, and began to set stones around a clearing. Soon he found that he had sculpted some figures from recycled junk materials. This grew and developed into the large Rock Garden it is now. This took some time, and Nek was worried about it being discovered by authorities. Eventually it was – and it was illegal, and some called for its demolition because of this.
However Chandigarh is not a place where precedent sets rules. Nek Chand was paid for his work, and encouraged by the government, who provided workers for him. Today the garden is over 25 acres with sculptures made of rocks, electrical sockets, glass bottles and other discarded items. 5000 people visit each day.
Chandigarh is a modern city in India, known as "the city beautiful". Not only modern in that it was founded in the 1950s, after partition, but in design for that period, having largely been designed by Le Corbusier.
When the Punjab was partitioned between India and newly formed Pakistan, Punjab in India had no capital as the former seat of parliament now sat in Lahore, Pakistan. It’s function is also somewhat unique in that it is a union territory (like the ACT in Australia) and capital of two states – Punjab, and Haryana. Haryana is a predominantly Hindu former part of Punjab, and the local language (Haryanvi) is a mix of Punjabi and Hindi. It does still have a considerable Sikh population and culturally is Punjabi.
Many options were considered, and it was decided to start afresh and build Chandigarh. Much of the design work was done by Le Corbusier and was in stark contrast to a land where civilisation is thousands of years old. Wide streets, right angles, neat buildings.