Rock Garden creator Nek Chand cremated

Chandigarh, June 13 (IANS) The mortal remains of Rock Garden creator Nek Chand were consigned to the flames here on Saturday evening.

He died on Friday following cardiac arrest. Nek Chand is survived by wife Kamla Saini, son Anuj and daughter Neelam.

Nek ChandÂ’s son Anuj Saini lit the pyre at the cremation ground here in the presence of hundreds of mourners, including politicians, government functionaries and scores of friends and admirers.

“He will live on in the Rock Garden,” one of his admirers remarked.

A large number of mourners had reached his Sector 27 residence here.

The body was kept at his office in the Rock Garden complex – where he spent most of his working time – for the people to pay their tributes.

Chandigarh administrator and Haryana governor Kaptan Singh Solanki, who also holds additional charge of Punjab, visited Nek ChandÂ’s residence on Saturday morning to pay tributes.

The master creator had celebrated his 90th birthday last December.

Born on December 15, 1924, and brought up in a village in Gurdaspur under Shakargarh tehsil (now in Pakistan), Nek Chand migrated to Chandigarh in 1947.

He was a road inspector in a construction project in Chandigarh in the 50s and 60s. At that time the city – popularly called ‘City Beautiful’ – was being designed by French architect Le Corbusier.

Nek Chand, whose fantasy garden was reproduced on an Indian postage stamp in 1983, developed the art of creating figures from waste material discarded by people and secretly set up his working space in a forested area in north Chandigarh.

It was only in the mid-70s that Nek Chand’s art was recognised and Chandigarh’s ‘Rock Garden’ took shape. It was officially inaugurated in October 1976.

He was honoured with the Padma Shri in 1984 though the Nek Chand Foundation believes his contribution to Indian art deserved a higher award.

Waste material like broken bangles, discarded cutlery, chinaware, electrical fittings like switches, plugs and tubelights, marbles, tiles, household junk, stones, building material waste and other things found their way into the evocative creations of Nek Chand.

The Rock Garden, located in Chandigarh’s Sector 1 on a sprawling 35-acre campus, can be best described as a “kingdom” that depicts the life and ecology of India, comprising features of both rural and urban settings.

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