Shivakumara Swamiji's, the 111-year-old seer of Karnataka's Siddaganga Mutt in Tumakuru, passed away on Monday morning after age-related ailments, the Mutt has announced. The Lingayat seer had been in and out of hospitals for the past two months. Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy visited the Mutt to enquire about Swamiâ€™s health in the morning. BS Yeddyurappa, MB Patil, KJ George and Sadananda Gowda were also present.Â Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy announced: "Siddaganga Math seer Sri Shivakumara Swamiji passed away at 11.44 am today. The cremation will be done on 22nd January at 4.30 pm."
The late seerâ€™s body will be kept at the Mutt premises till Tuesday to enable people to pay their last respects. The last rites are expected to be held on Tuesday evening. TheÂ KarnatakaÂ government has declared three-day mourning and a state-wide public holiday on Tuesday. A holiday has been declared on Monday in Tumakuru as well. The state government alsoÂ declared a one day holiday for all schools, colleges and government offices.
I have had the privilege to visit the Sree Siddaganga Mutt and receive the blessings of His Holiness Dr. Sree Sree Sree Sivakumara Swamigalu.â€” Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 21, 2019
The wide range of community service initiatives being done there are outstanding and are at an unimaginably large scale. pic.twitter.com/wsmRp2cERd
Reports say helipads are being set up around the Mutt and Tumkur industrial area for the arrival of VIPs. Many devotees from different parts of Karnataka have also started arriving at the Mutt, hoping to pay last respects to the Swamiji. Traffic on National Highway-48 towards Tumkuru has been diverted to different routes due to the huge crowds assembling near the Mutt.
Mourning the loss of the seer, the chief minister recalled his contribution as an educationist and a social reformer. "He provided free education thousands of children from depressed classes," said Kumaraswamy. He also appealed for calm. Deputy chief minister G Parameshwara described him as "modern day Basavanna". He also appealed to the Centre to confer Bharat Ratna on the departed seer. BJP state president BS Yeddyurappa described his death as a great loss to the community and beyond. Home minister MB Patil described him as a true follower of 12th century reformer Basaveshwara, as reported by the Hindu.
Born on April 1, 1908, in Veerapura village of Ramanagara district in Karnataka, the Swami was also involved in several philanthropic activities and was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2015.Â The seer, who was said to be one of the oldest persons living in India, had been suffering from a lung infection for the past few weeks. Popularly known as â€˜Nadedaaduva Devaruâ€™ (Walking God), Shivakumara Swami was initiated into Viraktha Ashrama in 1930. Before becoming the seer, he went by his name Shivanna.
Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had tweeted: â€œHis Holiness Shivakumara Swami is a remarkable personality and has positively impacted crores of lives through his outstanding service. The entire nation is praying for his speedy recovery and good health.â€