The man who gave City Beautiful one of the most iconic structures – Rock Garden -- breathed his last at 12.11 am at Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh on Friday.
Nek Chand, the Padam Shri awardee who died aged 90, was not keeping well for a long time. He was suffering from multiple ailments, including diabetes, hypertension and was diagnosed with cancer.
A self-taught artist, Nek Chand created several thousand sculptures by using recycled material including bangles, broken glasses, crockery, mosale set in large mosaic courtyards linked by walled paths and deep gorges, combining a series of interlinking waterfalls.
Over the period of time the garden had become the identity of the city and over 5,000 people visited the garden on daily basis.
People took on social networking sites to express their grief and shock over the loss. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi took on to his Twitter handle to express his grief. “Nek Chand ji will always be remembered for his artistic genius & fabulous creation that is cherished by many. May his soul rest in peace,” he tweeted.
Nek Chand ji will always be remembered for his artistic genius & fabulous creation that is cherished by many. May his soul rest in peace.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 12, 2015
Meanwhile, Bollywood’s seasoned mother and Member of Parliament from Chandigarh Kirron Kher wrote, “He may have left us, but his legacy will live on in the hearts of every resident of Chandigarh, and of people across India.”
Saddened to learn about the passing away of Nek Chand ji, the creator of the fabulous Rock Garden in Chandigarh— Kirron Kher (@KirronKherBJP) June 12, 2015
AAP leader Gul Panag, who unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from City Beautiful, tweeted, “RIP Nek Chand. Thank you for your unique art. And the best feather in #Chandigarh's cap. #RockGarden.”
Saddened by Chand’s death, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar too expressed his solitude. “Deeply saddened over the demise of Nek Chand Ji, creator of the iconic Rock Garden. My heartfelt condolences to members of the family,” Khattar tweeted.
Deeply saddened over the demise of Nek Chand Ji, creator of the iconic Rock Garden. My heartfelt condolences to members of the family.— Manohar Lal Khattar (@mlkhattar) June 12, 2015
Vivek Atray, author, motivational speaker and Panchkula deputy commissioner tweeted, “#Nekchand ji's demise at 90 marks the end of an era...his #RockGarden put #Chandigarh on the world map...”.
Meanwhile, people throughout the day shared this news on social media. One Sameer Jain tweeted, “Best way by which we can give our tribute to Nek Chand Ji would be by keeping #RockGarden clean & beautiful. RIP Sir! #Chandigarh.”
One Surendera M. Bhanot shared his experience of meeting the legend on Facebook. He wrote, “RIP Great Nek Chand (1924-2015) Great Personality. I met him twice. He was too humble and the fame has not deter him to continue his work!! His work is a BIG Tribute to him. He will remain alive through it!!”
Another city resident Jaswinder Skjelvik, who now lives in Norway, wrote on Facebook, “Your Body is dead but Your Soul Lives on in your beautiful creation which will stand for generations and will inspire our new generation. My big salute great personality you will be always remember every Indian heart.”