PM thanks almighty at Golden Temple (Lead)

March 24th, 2009 - 10:24 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Amritsar, March 24 (IANS) A devout Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday morning visited Harmandar Sahib, the holiest of Sikh shrines popularly known as Golden Temple, for offering thanksgiving prayers after his recent successful coronary bypass surgery.
Accompanied by his wife Gursharan Kaur, the prime minister, wearing a kurta-pyjama with a half jacket and light blue turban, reached the shrine at daybreak amid tight security.

Sewadars (volunteers) of the shrine and security personnel walked with him as he went around the holy pond in front of the shrine.

He was offered a saffron scarf as ’siropa’ by the clerics inside the shrine and he wore it around his neck. He sat down inside the sanctum sanctorum with closed eyes and folded hands for nearly 30 minutes to listen to the ‘Gurbani’ and ‘ardas’ (prayers).

Looking calm and composed, the prime minister went through the rituals at the shrine like any other devotee. He bowed before the Sikh holy book “Guru Granth Sahib” while paying obeisance at the shrine.

The prime minister was also joined by Avtar Singh Makkar, president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), the mini-parliament of Sikhs that manages gurdwaras, including Harmandar Sahib.

The prime minister’s wife, her head covered with a ‘dupatta’, sat in a separate enclosure inside the shrine with women devotees.

This was Manmohan Singh’s first trip outside New Delhi after he underwent a coronary bypass surgery Jan 24 at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

Curious devotees were seen trying to catch a glimpse of the prime minister while he entered and exited the shrine.

Manmohan Singh remained inside the Golden Temple complex for over 50 minutes. He later went to the nearby Hindu shrine of Durgiana temple to pay obeisance.

The prime minister kept his entire visit to this Sikh holy city a personal one.

He also met his relatives who are settled in this city. Manmohan Singh’s family had settled in Amritsar after migrating from a village near Rawalpindi (now in Pakistan) after India’s partition in August 1947.

Unprecedented security arrangements were in place in the city since Monday evening after the prime minister arrived in a special Indian Air Force aircraft at Amritsar’s Rajasansi airport.

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