Visa and Travel
It is hoped that trips can be made in November and February/March. The next trip is scheduled for November 2012. Anyone wishing to apply should fill out our application WEBFORM or download print out the PDF Version.
A valid passport and Tourist Visa are required. Tourist Visas are available through Indian Embassies and Consulates in person or by post, or through agencies for a fee. Visas take about one week to process.
In the UK, Tourist Visas currently cost £30. More information for UK residents here: http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk/
Japanese nationals can get a 30-day Tourist Visa on arrival at international airports in India for US $60 or Indian rupees equivalent. Visas for longer stays must be obtained in advance in Japan. More information for Japan residents here: http://www.embassyofindiajapan.org/new/src_JP/home/index.htm
Travel to the Rock Garden in Chandigarh is via Delhi. Flights are 45 minutes from Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport. Trains are between 3 and 5 hours from New Delhi Railway Station.
It is now possible to travel to Chandigarh almost directly from London. Virgin overnight flight from H/Row arrives in Delhi about 3 hours before an internal flight to Chandigarh from the same airport.
For convenience, better book train tickets on-line in advance. Buying tickets on arrival is possible but travel will be the next day at the earliest.
International flights tend to arrive at Delhi very early in the morning, so take that into account when considering hotel accommodation in Delhi.
Volunteers usually are met at Chandigarh railway station or the airport, but otherwise an auto rickshaw costs about Rs 200-150 and the journey about 30 minutes to the Rock Garden, main entrance, Sector 1.
On arrival at the Rock Garden, go to the (disused) cafeteria wing to find Nek Chand’s office. Entrance to the cafeteria wing is between ticket counter and main entrance. Nek Chand is usually in his office between about 10:30 am to 1:30 pm, and from about 3:30 to 6:30 pm, every day. He has many visitors of many kinds. It is very likely that you will wait. Nek Chand’s trusted servant, Loukram, manages the flow.
The great Nek Chand, at 87 years of age, is still active and alert, and still being creative with his own vision.
The Rock Garden is a beautiful place to stay, surrounded by art and nature, with many trees, birds and the occasional monkey.
Volunteers are the guests of Nek Chand. There are two guest houses: (1) behind the first waterfall, (2) near Entrance No.2. Rooms have beds and bedding and are likely to be shared; some rooms have bathrooms attached. Bathrooms have hot water from a boiler; to bathe fill a large plastic bucket and ladle water. Bring towels. A bathroom rota may be useful.
Clothes can be washed by hand and will dry quickly outside – not on public display, so use area near guest house.
There is a kitchen in each guest house.
There is a limited amount of storage space. Volunteers need to be flexible and accommodating and some experience of camping is useful. Rooms can be locked or padlocked and some metal wardrobes can be locked. Lock valuable in suitcases.
No other people are allowed in volunteer guest houses except those approved by Nek Chand.
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