President visits Jagannath Temple, offers prayers

Bhubaneswar: President Pranab Mukherjee visited the Puri Jagannath Temple and offered prayers to the deities at around 7.15 am today. The temple remained off-limits to general devotees during his darshan while a few priests were allowed into the sanctum sanctorum to conduct pujas. Mukherjee observed fast since morning for darshan of Lord Jagannath.
 
Puri Gajapati Maharaj Divyasingh Dev and chief temple administrator Aravind Padhee welcomed him at the Lion's Gate before he entered the temple.
 
Mukherjee was accorded a rousing welcome at the Biju Patnaik airport on his arrival on Friday. Governor SC Jamir welcomed him on his second visit to the State after the latter assumed the office as President in July last year. Among others chief minister Naveen Patnaik, additional chief secretary UN Behera, MP Prasanna Patsani, Bhubaneswar Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena and DGP Prakash Mishra were also present.
 
Pranab after exchanging pleasantries with the officials, left for Puri in a special chopper of Indian Air Force and spent night at Raj Bhavan in Puri. He is scheduled to address the second convocation ceremonies of IIT-Bhubaneswar today.
 
Officials said, about 40 platoons (about 1200 personnel) of police force and 501 officers have been assigned for security of the President in Bhubaneswar. Similarly 15 platoons of force and 50 officers have been deployed in Puri.