President visits Jagannath temple in Puri

Last Updated: Thu, Apr 25, 2013 13:12 hrs

Puri: Attired like a typical Bengali "Bhadralok", President Pranab Mukherjee today had "darshan" of Lord Jagannath at Sri Mandir here amidst chanting of slokas from Vedas.

The President was received by Gajapati Maharaj Dibyasingha Deb and senior priests, besides state government officials, at the Lion's Gate of the 12th Century Shrine.

Mukherjee's family priests - Madhusudan Pujapanda, Shyamsunder Gochikar and Damodar Gochhikar - were also present to welcome the President.

A 'patabastra' which was earlier worn by the Lord, was also presented to the President

Mukherjee, who was earlier scheduled to go straight to the Temple from the helipad, took time to change his dress and wore a snow-white dhoti and kurta before reaching the Temple.

He spent about half-an-hour inside the sprawling temple complex, said a senior official, adding, the President spent some time in the sanctum sanctorium and visited Maa Bimala and Laxmi temple.

As the President walked barefoot inside the temple premises, he was provided a palm leaf umbrella for shade.

The President's gun wielding security personnel stood outside.

The temple was out of bounds for the general public for about two hours keeping in view the President's visit, an official said.

While leaving the temple after the Darshan, the temple administration presented him a Pattachitra painting of Lord Jagannath's Golden attire.

"Pattachitra is a traditional painting of Odisha's rich art. We presented a memento of Lord Jagannath's "suna besha" (golden attire) in Pattachitra form to the President," said Aravind Padhee, the chief administrator of Sri Jagannath Temple Administration.

This apart, the President was also offered a ceremonial cloth and dry bhog of the deities, a temple administration official said.

Though Mukherjee had visited the 12th century shrine several times in the past, this was for the first time that he had darshan of the Lord as President of India.

The President also had vegetarian food for lunch after his visit to the temple as per his wish, said Padhee.

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