Puttaparthi: Even the scorching heat could not stop devotees from paying their last respects to Sathya Sai Baba in Puttaparthi. An estimated five lakh devotees paid their last respects to Sai Baba before the last rites on Wednesday - including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi. Only family, trust members and a few VVIPs will be allowed for the funeral at the Sai Kulwant hall in Prashanti Nilayam.
Purushotaman Avadhani, Pujari, said, "Sai Baba will be buried in traditional rites, since he attained sidhis, he has to be buried in a different way by putting 9 food grains, 9 precious stones as a symbolic representation of 9 planets, waters from 9 sacred rivers have been brought in and vedic hymns from the four texts will be recited and this will last for 90 minutes."
Extra security arrangements are being made and the Police are expecting five to six lakh devotees for the last rites.
But for the devotees will Puttaparthi remain as special as it was?
The burial of Sai Baba might see the controversy of succession of the Sai Baba and the fight for control over Rs 50,000 crore Sai empire resurrecting. Meanwhile, public darshan of Sathya Sai Baba's body has been extended till Tuesday midnight.