WALK OUT of PGI’s Bhargava Auditorium, near the SS Anand Block, and a patch of green welcomes your eyes and senses. What makes the area unique is that it is embellished with as many as 25 works by Nek Chand. The area, beautifully manicured and landscaped, has some unusual works by the creator of the Rock Garden, absolutely striking and unique being sculptures of sadhus sitting in a meditating posture. Colourful tiles form the body, white bead necklaces, locks of hair created with cement fall on the shoulders, tikka on the forehead and intense look on the face adding to the charm and beauty. Also, here are sculptures of soldiers, created with white tiles, a cap and a black belt adding colour to the work. Sculptures of many swans, deer, girls with planters on their heads, young men holding trays in their hands.,with the works beautifully maintained and plants, flowers, etc. adding to the charm of the creative endeavour.
“This is a patch where not much grew because of the shadows of trees and it wasn’t pleasing to the eye, looking unkempt and not very inviting. So, one day, I requested Nek Chand if he could help us develop this area and give us ideas as he was an artist par excellence and when it comes to creating wonders out of nothing, who could be more creative than Nek Chand, the Rock Garden is a living example of his artistic acumen,” recalls Dr K K Talwar, former director, professor and head of the department of cardiology, PGI.
Dr Talwar recalls how Nek Chand single-handedly and completely with his initiative, hard work, creativity, developed this patch, especially creating sculptures which were unique and complemented the space and environment. “We asked him if we could buy the material or help with equipment or anything he needed but he flatly refused and neither did he accept any kind of payment,” says the doctor.
This was his gift to PGI as when the institute was being built, the government department Nek Chand had been part of, was involved in the work here. So, this is an area that is not only a gift to PGI, but scores of patients from across the country, providing artistic relief and also adding to the beauty of the place.