Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Diwali and stuff

Diwali was celebrate on the 12th in McLeod Ganj. Diwali seems to bascially involve lots of gunpowder.
For a week or so beforehand there had been the occaisonal firecracker, but on the day the intensity increased.
As night fell sporadic machine-gun burst of crackers went off and then bulding up to a crescendo and thousands of bangers go off almagamating into a loud rumble of noise! They say they celebrate it in Delhi with more gusto. The next day I noticed in the papers 60 people were admitted to hospital with burns. A spokesman commented that as it wasn't just children that were injured then it must be substandard explosives. Didn't seem to suprising to have injuries as I witnessed fireworks going up into the sky and then red-hot stubs falling back to earth and bouncing, in a display of sparks, onto a tin roof.

I then had the dubious pleasure of sitting on a bumpy bus for eight hours as I trundled down to Chandigarh. I arrived just as it was getting dark after setting off from the hotel at 9.30.

Chandigarh is a purpose built city for the adminstration of Punjab and so is only 50 years old, but it still looks like it falling apart. As opposed to probably any other Indian city it is built on a grid system and divided into sectors which should make it easy to find you way about. However I still got lost and so did the drivers.
The next day I visited Ned Chand's Rock Garden!
Wall made from plug points
Strange pot thingys!
Whirly organic tree sculptures
Pebbled ceiling
Rocky walls
More weirdness
Open area
Some steps
Close up
Decorative pebble design
Rock army!
They are looking at YOU
Another army
Friendly rock person
Motley assortment
Cup of tea?
Yet more rock people
Regimented army hold sway over tourists
Yep, they are all different
Also some rock camels
Rock armies come in different colours
Note the wire jacket
Doesn't look very comfy
Wire feet
A lot of wire
The new area of the garden
What bits are real?
Large stepped area
With a woman sweeping

This bizarre place featured a weird cast of people and animal statues sculpted from junk. The walls are covered in broken plug sockets and the like to form a mosaic. Truly a unique place. Ned has been working secretly on the site for decades. When first discovered it was threaten to be bulldozered but got a reprieve and now even enjoys funding for bringing in the tourists.

I also popped into the rose garden which is reputedly the biggest in Asia with over 1500 different types of flowers. However for the horticulturally-challenged it may just look like a big park.

Next stop after a 4 hour train ride is back to Delhi. I've got a city tour organised for tomorrow and when I went to a tourist information centre they told me I'd been ripped off, so no change there!

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