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President Ram Nath Kovind, accompanied by his wife and other family members, on Saturday offered prayers at the famous Lord Sri Venkateswara temple at Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh. This was Kovind's first visit to the hill shrine after assuming office as the country's President last month. The President and his family members spent about half an hour in the temple, participating in various rituals.
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Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan accompanied Kovind. According to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which manages the affairs of the ancient temple, the President offered prayers in Bhu Varaha Swamy temple and later reached Tirumala temple. He was welcomed by TTD Executive Officer Anil Kumar Singhal and other officials while the Veda pundits offered 'Isthikaphal Swagatham' to the first citizen of the country with temple honours.
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He offered prayers along with his wife Savita, son Pasanth Kumar and daughter Swati. One of the chief priest's of the temple, A.V. Ramana Dikshitulu explained to the President the importance of jewels and of the presiding deity. Later at 'Ranganayakula Mandapam', 'Vedasirvachanam' were rendered and 'teertha prasadams', lamination photo of Lord and Sesha Vastram were presented to the President by the TTD Executive Officer.
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The President praised the efforts of the TTD in managing the affairs of Tirumala temple. After the two-day visit, the President returned to New Delhi.