President Ram Nath Kovind today offered prayers at the ancient hill temple of Lord Sri Venkateswara at Tirumala near here. The president accompanied by his wife Savita and other members of his family had arrived here yesterday to pay obeisance at three different shrines. This was his first visit to the shrine after being sworn in as the 14th president in July. He was in the temple for half an hour, temple sources said.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Governor E S L Narasimhan accompanied the president. On arrival at the main entrance of the temple complex, the president was accorded a ceremonial tradition reception, amid chanting of vedic hymns by high priests who escorted him to the sanctum sanctorum of the over 2000-year-old shrine. After offering prayers, Kovind was blessed by the priests while temple executive officer Anil Kumar Singhal offered him a sacred silk cloth and holy prasadam, they said, adding, the president later left for New Delhi. A short while before visiting the ancient temple this morning, the president paid obeisance at the Varaha Swamy temple. He had also visited the temple of Goddess Padmavathi at Tiruchanur near here yesterday before arriving at the hills.