Modi offers prayers at Tirumala temple

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday offered prayers at the Lord Venkateswara temple here.

Accompanied by Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan and Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, Modi had “darshan” of the deity at the famous shrine atop the Tirumala hills.

After the prayers, temple priests offered their blessings to Modi and the two other dignitaries in Ranganayakula Mandapam.

This was Modi’s first visit to the famous temple after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) retained power with a huge victory in the Lok Sabha elections and it was perceived as a thanksgiving trip.

Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam (TTD) executive officer Anil Kumar Singhal, joint executive officer K.S. Sreenivasa Raju and other officials presented “Theertha Prasadams” and a laminated photo of the Lord to Modi.

Earlier, on his arrival at the “Mahadwaram”, the priests and TTD officials offered traditional the Prime Minister “Isthikaphal” welcome.

Following his two-day visit to the Maldives and Sri Lanka, Modi landed at the Renigunta Airport near here from Colombo in the afternoon.

The Governor, the Chief Minister, Union Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy, state ministers, BJP leaders and other senior officials accorded him warm welcome at the airport.

Jagan Reddy twice tried to touch Modi’s feet, but the latter stopped him.

Modi addressed a meeting organised by the BJP near the airport before leaving for Tirumala by road to offer prayers at the hill shrine.

Modi had earlier visited the temple in his capacity as the prime ministerial candidate in May 2014 and as the Prime Minister in October 2015 and January 2017.