Bengaluru: Thousands of devotees thronged the Siddaganga Mutt, located about 70 km from Bengaluru, to celebrate the 111th birthday of the “Walking God” and Lingayat seer Shivakumara Swami on Sunday. The entire city of Tumakuru wore a festive look with flower decked lampposts and buildings.

Siddaganga Mutt seers from across the state performed the padapooja to the seer. Unlike previous years where there were special arrangements made for the visit of VVIPs, this year the Siddaganga Mutt management did not invite any VIPs and only the general public who had gathered to wish the seer and seek his blessings were allowed.

Mutt authorities said that over one lakh devotees visited the seer on Sunday. Former chief minister and state BJP president B.S. Yeddyurappa and Channapatna MLA C.P. Yogeshwar attended the event and took the blessing of the swami.

Shivakumara Swamiji who was born on April 1, 1907 in Veerapura village of Ramanagara has been known for his philanthropic activities. In 2015, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan.

Shivakumara Swamiji, who is known for his works towards the upliftment of the poor, runs over 150 educational institutions. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who took to Twitter to send his birthday wishes to the seer, said, “Following the principles of Kayakayogi Basavanna, Shivakumara Swamiji has been working for the upliftment of the poor and needy. Let his service continue.” As part of the celebration, there was the lighting of lamps, chanting of Vedic hymns, recitation of Basava Vachana and other cultural programmes at the mutt.

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