Puri: President Ram Nath Kovind along with his family members on 20 February chanted “Jai Jagannath” when the servitors tied a ‘Bana’ (flag) atop Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri in his name after having ‘darshan’ of the Trinity- Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Jagannath.
The President accompanied by the First Lady Sabita Kovind and family members, watched the special “Chunara” servitor climbing on the 213 feet high Shree Mandir and tied the flag wishing well being of the nation on the Neela Chakra, the wheel atop the temple, said Narayan Gochhikar, the traditional priest of Mr.Kovind.
Tying ‘Bana’ is a special ritual held everyday afternoon in the temple when the devotees
The President stood for a while the flag was being tied atop the temple, Mr.Gochhikar said, adding that Kovind and others raised their hands and chanted ‘Jai Jagannth’ invoking blessings of the Lord. Earlier, they had visisted the seat of Maa Bimala and Maa Laxmi in the premises of the temple, he said.
The President, who for the third time visited the shrine since 2018, also sought blessings of the “Mukti Mandap’ (the seat of salvation) in the temple premises.
On their arrival at the temple’s Lion gate, the President was greeted by Dr.Krishan Kumar, the Chief Administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) and others.
The Gajapati Maharaja of Puri Divya Singh Deb, however, could not remain present to greet the President as he had tested positive for the COVID-19.
The President was presented a special ‘patachitra’ painting by the SJTA Chief Dr.Kumar during his departure from the temple. He will spend the night at the Raj Bhavan in Puri and attend a function marking 150th birth anniversary of Goudiya Mission founder Srimad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupada on Sunday.
Dr.Kumar said the temple was closed for the public for two hours from 4 Pm to 6 PM in view of the President’s visit and security reasons.
While Mr.Kovind is staying at the Raj Bhawan in Puri, his staff members are lodged at a private hotel in the pilgrim town. Mr.Kovind had arrived in Puri on a special IAF chopper from Odisha’s Capital.
Earlier, the Odisha Governor Prof Ganeshi Lal and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik received the President on his arrival at the Biju Patnaik International Airport.
He is on a two-day visit to Puri beginning from Saturday.