Mandela was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1990 in honour of his contribution to the friendship between the two countries.
Nelson Mandela was one of the towering figures of modern history - a symbol of freedom and forgiveness which extends far beyond the borders of South Africa, the country he helped liberate from apartheid rule. He was a global brand - adorning clothes, books and even a range of wines.
The former president was admitted to hospital repeatedly in the last few years for a recurring lung infection. His hospital visits became more frequent, and the African nation began to accept that the end was near, but they still continued to pray for him, reported AFP.
Mandela was born in Thembu Royal family, in 1918, he studied Fort Hare University and the University of Witwatersrand became a lawyer. Living in Johannesburg he became a key player within the brand African National Congress (ANC). Mandela's political activism lead to his arrest in 1964, and he spent the next 27 years in prison. Mandela was finally released in 1990, due to a strong international pressure.
Mandela was countries first black president in 1994. His reach extended beyond South Africa, becoming an unparallel driving statesmen. His personal charm was Mandela's most powerful weapon, which helped in building bridges. Remembering his contributions, some of those who knew him well share their thoughts about the man and his legacy.