Haridwar: President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday took part in the famous Ganga Aarti along the banks of the river at Har Ki Pauri here.Accompanied by Uttarakhand Governor KK Paul, Chief Minister Harish Rawat and family members besides Ganga Sabha office bearers and a host of officials, the President performed puja and ‘Dugdhavishek’ of the holy river by making an offering of 101 kg of milk and eleven sweet betel leaves.
The President, who concluded his three-day visit to the state on Thursday, looked overwhelmed with the experience as he bowed to the river with folded hands several times during the ceremony which lasted around 45 minutes.He along with everyone present there took a pledge to make the river clean and maintain its relentless flow.
Mr Mukherjee is the third President after Rajendra Prasad and Gyani Zail Singh to take part in a Ganga Aarti at Har Ki Pauri.
After the conclusion of the Aarti, the President was escorted to the Ganga Sabha office decorated especially in view of his visit and accorded a warm welcome by its office bearers who showered him with flower petals.
They also showed him a visitors book maintained by the Sabha containing the signatures and comments of dignitaries including former Presidents who had visited Har Ki Pauri in the past.
Mr Mukherjee was offered a citation on a silver plaque, the holy waters of the Ganga in a silver pitcher and a photo album containing pictures and messages of dignitaries who had visited Har Ki Pauri before him.The President was somewhat intrigued to find his own message among them from an earlier visit he had paid to the banks of the river in 1984.
Mr Mukherjee later left for Jollygrant airport.