Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday offered prayers at the famous Lord Venkateswara temple at nearby Tirumala before leaving for Colombo, winding up his five-day tour of India.
Clad in the traditional attire of white shirt and silk dhoti, the 74-year old Lankan leader, an ardent devotee of Lord Venkateswara, was accorded a traditional reception by top authorities and conducted to the sanctum sanctorum, amid chanting of Vedic hymns by priests.
Rajapaksa witnessed the weekly Ashtadala Paada Padmaradhana ritual, in which priests performed archana to the idol of the presiding deity using 108 golden lotuses, a temple official said.
The visiting leader was presented a sacred silk cloth, a holy memento and sacred prasadam by the temple officials. He had arrived on the hills on Monday by road from Renigunta airport, about 20 km from here.
After a brief halt in the guest house on his return from the temple, Rajapaksa left for Colombo from Renigunta.
This is Rajapaksa’s maiden visit to the temple as Prime Minister. He had visited the shrine and paid his obeisance to Lord Venkateswara on several occasions in the past as the island nation’s President and also after demitting the high office, officials said.
Rajapaksa, who arrived in India on Friday on his first overseas tour after being appointed as Sri Lankan Prime Minister in November last year, had visited Varanasi, Sarnath and Bodh Gaya after his engagements in New Delhi.