- More than eight lakh devotees pay last respects; numbers to touch 11 lakh by evening
- Tumakuru shut but people join hands to serve free food to visitors
Tumakuru: Despite chilling weather, lakhs of devotees thronged Sri Siddaganga Mutt in Tumakuru the entire night yesterday to pay their last respects to the late pontiff Dr. Sri Shivakumara Swamiji of Siddaganga Mutt, who passed away yesterday.
Wrapped in saffron robes and flower garlands, the body of the 111-year-old Swamiji is kept in the Mutt for the public to pay tributes. The crowd that began to arrive in Tumakuru yesterday afternoon after the official announcement was made, swelled in the evening and all through the night.
By this afternoon, it was a sea of humanity with more than eight lakh people having the last glimpse of Nadedaduva Devaru (Walking God). Police are expecting more than 11 lakh people by evening.
The Tumakuru city was crowded with people from all walks of life who were arriving in special trains and buses. And all of them were eager to have a last Darshan of Trividha Dasohi (the seer provided free food, education and shelter to millions).
Free food was provided for all those who are coming to offer their last respects. Apart from the Mutt premises where several food counters were arranged by cooks and volunteers who were continuously supplying food for streaming visitors, food was being prepared in make-shift kitchens in almost all the streets and bus shelters in Tumakuru.
Be it bus stand or railway stations or major stopover for people, no one who entered the place searched for food today. The city came to a standstill as commercial establishments shut down as a mark of respect to the late Seer.
However, the town joined hands to serve food free of cost to all visitors. Cooked food were being carried in giant containers and lifted by earth movers to different locations.
As several of them travelled from faraway places, the Mutt had made arrangements for devotees to stay during the night. All toll plazas between Bengaluru and Tumakuru have been closed facilitating toll-free vehicular movement.
Meanwhile, the preparation for last rites of the Seer started around 5.30 am today with Puja to the Samadhi where the Seer will be buried.
Public viewing will be allowed up to 4.30 pm and the rituals will begin thereafter.
The ‘Gadduge’ (final resting place) is built opposite the Siddalingeshwara Veda Samskruta Mahapathashala and will house the mortal remains of the Seer.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was expected to visit Tumakuru to pay his last respects, is not coming due to security reasons. Clarifying this, former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa said in Tumakuru.
However, Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, and D.V. Sadananda Gowda represented the Centre at the holy Seer’s funeral. A wreath was placed by the Ministers on behalf of the Prime Minister. Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayanaswamy paid his last respects and he placed wreaths on behalf of the Congress President Rahul Gandhi.
Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, former PM H.D. Deve Gowda, CM’s Cabinet Ministers and heads of almost all Lingayat Mutts from across the State are attending the funeral. Even spiritual leader and Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev arrived in Tumakuru to pay his last respects.