Prime Minister Manmohan Singh offered prayers at the Lord Venkateswara temple here on Wednesday.

Dr. Singh, on his maiden visit to the hill shrine as Prime Minister, was received with the traditional honours of ‘Isti kapal' by temple priests and officials of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) at the main entrance. Then he was ushered into the sanctum sanctorum, amid the chanting of Vedic hymns and traditional temple music.

Dr. Singh offered prayers to the main deity for about 10 minutes.

The chief priest presented Dr. Singh and Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan with ‘silk vastrams' of the Lord. At the Ranganayakula Mandapam in the temple complex, Vedic pundits showered ‘vedasirvachanams' (blessings) on him.

Union Ministers Sushil Kumar Shinde, M. Veerappa Moily, Praful Patel, Vilas Rao Deshmukh and Panabaka Lakshmi and several State Ministers accompanied the Prime Minister. Praja Rajyam Party president K. Chiranjeevi, who is the local MLA, and Chinta Mohan, Congress MP of Tirupati, were also present.

After a brief rest at the Padmavathi guesthouse, Dr. Singh motored down to Tirupati where he laid the foundation for the international airport.