Karnataka's revered Hindu pontiff Vishwesha Tirtha Swami of Pejawar Mutt passed away in the coastal town of Udupi on Sunday, an official said. He was 88.
"Swamiji breathed his last in the Mutt around 9.00 a.m. after he was shifted from the Kasturba Hospital at Manipal earlier in the day as his health condition deteriorated despite being on ventilator," an official of the Chief Minister's office told IANS.
The pontiff was admitted to the private hospital on December 20 after he was diagnosed to have pneumonia, a lung infection.
State Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa, who was at Udupi since Saturday, rushed to the Mutt on hearing ofnthe seer's demise and declared three-day mourning in the southern state and decided to perform his last rites with state honours.
The popular pilgrim town Udupi is about 400 km west of Bengaluru.
"In the pontiff's death, Hindu religion lost a guide. Swamiji, who took to sanyasi deeksha (became a monk) at a young age, rose to become the pontiff of the mutt," said Yediyurappa in his condolence message.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also mourned the demise of the pontiff and said the seer was a powerhouse of service and spirituality.
"I consider myself blessed to have got many opportunities to learn from Sri Vishvesha Teertha Swamiji. Our recent meeting, on the pious day of Guru Purnima, was also a memorable one. His impeccable knowledge always stood out. My thoughts are with his countless followers," tweeted on the occasion.
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