PM offers prayers at Jagannath Temple

Puri: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was on a two-day visit to Odisha to inaugurate NISER campus at Jatni and IOCL’s refinery at Paradip, on Sunday offered prayers at the 12th century Lord Jagannath Temple here.

Modi, who was accompanied by priests and local BJP leaders, spent more than 30 minutes inside the temple and entered the sanctum sanctorum to seek blessings of the Lord.

After inaugurating NISER campuse at Jatni, the Prime Minister left for Puri in a special flight. At around 11 am he landed at Talabani helipad. He was welcomed by a huge number of crowd at the helipad.

Modi was welcomed by SJTA Chief Administrator Suresh Chandra Mohapatra, priests, former state BJP president KV Singhdeo and others at the temple’s Lion Gate. Hundreds of people lined up behind barricades along the Grand Avenue and main roads to have a glimpse of the leader.

While returning from the temple, Modi, who was attired in an off white kurta with yellow ‘Anga Vastram’ on his shoulder, waved at people lined all along the Grand Road in front of the Temple.

“Touched by people’s warmth and affection in Puri,” Modi tweeted after having a darshan of the trinity – Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Jagannath.

“This is the first visit of Modi to the temple after becoming Prime Minister. Earlier before the 2014 general elections, Modi had vowed to come here again if his desires are fulfilled. As he has become prime minister, Modi came to express his gratitude to the Lord,” said a priest accompanying him.

The Odisha Police made elaborate security arrangements by deploying more than 250 personnel for the Prime Minister’s visit.

The security personnel were also deployed on roof tops of buildings on both side of the Grand Road in front of the Temple.

The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) had vacated the temple for the VIP visit.