A small town two hours from Bengaluru is unsubtle in signalling its main attraction: a giant cut-out of Shivakumara Swami stands in the heart of Tumkur town. For almost a century, the powerful Siddaganga mutt (seminary), one of the biggest Lingayat centres in Karnataka, has been based here. Its influence is explicit. Much of the terrain is tenanted by images and posters commemorating the Swami's 111th birthday. He is the chief of the mutt, among the ten most prominent of a thousand Lingayat seminaries that are spread across Karnataka.