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PM Modi offers prayers at Lord Venkateswara Mandir


Prime Minister Narendra Modi today offered worship at the famous hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara at nearby Tirumala and invoked his blessings, expressing confidence that the country would remain peaceful and united.

On his maiden visit to the ancient temple after becoming Prime Minister, Modi flew in here late in the afternoon from Amaravati, where he laid the foundation stone for Andhra Pradesh’s new capital.

He was accompanied to the temple by Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Union ministers, Ashok Gajapathi Raju M Venkiah Naidu and Nirmala Sitaraman.

Modi was accorded a traditional welcome amid chanting of Vedic hymns by the high priests, who conducted him to the sanctum sanctorum of the 2000-year old shrine.

The Prime Minister was in the temple for about 30 minutes, temple Chairman Chadalavada Krishnamurthy told PTI.

After offering worship, the Prime Minister was honoured with sacred silk cloth besides being offered ‘Laddu’ Prasadam, holy water in a tiny bottle and a Lord’s framed photo.

The priests blessed Modi by way of reciting hymns at the sprawling Rangamandapam in the shrine as he remained seated on the floor alongside the Governor and Chandrababu Naidu.

Later, in a brief speech, the Prime Minister said he was honoured to be at the feet of Lord Balaji on the Vijaya Dasami Day and also the culmination of Navratri.

“I am privileged to get the blessings of Lord Balaji. I am confident that with his blessings the country will maintain its peace and unity and will be able to fight poverty,” the Prime Minister said.

Modi had earlier visited the temple and offered prayers as the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate on May 1 last year.

Tight security arrangements were in place here and in Tirumala which wore a festive look with the shrine complex being richly illuminated today.

Before proceeding to hill temple, Modi earlier inaugurated a new integrated Eagle shaped Garuda terminal constructed at a cost of about Rs 191 crore by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) at the Tirupati Airport.

The new steel and glass integrated terminal building, with a capacity to handle 500 domestic and 200 international passengers at a time, was built over an area of 16,500 sq m in addition to 5,500 sq m of basement.

It has full-fledged facilities such as 18 check-in counters, four immigration counters, four baggage conveyors for arrival and one for departure, two VIP lounges and a parking lot for about 250 cars, officials at the airport said.

After declaring open the terminal, Modi said the tourism sector in the world had been developing in a big way and providing employment to to a large number of people.

“If tourism is developed, the poorest of the poor is also benefited,” he said.

His government was committed to strengthening the tourism sector by developing all round infrastructure, he said.

Later, the Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone for a mobile phones manufacturing hub to come up close to the airport before proceeding to the hills for worship.