Thousands line up to bid farewell to the Voice of the Millennium, Lata Mangeshkar.

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Thousands line up to bid farewell to the Voice of the Millennium, Lata Mangeshkar.

Lata Mangeshkar, the Queen of Melody, after battling long against Covid and related complications for 29 days, breathed her last breath at Breach Candy Hospital at the age of 92 at 8.12 am on Sunday.

Her heavenly abode came a day after Saraswati Puja, dedicated to the goddess of music. The Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi himself flew down to Mumbai for the state funeral, which was held at Shivaji Park, with thousands of Mumbaikars lining the route from Lata’s Prabhu Kunj, Pedder Road, residence to Shivaji Park where the body, draped in the tricolor, was carried in an open, flower-bedecked army truck to bid farewell to the nation’s nightingale.

CM Uddhav Thackeray awarded her a state funeral at the maidan. His father, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, was last paid such a singular honor.

The Centre declared two days of national mourning, while the state government announced a public holiday on Monday. The national flag atop the mantralaya was lowered to half-staff as a mark of respect. Guardian minister Aaditya Thackeray took stock of funeral arrangements on site. BMC received special permission from the state to perform the cremation at Shivaji Park, given the possibility of the crowd.

Earlier, her body was escorted by the Thackerays personally, including MNS member Raj Thackeray, from the hospital to her residence at 1 pm. Then, Asha Bhosle and Meena, Usha and Hridaynath Mangeshkar boarded the truck.

Luminaries led by NCP chief Sharad Pawar, actor Amitabh Bachchan, and lyricist Javed Akhtar visited the house to commiserate several celebrities, including actor Shah Rukh Khan and former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, arrived for the cremation.

At 7 pm, the chanting of mantras began as firewood and ghee were placed upon the pyre. At 7.16 pm, Hridaynath lit the pyre, accompanied by his older son Adinath.

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