Guwahati: Thousands of mourners lined up to pay their last respects as cultural icon Bhupen Hazarika's last journey from the historic Judges Field to his final resting place at the Gawahati University began amidst tight security on Wednesday.

The gates of the Judges Field, where his body was kept inside a glass casket and draped in traditional Assamese 'gamosa', was closed to the public at 5 AM to allow his family members to spend some time with the maestro's body before his final journey.

Hazarika's son Tez Bhupen Hazarika, who will perform the last rites, his companion of nearly 40 years Kalpana Lajmi, nephews and other family members performed religious rituals before the casket was placed on a flower bedecked vehicle.

Tez, a practising Buddhist, will perform the last rites as per the Hindu traditions.

Hazarika will be cremated with full state honours his final resting place at the Gawahati University. The Assam government has declared a state holiday.

Assam Governor J B Patnaik, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Union DONER Minister Paban Singh Ghatowar, who is representing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj are among the thousands of mourners who are attending the last rites of the maestro.

Hazarika's last rites, earlier scheduled to be held Tuesday, was postponed by the state government till Wednesday after people from all over the state and North East came out to pay their last respects.

(Agencies)