Assam bade an emotional farewell to its beloved former chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Thursday, as his final rites were performed with full state honours at the Nabagraha Cremation ground in Guwahati.
Amid the chanting of hymns, preceded by a gun salute and band played by the Assam Police, the state's longest serving chief minister's body was consigned to flames by his son Gaurav Gogoi.
Mr Gaurav, a Lok Sabha MP, wearing the traditional ''chelleng sador'' (a shawl) and dhoti along with a face mask, lit the pyre after performing the rituals.
Mr Gogoi's wife Dolly, daughter Chandrima, daughter-in-law Elizabeth and other family members placed sandalwood on the pyre before it was lit by Mr Gaurav.
Earlier in the day, the body of the former Assam chief minister, who was a "secular leader in theory and practice", was taken to a church, namghar, mosque, temple and a Bihu function field, as per his last wish, before it was consigned to flames.
It was an emotional journey, rarely seen in Assam, with scores of admirers and onlookers stopping the flower-bedecked truck at several places, bowing their heads before the huge cut-outs of Mr Gogoi on the vehicle, and offering floral tributes.
There was a sea of humanity everywhere with footpaths, dividers, vehicle tops and roofs of buildings occupied by men and women along the nearly 25-km-long procession route.
Traditional drums and cymbals were played, and conch shells were blown along the entire route.
The city came to a standstill, especially along the arterial Guwahati-Shillong Road, RGB Road, MD Road, GNB Road, Lamb Road, and other places like Rukminigaon, Ganeshguri, Zoo gate, Commerce College point, Chandmari and Guwahati Club point.
Shops and commercial establishments at several places in Guwahati and other parts of the state pulled their shutters down as a mark of respect. The state government had announced a half-day holiday from 1 pm on Thursday.
The 84-year old three-time chief minister, twice Union minister and six-time Lok Sabha MP, died on Monday following a nearly four-month battle with COVID-19 and related complications.