AMRITSAR: President Ram Nath Kovind visited Golden Temple, Durgiana temple and Jallianwala Bagh during his maiden visit to Amritsar after being sworn in as India’s 14th President on July 25.
Giani Jagtar Singh, head granthi of the Golden Temple presented him with a siropa (robe of honour) in the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine. Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Kirpal Singh Badungar honoured the President, his family members and Punjab governor V P Singh Badnore with a model of the Golden Temple, shawl and a set of religious books. Kovind, who offered a degh of karah parshad for Rs 500, had langar at the shrine.
The President, who was accompanied by his wife Savita, son Prashant Kumar, daughter Swati, daughter-in-law Gauri Kumar and others, is the sixth Indian President to visit the Golden Temple and the second after Giani Jail Singh to have langar there.
Despite elaborate security arrangements made by the district administration and SGPC, the President interacted with devotees and posed for pictures with his family. In his comments in the visitors’ book at the Golden Temple, he wrote that he was lucky to have visited the shrine and experienced the rich Sikh traditions of ‘pangat,’ ‘sangat’ and ‘langar.’
Earlier, he was received by SGPC president Badungar, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal, his Union minister wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Punjab cabinet minister Rana Gurjit Singh and others at the Golden Plaza.
Later, he went to Jallianwala Bagh to pay homage to the martyrs of the Indian freedom movement. In the visitors’ book at the memorial, the President wrote that the thought of the martyrs made him grow teary-eyed. He also paid obeisance at Durgiana temple, where he was honoured by its management committee.
This is my first visit to Punjab after taking over as President of India. This is the land of sainiks and sants. Especially fortunate to come here in November, a month that marks birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and martyrdom of Guru Teg Bagadur ji.