New Delhi : The mortal remains of former President APJ Abdul Kalam being taken for its departure to Rameshwaram for final rites at AFS Palam in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI Photo by Vijay Verma (PTI7_29_2015_000024B)
New Delhi : The mortal remains of former President APJ Abdul Kalam being taken for its departure to Rameshwaram for final rites at AFS Palam in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI Photo by Vijay Verma (PTI7_29_2015_000024B)

Chennai : The coastal town of Rameswaram is always teeming with people considering that it is a holy spot for Hindu pilgrims. But on Wednesday, as a sea of humanity descended in the southern town to pay homage to late President APJ Abdul Kalam, it appeared as if all roads in Tamil Nadu are leading to his final resting place.

Such a spontaneous reaction has so far not been witnessed for anyone who has long retired from a public office. That Kalam, the humble rocket man who famously threw open the durbars of Rashtrapathi Bhavan to the ordinary citizen when he was the First Citizen of the country between 2002 and 2007, had touched their hearts was visible in the patience of the teeming crowed that waited for its turn to pay their last respects to the great man.

People had travelled as far as 560 kms from Chennai taking an overnight tiring bus journey simply to catch a fleeting glimpse of the man who ignited a million minds. Among the thousands of those assembled at Rameswaram were people from other states and tourists.

Earlier in the day, Kalam”s mortal remains were flown in from New Delhi to Madurai, the nearest airport. From there, the coffin was lifted to the Mandapam helipad near Rameswaram and thereafter it was placed in a bedecked military truck and taken by road and placed for public homage at an open ground.

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