Guwahati: Thousands of people on Monday paid their last respect to cultural icon Bhupen Hazarika as the truck carrying his mortal remains took the legendary singer on his last journey home here after being brought from Mumbai.

A sea of humanity lined all along the 25km route from the airport to Hazarika's residence at Nizarapar area with people showering flower petals, offering wreaths and the traditional Assamese 'gamosa' (a piece of cloth used for bath) on the cortege carrying the gilt-edge brown casket.

Songs of the music maestro played along the entire route with the administration putting up public addres1s system all over the city. Portraits of Hazarika lined the entire stretch as the truck from Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport took nearly six hours to reach his house.

A disciplined and organised crowd chanted 'Bhupenda amaar majot hodai amar thakibo' (Bhupenda will be always immortal for us), 'Bhupendar bina Asomor naksa no hai' (There can be no map of Assam without Bhupenda) among other eulogies.

Assam Governor J B Patnaik and Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi laid wreaths on Hazarika's body at the airport soon after the casket containing the mortal remains arrived at noon from Mumbai where the 86-year-old singer-composer died on Saturday following multiple-organ failure.

Filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi, Hazarika's companion for nearly 40 years, sister-in-law Manisha Hazarika, nephews and other family members accompanied the music legend on his last journey home.

All shops and business establishments closed as a mark of respect to Hazarika and modes of public transport remained off the roads.

“Nam Prasanga' (prayer services) were held at Hazarika's residence through the day as family members, neighbours, friends and well-wishers gathered since early morning to pay tribute to the legend.”

The casket carrying the mortal remains was opened at his residence where close family members had a last glimpse of the singer-composer who projected Assamese music on the country's cultural centrestage.

Hazarika's body will lie in state at the historic Judges' Field tonight for the people to pay their last respect.

Meanwhile, All Assam Students Union (AASU) and some family members of the doyen protested against the earlier selected site for Hazarika's last rite at Shankardev Udayan at Bharalumukh on the banks of Brahmaputra and urged the state government to shift the venue to the Gauhati University where a memorial could be later constructed.

Assam government has agreed to the demand and the singer is scheduled to be cremated at a park in Jalukbari near the University.

The state government has declared a state holiday on Tuesday as a mark of respect to the Dada Saheb Phalke awardee.

His only son Tez Bhupen Hazarika is scheduled to arrive here on Tuesday morning from New York to perform the last rites of his father.

(Agencies)