VARANASI: President Ram Nath Kovind arrived in Varanasi on Saturday and offered prayers at the Kashi Vishwanath temple and then witnessed the mesmerizing Ganga Aarti at the Dashashwamedh Ghat in the evening.
The President on a three-day east UP tour with his wife Savita Kovind and daughter Swati, was earlier welcomed by Governor Anandiben Patel and chief minister Yogi Adityanath on landing at the LBSI Airport in the afternoon.
From the airport, the President went to Banaras Locomotive Works (BLW) by helicopter for stay at its guest house.
Later, the President entered the Kashi Vishwanath Dham (corridor) area through Chhattadwar to enter Kashi Vishwanath temple complex through Rani Bhawani entry point.
President Kovind and his family performed ‘Shodashopchaar Pujan’ amid chanting of Vedic Mantras by priests. On coming out of the sanctum sanctorum, he was felicitated by the CM, who gifted him a shawl, conch shell and Rudraksha rosary. The CM also apprised him about the Kashi Vishwanath Dham (corridor) project.
The President then went to Dashashwamedh Ghat to attend the Ganga Aarti. The President and his family viewed the aarti from the same platform from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi had witnessed Ganga Aarti thrice.
Around 21 priests sporting dhoti and kurta, accompanied by 18 girls in traditional attire started lighting up the ceremonial brass lamps for the Ganga Aarti amid synchronised and rhythmic chanting of mantras.
In view of the President’s visit, the city remained under multilayer security cover. Traffic diversions become effective on highways as well as on city roads.
District magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma had imposed a ban on use of drones at ghats which were guarded by local police, PAC, NDRF personnel and armed forces.
The officials in Sonbhadra and Mirzapur districts were also busy in finalising arrangements for the President’s visit on Sunday.
Sonbhadra district magistrate Abhishek Singh said the President will take a 15-minute round of Seva Kunj Ashram and will then interact with tribals at Vanvasi Sangam, before leaving for Mirzapur district where he will offer prayers at Vindhyavasini Devi temple in Vindhyachal before returning to Varanasi for night stay.