PM Modi offers prayers at Odisha's Lingaraj temple
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday offered prayers at the Lingaraj Temple and also greeted the enthusiastic people who came to meet him outside the 11th century Shiva shrine.
Soon after his arrival at the temple, Modi was greeted by people who had gathered outside the building and also positioned themselves atop rooftops to have a glimpse of the leader.
A beaming Prime Minister waved at them before being escorted into the shrine by senior BJP leaders, priests and servitors.
Modi, who spent around 25 minutes at the temple premises amid tight security, offered flowers, bel leaves, milk, coconut water and sweets in a special puja to Lord Lingaraj, a priest who accompanied the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister then went around the temple premises and offered prayers before other deities, he said.
Modi also visited the temple of Goddess Bhubaneswari and Parbati, said Manoranjan Panigrahy, CEO of the Lingaraj Temple Administration.
Modi also interacted with sevayats and enquired about different aspects of the famous shrine.
He was apprised about the temple's history, rituals and architecture, a servitor said.
The Prime Minister emphasised the need to keep the temple premises clean and ensure "Swachhata" all over.
"The Prime Minister was so enthusiastic to know about Lingaraj temple. He prayed for the welfare of the nation and 'Swachh Bharat'," said chief priest of the temple.
Several servitors were also seen taking selfies with the Prime Minister. "It was a rare opportunity and we did not want to miss it," said a servitor.
The 54-metre high temple is spread over a 25,000 sq.ft area and has over 150 small and big subsidiary temples in its premises.
Before leaving the temple, Modi put his signature on the register meant for VVIP visitors.
As a cheering crowd waited outside, the PM walked quite a distance barefoot waving at the people, then went upto the barricade to reciprocate as the crowd shouted "Modi, Modi" before proceeding to Janata Maidan, to attend the second day's proceedings of BJP's national executive meeting.
Before his visit to the temple, Modi met the families of freedom fighters who were part of the Paika rebellion against the British East India Company in 1817.
He felicitated them at the Raj Bhawan.
Modi arrived here on Saturday to attend the two-day BJP National Executive meeting that began later in the day.
He also held a roadshow ahead of the meet.
The Prime Minister will address the concluding session on Sunday.