Nek Chand, creator of the world famous Rock Garden at Chandigarh, died at the age of 90. He started making the garden secretly and managed to hide it from everyone for 18 years! Here are 10 such amazing facts you should know about him.
Nek Chand, creator of the world famous Rock Garden in Chandigarh, died at the age of 90 on Friday, June 12. He was admitted at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) after he complained of a pain in his chest.
His amazing creation, the Rock Garden, is a sculpture garden spread over an area of forty acres and is completely built of discarded items from homes and industries.
Here are some interesting facts about the incredible man you probably didn’t know –
1. Nek Chand started working on this garden secretly in his spare time in 1957. He began by clearing a small forest patch near Sukhana lake and then sculpted a few figures made out of discarded materials. The garden is now spread over 40 acres.
2. He collected waste material from demolition sites around the city, recycled these materials and converted a barren patch into a fairyland.
3. He started working on this garden without anyone’s knowledge, worked in the middle of the night, and managed to hide it from everyone for 18 years.
4. When the authorities found out about his work, they threatened demotion, calling it illegal. But the public was so amazed by his creation that they stood by him and the government had no other choice but to support him and give him a salary to work on his project full-time. They also gave him an additional workforce.
5. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1984 for his incredible work.
6. The garden even appeared on an Indian stamp in 1983.
7. Nek Chand’s statues have found their way into museums across the world and have been a part of various prestigious exhibitions globally.
8. He was born in Barian Kalan, Shakargarh, which is now in Pakistan. But his family settled in Punjab after partition. He worked as a road inspector and then gradually became a self-taught creative genius.
9. What started as a small activity back in the 1950s now has several hundred sculptures made from waste material which has attracted over 12 million tourists so far.
10. The Rock Garden, hailed as one of the Wonders of the Modern World, gets about 5,o00 visitors daily.
Nek Chand’s body will be kept in the Rock Garden today (Friday) so that people can pay their respects. The Chandigarh Union Territory administration has also declared a holiday in its offices today as a tribute to the great artist.