The 90 year old architectural autodidact was ailing and admitted to a private hospital here for the past few days. He was shifted to Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) last evening where he died shortly past midnight after suffering cardiac arrest, officials said.
        
"We have declared a holiday in view of Nek Chandji's demise. His body will be kept in the Rock Garden tomorrow to enable people to pay their last respects,” Chandigarh's Additional Home Secretary S B Deepak Kumar said, adding, "The family is waiting for his daughter to return from abroad. The cremation will take place tomorrow evening."

The Padma Shri awardee, whose 90th birthday was celebrated by the Chandigarh Administration and the city residents on December 15, had millions of fans across the globe.
    
Working as a roads inspector of the Public Works Department in Punjab from 1951, Nek Chand had quietly built his magical kingdom clearing a little forest patch near the famous Sukhna lake here to create a small garden.

Waste like broken crockery, electrical fittings, glass bangles, bathroom tiles, wash basins and bicycle frames were used to make mosaic sculptures of men, women, animals and gods.
    
The iconic Rock Garden, inaugurated in 1976, is now spread over an area of 40 acres and more than 2.5 lakh people from India and abroad visit it every year with the annual revenue generated from ticket sales around Rs 1.8 crore.
    
Nek Chand's unique art has also been showcased in museums abroad, including at the National Children's Museum in Washington. 40 of Nek Chand's figurative mosaic sculptures will reportedly be on exhibition at historic Chichester in West Sussex in Britain.

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