Amritsar: President Ram Nath Kovind, who was on his first visit to Punjab after assuming office, paid obeisance at the Golden Temple on Thursday.
Donning a dark-coloured suit, President Kovind along with his family, paid obeisance at the sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple.
Kovind took a ‘parikarma’ (walk around the marbled periphery) before listening to the ‘kirtan’ (prayers) at the Golden Temple. He also took holy water from the ‘sarovar’ (holy tank). Tight security arrangements were put in place for Kovind’s maiden day-long visit to the state.
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) task force ‘sewadars’ (volunteers) formed a security ring around the president at the Golden Temple here. Before paying obeisance, he took ‘langar’ (community meal) alongside other devotees.
Kovind was given a ‘siropa’ (robe of honour) inside the shrine. At the Information Centre of the Golden Temple complex, the president wrote in the visitor’s book.
“I was fortunate enough to get an opportunity to pay obeisance at the Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) today,” he wrote.
“The power to eliminate all differences in Sikhism’s rich traditions of ‘pangat, sangat and langar’ was experienced by me. After watching devotees work here for everybody’s welfare, I feel proud of the humanitarian values of my countrymen,” he wrote in Hindi.
“I consider the divine experience that I felt here as blessings from the almighty and Guru Nanak Dev,” he further wrote.
The president was received by Punjab Cabinet Ministers Rana Gurjit Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu at the Sri Guru Ramdas International Airport from Adampur near Jalandhar.
He was received by Shiromani Akali Dal president and former Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab Sukhbir Singh Badal and and Union minister Harsimart Kaur Badal besides SGPC president Kirapal Singh Badungar at the temple.
Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore was also present with the president.
Before leaving the Golden temple, where he spent close to an hour, Kovind visited the Information Centre of the Golden Temple where he was honoured by SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar with a shawl, a set of Sikh religious books and a replica of the Golden Temple.
He also visited the historic Jallianwalla Bagh where he paid tributes to the martyrs who scarified their lives for the freedom of the nation besides paying obeisance before the ‘Amar Jyoti’.
He also paid obeisance at the Durgiana Temple here where he was honored by the management committee of the temple.
In the visitor’s book at Jallianwala Bagh, the president wrote, “During my Amritsar visit today, I got an opportunity to pay my tributes to the martyrs at the Jallianwala Bagh who laid down their lives for the sake of the country.”
“After coming to this historic place and while remembering the supreme sacrifice made by our martyrs, my eyes turned moist. From the bottom of my heart, I bow in respect before all those brave sons-of-the-soil,” he wrote.
Earlier, during the day, the president presented the prestigious President’s Standard to the 223 Squadron and 117 Helicopter Unit of the Indian Air Force (IAF) during a ceremonial parade at the Adampur Air Force station.