The Japanese Garden is located in Sector – 31 in Chandigarh (View location on map). It is spread over an area of approximately 13 acres. The Japanese Garden consists of two phases. The Phase-1 was inaugurated on 7th November 2014 and the Phase-2 of the park was opened to public on 4th June 2016. Both the phases of the park are connected by an underground tunnel decorated by beautiful Japanese paintings on both sides. The garden is designed using Japanese architecture and each of the elements in the garden is given a unique Japanese touch.
As you enter the gate you are welcomed by ‘Komainu (Lion Dog) Sculpture’. The lion dog representation is a cross between a lion and a dog and is meant to ward of evil spirits. These are generally placed in pairs on the entrance gates to Japanese shrines.
Once you enter the garden you get to see a beautiful green landscape. The garden consists of multiple water bodies with beautiful arc bridges. The stone pathways between the green grass are decorated with beautiful Japanese lamps on both sides. The garden consists of different trees planted at prominent locations adding to the beauty of the garden.
The Pagoda Tower
One of the most prominent attractions of the Japanese Garden is the Pagoda Tower. Pagoda is a tiered tower with multiple roofs and are generally used to house sacred relics. The pagodas in Japan are referred to as “to” and generally contain odd number of stories as odd numbers are strongly favored by Buddhism and are considered lucky.
The Pagoda in the Japanese Garden is a five storied structure which is located in the middle of a water body. Two small bridges on both sides connect the Pagoda to the park. The Pagoda contains a small room which contains some ancient Japanese relics.
Pagodas generally have a decorated “finial” at the top of the structure. Finial is generally made of metal and is also referred to as the “demon-arrester”.
The Japanese Rock Garden
The Japanese Rock Garden or “Karesansui” is also known as the zen garden. It consists of miniature landscape created using an arrangement of rocks. The rock garden uses gravel or patterns on the floor to represent ripples of water. According to wikipedia “They were intended to imitate the intimate essence of nature, not its actual appearance, and to serve as an aid to meditation about the true meaning of life.”
There are two Japanese rock gardens in each of the two phases of Japanese Garden.
The entrance gate to the rock garden in Phase-1 is a traditional gate known as “Torii”. The “torii” is a traditional Japanese gate generally found at the entrance of shrines. The purpose of “torii” is to mark an entrance to a sacred space. Here the gate is surrounded by two lion dogs (Komainu Pair).
According to wikipedia, “Meant to ward off evil spirits, modern komainu statues are almost identical, but one has the mouth open, the other closed. This is a very common characteristic in religious statue pairs at both temples and shrines. This pattern is however Buddhist in origin and has a symbolic meaning. The open mouth is pronouncing the first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet, which is pronounced “a”, while the closed one is uttering the last letter, which is pronounced “um”, to represent the beginning and the end of all things. Together they form the sound “Aum”, a syllable sacred in several religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.”
The entire rock garden is created with a beautiful arrangement of rocks and Japanese lamps.
The Stone Lanterns
The Japanese stone lanterns are referred to as “dai-doro”. The entire Japanese garden is beautifully decorated with different forms of stone lanterns.
According to wikipedia “In its complete and original form, a dai-doro represents the five elements of Buddhist cosmology. The piece touching the ground represents chi, the earth; the next section represents sui, or water; ka or fire, is represented by the section encasing the lantern’s light or flame, while fū (air) and kū (void or spirit) are represented by the last two sections, top-most and pointing towards the sky. The segments express the idea that after death our physical bodies will go back to their original, elemental form.”
The Yin-Yang Symbol
Yin and Yang is a symbol which describes how opposite forces are actually interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.
According to wikipedia, “Yin is the black side with the white dot in it, and yang is the white side with the black dot in it.”
“In Buddhist philosophy, Water and Rocks symbolize yin and yang respectively. Rocks and water are the two important physical elements in a garden. Rocks and water symbolize the basis of nature, all that gives life. Rocks are the body of the world—the hills and valleys. The water is the world’s spirit, providing oxygen, breath, the liquid clouds, blood running through the veins. The rocks symbolize all that is active, the work, the forces of work. The water symbolizes all that is contemplated—all that compliments work, thought, freedom, silence, and reflection— in other words, serenity.”
(Source :: Symbolism of Chinese Garden )
There are two Yin-Yang sculptures in each of the two Rock Gardens in Phase-1 and Phase-2 of the Japanese Garden.
This blog is really getting longer and still there are many other attractions to write about. So, I am ending this part here and will list the other major attractions in the next part of the blog.