Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Saturday offered prayers at the famous hill temple of Lord Venkateswara here. He was accompanied by his wife Shiranthi Rajapaksa and a forty member official delegation.
Talking to mediapersons, President Rajapaksa said that he had come here to pray for permanent peace and development in Sri Lanka. “When I visited the temple last time, I had prayed for peace in the war-torn country. Now that my prayers have been answered, I have come here for the second time to pray for permanent peace and development ," he added.
Unprecedented security arrangements were made by the district police administration for the President’s visit and media persons were kept at a distance from the the main temple complex and Padmavathi Guest House, where the entourage stayed.
Even though officials ruled out the possibility of any interaction with the President in view of security considerations, a smiling Mr. Rajapaksa gently waved towards the media gallery and stopped for a while.
When asked for his comments on the LTTE and its chances of resurgence apart from the safety of the Tamils, he replied that he was here only for ’peace’.
Earlier, on his arrival at the temple's mahadwaram, he was received with traditional honours by the officials and priests, and led into the sanctum sanctorum.
He stood in front of the main deity for about ten minutes and offered his prayers.
After going round the temple, he made his offerings into the temple `hundi’. Soon after the darshan, the Sri Lankan President left for his country by a special aircraft from Tirupathi.
Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) Chairman D. K. Adikesavulu, Executive Officer I. Y. R. Krishna Rao, Anantapur Range DIG of Police Sujatha Rao and Superintendent of Police Laxmi Reddy received the dignitary upon arriving at the guest house.