It may well be the first war memorial of its kind, complete with an action scene from the Kargil battle, with Indian soldiers hoisting the Tricolour on top of the Tiger Hill, the entire tableau in the trademark style of Nek Chand, the creator of Chandigarh’s famous Rock Garden.
Being constructed to honour Kargil martyr Captain Saurabh Kalia, who was captured by the Pakistani side which only returned his mutilated body, the tableau is coming up at Saurabh Van Vihar at Palampur in Himachal Pradesh.
The tableau is being prepared by Anuj Saini, son of Nek Chand who died in 2015. It will consist of 63 figures — Armymen and infiltrators made with concrete and waste ceramic tiles. The intruders wear green and black kurtas while soldiers are shown wearing uniform.
“There is a bust of Captain Saurabh Kalia and the war scene begins after that. We have tried to capture the series of incidents, how Armymen are running towards Tiger Hill and then are attacked by the infiltrators. While some are shown crawling, some are attacking the intruders from behind the rocks,” Saini said. The sculptures are about five to six feet tall.
“The concept behind the entire project was to depict what our Army goes through. We worked round the clock for about 12 months on the project,” Saini said.
Nek Chand was invited by the Himachal government to develop the memorial at Saurabh Van and had visited the site with Saini in 2012. However, after his death in
2015, Saini committed himself to the project.
BJP MP from Palampur, Shanta Kumar, said they had spent Rs 40 lakh from the MPLAD fund on the memorial which would be inaugurated soon. “The central government has also given an additional Rs 2 crore recently for the upkeep of Saurabh Van Vihar,” Kumar said.