Close to the Capital Complex, the Rock Garden is a surreal fantasyland fashioned from fragments of shattered plates, neon strip-lights, pots, pebbles, broken bangles and assorted urban-industrial junk. The open-air exhibition is a labour of love from of retired Public Works Department road inspector Nek Chand. Inspired by a recurrent childhood dream, he began construction in 1965. His intention was to create just a small garden, but by the time it was discovered in 1973 – to widespread astonishment – it covered 12 acres. Though it was completely illegal, the city council recognized it as a great artistic endeavour and, in a conspicuously enlightened decision, awarded Chand a salary to continue his work, and a workforce of fifty labourers to help. Opened to the public in 1976, the garden now covers 25 acres and contains several thousand sculptures.

Now over 85, Nek Chand continues to oversee work on the site, a labyrinth of more than a dozen different enclosures interconnected by narrow passages, arched walkways, streams, bridges, grottos, waterfalls, battlements and turrets. Stick to the path, or you could end up wandering the maze until the chowkidar finds you at closing time.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

India features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

In pictures: the little-visited treasures of South India

In pictures: the little-visited treasures of South India

After a week-long whistle-stop tour of central India's least-visited attractions, travel writer and photographer Lottie Gross shares her favourite photos. In…

07 Mar 2017 • Lottie Gross insert_drive_file Article
Indian trains: a traveller's survival guide

Indian trains: a traveller's survival guide

The Himalayan Queen, the Grand Trunk Express, the Deccan Odyssey… the very names of India’s trains are evocative of timeless style and old-school adventure…

09 Feb 2017 • Freya Godfrey insert_drive_file Article
26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world's most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you're looking to wander l…

01 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month