Funeral of Siddaganga mutt seer Sri Shivakumara Swamiji to be held today

The funeral of 111-year-old head pontiff of Siddaganga mutt Sri Shivakumara Swami Ji will be held today after he passed away on Monday following prolonged illness.

Known as 'Walking God' among his countless followers, Shivakumara Swami of Siddaganga Mutt in Karnataka was the most influential leader of the Lingayat community.

The last rites will be held with state honours on Tuesday, Karnataka CM Kumaraswamy said. "Swami did great service to the poor by providing hundreds of children education and food."

The Karnataka government has declared a holiday in the state on Tuesday.

The seer also headed the Sree Siddaganga Education Society, which runs about 125 educational institutions in the state - from engineering colleges to business schools.

Many of the institutions offer free education and boarding facilities to poor students.

Fluent in English, Kannada and Sanskrit, the seer was widely respected for his secular outlook and the charitable activities he presided over.

Karnataka leaders urged the Union government to confer the highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna, on the seer for his philanthropic work.

Born on April 1, 1907 in Veerapura village of Ramanagara district in Karnataka, the Swami was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2015.

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