Live: Bal Thackeray's final journey

Last Updated: Sun, Feb 03, 2013 09:04 hrs

6.18 pm:

Both Uddhav and Raj Thackeray perform the last rites together (a sign of the future?) but finally the pyre was lit by Uddhav. A day after he died, Thackeray has been consigned to the flames.

6.05 pm:

With sun glasses, a trimmed french bread, saffron robes, lakhs of mourners and a covering of sandalwood - Thackeray is certainly going out in style.

The only thing missing is his trademark cigar and glass of wine.

6.00 pm:

The Mumbai police accord Bal Thackeray a rare honour - a 21-gun salute. This salute is already raising some eyebrows since it is meant for those who have actually served the state in an official capacity.

Police constables then blew bugles while various officers saluted the body.

5.45 pm:

Uddhav Thackeray begins the final rituals.


The police set up a cordon amidst lakhs of mourners. The body itself has been placed on a platform beside the pyre. This is the last darshan and mourners continue to file past.

Will we ever see such a funeral again? It is hard to imagine these kind of crowds for any current national politician.  The city of Mumbai itself has certainly never seen a funeral like for nearly a century.

The entire funeral is coming to an close and it has been largely peaceful.

This is for several reasons. The biggest reasons was the entire Mumbai police force - which came out in massive numbers - close to 50,000 cops. The appeals by the Shiv Sena leaders to keep calm have also seemed to work.

The city of Mumbai itself has shut-down. This has bought a great deal of hardship to travelers who found themselves stranded.

5.23 pm:

The last rites have officially begun in Shivaji Park. The national flag has been taken off the body and the state honours have begun.

5.05 pm:

The state of Maharastra has given in to demands by the sainiks to give Bal thackeray full state honors - despite the fact that Thackeray has never held any elected post. An Indian flag has been draped over the body and a twenty one gun salute will be held in his honor.

Even the body itself was carried into the park by Mumbai policemen.

Leaders like L K Advani and the Maharastra CM laid wreaths on the body. The funeral will be held in an hour.

The emotional supporters in the field are filling the air with cries of "Amar Rahe" (May he live forever) 

5.00 pm:

The body of Bal Thackeray finally reached Shivaji Park, on time at 5 pm. The park itself is overflowing with people. An estimated five lakh persons have assembled.

The body is currently lying in state on the stage, surrounded by that family.

Even in death, Bal Thackeray still sports his famous goggles.

4.43 pm:

The list of VVIPs in Shivaji Park continues to grow as they await Bal Thackeray's body, which is right outside the cremation ground. Among the guests are Amitabh Bachchan, L K Advani and Ritesh Deshmukh.

4.24 pm
Country's top politicians at Shivaji Park to pay homage to Bal Thackeray. 

3.55 pm
Traffic routes to avoid - Veer Savarkar Road, Annie Besant Road, Mori Road, Babasaheb Worlikar Chowk, LJ Road, Gokhale Road, Tilak Bridge at Dadar TT, Veer Savarkar Road, Ranade Road, NC Kelkar Road, LJ road, Gokhale Road, Kataria Marg and Sayani Marg.

3.30 pm
Procession reaches Sena Bhavan. Uddhav Thackeray addresses Sainiks outside Sena Bhavan.

2.50 pm

Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani has condoled the demise of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray saying the country has lost a great leader.

"I am deeply saddened by the passing away of Balasaheb Thackeray, the founder-president of the Shiv Sena. The nation and the state of Maharashtra have lost a great leader, whose robust patriotism matched his soaring popularity. "His clear thinking, inspiring oratory and commitment to cause endeared him to the masses," Ambani said in a statement here today.

Thackeray, who had been critically ill for last few days, passed away yesterday afternoon at his residence 'Matoshree' in suburban Bandra.

2.40 pm
Raj Thackeray, who was overseeing the funeral arrangements at Shivaji Park is now back home at his Dadar. Procession is now minutes away from Sena bhavan.

2.16 pm
Procession 500m away from Shivaji Park

1.42 pm
Tweets from Shivaji Park

megha kuchik ‏@meghakuchik1
at shivaji park now, too much crowd but all are calm

The Salesman ‏@mangeshwagle
Never in my life has seen such quiet streets of dadar and Shivaji park

Siddhesh Ravan Kabe ‏@_siddhesh
The people that have gathered at shivaji park today are the real pulse of Mumbai

Riddhima Shetty ‏@RiddMDivine
Most of the crowd in Shivaji Park might just be bored people with nowhere else to go today. #Bandh

Amy ‏@CrystalMaidenx
So, restaurants shut, no autos no buses, nothing on TV except news channels. Thank god, not forced to visit Shivaji park for the funeral.

Belle♡ ‏@LoveSharayu
2 million people on the road and many more in queue at shivaji park thats because of fear and not respect? Ya right!#RIP #BalasahebThackeray

1.26 pm
This will be the first public funeral in Mumbai since Independence. Shivaji Park was Thackeray's favourite place and he launched his Shiv Sena here.

1.00 pm
Only family members and prominent leaders from the party are allowed to pay homage to Bal Thackeray at Sena Bhavan. Police clears crowd gathered at Sena Bhavan. 

