When Mysore went into mourning

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MYSORE, December 12:  Mysore city came to a grinding halt on Wednesday as a mark of respect to the scion of the Mysore Wadiyar dynasty, Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, who passed away in Bangalore on Tuesday.

The people of Mysore went into mourning with his sudden, untimely death. It was the biggest State funeral in Mysore in recent years.

There was a total bandh-like situation across the city, with shops and business establishments remaining closed from morning. Unlike the usual bandhs, the business community here shut down commercial activity voluntarily out of their reverence to the Mysore royal family.

The main commercial hubs — D. Devaraja Urs Road and Sayyaji Rao Road — were completely deserted and there was not much vehicular movement in the city.

All roads led to the Mysore palace where the body was kept at the Kalyana Mantapa for the public to pay homage and the Madhu Vana on Mysore-Ooty Road, the place where the last rites were performed.

Tens of thousands of people queued up at the palace since 4 a.m. on Wednesday to get the last glimpse of the last scion of royalty. The darshan was held for at least seven hours, from 5 a.m. onwards. The crowds swelled as the day advanced and the police had a tough time controlling the crowds who tried to make their way into the palace when the rituals were under way.

Barring royal family members and relatives, the staff of the Bangalore and Mysore palaces, and presspersons, entry was restricted to Madhu Vana.

Traffic on the Mysore-Ooty Road from Basaveshwara Circle up to Madhu Vana was restricted to facilitate the funeral procession. The mortal remains were brought in a gold-plated palanquin pulled by the royal family members.

There was heavy deployment of police personnel for security at both the places. Senior police officers, including the officers of the rank of Superintendents of Police, oversaw security arrangements under the supervision of Police Commissioner M.A. Saleem. Deputy Commissioner C. Shikha was monitoring the overall arrangements.

People were seen offering floral tributes to the portraits of Mr. Wadiyar on the streets.

A large number of people could not get a chance to pay their respects inside the palace as the gates were closed in the afternoon to facilitate the royal family members to perform the funeral rites. However, they stood along the 1-km-long stretch, from the palace to Madhu Vana, to get a glimpse of the scion.

There was “jaikaras” along the procession and there were emotional scenes by the great admirers of the Mysore Wadiyar rulers, who were known for their generosity and contributions.

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