Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Fantasy Rock Garden and a Second Helping of Delhi

I'm in Nepal for two weeks, and very late (a month!) posting the final edition of my last trip. I probably won't post this Nepal trip until I'm back in Canada. My Rajasthan-Agra trip ended in Delhi to visit Nishant, another PhD student at my university in Canada, York University. The main tourist area, Pahar Ganj, had a totally different face, since the street had been gutted in preparation for the Commonwealth Games this year, and was under construction.

But first, I took a looooooong day trip to Chandigarh, the shared capital of Punjab and Haryana. Nek Chand started the Fantasy Rock Garden in the 1970s to express his artistic energies using industrial waste. The garden is a maze of imaginative landscapes, walls of mosaic art, and populated with whimsical people and animals. At times it reminded me of the Spanish artist Gaudi, but it was entirely unique at the same time. I loved it!

With a little time left before my train back to Delhi, I stopped at the High Court, and took a few photos of the Open Hand sculpture.

Back in Delhi I spent the day with Nishant. We visited the Dr. Ambedkar National Memorial, built on the site where Ambedkar died December 6, 1956, and took a brief tour around the Delhi University campus.

Next we stopped at Delhi's main gurdwara. I'm a big fan of Sikh temples; I find them very welcoming. We sat to listen to devotional songs for a while, and talked about our religious inclinations.

On to Firoz Shah, which includes a ruined mosque where people still come to pray. An Ashokan column is perched on the top of a hill which was converted into Muslim shrines. The ruins make an interesting contrast with the new sports facilities across the road under construction for the Commonwealth Games.

The light was fading fast, and then the monsoon hit with a huge force! Torrential rain flooded the streets, and my waterproof jacket was hardly any use. On top of that, our autorickshaw broke down, so we had to find a new one. Even that autorickshaw had problems navigating the flooded streets, so we had to walk a few blocks to reach the train station, sometimes through knee-deep water! A good experience of the power of the monsoon, before heading back to Pune once again.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Carolyn:

    Delhi seems awfully dug up. I, too, loved Nekchand's creations. Seems like you have seen almost every part of India, except Kolkata!