12.57 pm
Raj Thackeray is at Shivaji Park overseeing the funeral arrangements. The body is expected to be kept at Sena Bhavan for sometime. 

12.30 pm
Mumbai Central Railway will run 23 special suburban trains from 4:45 pm to 10:00 pm - 14 on Dadar-Kalyan section and nine on CST-Vadala-Belapur section

12.15 pm
The dignitaries expected to attend Thackeray's funeral include Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and BJP leader Sushma Swaraj.

11.49 am
Procession stretches from Matoshree to Shivaji Park which is a distance of about 7 kms. People are still joining in from Kalanagar.

11.45 am
People have lined up on roads, flyovers, skywalks and balconies to catch a glimpse of the procession. 
The funeral procession would take more than two hours to reach the Sena Bhawan (party headquarters) at Dadar. The procession is now at the Bandra Worli Sea Link. 

11.30 am
Bal Thackeray will be given full state honours. This is the first time a funeral will be held at Shivaji Park and special permission has been taken for that. 

10.58 am
Police claims that 19 lakh people have made it to Bal Thackeray's funeral.

10.34 am
People shout slogans during the procession in Marathi saying - 'Maharashtra's only tiger, Balasaheb! and 
Who has this kind of strength? Only Balasaheb!

10.00 am
Crowd under control as they come to pay tribute to their leader, Balasaheb. TV reports claim it is the largest ever human congregation to address a funeral procession.  

9.48 am
Procession has now reached Kalanagar flyover. Flowers, garlands are being showered over the procession as it moves towards Shivaji Park. 

9.30 am
Bal Thackeray's final journey from his Bandra home, 'Matoshree', to Shivaji Park has begun. 

The body will be taken to Mahim Causeway, then to Sena Bhavan, the Shiv Sena headquarters in Dadar where Mr Thackeray's A-list fans and friends, prominent leaders and also Sena workers are expected to gather, Meena Tai statue in Dadar and finally Shivaji Park, where, at a massive Dussehra rally in 1966, Mr Thackeray had launched the Shiv Sena.

9.06 am
Bal Thackeray's body being taken out of Matoshree, procession about to begin. 

8.35 am
15 companies of CRPF have been deployed and 25 cops are stationed every 100 metres along the procession route. 

8.31 am
Twitter reactions to Bal Thackeray's funeral preparations at Shivaji Park

Akshaye Rathi @akshayerathi
A sea of people outside Matoshree, more than 15000 cops on the vigil, 2,00,000 people at Shivaji Park already. If this isn't POWER, what it?

Nirav Mehta @EkCupCoffee
So Sainiks have started coming in at Shivaji Park. Hearing the slogan 'Balasaheb Amar Rahe' everywhere.

Bhairavi Goswami @bhairavigoswami
Shivaji Park made into a fortress with only ONE exit. God forbid if there is a stampede.......

Aalaap Ghag @aalaap
Everything in Mahim and Shivaji Park is shut, save for the liquor stores. It's not a dry day today!

Spring Blossoms @Online_Florist
Had the quickest drive ever to the domestic airport from Shivaji park 14 Mts flat! Wish #Mumbai always had such traffic density...

8.26 am
Twitter abuzz with reactions over Bal Thackeray's death:-

Rajdeep Sardesai @sardesairajdeep
Gave me an interview in 1988 as a cub reporter. Was generous with his time and thoughts. Offered me beer too! RIP #Balasaheb

Ranganathan Madhavan @ActorMadhavan
Rip BalaSaheb Bal Thackeray.The mighty Tiger bids farewell.

arjun rampal @rampalarjun
RIp Balasaheb, condolences to his family. Peace be with you and all your loved ones.

Akshay Kumar @akshaykumar
May strength be with his family. RIP BalaSaheb Thackeray.

Manasi @examse_pareshan
Maharashtra has lost a father figure. Huge loss. A brilliant orator with strong persona most importantly a great human being RIP

Setu Shah @setu4993
RIP Balasaheb Thackeray. You've been the light for the Marathi Manoos for a long time. An era in Maharashtra politics has ended today.

Kiran Kumar Khurana @kirankhurana
RIP Balasaheb! He has made Sushma Swaraj an orphan. He was the only one in India who believed that she has the potential to become a PM!

Tyrantasorus @tyrantasorus
Can we stop making insensitive jokes about RIP Balasaheb? Its up to god to judge him now. The Bal is in his court.

8.18 am
Thousands of supporters stand in front of the open truck on which Bal Thackeray's body will be carried. His body will be kept in Shivaji Park where well wishers will pay their last respects at 10.00 am

7.56 am
20,000 cops are stationed along the procession route for Bal Thackeray's funeral.

7.30 am
Around 48,000 policemen have been deployed to keep vigil ahead of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray's funeral today. 

Autos and taxis are off roads and police have advised Mumbai residents to stay off the roads. 86-year-old Thackeray passed away on Saturday afternoon due to cardiac arrest. 

According to TV reports, the funeral procession would leave Mr Thackeray's Bandra home, 'Matoshree', around 8 am. 

A truck will carry Bal Thackeray's body and there will be a three-tier security around it - the Mumbai Police will make up the first layer, the Rapid Action Force (RAF) will be the second tier and Shiv Sena volunteers will make up the third. 

 His last rites will be performed at 6 pm.

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