New Delhi: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrives on Friday in India for pilgrimage and he will not visit New Delhi to meet the country's leaders, official sources said.
Rajapaksa's trip to Bodh Gaya in Bihar and Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh comes amid barely concealed strains in India-Sri Lanka ties over Colombo's refusal to devolve powers to provincial councils.
The president will fly from Colombo on Friday to Bodh Gaya, the site where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment and which hosts a 1,500-year-old temple -- the most sacred to Buddhists worldwide.
While in Bihar, Rajapaksa is expected to meet Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. He is also set to inaugurate a cultural centre in Bodh Gaya.
According to Indian officials, Rajapaksa will then proceed to the Tirupati temple, before returning to Sri Lanka on Saturday or Sunday.
Termed a "personal visit", the president is avoiding New Delhi despite Sri Lankan concerns over how India will vote in the upcoming UN human rights meet in Geneva.