New Delhi/Chennai: The last rites of former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam will be held in his hometown Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu following his family's wish, it was announced on Tuesday.
"The last rites ... will be held in Rameswaram," defence ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said.
The body of the former president, who died on Monday in Shillong after collapsing while delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Managment, was flown to New Delhi on Tuesday morning.
A senior official in Ramanathapuram district in Tamil Nadu confirmed that the last rites will take place in Abdul Kalam's hometown.
A.P.J.M.K. Sheik Saleem, the former president's brother's grandson, told IANS over phone: "A large number of relatives, friends, well wishers and common people have gathered at Kalam's house at Rameswaram."
The coastal town of Rameswaram, a Hindu pilgrimage centre, is located around 600 km from Chennai in Ramanathapuram district.
Kalam was born in Rameswaram and spent his young days battling poverty there.
According to Rameswaram official, the administration is gearing up to make necessary arrangements as thousands would assemble in the town to pay homage to Kalam.
The family members were discussing the site where Kalam's last rites could be conducted.
Saleem said Kalam's body is expected to reach Rameswaram after noon on Wednesday.
"Till evening people will pay homage to the departed soul. After that his body will be taken to his house. We plan to have the last rites on Thursday," Saleem said.